It’s definitely a pinch. Last week, Musashino Animation encountered its biggest roadblock yet. It’s all up to a few creative hands, some physical activity, and a whole lot of professionalism to get things going. Funny story, right? Shirobako solves its problems gracefully.
(No tables were actually flipped in this episode. Minor disappointment.)
Aoi, Watanabe, and Kinoshita read a letter from the author that’s a little too concise. And it turned out that the editor never got approvals from the author. Watanabe tells Aoi to cancel all current key animation.
The team meets with Iguchi who looks a bit crestfallen for adjustments in the character design while Watanabe calls the editor for faster responses from the author.
Aoi tells the rest of the production staff to stop all animation that has to do with the characters. She meets a some resistance from Daisuke who tells her that what she’s doing with the key animation is wrong and too by-the-book.
Aoi tells the animation staff as well and Iguchi promises to fix everything.
Whilst making some storyboards, he director mopes about. Midori casually reminds him of his pinch in Jiggly Jiggly Heaven which depresses him even more.
After sending another set of designs, Musashino receives another vague and concise disapproval letter. Iguchi makes another set with slightly different proportions. Rinko notices her colleague having difficulty.
They receive another letter stating that the design’s are getting worse and questioning the designer’s credibility. Watanabe talks to the editor but the he brushes him off by telling them to figure out what the author said themselves. The editor immediately hangs up after saying that the author is facing a deadline. (Well, funny story, so are they.)
They meet again with Iguchi who suggests that she make it close to the original.
At the production desk, Aoi, Andou, Satou, and Tarou lament about the character designs not getting approved while having three months left until airing.
Aoi goes to Iguchi’s cubicle but she isn’t there. Ema tells her that she must be in the park. Aoi finds her exactly there zoning out. They share that they are both doing firsts in this project – Iguchi with her first time doing character designs and Aoi with her first time being production desk.
Aoi shows Andou and Satou that other areas of production can still go on even when key animation is halted. She reminds Tarou of the time she resolved the dispute between Endou and Shimoyanagi by taking them to the Idepon Exhibit and how she holds it over him.
Aoi gives the director a run-through of all his meetings for the day. She tells him that she wants to keep the momentum as is since the storyboards went up so fast.
Kinoshita gives Shimoyanagi his insights about the CG flight sequences and Atsumi his thoughts about the clouds and backgrounds while motivating them to do their best. Aoi remarks that he’s like dating a bunch of girls all at once with the words he used. Kinoshita tells her that it’s all for the best of Aerial Girls. Meanwhile, Iguchi cries over the manga, wondering why she still can’t see where she’s going wrong.
Aoi checks up on a struggling Iguchi. The latter goes up to the roof for a cigarette break but finds Ema doing the “angel” exercise. She joins her. Afterwards, Ema asks her if she can do anything to help. Iguchi shares that animation gives her a feeling of satisfaction and that she wants to finish doing the designs so that she can see them animated.
Rinko scolds Watanabe and Kinoshita for not giving Iguchi support as this is her first time designing characters. She tells them that since the author is not giving them enough insight, they have to translate whatever they have from him into workable circumstances.
She then takes Iguchi, Ema and Aoi to her “oasis”, a batting center to let out their stress. There, she shows her amazing skills in batting and pitching. Aoi muses that it could be an anime – an all-female gothic-loli baseball team.
The girls then go out for dinner. Rinko shares the story of how she became “Goth Loli-sama”. She had a hard time with her first time in character design. She remarks that creators are sensitive. That is why she put on her “armor”, the gothic loli persona, to gain more confidence. She goes on to say that all occupations and jobs have their fair share of difficulties and that it’s all a matter of endurance after being humiliated countless times.
After, she meets with Kinoshita, Watanabe and Iguchi. She reads the letter from the author and gives her insight.
Inspired, Iguchi surprises everybody at work by going in a keikogi(?). After a few days, she comes up with improved designs. Impressed, Watanabe calls up the editor who brushes him away and hangs up abruptly. Luckily, Watanabe knows where the editor is.
He and Katsuragi literally race to get to the editor. They barge in on him practicing in the driving range. The editor tries to get out of it but they stress that they’ve delayed production for too long. They end up dragging the guy to the publishing office. (Go get ’em, guys. I’m proud of you.)
Not long after, Miyamori receives an email from the author that the designs will do.
Shirobako is best when its twenty-five minutes present something that doesn’t lag. This episode is clearly one its best ones. It’s filled to the brim with a well-paced story, a whole lot of character development, and, of course, more information on how anime is created.
It’s a harsh world out there especially for creators who bring things to life. Iguchi is no exception especially when she’s doing something she’s never done. Without proper guidance, she was at a loss. She knows that what she made isn’t right but she didn’t know what made it wrong either.
This episode made me appreciate Rinko a whole lot more. I actually expected an episode where they find out how she became Goth Loli-sama. And now she’s even more awesome. It goes to show how the creative industry is tough and that it takes hard work, endurance a whole lot of confidence to fight through. MusAni is lucky to have Rinko around.
Well, pinch resolved and MusAni resumes production. But something smells fishy with this snobby new production assistant. He can potentially make a mess in Musashino Animation. Too early to call it? Maybe. But I bet everyone is expecting it.
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