Anime Blu-ray Review: SHIROBAKO Collection 1

SHIROBAKO Collection 1 is a single disc that contains all 12 episodes of the first cour of the series. The set only has the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

SHIROBAKO Collection 1
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: February 9, 2016

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. Shizuka is a newbie voice actress at Akaoni Production, Misa is working at a computer graphics studio, and Midori is a university student.

The first half of the series places a strong focus on Aoi and Ema as they’re just starting out in the industry, and we get to see all the issues that go on behind the scenes during the production of an anime. Shizuka is also seen trying to break into anime voice acting, but she doesn’t have confidence and gets nervous at her auditions. Misa is dissatisfied with her job, because she’s always given the same thing to do over and over, and she has no interest in what the company is giving her.

When I first heard about SHIROBAKO prior to the start of the Fall 2014 season, the idea of an anime about producing anime appealed to me. But I admit at the time that the “cute” designs for the protagonists had me a little worried that the series would end up being too cutesy. I decided to give SHIROBAKO a chance, and I’m glad that I did. While there a lot of characters introduced in the series near the very beginning, these 12 episodes gives many of them a chance to shine.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition / 16×9, and the audio includes Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I had no complaints about either the audio or the video quality of this release.

There are only three bonus features included on the release: a clean opening animation, two clean closing animations, and trailers for other releases from Sentai Filmworks. When it comes to the clean closing animation, the only difference between the two is that the doll’s reaction to the bear’s love letter changes in the final episode. I’m not terribly disappointed with the bonus features, since this is rather standard for releases put out by Sentai Filmworks.

If you’ve streamed SHIROBAKO and enjoyed what you’ve seen, then this Blu-ray release for the first half of the anime would be a good addition to your anime home video library.

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