English Cast for the Shirobako Anime

The English dub cast has been announced for the Shirobako anime:

  • Alyssa Marek is Aoi Miyamori
  • Juliet Simmons is Misa Tōdō
  • Rachael Messer is Shizuka Sakaki
  • Savanna Menzel is Ema Yasuhara
  • Taylor Fono is Midori Imai
  • Adam Gibbs is Tatsuya Ochiai
  • Adam Noble is Hironori Madoka
  • Avery Smithhart is Sara Satō
  • Blake Jackson is Shun Watanabe/Nabe-P
  • Bryson Baugus is Daisuke Hiraoka
  • Carl Masterson is Shigeru Sugie
  • Carli Mosier is Chiemi Domoto
  • Carolyn Medrano is Akane Uchida
  • Clint Bickham is Yutaka Honda
  • Elissa Cuellar is Rinko Ogasawara
  • Genevieve Simmons is Yuka Okitsu
  • Greg Cote is Tarō Takanashi
  • Houston Hayes is Yoshiki Sakura
  • James Belcher is Masato Marukawa
  • Jay Hickman is Gōtarō Katsuragi
  • Kregg Dailey is Ryōsuke Endō
  • Margaret McDonald is Tsubaki Andō
  • Mark X Laskowski is Seiichi Kinoshita
  • Michael Wronski is Yuuichirou Shimoyanagi
  • Natalie Rial is Yumi Iguchi
  • Patricia Duran is Segawa
  • Shanae’a Moore is Erika Yano
  • Shelby Blocker is Nao Shinkawa
  • Ty Mahany is Masashi Yamada

Shannon Reed is directing the dub.

Source: The Fandom Post

Section23 Films Announces October 2020 Slate

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its October 2020 slate of releases.

Product details follow, in order of release

Coming October 2020

Title: BEAUTIFUL BONES
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 10/6/2020
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Most young women have lots of obsessions, but Sakurako Kujo only has two: work and bones… and since the bones are part of her work, it really comes down to just bones. However, in between collecting de-fleshed animal and human remains for her studies, Sakurako also assists the local police as a forensic consultant, where she’s developed a formidable reputation as both a corpse magnet and detective. Assisting her in these tasks is young Shotaro Tatewaki, who is no slouch at sleuthing himself, though his primary task is to keep Sakurako focused (and keep her from occasionally “borrowing” a particularly interesting specimen). If there’s a bone to pick, a stray skull to be found, or a random skeleton hidden in a closet, you can trust this team to unearth the evidence in Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation.

Title: PUNCH LINE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 10/13/2020
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can’t re-possess your physical shell, you’ll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet? For Yuta Iridatsu, it’s just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn’t pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth. And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he’s back in himself, it’s flash-forward to Doomsday. Will the literal end of the world be wearing briefs, a bikini, or a thong? Find out when panties, possessions and extinction level events have the ultimate rear-end collision in Punch Line.

Title: SHIROBAKO COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 10/13/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Once upon a time, five girls made an animated film and it was so much fun that they pledged to get jobs in animation so that someday they could make another film together. Now, two years later, Aoi, Shizuka, Ema, Misa and Midori have learned the truth about the anime industry: it’s not always fun, it’s anything but easy, and having talent isn’t always enough to open the right doors. Which is why Aoi’s overwhelmed by her job as a production assistant, Shizuka’s waiting on tables between auditions, Midori’s currently scriptless, Misa’s switched to C.G., and Ema’s working long hours as a key animator. Is it what they imagined? No. But are they ready to give up? Not just yet. Sometimes, when things happen in animation, they can happen in the most wonderful ways in Shirobako.

Title: EF ~ STEELBOOK
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 10/20/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98

SYNOPSIS: Four disparate groups of friends. Different places. Different times. Different lives. Yet, their destinies are inexplicably interwoven, and what happens to any one group will, in the end, affect them all. One Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono helps Miyako, the victim of a purse snatching, and discovers that she goes to the same school he does. To the dismay of his childhood friend, Kei, Hiro starts hanging out with Miyako. When Renji Asou meets Chihiro Shindou at an abandoned train station, he doesn’t notice anything unusual at first. But he soon discovers that she suffers from a rare disease. Shuichi Kuze’s been spending time with Mizuki Hayama. As they’ve been getting to know each other, they’ve been growing closer. Yuu Himura meets a girl who seems to know him, but he doesn’t know her. Soon enough, however, he remembers a girl he met long ago, and begins to rediscover old, half-forgotten feelings. Intertwining fates, tragic, bittersweet and heart-rending combine to form one of anime’s most beautifully crafted and emotionally charged masterpieces: ef ~ a tale of memories & melodies.

Title: NEGIMA! + NEGIMA!?
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1355 min.
Street Date: 10/20/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Few fantasy characters have become as popular or been adapted into so many mediums as quickly as boy wizard Negima Springfield, and now both of the world’s foremost 10-year old magical teacher’s animated series are collected in one doubly entertaining collection. In Negima!, Negi is assigned to teach a class at the exclusive Mahora Academy, where all the students have unusual skills and secrets and some aren’t even human. They’re also all teenage girls, which becomes a bit of a problem when some start to develop romantic feelings towards him. Then, in Negima!?, a mysterious artifact known as the Star Crystal disappears and Negi and his all-girl regiment of gifted students find themselves trapped in the middle of the mystery. Get ready for ghosts, vampires, ninjas, time travelers and cheerleaders on the prowl in the Negima! + Negima!? Animated Collections.

Title: AKAME GA KILL STEELBOOK
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 10/27/2020
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $99.98

SYNOPSIS: In a land where corruption rules and a ruthless Prime Minister has turned the puppet Emperor’s armies of soldiers, assassins and secret police against the people, only one force dares to stand against them: Night Raid, an elite team of relentless killers, each equipped with an Imperial Arm – legendary weapons with unique and incredible powers created in the distant past. Rescued from a fate worse than death by Night Raid, young Tatsumi is offered the chance to join their lethal ranks… but it’s a deadly choice, as few can master an Imperial Arm and even fewer survive when two Arms go against each other in combat. The battle is on, and only the strongest will make it out alive in Akame Ga Kill!

Title: IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? 2 PREMIUM BOX SET
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 10/27/2020
Format: BD & DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $179.98

SYNOPSIS: There’s rarely a dull moment when you’re the champion of a tiny Familia, and things only get rougher for Bell when the God Apollo declares war on Hestia and her followers. With Apollo’s Familia able to field a hundred times as many men, Hestia will have to work a lot of favors to keep her Familia from being completely destroyed. Even if Bell and Hestia manage to pull off the impossible, a major debt that Hestia owes is about to come due and Lili’s sordid past comes back to haunt her. Which means that when Bell and his friends come to Lili’s aid, it sets into motion yet another impending clash of the titans that may destroy everything in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II.

Anime Blu-ray Review: SHIROBAKO Collection 2

SHIROBAKO Collection 2 is a two-disc Blu-ray set that includes all 12 episodes of the second cour of the series. The set only has the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

SHIROBAKO Collection 2
English Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: May 24, 2016

SHIROBAKO Collection 2 shows what happens to the characters in the next phase of their story. After completing Exodus in the first half of the series, Musashino Animation begins working on an anime adaptation of the Third Aerial Girls Squad manga during the second half of the series. Aoi finds herself being promoted from production assistant to production desk, so she learns a new job and how to handle all the stress that comes with it. It doesn’t help that Aoi realizes that she isn’t quite sure what her dream is even though her friends all have goals and aspirations. Ema is given more responsibility in her work, Midori is brought in to help with research for Third Aerial Girls Squad, and Misa works for a new computer graphics company that’s brought in to help with the anime. Shizuka has gained more confidence in her voice acting, but she’s still having a hard time getting her foot in the door. The end of the series culminates with the five friends (Aoi, Ema, Midori, Misa, and Shizuka) getting a step closer to realizing their dream of reuniting in Tokyo and making another anime together.

Four new characters are introduced and join the Musashino Animation staff: Tsubaki Ando (a new production assistant who is also an otaku), Sara Sato (a new production assistant who is responsible but horrible with directions), Daisuke Hiraoka (a new production assistant who comes with experience from other companies, but is easily annoyed with those who seem to take anime too seriously and he is also standoffish), and Ai Kunogi (a new in-between animator who is extremely nervous and shy). While I understand that Ai was introduced to be so shy and nervous in order to show how much Ema has progressed, but Ai’s nervousness was so over-the-top. Of the new characters that were introduced, she was my least favorite.

When it comes to the actual story and episodes of this cour of SHIROBAKO, one of the most memorable moments came near the end of Episode 23 when Aoi realizes that she and her friends have gotten one step closer to achieving the goal they set for themselves back in high school. I nearly shed a tear during that scene. Aoi’s speech at the wrap party for Third Aerial Girls Squad also ranks very highly as a memorable scene from this cour. However, when all is said and done, I can say that I’m very happy with how SHIROBAKO concluded.

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, a clean version of all eight endings that appeared in the second half of SHIROBAKO, and trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases. I’m not terribly disappointed with the bonus features, since this is rather standard for releases put out by Sentai Filmworks.

If you’ve already seen and enjoyed SHIROBAKO, I would highly recommend adding the two physical releases of the series to your physical anime library.

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.

12 Days of Anime: Day 9

As an anime fan, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that I would have anime items (DVDs, Blu-rays, and soundtracks) on my Christmas wishlist. It’s a rather long list (LOL!), but I thought I would share the items that I’m most hoping to find under the tree this Christmas.

Anime Blu-rays and DVDs

Assassination Classroom Season 1

I really liked the Assassination Classroom anime series when I watched it as a simulcast, and I would love to have this in my anime home video library. I’m grateful that FUNimation Entertainment released complete season sets for the series on Blu-ray earlier this year, so now I can ask for one set for each season instead of two sets.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club Season 1 Collection

Watching Free! -Dive to the Future- over the summer as a simulcast reminded me of how much I enjoyed the series. I’d like to finally start adding it to my anime home video library.

Haikyu!! Season 1 Complete Collection

I really enjoy the series and want to add it to my anime home video library. I’d love to have it available on physical media to watch whenever I want while I keep hoping and waiting for another season.

Shirobako Collection 1

I really liked this series when it aired as a simulcast, and I would love to add it to home anime home video library. I think my husband and son would both get a kick out of this one if they watched it.

Snow White with the Red Hair: The Complete Series

This was another series I enjoyed watching as a simulcast and would like to add to my anime home video library. I especially loved Shirayuki and how she was a great female character with a lot of agency. To be honest, I think my daughters would enjoy this series.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – Part One

This was a fantastic reboot of the original Space Battleship Yamato, and it deserves a spot in my anime home video library. I think my husband would also enjoy this reboot as well.

Yuri!!! On Ice: The Complete Series

This was such a well-done anime. I enjoyed it so much that I binge watched it within a very short amount of time, which is unusual for me. I would love to add this to my anime home video library so I can watch this whenever I want on a bigger screen.

Anime Music

“History Maker” single by Dean Fujioka

This is the opening theme song for Yuri!!! On Ice. This is such a fantastic song, and for me, is among some of the best anime opening theme songs I’ve ever heard. I would love to add it to my music library.

Yowamushi Pedal Theme Song Album

This is a CD that compiles various theme songs from the Yowamushi Pedal anime series. The series has a lot of great themes, and it would be awesome to have them on a single CD.

Yowamushi Pedal O.S.T. 1

This is the first CD of background score music for Yowamushi Pedal. There’s a lot of great score music in this anime, and it’s music I can see myself listening to outside of the series.

List: My Favorite Anime Set in the Workplace

This time, my list is focusing on my five favorite anime that are set in the workplace. However, rather than being a top 5 list, this list is being presented in alphabetical order.

Aggretsuko

This is an original net anime that features a small and cute-looking red panda named Retsuko, and she was a character created for Sanrio (who is best known for Hello Kitty). However, she doesn’t fit the mold of the traditional Sanrio characters.

Retsuko is a single 25-year-old who works in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm, and she has to deal with supervisors and co-workers who cause her stress. When her job or her life cause her to fill with rage, she goes to the local karaoke bar and vents her frustration through singing death metal. However, Retsuko tries to keep this a secret from everyone she knows.

The series is very relatable for viewers who are currently employed or who have ever held a job. Who hasn’t had a bad boss or annoying co-workers who cause no end of stress or anger?

The Devil Is a Part-Timer!

The Devil King Satan and Demon General Alciel, who have almost conquered the world, is stopped by Hero Emilia… and they end up in another world: modern day Tokyo. Satan and Alciel discover that they have taken on human bodies and that their ability to perform magic is limited. In order to survive, Satan takes on the identity of Sadao Mao, and gets a job at a local fast food joint, MgRonalds.

We get to see Satan spend a lot of time at his job at MgRonalds. The best bit that takes place at his place of employment is when a competitor, Sentucky Friend Chicken, opens up across the street. But, it turns out that there’s more to the manager of Sentucky Fried Chicken than meets the eye!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! has its serious moments, but it’s primarily a light-hearted comedy. While Alciel provides a lot of the humor, the other characters get their moments of funny dialogue that elicits laughter from the audience. When Lucifer joins the series, his NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) tendencies provide some more humor for the series.

I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job

Raul Chaser, who was working at passing his Hero Exam, ends up not becoming a hero because the hero program was suspended. The Demon Lord is gone and the demon empire has collapsed, so it was decided there was no need to continue the hero program. Now that his dream of becoming a hero is destroyed, Raul takes a job at an electronics store called the Leon Magic Shop. One day, a person wearing a hood comes in with a resume and demands to talk with the manager. When the person goes back with the manager, the resume is left behind. Raul looks at the resume and discovers that it says the person is the child of the Demon Lord. The person, who is named Fino, ends up being hired over Raul’s objections, and Raul is in charge of them. It is revealed that Fino is the daughter of the Demon Lord.  For most of the series, only a few select people know that Fino is the Demon Lord’s daughter.

We see Fino having a rough time of it when she first starts working at the store. Since she was raised in the Demon World, she has no common sense on how to deal with humans. But as the series continues, Fino learns customer service skills, as well as how to be a good employee in a retail establishment. There’s also the aspect of Raul having to adjust to the idea of working with the Demon Lord’s daughter, since he was going through the hero program in order to fight against the Demon Lord.

The relationship and interactions between Raul and Fino are amusing to watch, and in a lot of ways, it’s kind of an exaggerated version of training a new employee. It’s an enjoyable enough series, though, and it gives a comedic look into the world of retail.

Servant x Service

The series is set in a Japanese government office building, and the main characters are new employees in the Welfare Department.

The main character, Lucy Yamagami, is enthusiastic and takes her work seriously. However, it’s revealed during the first episode that she has a more “sinister” reason for working in a government office building. When she was born, her parents couldn’t decide on a name, even after having people help them compile a list. Her parents decided to submit all the names on the list as her first name, and all of the names were allowed to be put on her birth certificate. Yamagami is trying to locate the person in the office who allowed that to happen so many years ago.

The co-workers include: Yutaka Hasebe (the office slacker), Saya Miyoshi (the nervous employee who is working at her first job), Taishi Ichimiya (the clueless supervisor), and Megumi Chihaya (the temp worker who likes to cosplay and create doujinshi). The series explores these characters and the interactions they have with each other, as well as with other characters who drop by the Welfare Department.

As the series progressed, it went from being a simple comedy to being a comedic series that focuses on the relationships between the characters. Secrets are also a big focus of the series. Servant x Service does a great job of being a series set in a workplace that mixes humor, character interaction, and character development.

Shirobako

The series 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. Two-and-a-half years later, we see that Aoi is working as a production assistant at Musashino Animation, and that Ema is also working there 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.

The second half of the series sees Aoi being promoted from production assistant to production desk, so she has to learn a new job and how to handle all the stress that comes with it. It doesn’t help that Aoi realizes that she isn’t quite sure what her dream is even though her friends all have goals and aspirations. The other friends also see changes in their situations as well.

This anime about producing anime has a good combination of serious and humorous moments, and it gives a kind of behind the scenes look at what goes into producing the anime that fans enjoy watching.

Shirobako Anime to Get All-New Film Project

The “Musashi-Sakai x Shirobako Harumatsuri” (Musashi-Sakai x Shirobako Spring Festival) event in Tokyo for the Shirobako anime has announced that the franchise will get an anime film project. P.A. Works is starting production on the film, but that it does not have a set release date yet. The staff at the event confirmed that the film will be an all-new work.

The confirmed returning staff includes director Tsutomu Mizushima, animation studio P.A. Works, scriptwriter Michiko Yokote, character designer Ponkan8, animation character designer Kanami Sekiguchi, and production company Infinite. The staff at the event said that the “story will continue” in the film.

Source: ANN

Winners of the 20th Animation Kobe Awards

The judging committee of the 20th Animation Kobe Awards has announced this year’s award winners. The awards are among the most prestigious industry accolades in Japanese animation and media.

Individual Award

  • Seiji Mizushima (director)

Special Award

  • Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (manga creator, animator, anime director)

Anime Work Award

  • Shirobako

Anime Work Award

  • Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie

Theme Song Award (Radio Kansai Award)

  • “JoJo – Sono Chi no Kioku ~end of THE WORLD~” (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc opening theme) by JO☆STARS~TOMMY, Coda, JIN~

The judging committee is composed of experts in the industry — notably the editors of the anime magazines Animage, Newtype and Animedia. Most of the awards honor works released between September 2014 and July 2015. The Special Award honors lifetime achievement, while the Theme Song Award honors a song released between July 2014 and June 2015.

An awards ceremony will be held in Kobe on December 6, 2015.

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlight: SHIROBAKO

SHIROBAKO is an anime produced by P.A. Works and directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. The series aired on Japanese television from October 9, 2014-March 26, 2015. As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American distribution license for SHIROBAKO.

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.

After completing Exodus in the first half of the series, Musashino Animation begins working on an anime adaptation of the Third Aerial Girls Squad manga during the second half of the series. Aoi finds herself being promoted from production assistant to production desk, so she learns a new job and how to handle all the stress that comes with it. It doesn’t help that Aoi realizes that she isn’t quite sure what her dream is even though her friends all have goals and aspirations. Ema is given more responsibility in her work, Midori is brought in to help with research for Third Aerial Girls Squad, and Misa works for a new computer graphics company that’s brought in to help with the anime. Shizuka has gained more confidence in her voice acting, but she’s still having a hard time getting her foot in the door.

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 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.

During the early episodes, I saw so much potential and promise in the story. I found myself hoping that the potential I saw would continue, and I can say with a lot of certainty that the series was continually strong for its 24-episode run. The main characters were well developed and were continually relatable throughout the series.

One of the most memorable moments came near the end of Episode 23 when Aoi realizes that she and her friends have gotten one step closer to achieving the goal they set for themselves back in high school. I nearly shed a tear during that scene. Aoi’s speech at the wrap party for Third Aerial Girls Squad also ranks high as a memorable scene.

My least favorite aspect of SHIROBAKO was a character named Ai Kunogi who was so shy that she had a hard time saying anything. While I understand wanting to add a shy character to the series, I think the way Ai was portrayed was really “over the top” to the point that I found it annoying rather than cute. For a while, a new production assistant named Hiroaka ticked me off with his attitude, but after learning some backstory for him, I understood why he acted that way. Right at the end, he started becoming a more enjoyable character.

After watching all the series, I can say that I’m very happy with how SHIROBAKO concluded. While it would be nice to see more episodes of this series, the story ended on a high note and leaves the door wide open for fanfiction writers to come up with their own stories for how Aoi and the others continue following their dream.

Review: SHIROBAKO: Episode 24 – “The Delivery That Was Too Far Off”

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 24 focuses on the staff at Musashino Animation as they scramble during the three weeks they have to finish and deliver the final episode of Third Aerial Girls Squad. As part of this scramble, we get to see Hiroaka actually helping out and starting to take his work a little more seriously. This was a nice character progression moment for him, and it’s too bad that we won’t be able to see whether or not he continues to progress in this way in the future.

When it’s the day of delivery for the final episode, filming isn’t scheduled to finish until noon. In order to get the tapes delivered to all the stations on time, six employees at Musashino have to rush to various locations and hand-deliver them. The most amusing delivery was Otsuki, who ends up being chased by four or five police cars as she goes over the speed limit in order to reach her destination on time. If being chased by the police wasn’t amusing enough, it turns out that one of the officers recognizes Otsuki and mentions he hadn’t seen her in eight years. It’s amazing to realize just what lengths that members of the Japanese anime industry are willing to go to in order to get their episode on the air in time.

The only other staff member to have any major issues is Aoi. First, the train she’s on has to start going slower due to snowy weather, and then a cab she takes gets stuck in a traffic jam. She’s forced to run to the broadcaster and has to hope that she’ll make it on time. But as Aoi runs, she remembers various things she and her friends have said about the industry over the course of the series. This starts leading her to think about her future and whether or not that includes continuing to make anime.

About the last seven or eight minutes of the episode focus on the wrap party for Third Aerial Girls Squad. Aoi’s impassioned speech for the toast was very moving, and it showed just how much she’s grown as a character since she started out at Musashino Animation back at the beginning of the series. The very ending of the episode kind of mirrors the very beginning, with the five friends making a toast with doughnuts. The only difference now is that they swear to continue doing their best making anime.

I was very happy with how SHIROBAKO concluded. While it would be nice to see more episodes of this series, the story ended on a high note and leaves the door wide open for fanfiction writers to come up with their own stories for how Aoi and the others continue following their dream.

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 have to admit 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 really glad that I did. This was a very well done series, and it’s one that I truly looked forward to watching week after week. SHIROBAKO is a series I definitely want to add to my anime home video collection at such a time that Sentai Filmworks releases it on home video in North America.