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article imageCasting process is brutal & political in 'Shirobako' EP 14

By Can Tran     Jan 16, 2015 in Entertainment
The newest episode of "Shirobako" explores the business politics involved when it comes to casting for a new anime project.
Episode 14 of Shirobako, titled “The Ruthless Audition Meeting!,” continues from where the previous episode had left off as Masahino Animation has finished producing the first season of Exodus. The studio has been hired to do a larger project, titled Third Aerial Girls Squad, which is adapted from an original manga.
Aoi has been promoted to the production desk, but it comes with more responsibility.
The last episode centered on the pre-production where Aoi had to assemble the animation team together and familiarize herself with the original manga. The episode accurately revealed the actual pre-production process for any animated series.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
If you think Aoi is having a hard time that is just one part of the production.
Shizuka is auditioning for the role, which means she will be competing with veteran voice actresses and newbies like her. It is a tedious process for the actresses that have to wait their turn, which means they will be waiting in line for hours.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
This is a very competitive process as the episode's beginning has shown. I like how the episode shows an auditioning actress every few seconds to give an authentic feel of what it would be like to audition for a role.
It is also brutal for the director, the producer, casting director, and everybody else who are part of administering the auditions.
Shizuka finally arrives to do her audition for Third Aerial Girls Squad. This is similar to auditioning for a physical part, but you have to be more animated when doing so compared to acting in front of a camera.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
It can be nerve-wracking when you watch the casting table members talk amongst themselves. You are anticipating on their response. They make like you and think you're suitable for a certain role or think you don't make a good fit at all.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
Or, they can ask you to read for other roles, which is very common in the auditioning process.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
The brief scene before Shirobako's opening title is an excellent education aid. It is amazing to see so much educational and intellectual content squeezed into two minutes of video. This is one of the reasons ongoing anime series have “filler episodes” to prevent them from catching up to the manga. A few chapters to a manga can make up one single episode of an anime series.
Aoi gets to meet Daisuke Hiraoka, who takes her previous job as production assistant.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
The episode gets straight to the story, which is the casting process.
Production staff have to get together and discuss who to cast and for what specific roles. They have to conduct a long list, which becomes a short list. Everything about you is considered like your experience, how long you have been in the industry, how well-known you are, and more.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
The process is difficult because the higher-ups have strong differences of opinion on who to cast, which reminded me of a Project Greenlight season, which centered on the making Feast. John Gullager, who was chosen to direct Feast, had an issue with Navi Rawat being cast as Heroine. The producers agreed with Gullager, but the casting director went behind their backs and cast Navi for the role, which was ultimately approved by the studio big-wigs.
I can understand the reasons for a long audition process.
You have to choose how you will decide who to cast, but that might not be the ideal way to go. There are many factors that have to be considered. One of the people at the desk explained that Third Aerial Girls Squad is popular and argues that having a newcomer voice the lead is “too adventurous” and “reckless.”
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
Everybody wants the show to be successful, but everybody has their own opinions, too. That sparks intense debate and arguing.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
The music producer argued for another choice because the company would make money off of character CDs with songs sung by the voice actors that portray them. This is very common in Japanese anime production, with Bleach and One Piece being prime examples.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
I just wanted to punch out the music producer's derogatory comments about the anime industry shrinking because voice actors don't branch into singing.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
But, there is some truth to that. There are many anime voice actors that double as singers. Examples include Showtaro Morikubo and Aya Hirano, respectively, who voice Shikamaru Nara from Naruto and Migi from Parasyte.
I still want to punch out the music producer though and I also wanted to punch out the person that suggested a swimsuit model with no acting credits to her name on the sole basis of her large breasts, but those people usually lose their jobs because of sexual harassment.
Shizuka's name pops up after 14 hours into the audition meeting.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
I felt bad for Shizuka at the end because she was turned down for the role, I felt worse for her when Aoi revealed that her studio is in charge of the production. Shizuka remained enthusiastic and refused to let it make her feel down, which caused everybody else to break down in tears.
Screengrab from episode 14 for  Shirobako.
Screengrab from episode 14 for "Shirobako."
Crunchyroll
The end part also reveals the reality of subcontracting to another company to do certain parts of the production, which is the case for many productions. You can go onto the Anime News Network and type any random anime series.
Episode 14 was very educational, while being entertaining at the same time.
Even though the story let alone episode 14 is completely fictional and animated, you get to see the factors and circumstances that led to who gets cast for what part. The director and producers should have the final say, but there are other people that have their own differences of opinion.
This explains unpopular decisions to cast people for roles they do not seem to fit in. You can take the upcoming Superman vs. Batman movie, with regard to Ben Affleck being cast as the latter or Scarlet Johansson being cast as the lead role for the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost In The Shell.
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