Thoughts on Shirobako Episode 4: Damn It’s Relevant

Man, Shirobako is damn good.  And boy, does it really, really hit home.


This episode wasn’t a plot heavy one, but then again, Shirobako seems to be placing its focus on other aspects–namely its characters.  Episode 4 was one that gave us huge amounts of insight to many traits of the red-head Shizuka Sakaki, as well as an indication as to where the growth of Aoi might go.

 

It was…rather enjoyable, to say the least.

First off, I’ve gotta say that I am greatly enjoying HOW every character is being given personality–from what they choose to say, to their facial expressions and specific actions, everything I saw contributed to one concrete personality.  Everything that these characters are is so quickly defined, without even going into their backstories, leaving me to wonder why they are the way they are.

Case in point, Sakaki.

2017-10-01_21-05-31With an early focus on her, and her failed Voice Acting audition for Prussia Studio, what I perceived of her character was far different from what I expected of the red-head.  She always seemed like a happy, optimistic, almost genki-girl like personality at first, but after this episode, there’s no WAY I could say anything like that again.

Well, she’s certainly an optimistic spirit–but we learn quickly about her dreams, her nostalgia, her casually self-depreciating nature.  She’s loyal to her friends, and very serious about the things she cares about, showing up first to their get-together.  It’s cute, it’s concrete, and most importantly, it feels real.

Overall, this episode was a welcome introduction to a character I didn’t know I wanted to know–but now, I can’t help but feel invested!

2017-10-01_21-11-06
I mean, I sympathized with this moment a LOT.  

The other star of this episode had to be our main character herself, Aoi, who received a LOT of development, setting her up for the rest of the series, but also, had WAY too many cute moments.

I mean.  You can only make a character so cute, right?

But really, Aoi’s just as cute as a button here.  A really cute button.  Maybe it’s her voice actor, maybe it’s something in her design, or her incessant positive attitude, but I couldn’t help but find her stupidly engaging.  We got to see her call her parents, in a tender, loving moment–got to see her walking home, singing for herself, as well as her pouty, justified irritation that she was being called on her day off of work.  It all just melds together in one cute whole, that really makes me enjoy the fact that Aoi is the protagonist–especially considering the development she seems likely to get later.

2017-10-01_21-08-45
This tender moment with her family was just so adorable–and added to Aoi’s character just that much more.

On top of these awesome character moments, I was reminded again of the consistency of Shirobako’s art, and thematic style–at least so far.

It has had a focus up to this point on the everyday nature of life, and Episode 4 has continued that trend.  With shots of a pre-interview scene that just felt nerve-wracking, relatively realistic drunken conversations, workplace arguments that felt rather relatable (even if given a bit of anime flair for entertainment), this episode just confirmed my hopes that Shirobako knows exactly what it’s going for.

2017-10-01_20-41-05
This scene just LOOKS ridiculously tense, doesn’t it? 
2017-10-01_21-20-52
And if you’ve ever gotten a call on your off day, you’ve GOTTA sympathize with Aoi here.  Not to mention, the lighting here, the facial expressions–they’re great.

This brings me to what would be what would be the most intriguing part of the episode, and simultaneously, what I loved most about it: its hints towards the theme of Shirobako as a whole, as well as towards the character progression of Aoi.

I still don't know
“I still don’t know what I want to be or what I want to do…”

Aoi’s struggle, the one that I’m certain will carry on throughout the series, is this idea that, for all the work she’s been doing, she still doesn’t know her true passion.

Her meeting with her friends, sharing their hopes and dreams after a good amount of time being separate from each other, feels real as well.  It’s an all-too-real reminder of how my own get-togethers with college friends tends to go, and I loved their reunion scene for it.  But what I really love here, is how this scene was used to express this reallydamn relevant idea, that it’s hard to find a dream to live for, in adult life.

It’s a common theme–the growth from childhood to adulthood, and the pursuit of a dream, a life in the “real world.”  But hey, as a college student myself, I’m actually rather glad that this theme is being addressed.  It’s a good one to consider–even if talked about a bit much.  I’m personally really looking forward to the next episodes, to see how exactly Aoi grows, and how Shirobako will continue this theme.

I...
This was the standout moment of the episode, certainly–great for giving personality to everyone here, Aoi especially!

These were my thoughts on Episode 4, and well, it was my first try writing a more episodic reaction piece, inspiration coming from one DerekL, of the Apprentice Mages Lounge!  Go check his blog out if you have the chance, it’s great.

Also, would any of you guys be interested in tracking with me for the entirety of Shirobako?  This is more of an experiment on my end, but any good feedback (or constructive criticism) would be much appreciated, especially in regards to continuing to do this!  Anyways.  Thanks for reading, see you with the next episode reaction!

 

 

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Shirobako Episode 4: Damn It’s Relevant

Add yours

  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    Episodic reviews can be fun and interesting to do because you have to think. Episodic reviews can be exhausting and difficult because you have to think… But you have the slight advantage of doing so for a series that has aired to completion so you’re not stuck with a schedule or risk having your post become irrelevant because the next episode or two have aired. You can thwack ’em out as fast as you’re inspired or as slow and methodically as you need to work things out in your head.

    That last in particular can lead you to insights we missed when it aired… Or ridiculously over thinking something and going down the wrong path. Of course the wrong path is as much a part of a journey of discovery as the ‘right’ one. (By wrong and right, of course I mean by what the show presents, not the consensus of the community.)

    The biggest challenge you’ll be facing here (if you do a full episodic for Shirobako) is that it’s going to be hard for folks to comment without spoiling. That means you might get a lot of lightweight comments which could be discouraging when they’re not meant to be. Or no comments at all.

    All of which is ‘just the facts’ and not meant in any way to be discouraging.

    Of course the comments above should be taken with a spoon of salt… Though I did episodics for two years in the comments at Mage in A Barrel, I haven’t been on my own (and thus accountable) for even a year yet. It’s just my experience and thoughts.

    That being said, yes. I’d love to see episodics for Shirobako – it’s a good show with lots going on, and so far you’re nailing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holy crap man, thanks for the paragraphs of insight, and no problem, thanks to you for the inspiration to do episodics at all!

      Yeah, I’m already getting a sense of how much more I’m thinking about the show–it’s fun, stimulating, but I can see it getting very exhausting, very quickly.

      I think in regards to the path one takes in experiencing a show, wrong or right, the whole joy of reactionary pieces, videos, articles, etc., is all in how another human ends up having a unique experience of the show in question. So, I think I’ll hope to convey that! Some honest-to-goodness, relatively unfiltered opinions and thoughts.

      Phew. I’ll keep what you said about comments in mind. Personally, I love reading, and responding to comments, but with something like this…well, you know already. Thanks for the word of warning!

      Hm. Well, thanks a TON for sharing your experience, I can’t state enough how freaking helpful it all is. And hey, that almost-year of experience is still something to respect and be proud of, in and of itself. Kudos to you man–and thanks a ton, again, for the feedback! :)

      Like

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