Has there been an official credible reference that there are real life counterparts to the characters in shirobako?

I heard from a friend today that there are real life counterparts to the cast just like there are real life counterparts to the studios in the anime. My friend said that he knows that at least the director and the mohawk production assistant had real life counterparts.

2 Answers 2


Oh boy, this is going to be a big answer eventually. There's a lot more than I have here so far, but I need to go back and rewatch some of the episodes to re-find some of the references. I'll continue to update this answer every so often as I rewatch the show.

I don't know that there is an "official credible reference" (in fact, I suspect that there is not and never will be such a thing because of how Japanese media tends to pussyfoot around references to real-life people/media/etc.), but some of the references to real-life people are incredibly transparent if you know who they're referencing.

Miyamori and her four friends don't have real-life counterparts, but many of the other characters most definitely do. Here are some of the ones I'm aware of.

So, first off, Shirobako director Kinoshita Seiichi looks a lot like real-life director Mizushima Seiji (and their given names are eerily similar). I'm told that the director of Shirobako (coincidentally named Mizushima Tsutomu) is buddies with Mizushima Seiji, hence his appearing in the show as the director.


The three Exodus lead voice actors - Nakaharu Mei (Akane), Kayana Mui (Alpine), and Itou Suzuka (Aya) - are voiced by real-life voice actors Nakahara Mai, Kayano Ai, and Itou Shizuka.

Exodus lead VAs

And, of course, veteran director Kanno Mitsuaki, the man behind Avangelion, is none other than the master, Anno Hideaki.


  • 2
    Btw, that image of Seiji is him cosplaying his character in Shirobako. He even confirmed on Twitter and posted that image, IIRC
    – nhahtdh
    Apr 4, 2015 at 6:23
  • 2
    Reddit has a list of real life references, that mentions a few more people. (Scroll down to WHO ARE THEY MODELED AFTER?)
    – mivilar
    May 25, 2015 at 0:00
  • Avangelion? You mean Evangelion? Jun 30, 2015 at 8:52
  • 1
    @SakuraiTomoko: That's how the series is called in Shirobako to avoid copyright issue.
    – nhahtdh
    Jun 30, 2015 at 15:33
  • This might be a good supplement.
    – кяαzєя
    Oct 1, 2015 at 12:34

This is a pretty old question, but let me answer. The OP might not need this information anymore, but people who come by this website will.

I have two links.

First, the character references to real life. This article is in English, and shows the counterparts in real life to the characters in Shirobako. It is just a quick overview.

The second one is in Japanese, but there are a lot of screenshots and images, so you can probably view it. Here it is. This covers all, literally all the references in the anime Shirobako. It starts off pretty basic with the buildings and staff and all that, and then it gets really detailed, like the coke bottle in the corner of the car, the Madoka Magica doll on top of Miyamori's table, the car/bike brand names, the food brand names and so on. There are 30 pages to that article.

I didn't know the small red thing on the table was a reference to Coke Cherry. enter image description here

Hooray for Shirobako for inserting so many references! Shirobako Staff

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