Did you really think they would fail?
While the big emotional punch came last week, there was still plenty to cheer and get weepy about in the Shirobako finale. And there was plenty of time to create tension over finishing Third Aerial Girls Squad in time. We’ve seen the characters scrambling and working their butts off before, so they didn’t spend too much time with that. We even got another mini-lecture about the process, which, like most of the others, went woosh over my head. The biggest crisis in production was a typo in the script, but it was effortlessly fixed in the dubbing, after a moment of panic for everyone involved.
The biggest problem overall was getting the tapes to the various studios in time, and the show had great fun with it, as various staff took cars (chased by cops), shinkansen, motorcycles, taxis, and even a ferryboat. Aoi had the toughest time as snow delays her train, traffic jams slow her taxi, so she ends up running. I knew those shoes she wore would come in handy one day. After that, it’s a bit of introspection, the wrap party, and a lot of joy, beer, and donuts.
Which is how I felt the last couple of weeks. For two seasons it had slowly built up, keeping most of the attention on the practical, business end, while allowing time for Aoi and her friends to find their way in their work and for luck to get them to their goal, to work together on a series. When it was time to bring that goal back to the story, the creators did it beautifully. PA Works has always struck me as an honest, hardworking company that did its best no matter what the material, but recently the material (Glasslip, Red Data Girl, Nagi-Asu) hasn’t lived up to the care they brought to it. Shirobako is similar to these and other PA Works shows in that it’s (fantasy segments aside) a slice-of-life series involving ordinary people going through their lives, but this time they gave us a workplace that anime fans would like, a built-in goal (getting the shows done), and a batch of eccentric characters to follow each week. That they hit a home run with it is no surprise; PA Works cares about its projects even more than Musashino does. I’m delighted to see them back on track.
I didn’t realize
I was two episodes behind with that there were two episodes this week of Saekano until I loaded episode 12 and wondered what they were doing at a club. Anyway, episode 11 was basically clearing up misunderstandings (When I typed that I realized a lot of the episodes were about clearing up misunderstandings, but anyway …) about Michiru to the other girls. Also there’s the misunderstanding concerning if the harem girls, er, creative partners were really into making this game, though the fact that they all spent all nighters while Tomoya was having these doubts gives us the answer. I enjoyed the Megumi/Tomoya diner scene for the way she demonstrated why the girls were all freaking out a little not only for the cleverness of it but because it shows us a more playful side of Megumi.
Then it was time for episode 12 … Oh, I guess this show is finishing too, and while Shirobako did everything it set out to do, Saekano finishes halfway through, begging for a second season. And while I’d love to watch another season of Shirobako, I’m not so sure about Saekano. This episode just brings Michiru deeper into the fold, as she discovers her band likes anime covers and she never knew it, thus, she’s an otaku, or something. There’s more jealousy from the other girls, save Megumi, who keeps those things hidden. Seriously, the emotion she showed all season was a cute pout, and yet she was my favorite character. To the end she could trip up whoever’s speaking with a quiet, seemingly-innocuous reply, a talent the supposedly more formidable Utaha and Eriri simply didn’t have. Plus, she wasn’t a type. In a show like this that’s an advantage. I should add that despite being types, Utaha and Eriri were fun to watch too, when they bickered and especially when they were torturing poor Tomoya. Well, if they choose to do another season I’ll probably watch it, and Megumi will be the main reason.