Well, it’s been a long time since I did one of these. With so many anime airing that are worthwhile to talk about this season, I think I’ll be doing quite a few more of these weekly reviews. I simply don’t have the time to cover a lot of these shows, but there will be something special coming when the third or fourth week of the season comes around, so stay tuned until then. Anyways, let’s get right to it.
CLICK THIS IF YOU WANT TO SKIP TO PSYCHO-PASS – CLICK THIS IF YOU WANT TO SKIP TO SHIROBAKO
CLICK THIS TO SKIP TO THE WRITTEN PORTION OF PSYCHO-PASS – CLICK THIS TO SKIP TO WRITTEN PORTION OF SHIROBAKO
If you do not want to be spoiled for the other anime, stick to just that section and don’t scroll too much.
Comments are open to both shows so unless you don’t mind spoilers for the other show, avoid it.
The dystopian world of Psycho-Pass monitored by the Sibyl System returns, and with it brings a calm and very skilled Tsunemori Akane. She’s grown quite a bit since the beginning of the first season. No doubt the whole ordeal with the Sybil System shook her foundational beliefs of what is right and wrong. With the decision that she made at the end of the previous season, she steeled her resolve to see the system through until the end judging it and herself all the meanwhile. Although seeing Akane act in such a professional manner is great, her partner is… kind of an asshole. It’s obvious that the anime is trying fairly hard to make her detestable right off the bat. Such a thing can really only be intentional. The way Shimotsuki Mika acts is similar to how Akane acted in the beginning of the first season in that she doesn’t agree with the methods her seniors use. It’s different in that Akane wanted to save lives at the beginning of the first season, and she still wants to now. Mika, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily want to save lives as much as she wants to strictly adhere to the system which creates an interesting contrast between the motivations of the two main characters. Throughout this second season, Akane’s values and actions will probably come more into question as the contrast between the two become starker and starker. I wouldn’t be surprised if a failure on Akane’s part to resolve things like she did in this episode serves as a catalyst for Mika to take action against Akane. Looking at it this way, Mika is quite the wild card this season as her actions could pull the story in a wide variety of different paths. Nevertheless, the one commonality that we will see in all these different paths will no doubt be Akane’s development to determine who she really is.
This first episode does a nice job of reintroducing us to the setting while laying down the potential points of conflict that will be touched upon as the season progresses. Already, we have an antagonist with the ability to maintain their hue while doing atrocities much like Makishima Shougo. Though, I doubt their motivations and personalities will be nearly as similar. It’s a solid start for those who like the series, but for those who didn’t like the first season for reasons such as finding the Sibyl System, or Dominators flawed, finding the quotes to be pretentious or other problems that one could have with the first season, you probably won’t like this season much either. While the pretentious quotes can easily be taken out, the setting and premise are all laid out, so if you have problems with the foundational aspects of the show, you’re probably not going to see “improvements” in that regard this season. Knowing this, the biggest problem I have right now is the amount of episodes. There are only ten left, and if it is to address Akane’s character development alongside Mika’s while also discussing themes surrounding right and wrong and introducing a new antagonist, it really has to make every episode count. This is especially the case for creating an antagonist that could stand toe to toe with Makishima Shougo who was very fascinating to watch. That said, the first season did have quite a few episodes in the monster of the week format, so that could be eliminated this season to allow for more time to portray more important plot points. Psycho-Pass can go deep, but I’m worried that it may try to do too much with too little time and end up portraying its themes as sloppily copy and pasted versions of the previous season’s themes. Can it deliver new themes while considerably developing its older ones? Can Akane and Mika’s character developments be properly realized? Will the antagonist be as compelling as the previous season’s? We’ll have to wait and see.
Most of you reading this review should have watched a decent amount of anime. After all, people usually don’t start following seasons week to week until they’ve watched at least a few dozen anime. Therefore, you must like anime quite a bit- “OKAY ENTRAV, ISN’T THAT THE MOST OBVIOUS FUCKING SHIT EVER? GET TO THE FUCKING POINT, YOU FAGGOT.” is probably what you’re thinking right now. Firstly, fuck you. Secondly, you’re probably interested in how anime is made, correct? Sure, you may not want to know the tiniest of details, but you have probably wondered how they draw all the frames, what key animators, directors, animation producers, general managers, and so on are responsible for. If you don’t know, you can’t attribute certain aspects of great works to anyone, and you certainly can’t begin chastising people for making a horrible adaptation of a manga, light novel or visual novel. There are resources out there for you to know some of the process, but what exactly the staff members do, and how the anime is made from beginning to end with the various intricacies is shrouded in mystery. Of course, each studio and anime is made in a somewhat different way depending on what happens during the anime creation process. Still, we’re probably going to be interested in the general idea so that we can get a feel for how anime is made. To help us on this path one kind person decided to translate the website pages for Shirobako to give us the flow of animation production and some terms and definitions.
Those documentaries that you see of “The making of…” whatever anime are great sources of information. It’s just that many of them are not subbed, so foreigners have no idea whether they like drawing cute girls doing cute things or if they’re lamenting the fact that they have to. Thankfully, Shirobako is here to give us an idea of how anime is made, and give us an idea it does. This whole episode is very focused on the staff surrounding anime as well as some of the difficulties that may come to pass during the creative process. There are no huge chunks of random slice of life moments, and the anime doesn’t have as much comedy as I expected going into it. Personally, I think that’s great. There are many, many other anime about cute girls doing cute things. There are very, very few anime about making anime. It’s not only breaking into new territory by having a more realistic perspective about making anime. It’s also uncharted territory that I’m genuinely interested in because it helps us understand the work that goes behind making any anime. I’m often a bit irritated at people who write short reviews that lambaste a certain show because even some of the crappiest shows have a lot of effort put in to them, and at least in my opinion, it’s disrespectful to not put in your own hard work when it comes to critiquing those anime. Hopefully, Shirobako will help illuminate this perspective so people can appreciate the amount of work that go behind each anime. So yes, if you’re interested in how anime is made, you absolutely must keep an eye on this as there are almost no other anime like this. If you don’t care that much and you want a slice of life comedy, you’re probably better off watching something else. I have always been interested in the anime creation process, so I’m very pleased that Shirobako has taken this route. I’m not sure if I can continue doing reviews of this as I doubt I’ll have much to comment on in the future, but I’ll be eagerly waiting for it every week nevertheless.