SHIROBAKO: Episode 10 – “Just One More”

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.

The first part of Episode 10 focuses on three characters and decisions concerning where they’re going in their professional life. From what was seen in Episode Nine, it’s obvious that Misa is one of these characters. After talking with Aoi and the others, she decides that even though she doesn’t know where she’s ultimately heading, it’s in her best interest to quit. We see her hand in her resignation letter, and the company president tries to convince her to stay. Meanwhile, Honda has decided that he’ll be quitting animation after the end of the year so he can pursue his dream of baking cakes. Aoi, who sees both of these characters and the decisions they’ve made, finds herself feeling as if she still has no idea what she wants to do in her future. I thought this was brilliantly illustrated with a daydream sequence she has, where she sees both Honda and Misa coming to a fork in the road and deciding which path they’ll take. But Aoi is having these thoughts while trying to get the final episode of Exodus finished, so I’m hoping the worries and indecision don’t end up affecting her job performance.

The rest of the episode focuses on the production of Episode 13 of Exodus. The director finally gets the storyboard done, but there’s only five weeks remaining until the episode is supposed to be delivered. This already has Aoi on edge. We also get to see the after-recording for Episode 13, but the director keeps trying to hang out at the party being held afterward instead of returning to work in order to get the next part of Episode 13 done. Right at the end of the episode, it’s revealed that there are only 29 more days until the episode is supposed to be delivered.

Why am I not surprised that the director still isn’t taking the production of Episode 13 seriously? Even though he knows time is running out and there’s still a lot to do, he’d rather goof off and get drunk than do what needs to be done. Hopefully Aoi can manage to get the episode done and have it in decent enough shape to be aired before the deadline. Also, I hope she doesn’t end up losing her mind in the process. And I’m also hoping the director doesn’t end up getting the next project that he’s hoping to get.

This episode also saw Ema running into Misato, who gives Ema praise for the key frames of the cat. From what I saw, this appeared to give Ema a much needed boost and helped prove to her that sometimes you need to do some observation and take a needed break in order to produce the quality work that a production needs.

At this point, though, I’m expecting the last two episodes to focus heavily on Aoi and her stress of trying to get Episode 13 of Exodus completed on time, which will be accompanied by a countdown of the days left until the deadline. I can’t wait to see what will happen for the remainder of the production, as well as to see whether or not Aoi can make the deadline. I also hope to see what ends up happening to both Aoi and Misa, since they’re both trying to figure out where their professional life will end up going.

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