If you’re any sort of regular reader of a variety of anime blogs, you’ll have no doubt seen Shirobako, specifically this scene, on other 12 Days lists. Miyamori Aoi’s front row seat to the advancing seiyuu career of her close friend, Sakaki Shizuka, had both her and I in joyful tears.
Shirobako made a name for itself among viewers as one of the most detailed and revealing catalogs of anime production. It’s all too easy to get irritated, even outraged, at inconsistent art and animation, improper use of music, and poor voice acting. We don’t stop and think about the people, money, time, and politics involved with the process. Anime is so accessible these days no matter what hemisphere you live in, and I’m part of that group of people who greedily snap up each season’s offerings by the handfuls like a thoughtless consumer. I tend to drop almost half of the shows I start, complaining about the story, art, music, or anything else to alleviate my busy schedule, and very rarely watch anything anymore with 100% of my attention. I’m almost always multi-tasking with the show playing in the background.
Shirobako reminded me of my love for stories of people and their journeys. Miyamori’s struggle as a young production assistant felt like a mirror of my own entry into the adult working world. Sometimes you sit in your car after a long day gazing dully at the green light wondering where all your dreams fled. Or you repeatedly try at your chosen career with a wall of rejection letters blocking your way. Shizuka’s smile amidst her friends’ growing successes almost hurt more than her tears. When her raw, young voice finally paired with a character in Miyamori’s production, I couldn’t hold back my own trembling smile, nor my watering eyes.