Three weeks ago I up my hands at selector spread WIXOSS. I no longer knew who was what person, or what their motives are. The last straw was episode 9 or 10, after Iona defeated Akira and, became herself again, is that right? Which means that, among other things, the Lrig they’ve all been calling Iona should have another name, or she should go to being called Lrig again, oh wait, that’s not right. So Ruu calls her Yuki. Meanwhile, Tama refused to change with Iona, if that’s who she is, and so gets stuck in a cage by Mayu, which she doesn’t like but I did, because at least I knew who and where she was. And can you imagine Tama’s personality in Iona’s body? Elsewhere, Akira is still insane, and, what else, oh, Chiyori was mercifully beaten and gets to be left out of the bullshit from now on. Lucky her.
I wrote the above after watching whatever episode it was (this show is so confounding I’ve even lost track of the episode numbers). And I meant to keep up, but got caught in the big snows in the north and was away from my files, and the dog ate my homework. But I’ve finally watched the last episodes tonight, where, let’s see. Tama was still trapped in that pit, only there was a door all along. She shows up just in time for the Mayu/Ruu showdown, where Mayu cheats and tries to make Iona, er, Yuki fade away, and so Ruu sort of combines them into one Lrig, and she calls her Mayu, their opponent’s name, because things weren’t confusing enough. All this time everyone except that one nasty Lrig has been trying to get through to the first Mayu, to get her to drop this stupid game and come out into the real world, but, well, she’s dead, so everything falls apart, but Ruu’s wish to get every lrig into their original body was granted (with a speech and imagery that screams Madoka), by whoever grants things in this show, and so everyone’s happy except the nasty Lrig, who died or something. Oh, the first Mayu turns into butterflies.
The only thing that interested me was the fact that Mayu (the original one) was an actual girl locked up in a building tucked away in an estate, though we get no other information than that. What gave her the power to make this mess? Her imagination? I like to think so: a socially deprivated girl developed powers that gave her the power to mess with people she could never meet herself. Otherwise, meh. I kept watching because I rather liked the characters, and the imagery and other visuals could be breathtaking, but the show had long ago fallen apart like the white room does in the end. A shame, because the series began so well. It patiently put the situation together without telling us too much too soon, but it lost control after we learned about the Lrig-switching, and the problems snowballed from there. Well, as I said, pretty to look at.
One of the things I like about Shirobako is that it’s an adult show. I don’t mean adults-only, I mean that the characters are all adults, mostly, and the crises are those of adult professionals. No life-or-death situations, instead, the crises are things that confront many people while they go through their jobs and their lives. At the same time, there’s an edge to these lives we’re watching because they work in an artistic field that is demanding, stressful, and often their reputations are on the line, but they’re also passionate about their work and proud of it; each episode is a new obstacle to conquer but also an opportunity to create something wonderful. So this week’s struggle is something mundane but important: Aoi must find more animators to draw the key frames for the all-important final episode.
We basically watch her trying to do just that. She doesn’t meet with much success, but we figured she wouldn’t, at least not this episode, because it’s really the beginning of a story arc. What’s fun is in the searching. She hits up everyone she can think of, fantasizes “the little match girl,” while little parodies of real studios appear. At the end she’s jokingly directed to Mitsuaki Kanno, the director of “Neon Generation Avangaldon,” meaning we could be in for a treat next week. When we’re not enjoying all this (though I frankly didn’t get most of the references), we get another side of Aoi’s professional life when she’s asked to sit in on interviews the studio is having, which brings back her own painful interview experiences, and there’s the line that baseball guy says, about how “I’ll do anything” basically means “I don’t know what I want to do,” which I especially liked. How long does Aoi want to keep doing this?