Though PA Works has never delivered a clunker in the animation department (save for those weird CG cars or even weirder groups of CG people walking around in long shots), the visuals aren’t really the prime appeal of Shirobako.
Things that are great about Shirobako:
- charmingly hilarious and dysfunctional characters that are loosely based on life
- the schadenfreude of watching them go through their weekly suffering
- good character-driven and situational humor, both delivered with impeccable comic timing you don’t see much in anime
- the weekly educational experience that will (unfortunately) make us all armchair anime experts
- the way it sometimes gets really “anime” exactly when it needs to
This week’s episode, “Table Flip,” is the perfect illustration of how every one of those pieces snap together into a combiner robot creation of fighter planes, deadlines, desperation, and goth-loli baseball.
Not only is the inevitable rejection of the manga author — something we’ve been dreading since the first meeting with the editor — a perfect situation for showing the characters at their best and portraying the struggles of adaptation, the break in character animation is a perfect opportunity to get into vehicles and background art. Both of which are the protagonists.
The growth of the Director as he finally starts to pull out of his post-Jiggly funk has been great, and he had a few brief but great chances to shine. Unfortunately, though the story focused on Iguchi, we didn’t get much insight into her. But who wasn’t fine with seeing Ogasawara and her airborne submarine pitch steal the show?
It’s one of those episodes that stands out, even in such a strong series with no discernible weak ones, and makes me wish that every day was Shirobako day.