These notes are insignificant and seemed obvious, but people asked me to blog them (imagine that).
First, it's easy to notice that the Japanese stock expression for "being able to support oneself by being in occupation X" is literally "being able to eat by way of X". Miyamori says it from time to time in the beginning of the series, but Ema is seriously preoccupied by the concept, especially when she's afraid that her career may tank before it began. She also uses it later when she calls their parents about their anniversary, but let's go back to the moment in ep.7 when Ema talks the topic at length at the roof, receives donut, and goes down the stars. At this moment she fumbles the donut and Iguchi catches and eats it. Ema chokes on tears and runs away. Why? Because the donut represents her job, and her more capable and more seasoned colleague literally eats it. Get it? The allusion was rather straightforward.
Second, remember the grand climax when Nogame explains that he split his personality into his characters? He also mentions that it was his response to the negativity directed at him. This sort of thing is not unprecendented in anime: remember Mahoraba, where personality splinters were a response to Kozue losing her parents. But what was the negativity exactly? Why, Hiraoka explained it earlier: it was the backlash Nogame received after the botched adaptation of SU&F3. So, it was spelled out that The 3rd Squad's theme — as well as Hiraoka's disillusionment and subsequent career spiral — was informed by the disaster. Their struggle is his struggle. The time limit is Nogame's death. The pillars are actually threads at 2ch!