The episode that reminds me that Shirobako has a LOT of good characters–not just a select few.
Another Tri-Character Focus
I’m not sure if this is just going to be how Shirobako works, or if the story just naturally is structured like this, but the 9th episode of the series has a focus on two characters we don’t get to see too often–Shizuka and Misa–and one I thought we saw a bit too much, Kinoshita.
With two members of the Don-don-donuts crew, and the lazy director, we’ve got…a lot of potential character building to do, I feel.
Starting the episode, we get a quick focus as to what’s going on with Shizuka, after her failed voice audition a few episodes back. Although slightly discouraged, it seems she’s landed a gig, doing background voices! Not much, but hey, gotta get your foot in the door somehow! Lucky her, it seems as though she’s getting places!…Maybe.
Well, suffice to say, the first day on the job isn’t exactly…encouraging. Having been a bit too enthusiastic, a bit too standout, Shizuka’s promptly told off, leaving her meekly playing her part, fading into the background. It’s not a fun experience, even if it’s just business, and I kind of love that this happened–things like this happen, when expressing excitement for a job you care about, and it shows Shizuka’s character very well, that she’s struggling to be enthusiastic when, by all rights, she’s depicted as potentially being cowed into submission.
Now, the thing is, all the foreshadowing of the series up to this point, is leading me to believe that someone will notice that Shizuka puts passion into her voice acting. It happened in the previous episode with her, that the person in charge seemed to specifically note her enthusiasm, and with her (in my opinion, awesome) out-of-nowhere voice acting performance here, I can see her character being picked out, rewarded for her passion. I’m just curious to see if this line of thought will be right, later down the road…
But anyways. The other two characters focused on throughout the episode played a rather more interesting role, thematically speaking. After all, everyone has goals in life, and I think Misa–and surprisingly, Kinoshita–exemplified this thought rather well in this episode.
Not What Ya Thought, Huh…
Misa, one of the original Animation Club crew, and (I believe) the last to be given character development, was given a heavy focus in this episode, and it…wasn’t a very cheerful focus, to say the least.
Every character in the original high school group is doing something different, and that’s awesome to see. Aoi and Ema are working in the same company, Shizuka’s struggling to gain a foothold in the world of voice acting, and Midori is, for the most part, still trying to hone her craft. These are all different scenarios, and, for the most part, have been introduced, and explored pretty in-depth.
However, with episode 9, I couldn’t help but be particularly saddened at seeing what Misa’s situation is.
Misa, lucky her, has found employment in a CG company, able to practice her skills everyday for payment. It seems like an ideal stepping stone–but, as many of us know, working in a company like that doesn’t often lend itself to the pursuit of dreams.
Instead, animating wheels, tires, and cars 24/7, Misa finds herself discontented, and without an answer for how she wants to continue following her dream. And here, I have to mention, I’m still, still enjoying the tad bits of idealism Shirobako manages to integrate into its narrative.
Even in Misa’s frustration, Shirobako makes sure to show that, at its core, it is an idealistic show, and, although I’ve said it every single episode so far, I can’t help but enjoy it. From what I can tell, I’m enjoying it, mostly because this idealism…isn’t stupid.
The advice Shirobako so often gives is advice that is very practically applied, and has real truth behind it. I almost want to say it’s getting repetitive, after 9 episodes, but it’s just not.
And I think Kinoshita’s section at the end of the episode really, REALLY shows this.
What a Nerd–I Love It!
Kinoshita, up to this point, has been…among my least favorite characters of the series.
He’s the stereotypically lazy, fat, gluttonous character. When everyone else in the series has a believably real personality, Kinoshita…just doesn’t seem like he’d survive in the real world. Having neglected his duties, complained about every little thing imaginable, with only a vague history to give him personality, I just couldn’t find it in myself to like this guy.
I still don’t, honestly. But I think this episode did a pretty good job of showing why he’s the producer, and why he’s in the show to begin with.
Kinoshita, having been frozen, unable to draw storyboards for the past five episodes, when everyone is making progress, has a breakthrough. Having considered exactly why he started creating Exodus in the first place, he hits his stride, and creates an ending that, despite my not knowing anything about Exodus, sounds great.
His sheer enthusiasm, his obvious love for the act of creating…it doesn’t justify his behavior, but it certainly acts as a great moment for Shirobako, from a sheer thematic standpoint. After seeing the frustration of Aoi and her friends, the understandable problems of everyday life, a return to some old-fashioned, idealistic, passionate progress, is exactly what Shirobako needed.
And hey, this episode became strong as a result, thanks to none other than…Kinoshita, I guess. Gotta give credit where credit’s due, ya know?
I’m hoping that my commentary on the series is alright! It’s a good series so far–great, to be honest, and I don’t want it to get stale quite yet. If you have any thoughts about how I’m experiencing it, leave a comment! :)