Destroying Seiichi Kinoshita: Shirobako and Murderous Words

I’ve mentioned this before, but to me, Shirobako feels like family.  There are some members that annoy me, some that I embrace, but regardless, I care about them all.  I want to know what’s happening with everyone – a week seems too long to wait to catch up with the cast.  I streamed the first cour to catch up to the second, watching an episode or two each day – and getting that much of these characters felt just about right!

Shirobako 17a

Among the characters, the one I find most interesting is the director, Seiichi Kinoshita.  Besides being hillarious, there’s a realism to him despite his over-the-top tendencies.  Most of the realism comes in the way of his faults – his procrastination, stubbornness, shyness, gluttony, and insecurity.  The last of those is most interesting to me, because like the characters he creates and the context that he develops, especially in relation to Arupin, there’s reason for the way his current self has become the way he is.

Do you remember the episode that showed Kinoshita accepting an award for his early work?  He came across as humble, energetic, happy.  The Kinoshita we know now is of course largely none of those things.  But on the back of his failed marriage and ridicule regarding his work, for which he is particularly sensitive, how could we expect him to be the same?  And personal jokes or chides at his expense are common, perhaps most hurtful when they came angrily from episode director Zaruyoshi Yakushiji in episode 18.

Shirobako 15a

Words have immense power.  My wife says that my love language is words of affirmation, and perhaps that’s true – I know that when I’m praised, I’m eager and energized to serve.  And on the other hand, words can destroy, which is what I think has happened to Kinoshita.

When we use our words to hurt people, we show hatred toward them.  When we do it publicly, as Yukushiji did, we’re destroying their dignity.  We’re saying that they are trash – subhuman and unworthy.  It’s a horrible thing, and it’s no coincidence that treating people such ways are a beginning stage toward infinitely worse horrors – genocide.  After all, the perpetrators of genocide have always seen their victims as something less, as vermins, insects, and animals.

Jesus speaks to this idea as well:

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

– Matthew 5:22

When we call someone a fool or an idiot, we’re trying to humiliate them – to tell them they are less than.  As we humiliate others and strip away their dignity, we make that person feel worthless.  Unfortunately, many of us have suffered this indignation time and time again.  Jesus realized the power of words, too – he taught us that hateful words are equated with murder.  And at the very least, they murder our souls.

The question here, though, isn’t whether this behavior is bad – it’s, do we do the same?  I hope that you don’t, not on a regular basis, but certainly many do.  And I might be pessimistic, but I imagine most of us have done this, or do it from time to time, or secretly wish they could.

Our hearts are prone to all sorts of things – hatred, vengeance, evil, rage.  Thankfully, there’s always hope, and it’s shown through the opposite of what brought Kinoshita down – it’s shown through grace and love.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

4 thoughts on “Destroying Seiichi Kinoshita: Shirobako and Murderous Words

  1. Shirobako was so brilliant! I came to respect the whole anime industry in a new way, so much work, so many people involved! I loved how the show dealt with inspiration and with inspiring others, being true to the spirit of a work and its characters, how doing or not doing your work properly affects others, with cynism and idealism in the workplace (those monologues/dialogues), personal problems and deceptions which affect work, crisis and growth as a professional… And how funny, intertwined, realistic, original, clever way to tell all this! It was both inspiring and challenging. That “rebellion of the heart” in search for the final goal will stay with me. Seiichi Kinoshita was interesting, amusing and lovable as a character, and I really liked him and his arc, whose (spoilers) clinteastwoodian conclussion, “funny story”, was immensely satisfying. He came to be both the captain and the great artist he was meant to be. The relationships he built, the way his team grew to know him (and incarcerate him or trick him when necessary) were amusing. That he always missed that wife who went away I found tragic, even if the show played it for laughs. I really loved how he grew, and how he interacted with Honda and Miyamori.

    Yet, I cannot help but think that I´d have been a harsh critic of Jiggly Jiggly Heaven, were it a real show. I firmly oppose Internet lyinching, personal insults, disrespect for the work behind it, condemnations en bloc without taking the positive into account, or undue standards which don´t fit the work. But Shirobako makes good points about how good criticism is necessary for you to mature and grow, and I think that Exodus and The Third Aerial Girls Squad were good, in a way, because Kinoshita came to recognize his flaws in Jiggly Jiggly Heaven and overcame them with the help of others who were not indulgent. That said, I would have punched Zaruyoshi in that episode.

    1. You said it perfectly—for all those reasons and even more, Shirobako was a really special series. So special. I miss it dearly!

    1. Thank you! It may be temporary—we just migrated back to Wordpress and I’m getting re-acclimated to how to things around here, and what features and themes I can use.

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