Main Characters | Production Department | Animation Department | Central Staff | Various Departments | Outsource | Cooperating Industries | Voice Actors | Others
Five high school friends hailing from Kaminoyama High School's Animation Club. Upon completing their first animated short together they've sworn that one day all five of them would be able to produce a professional animation film together.
Voiced by: Juri Kimura (Japanese), Alyssa Marek (English)
A semi-veteran member of Musashino Animation, having worked there for a couple of years, as well as a member of the Kaminoyama High Animation Club.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When she meets with Hiraoka about the freelancers who are refusing to work for him, he rants at her about how she won't last if she insists on doing everything "the right way." She then asks, "Then why even bother continuing to do this job?"
- Ascended Fangirl: To Andes Chucky, the series that lit her passion for anime, and inspired her to enter the business. Musashino Animation, the studio she works for, used to be Musashino Pictures, the studio that animated Andes Chucky.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Honda's "We're out of options!".
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: For Kinoshita once Honda retires to work at a bakery; as a matter of fact, she is the cornerstone for the Exodus and Third Aerial Girls' Squad projects reaching their ends successfully, making her the perfect fit for a job she didn't know she wanted in the first place.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Onoue from Yokata Bookshop hands her the contact information for the Hideaki Anno stand-in, he meant it as a joke, because it would be ludicrous to ask someone of his caliber for something as simple as key animation work. Thing is, Aoi, who's desperate to get someone for the animation, didn't get the joke, and his mahjong partners tell him that she's is going to show up at the guy's doorstep. The very least thing that he can do at that point is to call him and let him know she's coming.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Unlike her friends, Aoi doesn't know exactly which position in the animation production process she wants to work.
- Didn't See That Coming: Sure, everyone worked together to bring the character of Lucy into fruition, but Aoi certainly didn't expect her dear friend Shizuka to be voicing her.
- Drives Like Crazy: Aoi has to compete with other companies for getting animation freelancer services. First-come-first-serve; whichever staff reaches the freelancer first, he or she will take their case. So Aoi has no choice but to go on rallies with other companies, since everyone is desperate.
- Exhausted Eye Bags: Has those at the beginning of episode 19, due to the usual reasons. as a result, she's given a scented candle and told to go home to sleep before coming back to work the morning afterward fully recovered by Yano.
- Heroic BSoD: When word comes from a outside contractor that Musashino's FTP server is down and they will unable to deliver their work in time for Episode 4's air date, she shuts down completely. Yano has to take her aside and gently try to coax the problem out of her, but the combination of lack of sleep, extreme stress, low blood sugar and total panic have left Aoi unable to spit it out.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: While her self-esteem isn't as bad as Ema's, she often says that she doesn't feel ready for the responsibilities, and frequently apologizes for her shortcomings.
- In-Series Nickname: The production and central management like to refer to her as "Ace" because of her reliability.
- The Leader: De facto, to the Kaminomiya High Animation Club.
- Plucky Girl: As Episode 11 shows, she's nothing if not persistent. When faced with a dearth of the key animators for Exodus! Episode 13, she even has enough chutzpah to turn to a thinly veiled Hideaki Anno stand-in introduced to her by one of Nabe-P's mahjong partners (Onoue, the CEO of Yokata Bookshop); Onoue tried to do it as a joke, but his partners made him realize that she will show up at the guy's doorstep, prompting Onoue to at least give the guy a call telling him to expect Aoi.
- To drive the previous point through, Aoi doesn't seem to realize how huge the contact actually is; this is because she is too young to have seen his body of work.
- The Protagonist: After the opening ensemble scene, most of the series focuses on Aoi's development as a character and learning about the ins-and-outs of the anime industry. Her position as a Production Assistant allows her see the different aspects of the anime industry in comparison to her friends who have an explicit specialty.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Just like Yano-senpai, to Tarou, especially after she acquired a habit to cut his bragging down just as he starts.
- Tears of Joy/Tender Tears: She spends the end of Episode 23 quietly crying in relief upon realizing that Shizuka finally got her big break and is hired to voice Lucy, Third Aerial Girls' Squad's Last Episode, New Character and Catherine's little sister, in the process finally fulfilling the five girls' promise to work together in a professional anime project.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Doughnuts.
- Trying Not to Cry: Aoi tries to hide her face behind a script when Shizuka notices her crying out of the sheer happiness of finally seeing her dear friend earn her break at voice acting.
- You Are in Command Now:
- At the end of the Exodus! arc, due to Ochiai being forced to leave MusAni to help with a troubled anime project staffed by a college friend, Aoi is saddled with producing probably the show's most episode: its Grand Finale, despite all her inexperience.
- For Third Aerial Girls' Squad, because Honda also retired to set up a bakery and Erika took a leave to look after her sick father, the production department got down to essentially three people: Aoi, Tarou and Watanabe. Tarou being Tarou, and with Watanabe having his hands full, the girl is now the production manager.Aoi: But what do I have to do?
Voiced by: Haruka Yoshimura (Japanese), Savanna Menzel (English)
Another member of Aoi's old clique and fellow semi-veteran at MusAni.
- The Apprentice: To Mr. Sugie, Ogasawara and Iguchi, her fellows at the animation department, and the freelancer Segawa, once she realizes that it's wise to ask for help and input, and that breaks are important.
- Big Sister Mentor: Serves this role to Ai for the Third Aerial Girls' Squad arc.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Has a tendency to blurt out what's on her mind in a soft, yet still audible voice.
- First-Name Basis: She's the only one of the main group who goes by her first name among her friends- Aoi and Shizuka use yobisute, while Misa and Midori use "-senpai." Iguchi eventually starts calling her "Emacchi," too.
- Grew a Spine: While still the same soft-spoken, shy girl, Ema eventually grows more confident, taking it upon herself to become Ai's mentor just like how Yumi was to her, and even volunteering to animate the additional scenes at the end of Third Aerial Girls' Squad.
- Perpetual Poverty: This isn't explicitly stated, but being an animator isn't a high-paying job at all. The animation industry isn't awash in money in general, but low-level animators have it worst. She is the lowest-paid among the core five, and her salary — ¥93,000 (~$775) per month, or ¥1.116 million (~$9,300) per year — is considered dirt-poor by Japanese standards, being on par with the income of a (not particularly hardworking) college student working part-time.note In fact, following this infographic◊, Midori, the only one of the main girls who is still a student, earns almost twice as much.note It's also pretty visible when Aoi visits her at the end of Episode 5. Ema lives in a shabby studio, while Aoi, whose salary is over twice higher at ¥192,000 (~$1,600) per month, lives in a standard rental apartment.
- To drive the subject further, the show makes a point in Ema calling her mom to tell her that she's going to be able to make a living after all. Not even Shizuka is shown having that sort of struggle even when she's barely getting any work in her field in the first place, though by no means she is having it any easier than Ema; at least Ema is working where she wants to work and not being kept out.
- Sand In My Eyes: In Episode 24 she visibly tries to fight off her tears before animating the final scenes of Third Aerial Girls' Squad. Especially during the time when she's interpreting, and appreciating Shizuka's performance as Lucy.
- Shrinking Violet: She is very shy and has low self-esteem. Luckily, fellow animator Yumi teaches her how to deal with artist's blocks and generally takes the same attitude to her as Erika does to Aoi.
Role: Lucy Weller (Third Aerial Girls' Squad)
Voiced by: Haruka Chisuga (Japanese), Rachael Messer (English)
An aspiring anime voice actress working for Aka Oni Production, as well as a part-time waitress and a minor stage performer.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Her friends repeatedly point out how they are slowly advancing towards their goals while Shizuka has to tell them that she either didn't get parts, or is stuck voicing a costumed character. She's there, she's hoping and she's supportive of her friends, but it's pretty obvious that she's sad that she's getting left behind in spite of her efforts.
- The Apprentice: To Mari Tateo, her mentor. The very few voiceover work that Shizuka gets, and most of her auditions, come from her.
- "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Does this to Aoi in Episode 21 when Aoi is about to mention Shizuka's status as an aspiring voice actress to Aoi's colleagues, presumably not wanting her friend to try to pull strings to get her a job.
- Broken Bird: Invoked and Subverted. Out of the five, it takes her the longest to land a decent role in her line of work, and it's shown that it bears her down to the point of almost bending, until she lands a crucial part in the Third Aerial Girls' Squad finale. Aoi is so happy at seeing her in the recording booth and Ema is so elated at animating her friend's part that they break down in tears, both knowing what she's been through until that very moment.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Souses herself with cans of beer and bags of potato chips in Episode 22 while watching another voice actress with whom she auditioned for RoboHaru guesting at a TV show.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And, oh did she struggle to get it!
- Hard Work Hardly Works: For most of the series, where she seems to be absolutely unable to land anything more than a bit role despite all her effort. Made especially obvious by the scene in Episode 22, where she watches an interview of an already-famous voice actress she's attended their first audition with (which was in Episode 4, half a year ago in-series). Averted at last in Episode 23, where she finally lands her first major role, a new character in Third Aerial Girls' Squad created by Nogame and Kinoshita to get them out of the finale dead-end, and Episode 24 has her voicing a minor character for Prince of Baseball, the same anime she had a bit role back in Episode 9.
- Hurting Hero: She puts a brave face, but her four closest friends know full well just how much she's hurting by not being able to work in the field of her choice. When it all comes together for her, it's a guaranteed Tear Jerker.
- In-Series Nickname: "Zuka-chan", according to her friends.
- Living Prop: A good potion of her roles were this, at least until she lands a big break as a Last Episode, New Character with a short but meaningful appearance.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Her friends had no idea that she'd been cast for the finale of the very series they're working on, finally earning her break in the industry. She herself had no idea that she was so close to being cast in the first place.
- Missed Him by That Much: Turns out, she was barely out of the shortlist for voice actors in Third Aerial Girls' Squad and had a very positive marks from the studio other than sounding too young for the roles. The Director has her on the back of his mind until the very last moment, where he finally has a use for her talents.
- Out of Focus: Because of the fact that she doesn't directly work with Musashino Animation (even Misa, the other member of their clique working outside MusAni, at least works with an affiliate company to whom MusAni outsourced their 3D work for Third Aerial Girls' Squad), Shizuka's held the least focus among the five friends. Still, her plot is not by any means less important than those of her friends; just compare the amount of Shizuka's character tropes in this very page with her friends' own tropes.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: She's so perfect for the part of Lucy in Third Aerial Girls' Squad that she delivers her lines flawlessly in the first try. Her performance leaves her friends Aoi and Ema in tears.
- Sentimental Drunk: Not quite Drowning Her Sorrows, but Shizuka's been shown to drink off her disappointments in not getting a break in her business.
- Service Sector Stereotypes: She works at a snack bar, and any scene not focusing on her voice acting will inevitably show her there.
- So Proud of You: Ema can barely contain her tears of happiness at being given the task of animating Shizuka's part as "Lucy", her dear friend's first major role after years of struggle to break through in voice acting.
- This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Shizuka dissuades Aoi from mentioning that she's a voice artist to a couple of studio executives whom Aoi is meeting with at Shizuka's workplace.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Finally gets a break in Episode 23, being hired by Kinoshita to voice Third Aerial Girls' Squad's Last Episode, New Character, Lucy.
- Waiting for a Break: She's serving tables while waiting for her break in voice acting. Under any other circumstance, a struggling actress would be in the same position as the stereotype goes, but voice acting for anime is a highly specialized niche with longtime established performers, making her possibilities of success considerably low in spite of her talent... that is, until she finally breaks through.
- Wham Line: In a meta example, when she finally lands the role of Lucy for Third Aerial Girls' Squad, the last line she delivers in the booth serves as both the closure of the session and a personal heartfelt declaration of her own feelings at the opportunity. It leaves Aoi in tears of joy when she says it:Shizuka (as Lucy): That's the only thing I can do. Because it's my dream (..) I just got a step closer to my dream!
Voiced by: Asami Takano (Japanese), Juliet Simmons (English)
An aspiring 3D artist and another member of the Kaminomiya High Animation Club. She briefly worked for prestigious Super Media Creations, but dissatisfaction with the workplace moved her to transfer to lower-paying but less creatively restrictive Studio Kanabun.
- Boyish Short Hair: Her hair is the shortest out of all the club members.
- Gilded Cage: Metaphorically. Super Media Creations pays well, has nice benefits, steady stream of work, and unlike many Japanese companies that run their employees till they drop, there are reasonable hours, a relaxed pace and easily available days-off. The downside is that the CEO, having already proved himself as an artist, runs it as a purely for-profit outfit, specializing on car modeling. They've already made themselves a name for it, and it allows them to have all these nice things, but for Misa, who does nothing except drawing wheels and tires for months, it feels stifling and unfulfilling, thus forcing her to move out to another company which pays less but not as monotonous.
- Serkis Folk: Shown as a motion capture model in the first opening.
- Tomboy: She has short hair and dresses a bit more boyishly than the others.
Voiced by: Hitomi Ohwada (Japanese), Taylor Fono (English)
Youngest member of the Kaminomiya High Animation Club, the only one still in college, and an enthusiastic researcher. Starts moonlighting for the studio to research various things, and then gets officially hired as a setting researcher and their scriptwriter understudy.
- The Apprentice: She considers herself Maitake's student whether he likes it or not (Maitake being the head screenwriter for Exodus and Third Aerial Girls' Squad).
- Brainy Brunette: She's into literary classics, up to pulling the all-nighter with Crime and Punishment, and openly admits that she likes to learn the new things, which makes her perfect for the job.
- Genki Girl: She's one of the more cheerful and energetic members of the club.
- In-Series Nickname: The animators and central staff call her "Diesel-san" because of the research in trains she did for Aoi for Exodus; she takes a liking to the nickname when she first hears it.
- Red Baron: She's known about the studio as "Diesel-san", after the time when she first moonlighted for the studio, researching the schedules and specifics of the diesel trains on a particularly obscure railway branch for Exodus!. Everyone was impressed by the quality of her research, so the name stuck even after she got officially hired for Third Aerial Girls' Squad.
- The Reliable One: She builds a reputation as an avid and reliable researcher in Musashino Animation even before anyone else but Aoi knows her name. She gets hired at the first opportunity she has.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: A delayed case. The day after Hiraoka gives her a misogynistic rant deriding her for being a Naïve Newcomer who gets preferential treatment due to being a woman, Midori tells Hiraoka that she isn't underestimating the job and that none of the lines she submitted for the script ended up being used. The latter comment not only proves that she isn't getting special treatment, but that she's resilient enough to keep going even if she fails.