In the age where more and more anime are beginning to focus on every day life of the modern person, Shirobako follows the story of those involved in creating the wonderful anime shows we all know and love. The story of the anime school clubs as well as entertainment industry workers has been popular recently meaning that it is hard to come up with a story that the viewer can really feel is original. I must admit that before I watched this series, I felt that to make a new series with such a tried and tested theme was somewhat brave and I couldn't help feeling that the story was doomed at the beginning to be overshadowed by those that had come before it.
However, on watching Shirobako I found that I was to be pleasantly surprised at how well the story was put together. Although the story does focus around an individual member of the group, the story often changes focus momentarily to show another member of their old animation school club as they all enter the working world and try to achieve their goal of making an anime together.
Unlike many stories in this type of genre, Shirobako does not give the characters an immediate happy ending, whether it be failing auditions, being stuck in a dead end job, or losing their inspiration. Shirobako covers all the characters insecurities in a traditional way. Though the main characters inner thoughts are first portrayed by two very different character dolls which she keeps at home, they have now also begun to take the rolls of explanation characters who help the viewers to understand the complex workings of the anime world.
We start our story in the girls high school where they make their first anime together and vow to work together to make this a real anime in the future. With a character in almost every sector of the anime production process, the girls are adequately situated to give us an inside view of each departments and the struggles they have reaching their deadlines.
In most of these genres, we find ourself following just one character and we see the difficulties they face purely from that characters job perspective. Shirobako gives us a breathe of fresh air as we begin to realize just how fluid and hectic the anime production world really is.
Shirobako at the time of this review has only just reached episode 19 and is still ongoing, however the series has shown much promise and I look forward to seeing it develop in the future. The only problems I find with this series is that though the drawing style for the main series is quite cute, when they show the supposedly cute and moe characters from the anime they are creating, the difference in art style is so noticeable that it makes me wince. As a fan of continuity in a series, I find the constantly changing between drawing types to be badly planned.
The different character personalities merge well in most cases, however the underlying tones and introduction of some of the newer characters serve to distract the viewers from the main story, and I have recently begun to feel that the series is trying too hard to make an underlying plot line that I foresee this could cause problems as the series continues.
All in all, the series has shown much potential, and I look forward to seeing how it develops, though I do hope that they do not draw the focus away too much from the original story as the series goes on.