The Need to Praise When & There’s Not Much to Say

If that's not Maruyama, I don't know who it would be

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.

4 Responses to “The Need to Praise When & There’s Not Much to Say”

  • El Goopo

    You lost me at the “PS”, but that’s only because I’ve seen little actual originality from them until Uchoten Kazoku, and now Shirobako. They’re not quite KyoAni, but you’re being very gracious to suggest that they’ve been “trying to buck trends”, when they haven’t for the bulk of their existence. It’s pretty clear they’ve been struggling to find a voice of their own, especially compared to KyoAni or A-1.

    As for Shirobako itself, I think people are also being wholly kind to it. I don’t blame anyone for that – it’s refreshing after all. But it’s not exactly free of the usual anime cliches, it’s just framing them in a different story. But it’s not that far removed from basic shounen formula in the end, right down to being twice as long as it needed to be and having rather trite observations about the nature of its struggles. I’m still going to praise them to high heaven for breaking ANY kind of mould (this being PA Works) but it’s kinda crazy to see how much credit people are willing to give them for Shirobako.

    • omo

      I guess we’ll just have to disagree. I actually agree that Shirobako is pretty similar to their previous works as a whole, but I also think their previous works tend to be different than the average stuff. I mean, lol Glass Lips. Ture Tears. Tari Tari. All those shows are notably different.

      Not sure how that’s different than what KyoAni is doing in terms of original stories (which, agreed, is also doing their own thing that’s just different enough from the trend), but A-1? That’s really just Aniplex’s anime pipeline and how is that “not trendy”??

  • TheBigN

    I think general impressions on Shirobako are all about how one looks at things. And how people give their thoughts on it gives a good idea of what they look for when watching anime. I mean, lol “cliches”, like there’s a show that doesn’t have them.

    As you said (or as I interpreted it), it’s hard to say something about Shirobako that needs to be said for it. It’s difficult for me to write something about it other than “I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the effort, passion and love put into the show, etc.” But I want to. It was that good of a show.

    • omo

      > I think general impressions on Shirobako are all about how one looks at things.

      Well, you are for sure right by “general” because that statement right there is IMO too general to be meaningful.

      I think it’s worth thinking about, as someone who doesn’t have too much to react to the way I watched the show, the way how the show is criticized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.