Want to watch anime that is about making anime? There are a few series that cover the topic, often times blending comedy with drama. Give these shows a chance if you are really interested in seeing the different sides of the industry!
A celebration of the hardworking people that create anime. Shirobako dives in behind the scenes of the industry to give us a near-documentary esque experience. Bits of comedy and anime cuteness break up the drama, but many industry insiders have vouched for the show’s realness.
Studio: P.A. Works
What’s it about: Five members of the Kaminoyama High School animation club make a pledge to get jobs in the anime industry. Each of the girls specializes in different areas (like voice acting or CG animation), and face their own struggles trying to make it in the industry.
If Shirobako‘s positive tone and celebration of hard work don’t appeal to you, maybe Girlish Number‘s cynical style will interest you. The series takes sarcastic shots at the industry’s obsession with “creating waifu bait for undemanding masses” as it chronicles the life of a low-tier voice actress.
What’s it about: Chitose Karasuma is a college student with dreams of becoming a pampered voice idol. Chitose’s arrogant attitude blinds her to the fact that she sucks, and can only get minor roles because of her brother’s job as a talent agent.
3Otaku no Video
Part satire and part documentary. Otaku no Video shows the positive and negative sides of otaku culture during the early ’90s. Some of the elements, like people shunning real relationships for a fictional character, come off as prophecy.
What’s it about: Ken Kubo is an average guy who becomes friends with otaku of various topics. One day, he pledges to become the King of Otaku. Together with his friends, they found an animation studio with the goal of taking the anime industry over with a magical girl show.
The voice acting side of the industry is certainly glamorous and is the easiest to portray in an exciting light. Despite the flair, Seiyu’s Life! still captures the stress and hopelessness that rookie talents can feel if they are not landing main roles.
Episodes: 13 + 1 OVA
What’s it about: Futaba, Ichigo, and Rin are all rookies in the voice acting industry. While the three go through their own trials of carving out a career, they take the time to host a web radio show to talk about voice acting.
5Animation Runner Kuromi
Before Shirobako, an OVA series titled Animation Runner Kuromi tried to give anime fans an inside look at the craziness of producing an anime. The show skews more towards comedy, but a brief documentary on the show revealed that some of the odd solutions that Kuromi uses for production have been used in real life
Studio: Yumeta Company
What’s it about: Kurumi goes to animation school and lands a dream job at a studio. During her first day, the head of production passes his job to Kurumi before he dies. Thrust into the uncharted world of anime production, Kurumi has to lead a team of lazy animators to produce a quality episode.
Technically not about the anime industry, but Bakuman should be watched by anime fans. Bakuman was created by the creators of Death Note, and chronicle their own struggles of writing for Weekly Shonen Jump. Since many anime are adaptations of manga, fans can explore the manga production process to see where it all starts (unless it was a light novel).
Studio: J.C. Staff
What’s it about: Akito is a great writer, but he cannot draw. After noticing Moritaka’s illustrations, Akito proposes that the two team up to become a manga team. Moritaka agrees because he thinks that he will be able to get the girl he has a crush on if he is able to work on a popular manga. The two write under the pen name Muto Ashirogi and attempt to create the greatest manga in history.
What are your favorite series about the anime industry?