Shirobako – Anime Series Review

Episodes: 24

Genres: Drama, Slice-of-Life

Aired: Oct 2014 to March 2015

Summary: Five friends are determined to work together in order to produce an anime. To achieve their dream, the girls decide to enter the anime industry as writers, producers, voice actors, animation artists, and CG artists.

If you want to do Shirobako an injustice, you could tersely describe the series as “cute girls working in the anime industry.” Yes, a large portion of the series does feature the aforementioned girls trying to find career success, but there’s also much more characters than just the fab five. The main girls aren’t the only ones who develop as the series progresses, as well.

At any rate, Shirobako also focuses on anime production. The show goes pretty in-depth with it, to be honest, which proved to be rather educational whenever I could keep up with all the terms being thrown around. And despite several instances of dramatization (for the sake of humor or drama or simplicity), the series remains a fairly realistic portrayal of the anime industry and of the working world.

As someone who never really had any idea about his ideal job, I felt like I could relate to this show. You get to see the girls struggle with their career, fail with landing jobs, etc. It’s all quite sobering, but their hard work eventually pays off. Maybe viewers can feel inspired from watching Shirobako and become motivated to keep going. I know I certainly did.

To me, the show was quite slow for the first few episodes. I originally started watching back in late Janunary 2016, but then I became busy with real life. During the months in which I tried to wrap up college, I didn’t feel compelled to continue wathng the series. However, once I picked the series back up in early July, I grew hooked and marathoned the rest within a few days. Despite how Shirobako is a pretty realistic show, the conflicts and mishaps are quite unexpected and keep viewers on the edge of their seats and wanting to watch more and more episodes to find out what happens.

As for the yuri, there’s plenty of subtext and plenty of different ships (the five girls can be shipped with one another or with their co-workers and superiors, wow). However, there’s a lack of canonical romance within the show itself, which is fine! Everyone is too busy trying to do their own jobs, so there’s no room for romance. That doesn’t stop viewers from shipping, however, thankfully. But again, the show handles this aspect quite realistically.

Of course, as mentioned above, there’s the matter of a large cast to address. It’s nice seeing the different character interactions, but I ended up keeping a tab open while watching Shirobako so I could keep track of all the different names.

The animation is decent. Some series have better while others have worse. Some people may say decent is not good enough, but it gets the job done for me.

The music is also decent. The non-vocal tracks were pretty forgetable since I can’t actually remember any of them, but the second ED was rather nice.

Give Shirobako a shot if you’re a college student anxious about jobs or a college graduate struggling with the job hunt. Actually, just give it a shot if you want to become motivated. The series is really hit or miss. If you can get through the first few episodes, the rest of the show can really hook you in.



13 thoughts on “Shirobako – Anime Series Review

  1. This post is a way bit late but that’s cos I’ve only just found this blog. Something I really liked about Shirabako was that it was full of little in-jokes about anime and the industry and the people involved with the show – there are jabs at a particular trope here, in-jokes like the director whose last series ran over schedule (when the director of Shirabako was the director of Girls Und Panzer) there, characters based on famous animation industry figures, and scenes like when the director chooses to portray the Shirabako director as a sort of western hero at one point. There is a lot of reflexive and knowing meta-humour in Shirobako and that makes it a much better than average anime for me. I also thought PA Works animation though simple in style was very polished in that PA Works kind of way.
    Oh and I ship Miyamori with Erica (Alias “Iron Yano”) 🙂

    PS: have you watched the OVAs?


  2. Great post! I’ve been looking into Shirobako for awhile now, but been pretty lazy honestly. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, like its surprising accuracy to the real anime production process, and as you mentioned, the reality of adult life. As a current junior in university, I understand the feeling of not quite knowing what you want to do. So that hits close to home.

    I don’t blame you for having to keep a tab open with a cast that large (just judging from the picture). I have had to do that with a lot of anime, and probably will have to for this one. It probably didn’t help that you took nearly a 6-month break, I bet.

    I am usually turned off of shows without a canonical romance, however recently I have been better about being more open-minded, and just been “pairing the spares” as you put it, in my head. So that is fun.

    Definitely looking forward to finally watching Shirobako, and I think you did the show justice with the review. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Shirobako really seem like it had the anime production process and real life down to a T.
      Mmm. It’s tough. You still have some time to figure out what you want to do, though, so just try your best!
      Oh, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who did that! You’re definitely right about the hiatus messing with my memory haha. By the end of it, you’ll definitely know the name of Miyamori (or Myaamori) Aoi, if nothing else.
      I definitely know where you’re coming from. The subtext is there in the show if you squint, but their everyday lives are just too chaotic. chaotic. But shipping people in your mind is fun, too.
      (Do you think Maou-sama should be with Emi?)
      Thank you once again! I hope you enjoy watching it whenever you can get to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh don’t get me started on the Maou-Emi ship. At this point I can’t say. I really like Chi, his coworker. But I just can’t say for sure. I am reading the LNs slowly but surely, so I’ll have to get back to you once I decide for sure who I think is the best pair.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Mmm I had a riot watching it. Oh, hearing that they’re well translated is like the best kind of compliment for light novels since translations can be rather spotty (from what I’ve heard from someone who reads a ton of them).
            Will do! I would love to have someone to talk to in regards to Maou-sama and his invasion of the fast food industry.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Shirobako sounds like a great anime to watch, I love to watch these type of shows focused on the other side of industries, like Bakuman, and I really want to watch it now aaah ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I still haven’t watched this but have been meaning to for awhile. I am a little worried the cute girls thing might put me off, but I have read a lot of positive feedback about this series. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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