Genre: Comedy, Drama
The story follows a group of five best friends, Aoi Miyamori, Ema Yasuhara, Shizuka Sakaki, Misa Tōdō, and Midori Imai, who all go into the anime industry after their experiences in the animation club of their high school, with the dream of working on an actual anime together one day. The girls all go into different fields of specialty: Ema is a key animator; Shizuka is a voice actress; Misa is a 3D computer graphics operator; Midori, still a college student, aspires to become a story writer; and Aoi is a production assistant, though she has no true idea about what to pursue as a career. However, the girls experience various obstacles in their careers: Aoi and Ema, new employees at animation studio Musashino Animation, find themselves under extreme stress every day from their demanding workloads as they work on company projects; Shizuka struggles to find a voice acting job she can be satisfied with; and Misa experiences difficulties in adjusting to her unsatisfactory workplace. The story largely follows Aoi as she struggles to do her job by making all of the necessary deliveries and coordinating efforts between other staff members involved in Musashino Animation’s projects.
The first half of the series primarily revolves around Musashino Animation’s production of an original anime series called Exodus!. Production of the series is greatly troubled largely due to its lazy and childish director Seiichi Kinoshita, whose reputation was damaged by a previous project of his, which was a massive critical and commercial flop. While Aoi is faced with a number of problems, both personal and professional, Ema becomes temporarily discouraged after being unable to draw a specific set of key frames portraying an impossible movement, though her worries are assuaged by the advice of one of her coworkers. Also, Misa decides to quit her job after receiving some advice from her boss. Eventually, as the finale of the series draws near, Seiichi drastically changes the ending, leaving Aoi to find more animators to draw scenes for it while most of her colleagues are put out of action. In her search, she learns that one of Musashino’s key animators, Shigeru Sugie, worked on her favorite childhood anime Andes Chucky. Sugie supervises the animation of the entire ending, which inspires Ema to continue to work harder in her job.
The second half of the series primarily revolves around Musashino Animation’s production of an anime series called The Third Aerial Girls Squad, which is adapted from the manga by Takezō Nogame. With the production desk left severely understaffed, Aoi is promoted to production manager and has to take it upon herself to mentor new production assistants, including Daisuke Hiraoka, who is extremely bitter and jaded. He complicates the production by bringing in unreliable animators and studios for Musashino’s outsource work. In addition, Musashino is unable to establish proper communication with Nogame due to his incompetent editor, which stalls production even further. Meanwhile, Ema is promoted to assistant general animation supervisor, Misa finds a new job at a CGI animation studio cooperating with Musashino in its project, and Midori finds a job as Musashino’s setting instructor through Aoi. However, Shizuka is turned down while auditioning for one of The Third Aerial Girls Squad‘s characters, which discourages her as she is the only girl in the group unable to participate in the project. As she tries to narrow down the reasons behind Hiraoka’s behavior, Aoi learns from Musashino’s president Masato Marukawa that the company’s predecessor, Musashino Pictures, was the studio that produced Andes Chucky, which gives her resolve to finish the production. Finally, Seiichi is able to have a personal conversation with Nogame about their conflicting views over the anime’s ending, and they work out a compromise. This leads to Shizuka being hired to voice a character in the new ending, thus fulfilling the girls’ promise of working on an anime together.
While delivering the final episode to a television station on its air-date, Aoi reflects on her past experiences, which causes her to have an epiphany about working in the anime industry. At the celebratory party for the final episode’s airing, she is congratulated for her support and delivers a speech praising everyone’s pooled efforts for making The Third Aerial Girls Squad. Afterwards, Aoi, Ema, Shizuka, Misa, and Midori meet up at a balcony and reaffirm their resolve to one day remake the anime they made back in high school, also promising each other to continue making great anime along the way.