While there are plenty of American movies and TV series set against the backdrop of producing a film or television show, Japanese animation usually doesn’t get so self-reflective. So anime fans were in for a treat with the recently concluded Shirobako, which focused on a group of five friends trying to establish their careers in the animation field.

But while Shirobako is a work of fiction about creating other works of fiction, it was still produced by a team of hard-working real-life men and women, many of whom finally get to step in front of the camera in this special credit sequence for the anime. And bringing the circle back around to fiction again, it turns out many of the characters who appear in Shirobako are based on famous animators, directors, and voice actresses, as depicted in this detailed side-by-side chart that shows some uncanny likenesses between Shirobako characters and their inspirations.

Let’s start with the extended credit sequence, which also features the show’s two ending themes, “Animetic Love Letter” and “Platinum Jet” played back-to-back.

Ordinarily, the space between the two dolls is a plain, gray wall onto which the credits are projected. In this special version, though, we instead see some behind-the-scenes shots of the making of the anime, including animators hard at work in the studio…

SB 1

…wrapping up a voice recording session…

SB 2

…and appearing at promotional events.

SB 3

One of the video’s coolest parts comes at the very end, when Shirobako’s animated cast dissolves into its human staff.

▼ “Thank you to everyone who watched Shirobako” and “Otsukaresama deshita to everyone who worked on Shirobako

SB 4

But this isn’t the only time Shirobako blurs the lines between the anime and real worlds. As Twitter user GM-san (Ghost Man) points out, several of Shirobako’s characters are based on major players in the anime industry. As his lengthy list of comparisons shows, Shirobako’s character designer didn’t necessarily try to hide the fact, either.

▼ Click on the image directly below for larger versions


According to GM-san (Ghost Man), pseudo cameos are made by…

▼ …Seiji Mizushima, Masao Maruyama, Yoshikzu Iwanami, Hideaki Anno, Ichiro Itano…

SB 5
Twitter/GM-san (Ghost Man)

▼ …Hiroaki Ogura, Masahio Minami, Mai Nakahara, Shizuka Ito, Ai Kayano…

SB 6
Twitter/GM-san (Ghost Man)

▼…Todoroki Toyota, Yuji Matsukura, Naoyuki Onta, Shiro Hamaguchi, Hirokazu Hamamura…

SB 7
Twitter/GM-san (Ghost Man)

▼ …Takeshi Nogami, Takashi Ikehata, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Mitsuhiko Ishikawa, and Masayuki Yoshihara.

SB 8
Twitter/GM-san (Ghost Man)

Now, if fans could just get word that this cycle of real life to animation and back is going to keep going with a continuation to the Shirobako anime, they’d be all set.

Sources: YouTube, Jin
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: YouTube, Twitter (edited by RocketNews24)