I’m just gonna get straight to the point here – Shirobako is a masterpiece. I’m sure for anyone that follows me on Twitter, its not a surprise that I’m saying this.

It’s an anime that tackles different topics like the anime industry, goals, motivations and interests in life, the hardships of the work environment. It has many different layers but manages to make all of it work so well.

With my own goals being working on a real anime opening/ending sequence, it’s an anime that really hits home for me and has that special meaning for me. Rewatching Shirobako after almost a year truly filled me with so much happiness, and once again worked wonders for my motivation.

The story

You could say Shirobako is a story that follows five girls with a common goal and their paths towards reaching that goal. But at the same time, its a story about making a story – in anime form ofcourse.

I believe it gives a good general insight of the anime industry. It’s chaos. But quite a lovely chaos. Much better than the chaos of university exams, that’s for sure.

The chaos most often occurs when a member of the group isn’t able to fulfill their duties properly or on time. And the production staff, mainly Miyamori Aoi in Shirobako, has to find solutions. What doesn’t help either is when certain members of the group have a different attitude than everyone else, disrupting the work flow. These are the hardships of the work environment that I mentioned earlier. I guess it shows why job interviews are a thing. It’s much harder if people don’t have similar goals and attitudes.

And yet every person is different and has its own level of ability and pace of doing things. Some may want to work from home. Some may not have issues doing things more quickly while some may need a motivation boost. Finding the balance between each individual needs and needs of the company is truly not an easy thing to do.

Shirobako makes the characters of its own story make new stories within its own story. The original anime project from Shirobako’s anime studio, Musashino Animation, is called Exodus, while their other anime, the Third Aerial Girls Squad, is a (fictional) manga adaptation. That’s a lot of different layers and stories to create at once, and its really admirable stuff from P.A. Works.

The characters

Miyamori Aoi has that stressful role among the production staff. It’s a job at the anime industry, which is her dream, but at the same time, it’s a much less specific job compared to a voice actor, storywriter, animator or CG artist. This fits Miyamori, who doesn’t have that specific occupation goal in mind.

Her friend Ema Yasuhara always loved to draw and she works at the same company as an animator. Ema is not fully confident in her work and criticism causes her to lose motivation as well as focus. Gradually, she began leaving her comfort-zone more. I totally understand that feeling of never being good enough. I mean, just look at the quality of my blog posts.

When that creative block hits, changing your setting really does help, as suggested by her co-worker Iguchi. For example, playing a bit with my dogs always helps “refresh” my mind. Going out and simply watching the sky during dusk does wonders too. Or indeed, doing special routines on music. I may not do it the same way as Ema, but I often find myself jamming to anime openings and endings which never fails to help. Especially if its the Shirobako OP or ED, but more on that later.

One of the main five girls is Misa Toudou, who wants to do anime CG work. Despite working at a well paid CG company, she is unhappy because her tasks only involve making tyres, which doesn’t exactly align with her dreams of making anime CG, and well, I can relate. Here I’ll go about university once again, but my first semesters involve struggles with electrical engineering, mathematics, physics, digital circles… None of that really aligns with my goals and makes me wonder what exactly am I doing here. The thing I could take away from Misa’s story is that even if the experience seems useless, it could very well prove worthy one day when you don’t expect it.

Reading literature thanks to Shirobako

Imai Midori, or Diesel-san dreams of being an anime storywriter. She got closer to her dream due to her love for discovering and studying new things. As you would imagine, she is really into reading, and her love for Dostoyevsky literally makes people read Dostoyevsky. Or at least that was the case for me.

You see, I watched Shirobako for the first time during those chaotic times called high school finals. And yes, even that was better than the chaos of university exams.

I had to do a lot of studying of the Croatian literature, as well as reading it. One of the books that had a very good chance of being on the Croatian finals was Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. And when Midori just casually said she spent the entire night reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, I got interested. I actually wanted to check out that book. Surely it was good if Midori appreciates it that much. In the end Crime and Punishment wasn’t in the finals. But that day, anime inspired me to read. And not manga or a light novel.

Zuka-chan

Sakaki Shizuka is the voice actor among the five high school friends. She is hugely dedicated towards achieving her goals, no matter the hardships she is facing. Her character and her growth prove that persistence and dedication are worth it. Shizuka lacked confidence, which caused her to fail auditions. When she was given jobs, it hardly felt like she was going towards anything. Yet she never gave up, kept trying, and in the end, her efforts proved to be worthy. Seeing her finally get a role after an entire anime of difficulties made for one of my favorite scenes ever in all of anime. Rare are the moments that can make me cry so much purely out of happiness, and every time rewatching the scene its hard to stop the tears again.

Making matters even more emotional is Miyamori Aoi’s reaction, basically mirroring my own reactions. Ema has also volunteered to make the keyframes for the scene that is voiced by Shizuka. And in the process she cried too. All of her friends just wanted to see Shizuka do well, and these moments were a beautiful way to show the bond the girls have.

Shizuka’s story truly does make me feel that working hard for your goals will be worth it, no matter how impossible it may seem.

Supporting characters

I’ve mentioned the five main girls. But Shirobako has a lot of characters. Going through all of them would really make this a long post. But let me just give some love to Erika Yano, Miyamori’s fellow production assistant. She really knows how to calm down and support a person when they are in a pinch. Yano radiates so much maturity and calmness. Calmness, when she isn’t talking to Tarou, at least.

Kinoshita Seiichi is the director and the funniest character of the series. His voice actor did a stunning job, and let me tell you that his voice really fits a comedic character. Kinoshita often procrastinates, and seeing Honda-san taking drastic measures just to make him finish his work made me feel lowkey called out. Not that I need to be put into a cell to finish a blog post, but there are moments when I just… procrastinate. Not just with blogging stuff but university stuff as well. Also those scenes when Kinoshita came to see the mangaka of the Third Aerial Girls Squad are just legendary.

Honda-san went from Production Assistant to a pastry chef. And I respect that decision so much. It shows its never too late to start pursuing your dreams. I could go on but I’ll just say the cast of supporting characters feels incredibly real. Both of Musashino’s anime felt like a true team effort that you just wanted to see do well because of all the hard work and love the characters have put into it.

One last thing. Andes Chucky. Those old generation scenes when Miyamori’s favorite anime was made. It felt so nostalgic and it put me into tears. Once again when Miyamori cried I did too. I don’t think any job that involves so many different people can go entirely smoothly without some kinds of issues or rushed things.

Sound

Just as the anime itself is inspiring and motivational, so is its OST.

The second opening sequence has the effect of a calming pill. It’s among those openings and endings that make me feel everything will be alright. And in that post I already told this story but I’m gonna do it again here.

It’s once again about exams. Those final high school ones from June last year. It was a very stressful time, and I watched Shirobako in that time period. The exhausted Miyamori shown in the sequence was basically me thanks to all the studying. The song involves the words “panic” and “pinch”, just making me relate to everything even more. This is the English translation of that part of the lyrics:

I’m miserable.

But I can’t lose.

My head is in a panic.

It was relatable, yet so calming at the same time. It filled me with all this optimism and made me feel it will work out well. No matter how many times I listen to that song or rewatch the sequence the effect stays the same. It never gets old.

Meanwhile, the second ending sequence had 6 different versions, each of them being dedicated to one of the five main girls, plus Miyamori’s two plushies. As the episodes went by, the five girls have been gathering on the final picture at the end of the sequence, just as they all gradually ended up working on the Third Aerial Girls Squad. I really love it when sequences slowly add new details or things that build-up to something.

Shirobako’s first ending sequence also does something like that. Mimuji and Roro, Miyamori’s two plushies are dancing through the sequence and every time at the end, Roro attempts to give Mimuji a love letter. Mimuji refused every time, but Roro never gave up, and in Episode 12 when he tried once again, Mimuji accepted his letter. In Shirobako, even the characters that are only alive in Miyamori’s imagination are trying their best.

Conclusion

Don’t give up on your dreams. Passion and dedication can go a long way. If you find yourself on what seems like a detour, it doesn’t have to mean the experience won’t prove worthy in the future. But even if you achieve your goals, after a while you’ll have to make new ones. I guess that’s just the nature of the goal-oriented human beings.

Maybe reaching your goals doesn’t end up feeling the way you expected. If that’s the case, think back to why you even wanted to reach the goal in the first place.

Shirobako takes a closer look into the workings of the anime industry. At the same time, it reminds us of the importance of dreams, ambitions and persistence. It reminds us how important it is to be surrounded by a group of people with similar attitudes and ambitions.

Would it be too much to say that it is a gift given to us by the anime gods that we are not worthy of having? I have so much love and appreciation for everything Shirobako, and I’m so grateful to P.A. Works for making it a thing. That Shirobako movie that they announced can’t come soon enough.

As always, please leave your thoughts on Shirobako in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

 

Affiliate links

The Shirobako Blu-ray is available on Amazon.

Or maybe you want a Shirobako nendoroid or figurine? Amazon has one for Miyamori and Yasuhara.

How will Emma and Ray solve the difficult situation they found themselves in at the end of Volume 7?

Will their unnamed guide offer some help? Or will they have to find the solution themselves?

Emma and Ray in action

It turned out being the latter.

They had to find the solution themselves and it turned out successful – they realized that the demons die when they are hit in their eye. Their unnamed guide, however, is still convinced Emma and Ray are going to die soon. He will make that happen himself even if the demons won’t be able to. He even decided which of the kids he will let die. It turned out to be Emma, who a bit later on tried to make him open up to her and Ray, which he refused to do.

The unnamed guide has been suffering. It must have been hard. But it doesn’t seem that the children can do anything to change his attitude, so its better to just give up on that for now. I’m sure some things we found out later on will change his attitude anyway.

Emma got… Isekai’d?

Nah she didn’t. But she had one of those “Where am I?” moments once she woke up in a completely different surrounding than where she just was. The last thing she remembered before that was Ray’s voice while being taken away by… something.

This was real hype and excitement. Emma on her own not knowing where she is or why. It turns out she was taken to A08-63. How convenient. It’s the next Minerva checkpoint. Surely there is gonna be something good right? But first she needs to find out what actually is this place. Could it possibly even be the human side of the world? Or a new human farm? These were my guesses while reading.

Note how it said “Use your pen” on her left hand. I kind of doubt Emma was the one writing that. But who did it then?

Anyway what A08-63, or Goldy Pond turned out to be is a secret human garden. A secret playground for the demons where they hunt the children every three days.

Hunter x Hunter vibes

I’m starting to get some Hunter x Hunter vibes here. Which can only be a good thing.

The way they are trying to reach William Minerva – it’s kind of like Gon and Killua trying to reach Ging, isn’t it? But also, Emma, Ray, Killua and Gon are roughly the same age. And at their age they are already using weapons. During the hunter exam, Gon was aiming to steal the number plate of a much stronger opponent, Hisoka, and he succeeded. Similarly, Emma was targeting the eye of a much stronger opponent, a demon, and she was successful too.

And speaking of Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter, another thing reminding me of HxH was the demon that saw Emma as a chance for some fun. He decided to delay killing her, cause giving her more time would make her even sweeter. Doesn’t that remind you of a certain character that was waiting for Gon and Killua to grow before getting more serious with them?

The final thing that adds to all the Hunter x Hunter vibes is more related to the anime, but Killua and Ray have the same voice actor ofcourse. Which feels fitting.

Goldy Pond

Back to the manga stuff. Emma survived the demon hunt, but some of the new kids she met didn’t. The first person she talked to since coming to Goldy Pond, Violet, really reminded me of Norman at first.

I did not expect to see something like this in The Promised Neverland, but Violet is actually a “trap”. Her group of friends are from the high quality farm Grand Valley. They know the truth and they want to do everything they can to close the demon playground Goldy Pond. But how did they find out the truth?

Remember how I said certain things will change the unnamed guide’s attitude? Well this is what I meant by that. They found out the truth via Lucas. Yeah, that Lucas from the unnamed man’s traumas. He is dead for everyone else except Violet’s group of friends. And this is where Emma found out the clue related to William Minerva. Lucas found a door with his symbol, and it can only be opened with the pen.

What are they going to find behind those doors that Lucas has wanted to open for years?

Conclusion

I think that was my favorite The Promised Neverland Volume from the ones I covered. Loads of intriguing and exciting stuff. And it can only get better.

Who or what brought Emma to Goldy Pond? Similarly, who or what wrote on her hand that she should use the pen? What is behind those doors? So many things I’m dying to know.

 

Have you read Volume 8 of The Promised Neverland? If so, feel free to discuss it in the comments! 😉

Here are my previous The Promised Neverland Volume reviews if you are interested!

Volume 5.

Volume 6.

Volume 7.

 

Affiliate links

The Promised Neverland Volume 8 and more is on Bookdepository.

For other The Promised Neverland merchandise, you can search for Amazon.

 

Anime OVAs are often the more lighthearted and fanservice packed episodes.

But they can also be great additions to the main story – they can provide interesting backstories, a better closure for the story or a more in-depth experience of the story.

Here are my five favorite OVA episodes. I didn’t rank the picks because I realized its actually quite hard to do it xD

Bungou Stray Dogs: Hitori Ayumu (MAL link)

The Bungou Stray Dogs OVA gives us a certain important detail we haven’t found out in the main story. This alone makes it stand out from the common lighthearted OVA episodes.

Kunikida is trying to go with his day as he planned, with Dazai trying to ruin that for him.

A very well-made episode that expands on Kunikida’s character and makes you appreciate him more.

Steins;Gate Oukoubakko no Poriomania (MAL link)

After the thrilling and emotional experience of Steins;Gate, this was a refreshing and fun way to expand on the story.

And it introduced some Steins;Gate 0 characters along the way.

Steins;Gate 0 also had an OVA, but it was much less related to the main story, which kind of left me dissapointed.

Shirobako Specials (MAL link)

P.A. Works really made two one off episodes of two different anime for the OVA of their anime about making anime.

It just makes the whole Shirobako experience even better.

You get the feeling as if Musashino Animation really does exist – they even wrote the names of the Shirobako characters in the ending credits.

And the episodes themselves are more than decent quality to say the least – especially the “Third Aerial Girls Squad” one.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Specials (MAL link)

The Fullmetal Alchemist OVA gave some great backstory content. It’s definitely not one of those OVAs you can skip without missing anything too significant.

Roy Mustang is my favorite character of the series, so it may give you an idea on which episode of this OVA I enjoyed the most.

Gabriel Dropout OVA (MAL link)

Gabriel Dropout provided some great fun with 4 memorable characters.

But it never really had any emotional moments, as you would expect from an anime of its kind.

That was until I saw the OVA. The feels the second episode has provided was just something I did not expect from Gabriel Dropout.

This is the only OVA on the list that actually has a higher MAL rating than its “main” anime and I think I understand why.

 

Are you surprised with my picks? Am I missing out on an OVA that you really love? Let me know in the comments!

The children of Grace Field have finally reached the B06-32 which turned out to be a human shelter.

Is the man awaiting for them William Minerva?

I expressed my doubts about it in my Volume 6 post and it turns out I was right.

Unnamed man

The mysterious man in the human shelter is not William Minerva. But it turns out he also has a past of escaping human farms.

But unlike the Grace Field group, his siblings didn’t survive the escape. This man was the only remaining survivor. And he stayed in the human shelter, where he seemingly lived for 13 years now.

Seeing the Grace Field children only gave him negative emotions. This even led him to try shooting Emma, but luckily for the orphans some of his past traumas still seem to haunt him.

I keep referring to him simply as “man” because he refuses to give the children his name. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with the children and just wants to see them leave.

You can hardly call him a likeable character. But I guess that’s how you would end up being if you live in a hideout for 13 years as the only survivor left from your family.

And to add to that, it looks like some of his decisions were to blame for the events.

I won’t defend someone that basically wants to kill an entire group of children because of his past traumas, but I can’t say its surprising that he behaves that way.

A place to live

The B06-32 human shelter is a surprisingly good place to live in.

Apparantly the food supplies are limited, but I do wonder how is the food still edible after at least 13 years now.

Sure there is also a garden but there are also things like cookies and premade soup. Surely there is no way to refill those supplies or is there?

The shelter has a bathtub and hot water too. I can imagine it would be a great feeling to use that after a week without hot water.

Ofcourse, Ray and Emma were using their time at the shelter efficiently. But the books they found were outtdated.

There was a new letter from Minerva tho. It leads them to another point, this time A08-63.

How many more checkpoints are there going to be until they finally meet Minerva?

Bold deal

The unnamed man was tied and locked by the children but he managed to find a way out, and he planned to kill the group with a knife.

Until Emma cornered him into making a deal with the group.

Luckily, they found an emergency detonator. Unless the man wants his shelter to be blown off, he has no choice but to go with their deal.

The deal is for him to go to A08-63 with Emma and Ray as their guide.

He accepted but before leaving they went to a secret armory to grab some weapons.

To be as light as possible, Ray took one gun and Emma took a pistol along with her bow and arrows.

Hellish journey

In order to reach the destination in the shortest time possible, Ray, Emma and the unnamed guide have to cross a forest full of wild man eaters.

Emma wasn’t catious enough and had a really close encounter with one of the demons.

When it was time to shoot, she hesitated, but their guide shot the demon instead.

This part left me confused. For a second I thought someone really just got killed there. But looking at it now, it was probably just a flashback from the unnamed guide.

While shooting the demon may have looked like a favour, it turned out to have the opposite effect. The man didn’t kill the man-eater.

Instead he waited purposely for it to regenerate and call its “allies”. Suddenly a whole bunch of scary man-eaters appeared.

Surely two children who never used guns before will have a tough time handling this.

Conclusion

A fantastic buildup for what’s to come. We are in for a threat.

Not only do the children have to face demons but their “guide” isn’t exactly a thrustworthy person. He intends to kill at least one of the two.

Gilda took the initiative once again. Her development recently is clear. Good for the group, because they cannot always rely on Ray and Emma.

Will the next volume finally feature William Minerva himself? Or what about Norman? Thinking about it, remember that William Minerva “alter-ego” picture from Volume 6?

Doesn’t it resemble Norman’s outfit from Episode 10? I can’t help but wonder…

Damn it really looks the same…

In any case I’m off to Volume 8. Things are really gonna get exciting now 😀

As always, leave your thoughts on this Volume of The Promised Neverland in the comments below. And if you want to read my previous two Volume reviews, Volume 5 is here, and Volume 6 here.

Affiliate links

The Promised Neverland Volume 7 and more is on Bookdepository.

You can also search The Promised Neverland on Amazon where you can find the volumes along other merchandise.

Usually you start a new anime because the story looks promising, you like the way it looks, you’ve seen the PV and it seems worth watching.

Maybe you saw a lot of positive comments on the anime. Maybe someone called it a good match with another anime you love or someone whose opinion you find valuable recommended you the anime.

My point is, there are many ways you can get interested in watching an anime. But even so, sometimes you just… start something without knowing why you did it.

Maybe you were simply bored and you wanted to try out something unusual. Maybe you couldn’t resist the cuteness of that one character so you started a new anime just because of them.

Or maybe, you started it for the plot. Yeah, that kind of plot.

Actually all of those are legitimate reasons to start an anime. Even boredom. But I guess they could be called “random reasons”. At least for the sake of this post.

Harukana Receive (MAL link)

Yet again Harukana Receive is a part of a list that I’m making. Most recently it was among the MAL scores I would change.

Now it’s among things I randomly started. It was a summer day and I guess you could say I was kind of bored. I saw screenshots of the anime before.

Despite never really caring about volleyball, nor actually being a huge fan of sports anime in general, I started watching Harukana Receive.

For sure, what probably made me want to watch it was the eyecandy, I’m not gonna lie. But it turned out to be quite a good watch for more reasons than just eyecandy.

Came for the fanservice, stayed for the fanservice AND an interesting enough story, good character dynamics and fantastic music.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (MAL link)

Another Summer 2018 anime here.

I can’t really recall why I started this. I think I just felt like watching a trash Isekai.

It sure was trash. And even if I shamelessly love some good fanservice at times, this anime had a bit too much of it for me.

Still, I could have ended up watching a worse show than this. If it was truly awful, I’m sure I would never be able to finish it.

Konohana Kitan (MAL link)

Ahh, Fall 2017 – my first ever time following seasonal anime.

Watching Konohana Kitan truly was random. I really can’t remember why I started it, and I can’t really think of reasons why I thought I should start it at the time.

But I don’t think it was a bad decision. Nothing wrong about fox girls doing cute things at an inn.

And spoiler alert, it even had the element of time travel. I remember the pleasant surprise of seeing that. It was a great final episode.

Having just finished Hanasaku Iroha, I could even think of rewatching this.

Oshiete! Galko-chan (MAL link)

Oshite! Galko-chan is another anime from this list that I watched in Summer 2018.

The reason I started it? The all-important plot, I think.

Still it was very good, and not simply for those reasons. I remember the final episode was unexpectedly wholesome.

I wouldnt mind another season of this.

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records (MAL link)

Exactly this time last year I randomly started watching Rokudenashi.

I think I was in search of an easy thing to watch that wouldn’t take more than 12 episodes. I also liked the design of a character I saw from this anime.

Looking at the synopsis got me interested enough and I watched it.

The anime had its fun moments and good eyecandy but it did fell a bit flat in the last few episodes.

 

Can you think of any anime you started for the unusual reasons? I would love to hear from you!