[Podcast] Chatty AF 10: Shirobako watchalong – episodes 1-6

Two mostly unspoiled newbies and one superfan watch six episodes of a series at a time, then record a discussion on them before watching the next six. This is Chatty AF’s new watchalong format, looking at completed anime through a feminist lens.

Shirobako is a show patrons have been asking us to look at since launch. Praised for its portrayal of adult women in a mixed workplace and criticised for its ‘moe sameface’ character designs, it provides a number of interesting starting points for feminist discussion. We hope you’ll join in the conversation via comments below.

We’re very pleased to welcome Miles “that Shirobako guy” Thomas to join us in these discussions as our resident superfan – we’re pretty sure no-one could question his credentials in this area.

This is very much a test of the format. If you have feedback on how you would like us to approach watchalongs going forward, or series you would like to nominate for a watchalong, please do comment below!

Shirobako Watchalong – episodes 1-6

Part 1 of the four-part watchalong of Shirobako with Amelia, Peter, and special guest Miles Thomas!

0:00 Intro
1:23 Past experiences with Shirobako
6:25 Character designs
9:30 Female characterization
13:01 Female personality types in the anime industry
16:35 Tarou
25:11 Friendship
28:38 Cathartic moments
30:29 Workplace diversity
32:29 Experience and mentorship
33:32 Male gaze
36:02 Segawa and Endou
37:36 Sexism in the Japanese workplace
39:13 Male characterization
41:54 Narrative inequality
43:31 Back to Endou
44:54 Complexity and accuracy of subject matter
50:21 Next six episodes
56:30 Outro

Recorded Sunday 21st May 2017

Music: Open Those Bright Eyes by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


At this stage, we have raised enough money to be able to pay for contributed posts, behind the scenes admin, and audio editing for weekly podcasts. Our next goal is to pay the editors who have worked on AniFem as volunteers since before launch, making enormous contributions for no pay. Help us pay them for their work at a rate of $15 an hour by becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month! 

  • Alex Erde

    Yuuuussss!!! Best news to wake up to this morning after a bummer of a day with Adam West passing. I can’t wait to start listening to this!

    • 😀 Your early patronage and vocal requests for this idea were absolutely a factor in making it happen! Your support has been greatly appreciated.

      • rugose-appendage

        Woo! Thanks Alex (and the great AniFem staff who made the podcast obvs).

  • theendnote

    So excited about this. Sakura Quest led me to Shirobako, and it has been my primary inspiration ever since.

  • ImaniToo

    I’ve made a doll of Tarou and am sticking needles in it at this very moment.

  • ML Tyler

    This show should have trigger warnings for anyone who has worked in a production environment. I really do love the show, but it has at points caused genuine distress.

  • SC

    I also stopped watching the show after the first episode. The issue I had was the car scene where Taro makes a comment about Segawa’s boobs. She just saved his ass in the previous scene, and for him to talk like that was despicable. I really wish Honda intervened for both Segawa’s and Aoi’s sakes but he didn’t. Aoi sort of speaks up on her own but only in her cutesy moe character way, and that was quite frustrating too. I eventually gave the show another try and I’m glad I did because the rest of the series was great, but I still dislike the first episode.

  • rugose-appendage

    A thing I really enjoyed about the first six episodes of Shirbako was it showed how important an internal motivation is to professional work. Discussing what motivates people is pretty common in anime (see: any shonen anime). But I thought Shirobako showed the characters’ motivations in a way which was particularly relatable to people who are, like Miyamori, also at the start of their careers and dealing with the crappy things that involves.