Shirobako Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 20, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Shirobako” is an enjoyable, humorous and entertaining look into the making of an anime series and the challenges that an anime studio encounters. But also the challenges faced by those who want to make it into the industry. “Shirobako Collection 1” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © SHIROBAKO PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Shirobako Collection 1
SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.
RATED: TV PG
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima
Series Composition by Michiko Yokote
Music by Shiroh Hamaguchi
Original Character Design by Ponkan8
Art Director: Tsukasa Kakizakai, Yusuke Takeda
Anime Character Design by Kanami Sekiguchi
Production by P.A. Works
Featuring the following voice talent:
Asami Takano as Misa Tōdō
Haruka Chisuga as Shizuka Sakaki
Haruka Yoshimura as Ema Yasuhara
Hitomi Ohwada as Midori Imai
Juri Kimura as Aoi Miyamori
Ai Kayano as Rinko Ogasawara
Hironori Saitō as Hironori Madoka
Hiroyuki Yoshino as Tarō Takanashi
Ikumi Hayama as Tsubaki Andō
Junji Majima as Yuuichirou Shimoyanagi
After making an animated film together in high school, Aoi and her friends Shizuka, Ema, Misa, and Midori made a promise to each other: to all get jobs in the anime industry and someday work together again.
Two years later, Aoi is learning that working as a production assistant at a small animation studio is far more demanding than she ever imagined, and Shizuka’s aspiring career as a voice actor involves more time waiting tables than recording.
Meanwhile, Ema’s slowly making a name for herself as a key animator, Misa’s moved from 2D to 3D and now works in computer graphics, and screenwriting hopeful Midori is lagging furthest behind, still looking for her first big break. But are they ready to give up on their dreams just yet? No way! Because while anime may come from inspiration, in the end it’s the ones who’re willing to put in the perspiration that make their dreams real in Shirobako!
In October 2014, the anime series “Shirobako”, which was a join production by Warner Entertainment Japan and P.A. Works made its debut in Japan.
A manga adaptation was serialized in ASCII Media Work’s “Dengeki Daioh” and a novel was published by Shueisha in January 2015.
And now, the first half of the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in North America courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.
“Shirobako” (which translates to “white box”) is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, “Blood-C”, “Genshiken”), a screenplay by Michiko Yokote (“Ah! My Goddess: The Movie”, “Bleach”, “Naruto”, “Nabari no Ou”, “RIN-NE”), music by Shiroh Hamaguchi (“Big Windup!”, “One Piece”, “Sakura Wars”, “Girls und Panzer”), with art direction by Tsukasa Kakizakai (“Durarara!!”, “Real Drive”, “Samurai 7”) and Yusuke Takeda (“Ghost in the Shell”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”, “009-1”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”).
The anime series would feature the voices of Asami Takano (“Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid”), Haruka Chigusa (“Amagi Brilliant Park”, “Aquarion Logos”, “Haruchika – Haruta & Chika”), Haruka Yoshimura (“Celestial Method”, “Riddle Story of Devil”, “Saki – The Nationals”), Hitomi Ohwada (“Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko ja nai to Omotta?”) and Juri Kimura (“Kuromukuro”, “Monster Strike”, “Mikagura School Suite”, “Queen’s Blade: Grimoire”).
“Shirobako” begins with five friends: Aoi Miyamori, Ema Yasuhara, Shizuka Sakasaki, Misa Todo and Midori Imai working on a high school animation club project together before graduation. Utilizing each of their skills, all five make a goal to go into the anime industry and one day, each of them will work together on an actual anime.
Fastforward years later, Ema is a key animator, Shizuka is pursuing a career as a voice actress, Misa is a 3D computer graphics operator, Midori is a college student and the main character focused on is Aoi Miyamori, who works as a production assistant for Musashino Animation.
The series focuses on the inner workings of how an anime series is made for television and the challenges that Musashino Animation faces in making sure the series gets aired on television in time, but most importantly, showing viewers the production challenges before an episode is finalized. Also, showing the various different jobs that employees partake in, while working for an animation studio.
The main story focuses on:
Aoi Miyamori – Aoi is constantly observing each of the employees but showing how her involvement in production is important.
Emi Yasuhara – Emi works hard as an a key animator for “The Third Aerial Girls Squad” and the challenges she faces in trying to get work completed for each episode.
Shizuka Sakaki – Shizuka is a struggling voice actress. She works as a waitress at the pub and is doing all she can to get a job as a notable character for an anime series.
Misa Todo – Works as the prestigious Super Media Creations but struggles because the work is primarily for automobiles. She is becoming dissatisfied and trying to find herself and what she really wants to do.
Midori Imai – An aspiring screenwriter still attending college, she hopes to get a job in the animation industry once she graduates.
“Shirobako Collection 1” features wonderful animation by PA. Works. Character designs are well-done and well-shaded, while backgrounds and structures are well-detailed.
I also like the detail that went into the office settings and the little things you find on the desks of employees. But for the most part, animation is well-done and looks vibrant in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Shirobako Collection 1” is presented in Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0. Dialogue is crystal clear and no signs of hissing or problematic audio issues.
Subtitles are in English.
“Shirobako Collection 1” comes with the trailer and textless opening and endings.
While there have been anime series based on the anime and manga industry, “Shirobako” is a series that really goes into detail of the various jobs that are done by employees creating a weekly anime series but also the challenges faced in the industry.
“Shirobako” focuses on five friends who made a goal to work on an anime series together, but now into adulthood, we see how these girls have faced challenges and learning that making it in the anime industry is difficult.
And the young ladies must start from the bottom and work themselves up, we see how people like Shizuka is becoming dissatisfied as each role she takes on, is fairly small. While Misa, who wants to grow as a 3D designer, is growing frustrated that the work she is getting is focused on automobiles and hardly on characters. And so the seed of doubt is planted in their minds.
Meanwhile, main protagonist, Aoi Miyamori gives us a look at the animation industry through a new anime production studio, Musashino Animation.
From the disagreements that happen between staff members, disagreements on how a character cries during battle to how an episode ends. Also, the challenges of trying to get a product finished right before deadline and ensuring it gets to the TV companies for airing. And also a look of a staff that is pushed to the limits and one happens if one gets sick and so forth.
The series features a good balance between humor and serious moments. And for the most part, “Shirobako” is a lively anime series that will entertain anyone who is interested in the functions of an anime studio.
“Shirobako Collection” 1 features the first 12 episodes and for the most part, the anime series looks wonderful on Blu-ray. The soundtrack is lossless 2.0 and the English subtitles are easy to see and read. Special features are limited to the opening and ending animations and trailer.
Overall, “Shirobako” is an enjoyable, humorous and entertaining look into the making of an anime series and the challenges that an anime studio encounters. But also the challenges faced by those who want to make it into the industry.
“Shirobako Collection 1” is recommended!
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