I actually agree with this review, almost 100%, and want to make a corollary. Author says great anime can’t be spoiled, but I think it goes a step farther: great anime doesn’t need to be talked about. Shirobako needs no advocacy, even if it’s always good. There’s no need to make a case for itself. In fact I had a hard time trying to do it. I could write about the simple stuff, like my first impression of Minami-san was that he’s a little intimidating. And I wonder what Maruyama-san’s cooking is like.
But in that sense it’s also a cheat in that as with all arts that are interpretive, we bring in as much as it brings us. The union between artwork and audience is no less sacred than the miracle of creativity in that sense. I think your experience as an anime nerd will not only play greatly, by referring to the art of the craft as the heart of its references it will disarm every late-night anime watcher, so most of us EN-speaking types can fall in line like all the JP viewers.
Perhaps the only thing equally difficult to keeping that spark and drive alive in salaryman life is being able to stay up and watch your late-night anime. Shirobako actually airs early enough in Tokyo that you can watch it before bed, but it takes some measure of dedication to get home and put it on, while not falling asleep watching it.
Action speaks louder than words, and it’s hard to find the words to describe it. I guess I did doze out during one particular viewing of episode 22 (since it’s kind of a filler to bring to 23?), largely to no fault of its own (a long day of touring + late night drinking + watching the raw). It’s like how I already internalized the “Taro,” the indifference of Hiraoka, and other representations in the office environment. Have you been working in such a thing long enough to see past it? Not just your own situation but the dramatized office of Musani? What is top shelf and what’s on the bar Shirobako serves its customers? Is your inner 10yo asleep?
But, because it’s such a cherished tale of animation production, based on a simple understanding of it that so few anime has taken on, it will stand as a classic just on that fact alone. Shirobako being entertaining enough to keep those otaku ossans awake late at night is just bonus.
PS. I found these tweets ironic. I guess it’s because PA Works tried very hard to make something that bucks the trend consistently. To say, for example, Hanasaku Iroha is following a J-drama formula misses the entire point that if not for PA Works being a studio that doesn’t chases after the latest trends (sup Glass Lips) that Shirobako even exists (see: the vol1 omake). They believe in their creators (Shirobako is very clear on this), and let them do what they think is best. Even if that means we have to sit through a Glass Lips now and then. And to be clear, this is a pervasive attitude-entitlement issue that manifests way too much among people who have opinions on entertainment, so my apologies to Toast for making an example out of him. It’s all of us. Buhiiiii.