Do you remember the first time you've watched a show made by Studio SHAFT? You wonder why it feels a bit different from other anime you've seen. One could even use the word “weird” or “avant-garde” But before we get into that, let me give you a brief introduction about Studio SHAFT just in case you live under a rock. Studio SHAFT is a Japanese animation studio founded in 1975.
And based in Suginami, Tokyo You might know them by some of their popular works. Most of us know them by their unique way of storytelling through a combination of obscure visuals styles and quirky tropes. They have a wide variation of tropes to add on their shows but that comes with a risk that they are willing to take for creativity.
It is a double edged sword and is also one of the reasons why people usually don't watch shows from Studio SHAFT. Love it or Hate it. Their style was greatly influenced by director Akiyuki Shinbo So who is Akiyuki Shinbo? He is a Japanese animator, director, compositional writer and a storyboard artist. He has been the primary director of Studio SHAFT since 2004.
Notice how some of his works include extensive experimentation with the visuals. from pictures taken from real life cut into scenes to Art Shifts it is when the change of art style happens. to Beat Panels originated from comics, it approximates the comedic pause before a punchline. to Unmoving Plaid it is when the pattern on the clothing.
Will retain the same orientation regardless of the positioning of the character. As if you’re putting a chroma key on the surface of the clothes. to Unreadable Fast Text that no human being would be.
Able to read unless they pause the show or if you have some sort of superpower. There’s so much more but he is mostly known for the legendary SHAFT Head Tilt. In which he adopted the style of Osamu Dezaki and director Kunihiko Ikuhara which also features a lot of open shots and background focused camera work.
This is one of their most popular tropes that everytime you recognize this on a show, you immediately know that it’s made by SHAFT The only exception would be Call Of The Night, but the director of that show Itamura Tomoyuki used to work for SHAFT. He was responsible for directing the Monogatari Series until the second season of Owarimonogatari.
Before he left the studio. The studio’s narrative is considered to be somewhere between comedy and despair It is worth mentioning that anime is a collaborative work by everyone, in this case specifically by everyone on studio SHAFT. So it wouldn’t be possible to create everything that the directors have envisioned without the help of all these talented people. It is a combination of hardwork and ideas by all of the staff.
Thus creating their signature “SHAFT” style of production. The style which we all appreciate regardless of what we feel about it. Whether you love or hate Studio SHAFT, one cannot deny the fact that they were able to brand themselves so well among the top anime studios at the moment, despite being one of the oldest studios that are still producing shows.
Studio SHAFT has been in the industry for a long time and as an anime fan, I have nothing but respect for them. If you haven’t had a chance to watch some of their shows, I suggest you give it a try So you can decide if it’s for you or not.