Image source: 「アニメガタリズ」公式 on Twitter

Anime is great fun to watch. Making it… maybe not so much.

[Note: this article contains spoilers for episode seven of Anime-Gataris.]

Anime-Gataris is a series about anime lovers loving anime. It’s only natural that eventually the topic of actually making an anime and what goes into it would be covered.

This Fall’s Anime-Gataris Is a Series about Anime Lovers, for Anime Lovers, by Anime Lovers

In the latest episode of Anime-Gataris, the anime club faces the threat of disbandment by the school’s student council again. This time due to their plans for the upcoming bunkasai (cultural festival). Because the club is about fans of anime enjoying anime, the club had originally planned to have an anime screening—likely of classic series or movies. However, they are informed that unless they can have something that properly distinguishes their club, the club will be forced to close (again).

The solution the members reach is actually quite logical: Make their own anime. However, this opens things up to the pitfalls of creating an anime that are often heard of in the background of productions.

First off, the production meetings. After deciding to make a short anime—because what sane person would attempt to make an entire series of 30 minute episodes in three months—the team attempts to figure out what the anime should be about. After figuring out general idea, it comes down to the initial script and the beginning of the first quagmire. We see Miko, the club’s resident bookworm, take on the role of script writer and gradually be crushed by it. With different ideas and input coming from different directions, she tries to meet all the demands and begins to crumble under the pressure and stress from overwork. After over 50 production meetings, she nears the end of her rope.

Erika takes on the role of producer, and in here I got the feeling that some of the series creators’ personal opinions began overtly bleeding into the series. Erika is seen smooth-talking the others with the casual light-hearted nature of someone with no intention of doing any of the real hard sanity-chiseling labor. Meanwhile, Miko’s lamentations kind of feel like the actual script writer’s cries for help.

The club gets their teacher to be the production assistant and here we get to see one of the anime industry’s production urban legends at play. Overworked and driven to exhaustion towards the end of production, the teacher bails on the project, disappearing and leaving only a hand-written message saying, “Please don’t look for me.”

Image source: 「アニメガタリズ」公式 on Twitter

Everything, from the characters getting overworked, to the nonchalant nature of the “producer,” to the various little learning moments during audio recording, to the teacher’s escape are all played for laughs and entertainment—but they’re also very real issues in anime production. Seeing characters get burned out or throw tantrums or run out on production may be funny in the context of the story. The humor in watching the whiteboard where the members have written out their schedule and to-do list slowly get filled with messages with an increasingly stressful tone feels very tongue-in-cheek. It also gives both the viewer and the characters within the story just a hint of how hard making an anime can actually be.

Anime-Gataris is an anime created by people who love anime, but that doesn’t mean making anime is easy or even fun at times. And yet, looking at the latest episode, one can tell that, despite all the potential hardships, it’s still a labor of love. Personally, as an anime fan, it’s all very much appreciated.

Anime-Gataris can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and English dialogue on FUNimation.

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  1. […] to say when you send an email before thinking it through… Scratch that. Anime-Gataris has always been a pretty farcical show that for a time, really wasn’t our a […]

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