SHIROBAKO: Episode 22 – “Noa’s in Her Underwear.”

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 started as a production assistant at Musashino Animation on the Exodus anime, and is now working as production desk for Third Aerial Girls Squad. Ema is also at Musashino Animation working as an animator, and Midori has joined the staff working on setting production. Shizuka is a newbie voice actress at Akaoni Production.

Episode 22 sees Iguchi being asked to serve as the assistant supervising animator for Episode 13 of Third Aerial Girls Squad. She says that while she can do some of the work, she’ll need some help. Ogasawara can help out some, but they still need one more person. Aoi asks Ema, but Ema’s unsure if she’s ready to take on this responsibility. But a couple of events that take place during the episode ultimately give her the confidence boost she needs in order to agree to take on the job. This was a time when the older animator who sits next to Ema was a great help, because it was ultimately his encouragement that made her change her mind.

Takanashi takes Hiroaka out to eat, and the two of them end up getting rather drunk. But during their time together, Hiroaka talks about what he had to deal with in the past when he started out working in anime. From what we see, he ended up projecting the attitude he received when he was working in production early on onto the people he has to work with now. I have to admit that seeing these flashbacks helped me to better appreciate Hiroaka and to truly understand why he’s acted the way he has. Even in his drunken state, Takanashi kept trying to say and do things to lift Hiroaka’s spirits, especially after Hiroaka said he’d be quitting once Third Aerial Girls Squad is over. But I have to say that when Hiroaka returned to work the next day, hung over, he actually was being a little nicer than usual. I don’t know if Takanashi’s words and actions actually reached him and caused him to change, or if Hiroaka was simply being nicer due to being hung over.

But for the most part, it appears that the production for Third Aerial Girls Squad is moving along rather easily. But right after the end of the recording session for the final episode, the editor for the Third Aerial Girls Squad manga calls with some major news that will shake up the production of the series. I had a feeling that when the editor had blindly approved the final episode that there would be some kind of fallout from it. Sigh. “Funny story” guy manages to strike again.

So now it looks like the final two episodes of SHIROBAKO will be focusing on trying to rectify the new crisis that has arisen for the production of Third Aerial Girls Squad. I’m very curious to see how a resolution to this issue will be achieved.

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