After all the pressure put on Musashino, not to mention poor Aoi, Shirobako 12 feels like a triumph. It also feels like a final episode. Happily, it’s not.
Sure, there are some cliches in there. I figured that somewhere along the way, Sugie would come out to save the day with his decades of wisdom and skills, and that’s fine. I find it hard to believe that no one at the studio was aware of his background. It took (ahem) Mitsuaki Kanno to clue Aoi in on this, and everyone at the studio was as surprised as she was (as for Kanno, while he had a cool room, I was expecting a little more from the scene). And when they DO learn, everyone finds extra time to work because they want to study his key frames, and there’s going to be a weekly workshop, too, as if anyone working there has the time.
Still, it leads to nice scenes of the old master taking charge, with slow marching beats added. I kept expecting some new disaster to happen, even after they’ve finally finished and headed to the bar, but all the crises are minor ones, toyed with briefly, getting people more tense then they already are, and nothing more is made of them. The work is still frantic, but no longer panicky. So when the producer and other bigwigs sit down to watch it, and find nothing wrong, ship it off, there’s a joy in the characters and the episode itself. And everyone, including me, breathes a sigh of relief. Good job, everyone. Now get back to work.
Speaking of people who work their butts off to achieve a goal, Amagi Brilliant Park finishes its run by surprising me a couple times.
I figured that Takaya was the wizard who put a spell on Latifah the moment we heard the legend. I thought for sure that he would somehow interfere and cause a disaster, like screwing up the soccer game negotiations, to keep the park from reaching its target. I also thought the show would find time to thwart him another way and get the curse lifted, but I suppose that would have wrapped up the story too neatly, meaning no second seasons, though that didn’t stop KyoAni from extending Chuu2koi AND Free!. Of course, not lifting the curse did mean that they had to come up with a magical-bullshit explanation for Latifah keeping her memories, but what the hell.
I was also surprised about the practical nature of the whole thing. Even with all the mystical powers around, they brought in all those people through practical means, and even had to host a soccer match to get even close. No magic answers for them, just improving the park and building their fans. Sure, we saw the various fairyland characters do magical things in the park (for the series weakest episodes. I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for the deadline to get close). The magic became comic fru-fru for the main story, getting 500,000, rescuing Latifah, and making Seiya more of a human being.
And since it was fru-fru, it became almost forgotten. In fact, I forgot a lot about this series as it went along, like Seiya’s past, or the fate of the park’s residents if they didn’t make their goal. And the little things. As usual, KyoAni had so much going on at all times that I found it next to impossible to take it all in. Because of that, I stopped caring about most of it. Only later, when Latifah’s curse was revealed and her shared past moment with Seiya, did I find something to care about. A shame, because KyoAni did another gorgeous job with the production. It looked fantastic, as usual, and well-produced, and funny, but I didn’t have a real connection to it.
Oh, there was one more episode. Really, it’s just silly filler, but it gets better if you imagine it’s KyoAni deciding on their next project.