Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Anime Series! Shirobako episode 1

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Goodbye childhood, hello real world!
WEEEE look what it is! The last of the new animes I am watching this Fall season. I am so sorry Shirobako that I have kept you on hold. :( But I am almost done with episodes 2 and 3 if that counts for anything. If it doesn't...well here is the almost forgotten episode 1 for Shirobako. Spoilers for anime really cutting it close to the wire.
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Err if you say so....
Episode Summary: 5 girls are apart of an animation club at a high school and have decided to make their own original anime for their high school festival. It will be a lot of hard work but most of the girls seem very talented. Aoi makes them promise victory on some doughnuts. Then the seasons change as the festival draws closer and the girls work hard on their animation. Aoi seems the most outgoing and outspoken about all of them going to Tokyo and working in the animation field together but seems to have the least talent in any one thing. Ema seems the most talented with drawing but has doubts her family will let her go to Tokyo. One girl is talented at voice attacking and the two younger members barely get any screen time. They work hard and by the time the festival rolls around they proudly present their work. Ema talks her family into letting her go to Tokyo and at graduation Ema, Aoi, and voice acting Shizuka bow to their younger classmates and promise to all meet up in the city one day…on the promise of doughnuts of course. Two years later and Aoi is beyond tired at her job. But she trucks on. Well actually she is in a car on her way to pick up some artwork for her studio. Her studios is mentioned on the radio as their anime Exodus to Tomorrow is premiering in a few hours. Aoi blasts the theme song on the radio happily. When she spots a fellow coworker out and about they decide to race to the next destination. By race I mean they turn the cars into airplanes and nearly die. Aoi wins and races up to get some stills or whatever from Key Artist Misato. Aoi is impressed with how hard this woman works..and that she has huge boobies. Aoi makes it back to the studio…and she notices no one is in the work areas. She walks around the area until she finds everyone in the break room eating and waiting for their anime to air on TV. All the other workers at this studio are introduced at a breakneck speed but a familiar face is shown in Midori as she is one of the new artists at this place. Everyone has differing levels of excitement and how to handle their nervousness. Aoi and Midori are so happy part of their dream is coming true.
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I am sure this makes some kind of sense...
The anime airs and as the closing song ends….the entire room is excited. Of course there has to be someone who reminds them there are 12 more episodes to go and not to get too excited. But everyone seems to be positive except for one nervous looking boy. The next day the entire studio is given a pep talk about what to do next. Again more introductions of characters and job titles. Aoi seems to be…in charge of making sure all the art pieces are collected? Like each assistant is in charge of making sure all the elements of shows are ready to go. Aoi and the rest of her team go to watch episode three in which the nervous boy Tarou was in charge of. Turns out he was so nervous because the main key animator for that episode basically told him there wasn’t enough time to finish the main battle scene or something and gave back the rough sketches. This puts a lot of things on hold as coloring can’t be done and the voice acting can’t be started as it will be off in the syncness. Tarou apologizes about a million times and said she tried to ask other key animators for help. They list other people they know but Midori is too new to do such an important scene and all the others are a no go for some reason or another. It is basically decided that Aoi, Tarou, and a few others would go and ask Misato for help even though she is busy working on other episodes. She seems concerned that Aoi won’t be able to get episode 4 finished in time if she is helping with episode 3. Well 3 comes before 4 so lets put that aside for now. Misato agrees to do the heavy work much to someone’s…disappointed back at the studio? Work gets under way and for some reason Aoi get a lot of talking to despite the fact that she is just trying to help get episode 3 done since 3 comes before 4. She seems rather frustrated at home but knows it will all work out. At the last possible hour Misato is able to get the frames done. She is told to rush over there as everyone else is on standby to color and dub. Misato seems exhausted and Aoi thanks her for the hard work. Aoi declines going to the voice acting session so she can get to work on episode 4. She does stop by a doughnut shop on the way home to share with Misato. Only when Aoi gets to Misato’s home she hears the artist pass out on the floor from exhaustion. Oh no!!! THE END!
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Well that part was easy enough to understand. Working in the anime field means you can drive a car like a spaceship DUH!
So folks…not going to lie. I had to watch this episode twice just to understand everything. Okay that really isn’t accurate. I had to watch this episode twice in an attempt to understand everything. I don’t think it worked. I don’t know if the show is at fault though. I guess I thought the show would explain everything to me, step by step. Sorta like how all my “yaoi” shows do when they focus on the manga and anime industry. In between the not having sex and barely having kisses. With this show I feel as if someone needs to have a basic or working knowledge of anime to understand this process. That might be far but it sorta just left me feeling lost and confused.
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I can get behind doughnuts all the time. Go girls!
The first part of the episode was easy to understand. A bit fast paced and we really didn’t get much time with all the girls but easy to understand. These 5 girls all attend the same high school and belong to the animation club which also has to involve doughnuts. Donuts? How do you really spell doughnuts? I hate words. The doughnuts might just be an added perk as one of the main character Aoi loves them. She makes all the girls promise to work together to make an original anime in time for the school festival. That is why I am assuming this took place over a year as each year would have their own festival. Less than a year then…..more like 6 months. Quick look out the window and watch the seasons pass on by.
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Look at those eager little faces!
So throughout the year we see these girls working really, really hard together on this. And the entire time I was so impressed with them. I really would have liked to see more of the final product but I am going to assume that it turned out awesome. The girls seem very talented. Or at least talented enough to do all this work on their own. So maybe in Japan everyone does have a working knowledge of how anime is made since these girls with no prior training figured it out. I found it odd that all the girls seemed to have a hand in some of the animation. Like all the girls might have different interests (like Shizuka and voice acting) but they were all able to contribute to the final drawing product. Kids if you can draw a stick figure you can help make an animated film.
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Best friends forever!!!!
Throughout all this hard work we learned a tiny bit about the girls although it was really Aoi’s episode with Ema in between. The internets are trying to tell me that Midori also works where Aoi does. If that is the case I didn’t see her this episode. But yes Aoi. She seemed to be the most pumped during the episode, about doughnuts and the episode they made at the club. But then she seemed liked the most inexperienced? Like she wants to be in the anime industry really badly but hasn’t found what she is really good at. She even doubts herself when telling the others they all need to get to Tokyo and work together. Ema seems to be the most talented of the group but almost didn’t make it to Tokyo due to family problems. It wasn’t explained well but it sounds like her parents weren’t keen on the idea. Still sent her money after the fact so I guess it wasn’t too bad. Shizuka seemed very good at voice acting. The other two girls got barely any airtime, probably due to the fact they didn’t graduate at the same time. Midori and Misa will get their time to shine. That time isn’t now though.
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The face of happiness....
For now it is Aoi and 2.5 years after graduation. I wonder if Midori and Misa kept the club running after the older girls left. Guess we will find out next time. Right now we go to watch Aoi look beyond tired and hungry as she waits for the light to change. Apparently working in the animation area means really late nights as it was pretty dark outside. She was listening to the radio before she became a road criminal and the very fast talking hosts were LALALAing about the new animes coming out soon. Even if I did speak Japanese I would have been like X___X trying to understand them. But Aoi understood them enough and couldn’t help but beam with pride as the anime she was working out, Exodus to Tomorrow, got pretty good ratings from the duo. Even had the voice actresses on to talk up the show. Oh Aoi was just so happy. Of course even after viewing the episode twice I still have no idea what she does for the show but she was excited. Sorta like you stay and watch the credits for a film you worked on. Head Person in Charge of Cleaning the Make-up Brushes. Work is work though folks and Aoi pushes aside all the tired feelings she was having and was excited for the moment. Their show was almost on the air! Quick cue Aoi racing her co-worker down the street like an insane person while singing the theme song to the anime in question. Sounds like an idol show thus the peppy song that really jazzed up the fact that these cars were basically flying in the sky. Where are the cops? Oh wait they are at home ready to watch a new batch of anime too? Fly on.
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Once Aoi picked up some…..some things from key animator Misato Aoi drove the company car/flying vehicle back to headquarters. It looked..well different than I thought it was going to look. Almost like you could live next door to a major anime studio. Pretty cool. Anyway she arrives back at work and no one is there. Clearly the zombie apocalypse has happened and they are all dead. Or you know…everyone is waiting for their show to air at what looks to be 11 pm or midnight. If Aoi hadn’t figured out where they were would she have missed the showing? Maybe she forgot and they did tell everyone? In any event now Aoi can eat and watch the show with all her millions of coworkers. Seriously it felt like millions. Is this why anime is so expensive to produce? I felt as if there were a lot of people with jobs that could either be given to one person or the job itself didn’t make much sense. Just…just a lot of people and I didn’t bother to learn all their names. 

So the first episode aired and like the school festival anime we didn’t get to see any of it. Like shush guys it is starting, lets watch it and poof they are already clapping that episode 1 is done. GOOD JOB EVERYONE. Everyone was on a different scale of being worried and excited before the episode aired and after it aired everyone was at least revealed. Some people were on the internet trying to figure out how the general public was responding to the show while others are like okay onwards to more episodes we got to do this folks. Aoi and Ema shared in a moment of MOG this is our life now. We have done it, helped with an anime episode. Now are all the other girls involved so this is a dream come true? Just happiness for right now, more work later.
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How dare you not take enough screenies for this episode Tenchi.
And then this is the part of the episode that makes me all confused. First off…I was taken aback at the fact that anime is made so……close to the wire. 14 days before the episode airs and it still isn’t done? Like that actors and actresses haven’t said their pieces nor have the special effects been added? Hot damn what is going on there? Animes are announced months in advanced and you are telling me they only start making episodes 2 weeks before they air? This explains why things can sometimes look and feel rushed, that once the DVDs come around things are really cleaned up. But why is it happening in the first place? Why can’t they just produce all the episodes in the winter season and then it airs in the spring season? Instead I feel as if the winter season ends and instead of taking a week or two off those people jump into a new project. So during that week or two where all the animes are ending and we have no new episodes everyone is scrambling to get episode 1 out. Doesn’t my idea sound better?
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And that means Ema the newbie can't do it?
Apparently not. Because while there seems to be a million people working on producing an anime there is only a finite number of people doing the actual drawing. People with no drawing skills are then allowed to put the scenes in order, scan them on the computer, and do the coloring. The people who do the important drawings are outsourced. So while an anime might say such and such company apparently anyone can draw it. Here I thought that people were working all together in a room, the same team all the time. Or at least in the case of Sailor Moon, two teams that work on every other episode and boy does it show. But now I am amazed that every episode doesn’t look incredibly different. I am not sure how many key scene animators there are but it sounds like they use more than 5? Perhaps the same crew is used over and over again for background peoples and scenery but wow the fact that the show goes through that many hands is mind blowing to me. And since these people are contracted out they might be working on more than one show at a time? Like if this Misato is working on episodes 4, 7,10, and 12 of Exodus to Tomorrow she could be working on other anime episodes at the same time. Is that why everything looks alike nowadays? HMMMM so animes that look super different might have the same staff.
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So if I say no the work will magically get done?
In any event…I don’t know what Aoi does. Nor what the boy who messed up a lot Tarou does. It seems as if there is a mini supervisor over each episode. Like make sure the artist stays on task, put things in order, and maybe helping with the coloring? Maybe. In any event (because I am confused) Tarou messed up. And I don’t really know if it was his fault. The key animator was like nope can’t do this in two days and handed him back the work. Sure Tarou should have said something but why would a professional say that?! It’s your job to do it even if it’s hard. Plus I think Tarou should have told someone higher up to deal with the situation, how do you make a grown person draw something they don’t want to? If that key animator is in charge of episode 3 and there is too much work to be done isn’t it their job to find assistants to assist them? Why is it Tarou or anyone else’s job to find them helpers? Wouldn’t they have assistants all year round no matter what project they were working on? Just….not seeing how this person could refuse the work.
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Um you might want to be quiet Tarou.
But it doesn’t matter if I understand or not about why key animators can turn down work or what Tarou or Aoi really do at the studio. What matters is episode 3 can’t be finished and it is a perfect time to panic. This is going to set Aoi back no matter what because folks….3 comes before 4. Not a concept that made sense to a lot of people in this episode. I mean everyone was getting on Aoi’s case. If episode 3 doesn’t air there will be no episode 4. Yes she is in charge of episode 4 but this is a team effort folks. I think Aoi knows this will put her behind so maybe someone from episode 7 or episode 1 should step up instead. I guess it doesn’t matter what Aoi did as her key animator was the only one who said yes to helping out despite some people not being on board with her sense of style. Um don’t like her sense of style, do it yourself. And back up what you are going to say coward. Trying to lie about what he said…meh.
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HAHA that's what you get.
So despite me not understanding a lot of what was going on I understood it was a hectic time at the studio with all this work for episode 3 needing to be done but until the frames were done it was put on hold. Aoi probably could have monitored other things while she was waiting for Misato to finish up. Standing by the phone wasn’t really helping. But Aoi was under a lot of stress too. All her dreams of coming to the big city and working with all her friends sounded like a grand idea in high school but now it is long nights and no doughnuts. Frustrating workers and what nots. Poor Aoi. This business seems very fast pace and stressful, all of which could be solved if they made animes in the Summer that would air in the Fall but what do I know?
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Um....anime is serious business?
In the end Misato pulled out a win. A very exhausting win but a win. Aoi was able to zip around the city and the wheels for the rest of the episode 3 get started. I was a bit sad for Aoi as she didn’t get to stick around and see the voice acting process (where I think I saw Shizuka) because she had to actually start on episode 4. :( Poor Aoi. Maybe next time. I like that she took the time to get her hard working key artist Misato some of those precious doughnuts that she loves. You know..because the woman deserves them. But also because if Aoi hadn’t been thoughtful Misato would have been passed out on the floor alone. X___X So while this show has a lot of happiness and lala bubbly moments there is a serious side to making anime. Clearly everyone is overworked. So while I don’t understand everything going on in this episode….this show has promise. Maybe I will learn much more about anime and appreciate the process a bit more. Or feel bad for everyone in this industry and I can’t ever judge the C-team ever again. Time will tell if Aoi will enjoy this industry or will gain a million pounds by drowning her sorrows in doughnut. Until next time!

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