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.
With 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!