Shirobako Episode 23 – Optimism is the Message

So, the author is unhappy, again, and things are going pear shaped, after Miyamori fought tooth and claw to fix everything, again, so let’s see how they try and fix this mess. Again. It’s a hard life, yo.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) In the Trenches:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Chazawa's smug grin

1) “Should we ready a recap episode, just in case?” – It’s Gatchaman Crowds all over again ;-)

More importantly, though Nabe-P said they’ll make it, he knows reality, so is readying a recap episode. Gotta prepare for all eventualities…

2) Just as we remember from last season, the Director keeps drinking and having fun even when he should be working. Ideopon Miyamori to the rescue (and jailing…)!

3) Even Chazawa’s boss is pissed. After all, he did get Musani the project personally, and his company helps finance the anime, and… it’s just not professional to act so flippant, very un-Japanese corporate from Chazawa.

4) “You said we could continue.” – “That was just my personal opinion. I never said I received the OK from Sensei.” – This weasel, he’s betraying conversational implicatures, he’s acting as if anyone cares about him beyond as an agent. Also, dat grin. Wring his neck!

5) That “I don’t care” face from Chazawa – “Is that a threat?” – Not understanding you’re working together, and if anything, it’ll hurt Musashino a lot more than the author.

6) Chazawa, asking if they wish to defy God, so is that why he doesn’t actually ask him anything? But not passing him the questions, he is the one who defied his best interests. Cast down the false priest!

7) “If God says no, that means No.” – This moment felt like I’m watching old Joseph in Stardust Crusaders.

2) Shell-Shocked:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Shell-shocked team

1) Look at all those defeated postures.

2) “Despite expecting the worst, let us carry on, carefree.” – Goth Loli-sama™, you are the best.

3) The ultimate bad end, for the studio too.

4) They’re talking of the director as if he’s not there. He’s still shell-shocked. The author thought of himself as Aria, as someone who finds the courage to fly again, after Jiggly-Jiggly Heaven, and now his wings are getting clipped, in the last moment.

3) Archetypes Clash – Meta-Discussions Abound:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - The president gives advice

One of the many metaphors found within this episode

1) Tarou is the shounen character, “I wouldn’t give in, no matter what!” – But Erika knows the truth, nothing gets resolved with such attitude, and it’d be dead in the water without the author’s blessing, and might cause future harm, say, not getting more seasons.

2) So, the director is Aria, as is Tarou, but Nogame-sensei is Hiraoka. He got burnt before, so now will not budge an inch. We can see both sides are just fans, “Change everything!” versus “Change nothing!”, and neither extreme is healthy.

3) “Is there a way for us to see the original creator?” – You know who keeps going and roping in cranky old codgers? Miyamori. It’s your turn, Ideopon Miyamori! Believe, and make it real! Use your endless optimism and hard work to save the day!

You know what this is? This is a meta-discussion. Will this show, Shirobako, end with a good end, or with a “bad” one? Will positivism and hard work curry the day, or will we crash on the hard shores of reality? This is the money time.

4) A Fresh Perspective:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - The Director and The President go "Vroom, vroom!"

1) The director and the president <3

2) Honda-san keeps losing weight, soon he’ll disappear :o

3) “He doesn’t seem to like people.” – If the person he mostly deals with, Chazawa, “Funny story”, then it’s no surprise. And well, how do you know he dislike people? Because Chazawa is keeping you locked away.

4) The director telling the president he’s going off, every person has someone they look up to, and answer to.

5) Knocking on Heaven’s Doors:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - The Director faces Nogame-Sensei

1) The music and scene as cowboy Director came to his meeting place reminded me distinctly of Mawaru Penguindrum.

2) “Funny story, this is no place for underlings.” – See, the agent thinks the director works for Nogame-sensei, he doesn’t see him as another creator, who works with the author.

3) The golf ball, and the Mawaru Penguindrum vibe continues.

4) Such a gap between the two sides, symbolized by the meeting room’s table. That is actually the purpose of such tables, to symbolize distance, to symbolize power.

5) So, now Kinoshita is resolving Nogame’s issues, and thus, Aria’s, both metaphorically, and literally, by removing the obstacles for her flying.

6) So, Kinoshita is Nogame’s ray of hope, and vice versa, just as Miyamori tries to be Hiraoka’s.

7) And of course, the gulf between the two creators was resolved, metaphorically, and literally, though the literal might be a metaphor alone at this point, again, Penguindrum ;-)

6) Emotional Release, Zuka’s Moment:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Nogame-sensei shouts at Chazawa


1) “IT’S NOT A FUNNY STORY!” sending Chazawa flying, like the word of God, swatting at a fly. YESSSSSSSSSSS!

2) And little Miyamori didn’t know Zuka-chan is coming to work with her. Yup, the show is pulling all the stops on the “happy ending for everyone!” this episode.

3) Kanemoto Hisako voicing Aria here sounds just like her role as Maria in Junketsu no Maria, which fits perfectly.

4) I’m tearing up a bit, just from Zuka-chan reading the lines, or rather, fulfilling her dream. The show knows this, which is why the focus is entirely on her.

“I just got a step closer to my dream!” – Miyamori feels the message directed at us, that Zuka-chan did :’)

Awwww, Miyamori crying is so touching. I wanted to say “cute”, but it’s just the wrong word.

Post-Episode Thoughts:

Shirobako anime episode 23 - Crying Miyamori Aoi

This was such a positive episode, it’s almost hard to tell it’s Shirobako. Then again, this is always the fine line Shirobako had been treading, it didn’t tell us a fairy tale of how life is easy and we all achieve our dreams without breaking a sweat, or we break a sweat, but then we make it, and the story ends.

No, it’s a story where dedication, and yes, luck, play a crucial role, where after we succeed, we must go immediately back into the trenches, and any form of relief is either exceedingly short, or worse, just masking a calamity that we’re blind to. But sometimes, sometimes we get a break, and things go well for us.

And when that happens, we cry. Cry from relief, cry from all the hardships we’ve endured. We don’t cry because we’re sad, or because we’re happy, but because we’re overwhelmed.

Well, I think I just wrote part of what my review for Shirobako is going to say, but this fits this episode, as we’re nearing the end.

Speaking of the symbolism of the anime series the studio makes and the studio workers, this episode went much farther with that. The Mawaru Penguindrum vibe is very fitting, and became even more so once the director faced off against the gate-keepers, with the inability to tell apart life and reality.

And here’s the difference between Hiraoka, Tarou, and Chazawa. Hiraoka and Tarou are the people we all work with and fear to become, so they’ve been rehabilitated. Chazawa is the shit we fear to encounter, so he’d been utterly quashed. There was no humanity within to be saved. He’s not an antagonist, or a misguided past or future protagonist, he’s a villain.

2 comments on “Shirobako Episode 23 – Optimism is the Message

  1. wicked_liz says:

    This perfectly reflected my feelings on this episode.

    That part where Nogami-sensei was like “It’s not a funny story!” was so satisfying XD

    • Guy says:

      That part where Nogami-sensei was like “It’s not a funny story!” was so satisfying XD

      This episode was very much about giving fans what they want, about optimism and tying up all the loose ends in a good way. Kinoshita meeting with Nogame might have been “necessary” for the show as it is about art, but I feel it was mostly there so Chazawa will finally get his smack-down, which is what the story demanded of the fans to demand for quite some time ;)

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