This is the beginning of a detailed survey into the politics of anime production insofar as they produce an organic dialectic of aesthetic appreciations circumstantiated by author-centri——nah, I can’t do that.

Here’s a translation of the terms used in Shirobako as listed on their glossary page.

These terms are by no means universal; a disclaimer at the bottom of the page USED to state that, “This is an explanation of terms used at Musani Animation. The interpretation and use of these terms may differ depending on the studio.” I have no idea where the disclaimer went.

I’ve provided commentary on some of the items, written in bold. If I’ve made any mistakes on these translations, or if you’d like something elucidated/added specifically, please don’t hesitate to comment. If I can’t give you an answer, I can definitely point you towards someone who’s more knowledgeable.

This list is complete as of March 26th, 2015, and is organized according to the order the terms appear on the glossary page. Terms are introduced by a tentative translation, the original Japanese, and then the romanized Japanese. I’ve omitted any redundant or otherwise unimportant terms.

Along with the glossary, the website features a neat page on the flow of anime production, an example of how a normal studio’s production schedule might look like, and Exodus!’s screwed up schedule (click the option which reads 進行表; note the delays in storyboard completion [コンテUP] from episode 3 onwards).

NOTE: all instances of “photography” refer to it as it is defined in this glossary.


UP (アップ appu) — appears to be an abbreviation for ‘close-up’.

post-recording (アフレコ afureko) — the Japanese word is an abbreviation for “after-recording”. This term refers to the recording of voices to match the visuals. With regards to anime [1], this process often uses a version of the footage prepared for post-recording, as opposed to the final version. Alternatively, recording the voices first and then creating the visuals to match them is referred to as “pre-scoring.”

The footage used for post-recording. 8:02, episode 2.

Footage used for post-recording. From episode 2.

A rougher example used for post-recording. 20:10, episode 21.

An example of rougher post-recording footage. From episode 12.

coloring (色つき irotsuki) — the process of coloring in the footage used for editing and sound recording. Footage at this stage is nearly complete. Colorless line drawings (線画 senga) are referred to as line footage (線撮 sensatsu) [2] or whites (白い shiroi). Because senga are uncolored, they contain less information than colored drawings. This makes them unsuitable for accurate editing and recording. Nowadays however, due to productions running behind schedule, it’s not too uncommon for sound recording to proceed with senga. The picture above is an example.

color coordination (色指定 iroshitei) — during the planning process of each scene, the color coordinator creates something called a “color model”. This color model dictates what colors are to be used for which characters. This term, iroshiteirefers to the process of assigning these color models to each scene and the person in charge of this assignment. The color coordinator will usually decide on colors for one-off or unimportant characters. Once a cut has been color coordinated, it’s sent to the finishing department to be colored. 

submitted (入れ切り irekiri) — a term/label used to indicate that all the work materials have been handed over.

A-part (Aパート ei paato) — the part of an episode before the CMs (commercials).

storyboard (絵コンテ ekonte) — created from the script, each storyboard features illustrations of each cut, as well as details such as the length of the cut, the composition of the scene, dialogue length, and interactions between characters. They may be understood as the “blueprints” for an anime. [3] Footage shot using the storyboard is referred to as ‘storyboard footage’ (絵コンテ撮 ekonte satsu). This footage is sometimes used for post-recording sessions when studios are hard on time.

Storyboard for a part of Madoka Magica 12th episode. The vertical columns are divided into cut number, lines, visuals, content / comments / directions,  and cut length in seconds. Taken from the Puella Magi wiki.

Storyboard for a part of Madoka Magica’s 12th episode. The columns are divided into cut number, lines, visuals, comments, and cut length in seconds. Taken from the Puella Magi wiki.

An example of a storyboard from Musashino animation for the final episode of Exodus!. Taken from 9:46, episode 12 of Shirobako.

An example of a storyboard. For the final episode of Exodus!. From episode 12.

storyboards are being cut (絵コンテを切ってる ekonte wo kitteru) — a stage in the production process that indicates storyboards are being drawn.

technical director [4] (演出 enshutsu) — the person who ensures that the all aspects of production align with the storyboard’s goals. The enshutsu is responsible for managing the entire production process, overseeing quality checks, and managing meetings when necessary.

Musashino's enshutsu. Taken from episode 1.

Musashino’s enshutsu for Exodus!. From episode 1.

M (えむ emu) — gekiban (劇伴), or background music.

all rush (オールラッシュ ooru rasshu) — the process of lining up each cut (see: rush) in numerical order and checking to see if they flow as a unit. This is meant to verify that there’s a consistency in the scenes and a logical order to the cuts—something that’s hard to judge from individual cuts.

heavy cut (重いカット omoi katto) — this term is used to refer to cuts that require either a lot of work or very skilled craftsmanship. These cuts are said to be high on “calories”. The heaviness of the last cuts in Exodus! is part of the reason Miyamori struggles to find competent and willing key animators in episodes 11-12.  

sound production (音響制作 onkyou seisaku) — the production department / staff responsible for communicating with sound staff, production staff, and voice actors. Also responsible for liaising with audio studios and commissioning scripts for post-recording.

sound director (音響監督 onkyou kantoku) — the person in charge of audio-related things in the project. This includes duties like casting the voice actors, commissioning music for the production, directing how and when to use background music and sound effects in the dubbing (refer to “dubbing”), and providing acting directions to the voice actors.

This guy. 6:55, episode 2.

This guy. From episode 2.

collection (回収 kaishuu) — in the anime industry, it’s rare for all of the staff members to work at one location. The production team is responsible for picking up and dropping off materials at each member’s workshop. This tends to be the job of the production assistants. 

cut envelope (カット袋 katto bukuro) — a thick paper envelope used to carry materials so as to prevent any marring or damage to them. Even though anime production is becoming increasingly digitized, most drawings are still done by hand―therefore, these envelopes are still necessary. The cut’s number, length, supervisor, number of sheets, camera work and any special contents are recorded directly onto the cut envelope.

Miyamori and Segawa going over the cut envelopes. Episode 1.

Miyamori and Segawa going over the cut envelopes. From episode 1.

Miyamori sitting over a stack of cut envelopes. Episode 5.

Miyamori sitting over a stack of cut envelopes. From episode 5.

cutting (カッティング kattingu) — editing work. Refer to “editing” for a more detailed description.

recutting (再カッティング saikattingu) — when the product has to be re-edited. This usually only happens after a large-scale change in content (whether narrative or visual), or if the broadcast format changes.

carbon line / trace (カーボン線 caabon sen) — this is the line produced on a cel after a hand-drawn picture is traced onto the cel with carbon paper (カーボン紙 kaabon shi). The resulting trace is used as a painting guideline for the cel animator. At one point, this work was done by hand. Animators eventually moved to using trace machines to save time and mitigate the possible human error.

Here is Shirobako's reproduction of a trace machine. They became largely useless after animation's move to digital composition.

Note in the upper right the presence of blank white and black sheets. The black sheets are carbon paper; the original drawing, a sheet of carbon paper, and a cel underneath that would be placed in a tracing machine which would produce a trace onto the cel. From Shirobako 19.

camerawork (カメラワーク kamerawaaku) — a general term used to refer to the technique of moving the “camera” [5]. Think cinematography: pans, angles, zooms, tracking shots, etc. Here’s an example of simple but effective camerawork. 

walla / background noise (ガヤ gaya) — name comes from the “yada yada” or “walla walla” effect achieved by a mass of unintelligible voices. Basically just “background” or “crowd” noise. The sound of street chatter or cheering crowds can be used in various scenes. 

An example of how 'geya' sounds are created. Shizuka gets a bit too excited, however.

An example of how ‘gaya’ sounds are created. Shizuka gets a bit too excited, however. From episode 9.

director (監督 kantoku) — the person who controls all (creative) aspects of the production. The kantoku participates in all the early stages of production, like series planning (企画 kikaku) and scenario writing. Responsible for indicating things like direction and the overall feeling of the anime to every section.

Kinoshita Seiichi. The director of Exodus! and the critically acclaimed Jiggly Jiggly Heaven. From episode 1.

Kinoshita Seiichi. The director of Exodus! and the critically acclaimed Jiggly Jiggly Heaven. From episode 1.

CMP (完パケ kanpake) — an abbreviation for “Complete Media Package” (完全パッケジーメディア). A file that is kanpake is complete and ready to air.

script (脚本 kyakuhon) — answers the question of ”Who is doing what, when, and where?” Details prop directions, character interactions, lines of dialogue, and stage directions.

recording (記録 kiroku) — when a retake is called for during a rush check (see: rush check), some of the footage checking staff may be called upon to record. It is their job to record the cut number of cuts requiring retakes, as well as the content of each cut.

cue lamp (キューランプ kyuu ranpu) — refers to a lamp inside the recording booth [6]. The control room uses this to give cues to the cast.

A cue lamp from episode 9.

A cue lamp from episode 9.

character designer (キャラクターデザイン kyarakutaadezain) — the person who drafts up each character in order for animators to get a grasp on how to move them. It tends to be the character designer who creates the character drafts, but it’s not too rare for the animators to take over this duty.

An example of a character draft. From episode 13.

An example of a character draft. From episode 13.

clean-up (クリンナップ kurinnappu) — the process making the line work in rough drafts (of in-betweens, key frames, etc) cleaner and smoother.

gross (グロス gurosu) — ‘gross’ refers to “whole”, or “entire”, as in gross domestic product. In a TV production context, a ‘gross’ production would refer to outsourcing the production of an entire episode to a different company. A company that accepts these outsource requests is understood as a ‘gross-uke’ (gross contractor—may be understood simply as a subcontractor).

background music (ゲキバン gekiban) — the music that accompanies scenes. Sometimes also referred to as “M”.

key animation / key frame (原画 genga) — literally means ‘original pictures’. This term refers to illustrations (frames) of key movements within cuts (the starts, pivotal moments, and ends of each movement). A person in charge of these illustrations is called a key animator, or genga man (原画マン). [7]

An example of a key frame. Iori from Idolm@ster: Kagayaki no Mukou e. From

An example of a key frame. Iori in the middle of a pitch. From Idolm@ster: Kagayaki no Mukou e. From

key frame paper (原画用紙 gengayoushi) — refers to the type of paper used by key animators. See the above image.

key footage (原撮 gensatsu) — short for ‘key animation footage’ (genga satsuei 原画撮影) . Refers to footage shot using ONLY the key animation. An example from Shirobako’s Exodus! can be seen here.

master version (原版 genban) — the master version of the anime that broadcasting agencies use when they need to make copies.

cast list (香盤表 kobanhyou) — a list of which characters appear in which scenes. The cast list used in voice recording is different from that used in animation. Episode 2 discusses one used in one acting.

A kobanhyou used for sakuga. This is from Panty & Stocking, episode 1.

A kobanhyou used for sakuga. This is from Panty & Stocking, episode 1.

effects (効果 kouka) — the department that oversees the preparation and application of environmental or emotional sound effects to parts that require it. Often abbreviated to SE (sound effects). [8]

Miyamori helping in the creation of sound effects. From episode 10.

Miyamori helping in the creation of sound effects. From episode 10.

storyboard film (コンテ撮 ekonte satsu) — footage shot to the specifications described by the storyboard.

animation (作画 sakuga) — a generic term used to refer to both key frames (genga) and in-betweens (douga), or the work of the animation director (sakkan). [9]

animation retake (作画リテイク sakuga riteiku) — this is a retake of any undesirable animation revealed during rush checking; it’s usually concerned with correcting things like missing parts of the frame (or the characters) and corrections to character expressions or interactions.

animation deterioration / THE FALL OF SAKUGA (作画崩壊 sakuga houkai) — a term used to indicate that the quality of animation has gone down the shitter. Usually happens when production falls behind schedule.

Let Jiggly Jiggly Heaven be a warning to you. From episode 7.

From episode 7.

animation plan (作画プラン sakuga plan) — the planning of character interactions and scene compositions.

animation meeting (作打ち saku uchi) — an abbreviation for sakuga uchiawase (作画打ち合わせ). When key animators and technical directors meet in order to discuss how to best meet the intentions of the storyboard.

replacement (差し替え sashikae) — the process of replacing incomplete footage with its more complete counterpart (e.g. uncolored → colored). This process takes place during editing—before post-recording, before dubbing, and before creating the master.

photography / photography department (撮影 satsuei) — the part of production which involves layering the character and background materials and, along with any photographical and visual effects, converting the product into movie data. In the modern age, most of this work is done digitally with software. Before the popularization of digital composition, however, actual cameras were used in this process. The photographer would place any moving materials on top of the background layer and literally take photos of the shots with a rostrum camera or an equivalent tool; hence the name.

photography meeting (撮影打ち satsuei uchi) — a meeting held between the technical director and director of photography (撮影監督 satsuei kantoku) before photography begins.

photo ordering (撮入れ satsuire) — the ordering of materials from the photography department.

photo ordering complete (撮影入れ切れ satsuei irekire) — term used to indicate that all the materials for photography have been delivered to the department.

animation director/supervisor (作監 sakkan) — short for sakuga kantoku (作画監督). Responsible for ensuring the quality of the sakuga for each episode assigned to them. Makes sure that the sakuga from the various animators is visually consistent, and corrects any mistakes in whole or in part; naturally, this person has some skill at animation themself. If a production schedule turns particularly dire, it’s not uncommon for multiple animation directors to distribute the work between themselves for a single episode.

One of the sakkan for Exodus!, Segawa Misato. From episode 1.

One of the sakkan for Exodus!, Segawa Misato. From episode 1.

Psycho-Pass 2 is a recent example of using a ton of sakkans. Episodes 9 and 11 had way too many 作画監督s, and it shows.

Psycho-Pass 2 is a recent example of using a lot of sakkan. Episodes 9 and 11 had way too many of them, and it’s reflected in the quality of those episodes.

animation director’s upload (作監アップ sakkan appu) — the animation director’s deadline for completing their cuts. Or, their work itself.

submitting it to the AD (作監入れ sakkan ire) — the process of handing over the materials for the animation director to work on. This occurs after the layouts or key animations have passed the technical directors check. This term may also be used to refer to the materials themselves.

animation director’s work (作監作業 sakkan sagyou) — refers to the corrective work that the animation director does.

animation director’s assistant (作監補 sakkanho) — the department responsible for helping to reduce the amount of work an animation director has to do by assisting them in their duty.

finishing (仕上げ shiage) — this is the department that colors in things like the characters and smaller articles (accessories, props, etc) in the senga. [11] Although nowadays the coloring is done on computers, in the days of cel animation this department would color in the transparent acetate cels with actual paint.

finishing check (仕上げ検査 shiage kensa) — the finishing department is where the video data is colored in. The finishing check takes involves verifying that all the materials were colored in correctly and that there are no objections to the product.

color setting (色彩設計 shikisai sekkei) — the section that decides on what colors will be used for what characters and props. Since it’s vital for the character colors to fit in with the backgrounds, this section goes through and checks the colors against a variety of scene backgrounds.

color sample (色彩サンプル shikisai sanpuru) — since in cel animation animators use actual paint, they require a guideline color compound for objects, props, people, etc—the color sample. This is homologous to digital animation’s “color model” [see: color coordination].

first pass (初号 shogou) — the ‘first draft’ of a completed project. When, at a later point, corrections are done, those products are referred to as second and third passes, and so on. Analogous to a software program’s ‘release candidate’. 

 length (尺 shaku) — this word, shaku, specifically refers to the length of a cut, or section of film, in seconds. 

correction form (修正用紙 shuusei youshi) —  these are colored sheets of paper used when corrections to a layout or key frame are necessary. They tend to be color-coded according to the person who corrects them, so the person who did the comments/corrections is easily distinguishable. A layout, for example, goes through the episode director, the chief animation director, the animation director, the director themselves, etc; each of these persons will use a differently colored form. According to this website, it’s common (but not a rule) for episode directors to use pink, animation directors to use orange or yellow, and chief animation directors to use light green. See ‘chief animation director’ for an example of how one of these works.

white ball music (白玉系 shirotama kei) — anything longer than or equal to a half note is referred to as a “white ball”, which derives its name from the fact that, on a musical score, such notes look like white balls (compare ♪, a quarter note, and ○, a whole note). Music of this type is called “white ball music”. The musical effect such a composition creates is often suitable for slower, more dramatic scenes.

progression sheets (進行表 production sheets) — a single TV anime episode is composed of around 280~340 cuts. The progression sheet is where each cut’s progress is summarized. Management of the progression sheet is vital to the anime’s schedule. Although maintaining an up-to-date sheet is an elementary practice, many newcomers forget to update it and thereby face the ire of the desk.

newbie animators (新人作画 shinjin sakuga) — animators who don’t have much experience.

Aptitude at drawing animals' movements may vary between newbies. From episode 8.

Poor Ema. From episode 8.

film splicer/joiner (スプライサー supuraisaa) — a tool used to merge and separate parts of a film. Here’s a video explaining how it’s used.

You can see a film splicer here. It’s the machine with a purple handle. From Shirobako 19.

3D check (3Dチェック 3dii chekku) — verifying the quality of 3D models and their motions. [12]

3D director (3D監督 3dii kantoku) — the person in charge of the 3DCG used during production. Checks the work of other members in the 3D department, and manages the department’s schedules and materials.
production assistants (制作進行 seisaku shinkou) — the people responsible for moving the production along from the finishing of the storyboard to the final episode’s delivery. They are responsible for a wide variety of tasks during the process, including the management of materials and schedules, deskwork, the arrangement of staff members, and the collection and distribution of materials. Because of their involvement with nearly every step of the production process, animation assistants often become technical directors or producers.
Our favorite production assistants.

Our favorite production assistants.

production committee (制作委員会 seisaku iinkai) — responsible for raising capital and managing the production’s financial aspects. The committee seeks to diversify risk by seeking investments from various businesses. Investment partners receive various royalties and rights, such as the right to produce novelization, CDs, packaged goods, or toys.

groundwork (設定作業 settei sagyou) — the department in charge of the character designs, art designs/background, and ordering prop designs. Also in charge of gathering data and reference materials.

line sheet (台詞シート serifu shiito) — a sheet containing instructions for when each character should speak and for how long.

production conference (制作会議 seisaku kaigi) — a meeting in which the line producer, production desk, groundwork department and production assistants gather to exchange progress reports and necessary notifications.

cel — short for ‘celluloid’. A transparent sheet used back in the days of cel animation. These were used in early animation because of their ability to act as layers. For example: say you want to animate a scene with two people in it, but only want to move one of the characters. You would then use two cels, each with one character on them, and a background layer behind that, and then animate the desired character’s motions, only switching out their layer. With cels, you don’t have to, say, redraw the background or the second character every time. 

ZERO FRAME (0コマ zero koma) — used to refer to times when, due to action or fast dialogue, lines must be delivered at a rapid-fire pace. Apparently the term, ’0 frame’, comes from the fact that anime runs on 24 frames a second—which also serves as a metric for counting time.
*NOTE: the original Japanese for this term is more or less nonsensical without context. The only reason I’m capable of providing a (tentative!) explanation of this term is because Tomohiko Ishii made a passing mention on Twitter about ‘koma’ in reference to voice acting and breathing. The translation of his tweet goes as follows: “It seems like, at the very least, voice actors need 9 out of every 24 frames (1/3rd of a second) to breathe. Otherwise, they’ll get mad and go, ‘I can’t breathe!’ Haha!.”

chief animation director (総作監 sou sakkan) — short for sou sakuga kantoku (総作画監督). The person who ensures that the design of the characters from each animation director remains consistent across episodes. [15]

The kind of corrective work that a sousakkankantoku does. From episode 3.

The kind of corrective work that a general animation director does. From episode 3.

sorter (ソーター sootaa) — the copy machine function used when a number of pages have to be copied.

time sheet (タイムシート taimu shiito) — a sheet containing timings and instructions for photography. If you’re curious as to how these things work, consider reading raito-kun’s excellent explanation over here. 

tap/peg bar (タップ tappu) — an instrument used to keep each sheet of animation from sliding.

Here's a cute illustration.

Here’s a cute illustration.

dubbing (ダビング dabbingu) — the process of matching voice recordings, BGM (background music), and sound effects to the moving image.

pre-dubbing swap (ダビング前差し替え dabingu sashikae) — this refers to the process of swapping out the incomplete data used in post-recording and replacing it with complete, dubbing-use material. This helps the dubbing process go more smoothly.

tick markers / ‘TWEENS NOTES (ツメ指示 tsumesiji) — when key frames are finished, they’re sometimes marked with like claw-shaped notes called tsumesiji. These are meant to indicate flow: the start and end of the marker indicate key frames, and the number of ticks in between (ha!) represent the required number of in-betweens. The distance between these ticks indicates the relative degree of displacement or movement required by each key frame. This is important in that they guide the in-betweeners towards the desired range (and speed) of action. There are three types of tsumesiji, indicating the need for front-weighted (さきづめ), equally weighted (両づめ), or back-weighted (あとづめ) in-betweens.


Here’s an example of front-weighted ticks.

An example of equally weighted ticks.

An example of equally weighted ticks.

desk (デスク desuku) — the person in charge of the production assistants and the entire project’s schedule. Furthermore, this person is responsible for regulating the main staff’s workload, any follow-up to that work by the animation assistants, and addressing any problems that may occur over the production process. In general, if a call comes through from the desk, or they ask for a meeting, something’s probably gone wrong.

doushi (動仕) — this term is a portmanteau of douga (in-betweens) and shiage (finishing). It’s used most often in the term ‘doushi scattering’ (doushi maki), to indicate when a studio outsources the in-betweens and finishing (see: scattering).

cel translucency / THE DARKNESS OF LIGHT (透過光の裏打ち toukakou no urauchi[17]) — if you were to simply paint a cel and then photograph it, the backlight from the photography stand would shine through and interfere with the colors. While this does have its specialized uses in cel animation (such as making eyes glow, as seen here), most of the time that degree of brilliance is undesirable. To prevent that, the backsides of the relevant portions of each cel were painted black.

in-between check (動画検査 douga kensa) — the department that checks whether or not the in-betweens have been done according to directions and without any mistakes. This is a step before the Finishing Department.

in-between (動画 douga) — the process of cleaning up the key frames if necessary, and creating the frames in between each key frame; hence the name ‘in-between’. The term refers to the department in charge of creating these frames and the frames themselves. People who work in in-betweening are called ‘in-betweeners’, or dougaman (動画マン). Skip to 1:52 in the following video for an example of how douga works.

stage directions (ド書き dogaki) — details the parts of the scenario outside of the dialogue, such as movements, context, and emotions.

talkback/intercom (トークバック tookubakku) — the intercom used by persons in the control room (and especially the sound director) to communicate with and give directions to the talents inside the recording booth.

light box (トレース台 toreesu dai) — a box with a fluorescent light underneath a glass or acrylic pane. It’s included in an animator’s desk. Since placing two overlapping pieces of paper on the box allows an animator to see both sheets, it’s used when doing key frames and in-betweens to maintain accuracy.

Here's an example of the effect a light box produces. From

Here’s an example of the effect a light box produces. From

melting in-betweens (中割りが溶ける nakawari ga tokeru) — nakawari (中割り) is a term used to refer to in-betweens. When the quality of the in-betweens causes the overall quality of animation to drop, they’re are said to be ‘melting’ (溶ける).

second key (二原 nigen)— short for dainigenga (第二原画), or second key animation. There are two steps in the production of key animation: first, layouts, and then creating key frames. Key animators may be further separated into first and second key animators. The second KAs, despite what creative influence the name might seem to attribute to them, act more as assistants of the First KAs, checking and cleaning up the first KAs’ work before submitting it to the animation director.

delivery (納品 nouhin) — the distribution of the finished footage to sponsors, agencies, broadcasters and other concerned parties.

bara (バラ) — the photographed data of each cut. The checking and possible re-taking of this data is known as the bara-check.

bara-check (バラチェック bara chekku) — the process of checking each individual cut in the scatter, making sure that the photography has been completed as instructed. Checks if any cuts require adjustment or tuning. Since the cuts are viewed individually in this process, this is referred to as a ‘scatter check’ (from the Japanese barabara, ‘scattered’ or ‘disconnected’).

paraffin (パラ para) — this is the process of adding shadows or gradations during photography. Back when anime used to be photographed onto film, paraffin paper (hence, para) was used to create these effects.

halation (ハレーション hareeshon) — if animation cels acquire any bumps or scrapes, the backlight used during photography will reflect off of these surface imperfections and interfere with the photography lens. This is called ‘halation’, after the photographical effect of the same name.

on ones (1コマ打ち hitokoma uchi) — an anime runs on 24 frames per second. To say that something is animated ‘on ones’ means that each of those frames is a new image, delivering 24 distinct images per second. In contrast, something animated ‘on threes’ has a new frame every third frame, bringing the total to 8 distinct images per second. TV anime, for the most part, tends to be animated on threes. It should be noted that while animation on ones has the tendency to result in very smooth movement, more drawings per second doesn’t necessarily mean that the animation is good. Timing is an immensely important aspect of how good animation looks: Sakura Trick has a section in its OP which, despite being animated on ones, looks awful and rushed. Yatterman Nights’ OP, in contrast, contains fight scenes animated on threes but with excellent timing.

BG Meeting (BG打ち合わせ biijiiuchiawase) — a meeting held when ordering backgrounds from an arts company. Studio Pablo of WIXOSS fame is one such arts company. This is also called an ‘arts meeting’ (美打ち biuchi) or ‘background meeting’ (背景打ち haikeiuchi). 

B-part (Bパート bii paato) — the part of an anime episode after the commercial break.

video comp (V編 bui hen) — shorthand for bideo henshuu (ビデオ編集), or video compilation. This refers to the final stages of production, when the  subtitles, captions, or tickers [13] are added to the video, and the data is converted to a format suitable for delivery.

flicker (フリッカー furikka) — once again, this is going to be an explanation, largely using this video as an example. It’s important to remember that animation operates on a frame-by-frame basis. While normally this isn’t much of a problem because a most animation takes place with a character/actor layer(s) and then a static background layer, the nature of frame rates becomes extremely important when both the background and character layers are moving. If, for example, the character layer is animated on threes (a new frame every third frame) and the background slides on ones, the result will have the character layer “jump” or “flicker” every third frame to match the background’s movement. Naturally, this is a problem for animators. While methods of addressing this problem veer too technical for a glossary, it should be noted that this is one of the major reasons why movements of 3D models (and especially of 3D character models) can look ‘jumpy’ against moving 2D backgrounds. Shirobako’s example of the flicker effect takes place around 17m24s into episode 15. This is sometimes intentionally used to convey a character’s shaking, shivering, or erratic motions.

following and fixed pan (フォロー, 付けパン foroo, tsukepan) — this is not translation; it’s an explanation, as the Shirobako glossary doesn’t provide an adequate one.
Remember that anime has neither a 3D space nor a physical camera to manipulate in that space. However, proper manipulations of layers can emulate certain cinematographic techniques. For example, sliding around the background layer while keeping the “camera” and the character layer fixed is called a following shot—this achieves a similar effect to the live action following shot.  An example of how this works can be seen here (go down to ‘follow’).
fixed pan refers to when the “camera” moves with an actor’s movements while the background layer remains fixed. While this technique is subject to complications [see: 'flicker'], it’s useful for showing precise movements and catching the ‘weighty’ effect of de/acceleration. For an example (you’ll need QuickTime Player), see the second entry here.
Finally, there’s what’s called the following pan. This produces the same effect as a tracking shot, but involves keeping the “camera” static and instead sliding around the background layer to match the character’s movements. See the third entry here. This is generally used when the character is already inside the frame at the beginning of the cut. It’s probably worth mentioning here that the distinction between the fixed and following pan is technical—the achieved artistic effect is for all purposes equal.

brush up (ブラッシュアップ burasshuappu) — the process of improving the produced materials. For example: by removing stray marks, improving the timing on a scene’s animation, etc.

editing (編集 henshuu)— this is the process, and department in charge of the process, of taking the individual cuts and connecting them according to the storyboard. It may involve shortening or lengthening cuts according to the technical director’s instructions, or even replacing individual cuts (replacement/irekae) altogether. In television series, there’s a format that episodes must conform to, and this also refers to editing the video so as to meet length requirements. [14] This editing work in general is also referred to as ‘cutting’.

scenario reading (本読み honyomi) — the meeting in which the involved parties get together to discuss the contents of the scenario.

help (ヘルプ herupu) — assistant staff. This refers to hired assistants (and the work they do), and is completely unrelated to ‘help work’, which is when an animator decides on their free time to assist another animator’s work.

help work (ヘルプ仕事 herupu shigoto) — when animators have free time and choose to help other peoples’ work.

voice-over (ボイスオーバー boisu oobaa) — a process of running translated audio over or instead of the original. [15]

art board (美術ボード bijutsu boodo)— when the production of backgrounds begins, the guideline pieces of art for these backgrounds, art boards, are drawn up. These are necessary in order to ensure that, when backgrounds are being worked on by a multitude of people, there won’t be any visual inconsistencies between the scenes.

An example of art boards. From Ghibli (

The art boards used in Miyazaki’s Gedo Senki. From Ghibli’s website (

a one-shot background without art boards (美術ボードなしの1発背景 bijutsuboodo nashi no ippatsu haikei) — usually, backgrounds are drawn after the person(s) in charge of the backgrounds creates an art board and discusses it with the director. This term refers to the process of foregoing both those precautionary steps. In exchange for speed, however, there’s the risk that, if the produced background isn’t consistent with the director’s image for it, the scene may have to be redone in its entirety.

backgrounds people (美術マン bijutsuman) — the people who work in the backgrounds department.

scattering (撒き maki) — the ordering of (outsourced) in-betweens, key animation frames, and finished up (colored) cuts. It’s not too uncommon to order work from multiple studios, which appears to be reason for the process’ name.

rescattering (まき直す makimodosu) — the process of finding other people to commission the maki work from, in the case that the original contractors find themselves incapable of completing their duty.

wraparound/rotating shot (回り込み mawarikomi) — a term used to refer to revolving the camera around a character who acts as an axis. A time-consuming animation technique that requires precise planning. An example is given below. This blog seems to collect examples, too.

mixer (ミキサー mikisaa)— the person in control of managing the show’s audio balance.

mixer assistant (ミキサー助手 mikisaa joshu) — persons who set up audio equipment and help to keep the recording process as smooth as possible.

manufacturing producer (メーカーP meekaa pii) — this title indicates the producer of a packaging company. Often used to differentiate between the people who make the anime (producers) and the people who make the merchandise and finished goods (manufacturer producers).

blinking (目パチ mepachi) — self-explanatory, though it is pretty interesting how animators go about it.

motion blur (モションブラ moshonbura) — the after-images or blur produced when viewing something moving at high speeds. The human eye naturally performs a blurring operation when observing high-speed movements—and due to technological constraints (shutter speeds, exposure, etc) cameras also create this effect. In animation, this must be inserted manually. Note that ‘motion blur’, in Japanese animation, appears only to refer to the digitized effect and not techniques like smears. 

modeling (モデリング moderingu) — refers to 3D modeling. 3D models are composed of polygons (at its most basic, a polygon is a geometric shape), and the models generally look smoother the higher the polygon count is.

main contractor (元請け motouke) — companies who produce work off of orders from sponsors are referred to as moto-uke, or (main) contractors. In the case of a full televised series, it’s rare for a moto-uke to take on the entire production. Moto-uke often commission entire episodes off of other companies. Companies that take orders for single episodes are known as gross-uke (グロス受け) studios. Generally, even if an episode is commissioned from a gross-uke, the moto-uke will take care of all the episode’s pre- and post-production.

line P (ラインP rain pii) — abbreviation for ‘line producer’. The person in charge at the actual production studio. Is responsible for the project’s staffing, scheduling, and budget.

Watanabe Shun, Line P at Musashino. From episode 11.

Watanabe Shun, Line P at Musashino. From episode 11.

rush (ラッシュ rasshu) — “rush film” [16] is a technical term that’s been carried over from the time when film was used for photography. It used to refer to the raw footage created after photography; they used these rushes to check the product without the risk of damaging or corrupting the original footage. The term survives to this day, and it now refers to the data file produced after photography. The process of “rush checking” involves two processes: all-rush and bara-checking.

rush room (ラッシュルーム rasshu ruumu) — the room where rushes/dailies are checked.

rough key frames (ラフ原 rafugen) —  ’rough key frames’ refers to any work and deliverables from layouts and first key animation. This is the state before the animation director(s) and 2nd KA(s) look over it.

retakes (リテイク riteiku) — refers to cuts that require adjustment.

retake corrections (リテイク修正 riteiku shuusei) — the correction of any retakes.

layout (レイアウト reiauto) — a drawing of a shot’s composition based on the storyboards. This is, in some ways, a more detailed schematic of a single storyboard panel. A layout includes the position of the characters in relation to each other and the background. After passing checks by the sakkan and the enshutsu, layouts are handed over to the background art department so that they can work on the required backgrounds (and the key animators begin drawing the necessary frames). Layouts can also be done with 3DCG, using a 3D layout output (3Dレイアウト出力 3D reiauto shutsuryoku).

Here's a layout done by Megumi Kouno for Your Lie in April. Taken from

Here’s a gorgeous layout done by Megumi Kouno for Your Lie in April. Taken from

loc han (ロケハン roke han) — short for “location hunting.” This is the process of photographing locations to use as reference material for art boards. Here’re some examples of how these photographs are used (thanks to liborek for the link). 

[1] — as opposed to live-action film, where often the scenes are shot and then the actors are required to rerecord their lines. This is done in order to produce a clean audio track for post-production to work with.
[2] — the word used here isn’t often translated into English, so I’ve chosen what I think to be the best translation. M.S.C. animetion (sic) studio, defines sensatsu as a general term used for any colorless animation materials. Among other things like layouts, this term includes gensatsu, short for genga satsuei, or footage of just the key animation frames; and dousatsu, short for douga satsuei, or footage with both key animations and in-betweens.
[3] — the look of a storyboard will immensely dictate the appearance of the episode—it’s in storyboards that one will often notice certain styles of direction. The amount of detail that goes into a storyboard depends heavily on the person doing it. This is a humorous but illustrative example. It is, I think, worth noting that live-action films still tend to use storyboards—here are a number of examples.
[4] — enshutsu tends to be translated as either “episode director”, “animation director” (CrunchyRoll’s choice) or “technical director”. I’ve chosen the last option here; the first option (in English) gives off the connotation that an enshutsu only works on a single episode, and the second is too easily confused with sakkan, a completely different role.
[5] — I’ve written about the anime camera as a theoretical entity before.
[6] — Singular. Here’s something interesting to read about voice acting.
[7] — drawing up the key animation is a step after the storyboard and layout have been approved. Key animators are responsible for communicating the intended tone of their assigned shots based on the storyboard & layout, the director’s intent, and (hopefully) an understanding of the narrative.
[8] — the second sentence of this entry reads: “This is also called ‘sound effects’.” This part was omitted for obvious reasons.
[9] — the English fandom tends to use this term with positive connotations (i.e. “good animation”) but the Japanese term simply means “animation.” Even awful animation may be understood as sakuga in the Japanese sense.
[10] — the “director” part of this title may confuse Western audiences, as the term implies some kind of creative influence or work. This is generally not the case, and a better translation might be something like “animation supervisor”, but “animation director” is most widely used.
[11] — occurs after all the elements of the line drawings (genga, douga) have been checked for quality.
[12] — Oh! The horror! 3D in anime!?
[13] — “telop” is the word used here in the original Japanese.
[14] — this length requirement is why, sometimes, anime episodes will have footage overflow into the time normally occupied by the ending sequence.
[15] — this may confuse English readers. In anime production, “voice-over” is closer to the Western use of “dubbing”.
[16] — people who’ve studied film will probably understand this is as analogous to the Western use of “dailies”.
[17] — the original term here is more or less incoherent in English.

Thanks to bitmap, akirascuro, kvin, kastel and kraker2k for their generous assistance.

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