SHIROBAKO: Episode 6 – “Idepon Miyamori: On the Move”

SHIROBAKO starts out with five friends in a high school animation club producing an animation to screen at their school cultural fair. Aoi, Ema, Shizuka, Misa, and Midori swear that they’ll eventually reunite in Tokyo and make another anime together. The story then jumps ahead in time two-and-a-half years, where Aoi is working as a production assistant at Musashino Animation, a company that’s in the process of working on an anime titled, Exodus. Ema is also at Musashino Animation; she’s just getting her foot in the door as an animator. In Episode Two, we learn that Shizuka is a newbie voice actress at Akaoni Production.

Episode Six focuses primarily on the conflict between hand-drawn and 3D animation. It starts out with a continuity issue that arises when it’s discovered that the explosion at the end of Episode Eight that was done with CG was hand-drawn for the opening of Episode Nine. Of course, this throws Aoi into a tizzy because it affects the episode that she’s in charge of, and it ultimately pulls her into Takanashi’s situation with Endou. Poor Aoi has already been dealing with her confusion with what her goal in life is, and now she’s suddenly thrown into the middle of an escalating situation that wasn’t of her making.

When Endou refuses to come back, Aoi takes it upon herself to tell Honda about him quitting because Takanashi refuses to. As expected, this causes Honda to blow a gasket. Fortunately, he realizes that Takanashi was the root of the problem and not Aoi. At this point, it really surprises me that Takanashi still has a job on the production when you consider his track record up to this point.

There’s an exhibition for an anime called Idepon that the company is giving tickets out for, and it’s decided to give the few tickets they have left to the key animators. When Aoi picks up work from Misato and tries giving a ticket to the exhibit, Misato tells her that it was Idepon that got Endou into animation and suggests giving it to him.

Aoi goes to see Endou, but talks with his wife instead and hands her the tickets. Aoi runs into Takanashi, Endou, and Shimoyanagi (the 3D animator who did the explosion with CG) at the exhibit, and things look tense at first. But it was amazing to see how Endou and Shimoyanagi ended up bonding when they discovered that they are both fans of Idepon. I think for both of them, it helped to revisit the property that got the two of them interested in becoming animators in the first place, as well as to show them that just because they may animate in different ways, they’re still capable of enjoying the same things. As we see at the end of the episode, they admit that they like each other’s work and ask for help from the other. Endou decides he needs to learn how to use the 3D CG software, while Shimoyanagi asks Endou for help with key frames.

Aoi ends up being the one who helps lead the way toward bringing around a resolution. Even though running into Shimoyanagi was purely coincidental, Aoi was able to find ways to keep Endou and Shimoyanagi from getting at each other’s throats. After the visit to the Idepon exhibit, Endou says he’ll come back to serve as the animation director for Episode Eight of Exodus and will also animate the explosion at the end of the episode in order to match the work done for Episode Nine. By getting this done, Aoi receives praise from the others who work around her, with one going so far as to say that Aoi has good sense and skills for being a producer. Hopefully this praise, as well as what she’s gone through in recent episodes, will help Aoi realize that perhaps her goal is to eventually become an anime producer.

There was also some focus on Shizuka and her lack of confidence due to not landing much in the way of voice over roles. Shizuka’s voice acting mentor comes to visit her while she’s at her part-time job and is able to talk with Shizuka. Shizuka’s mentor also invites her to see the rehearsals for a play that she’s involved with. When Shizuka goes, she says she likes what she sees and wants to act. This ends with her mentor saying she’ll give Shizuka a call the next time they do something. These actions, as well as the encouraging words from her mentor, help Shizuka feel better about herself and her talent.

There are also some brief scenes focusing on the director as he’s supposed to be working on the storyboards for the final episode. By the end of this episode, the director has finally finished one portion of them. He may not be done yet, but at least there’s some progress! Hopefully he’ll actually get the storyboards done on time! I’m a little worried, though, since the title of the next episode is, “Retake With Cats.” I’m hoping that the director hasn’t come up with another ridiculous idea that will throw a wrench in the works for the production of Exodus!

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