Crunchyroll’s Shirobako Contest (and my submissions)

To celebrate the best show of the season, Crunchyroll put on a contest focused on the five main characters of Shirobako – five girls working five different jobs within the anime industry. For each of these five positions, there is a specific contest.

So, for some reason, I’ve decided to try my hand at (almost) all of them. Results vary.

For more info on the contest, you can go here.


I decided to think about how the first episode might be created, and how it would tie in with the other episodes. While I don’t have a very good understanding of just how much manpower is required to create an anime, the timing should be realistic enough for each deadline. In the worst case scenario, we pull a Shaft and put out a blegh TV airing and then fix everything for the DVD and blu-ray release.

The most difficult part of this was creating something that wasn’t just a clone of the provided sample, which is why I tried to be a bit more in-depth with details. The image is pretty large, and you’ll need to blow it up to actually read anything. Hopefully all of my research on the topic came together accurately and coherently.



First, for an idea of what key frames are, watch this gif composed entirely of “key frames” (even if it’s actually from a manga with sickeningly good art, you’ll get the gist of key animation). Movement from one frame to the next isn’t very smooth, which is where inbetween animation comes in – inbetweeners work off of the key frames to fill in the blanks and give everything a smoother feel.

This is why you should read One-Punch Man.

My drawing skills are questionable, so I had to find some way to make this work. Thank you based Photoshop pen tool! Unfortunately, even when not working by freehand, constructing an image from my mind is a tough process. I’ve cloned images before (like with Yukari and Aria), but that’s extremely different.

What I ended up doing is taking about 5 different images and working them together with a lot of tracing, and then I tried to make the final image look like a proper key frame by working out the light and shadow and what other lines were necessary. Basically, it’s plagiarism. With the method I used, I actually think it would have been much easier (and would probably look better) if I had just gone straight for the full-color version. Oh well.

key frame

I couldn’t make anything look decent below the neck, so consider this creative liberty/impatience/laziness.


There were a lot of issues with this one. First off, I’m a guy. Second, my acting is most comparable to a log. Third, talking with no direct feedback is extremely awkward. So… pass.


3D modeling is something I’ve never done before. It’s nothing I’ve even considered doing before. And now that I’ve delved into it, I have one comment – the learning curve is absolutely brutal for beginners. At least when working with a program like Photoshop, it’s pretty easy to pick up as you go along. I used Blender for this 3D work, which was completely foreign to me.

I decided to stick with something a bit simpler than an actual character model, instead focusing on a potential prop. It turned out a bit better than I had feared it might, but it’s still far from looking usable.




Yes, I’m aware that the sheath is not long enough. Please pretend that it is.


When I was in high school, I tried my hand at “creative writing” several times, and the results were universally baffling, even to me. Overflowing with weird references and inside jokes, lacking any concrete logic, and being spurred by of-the-moment terrible ideas, these stories are hard to forget. Creating a logical and usable storyboard is a different matter entirely, as it’s not simply a matter of creating a story or dialogue, but more pre-directing how it will look and sound.

I don’t know how to draw, so you’re going to have to deal with this. I actually think it turned out pretty well for the most part and could definitely work. As long as the final visuals ended up completely different.


I think it was about this time last year when I won the prize from Atlus for my Conception 2 demo post, so hopefully I can keep my winning streak going! But really, I’m just hoping that I win one of the random drawing prizes. And I’m hoping they add in an Aoi figure as a prize. That’s what I really want out of this. (please someone give me one)

Update 2/28/15: I didn’t win. :(

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