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Creator / Studio Shaft

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Studio SHAFT, founded by ex-Mushi Productions animator Hiroshi Wakao on September 1, 1975, is a Tokyo-based animation studio best known for adding an almost constant stream of references and shout-outs to other series in the backgrounds of their shows. This usually manifests itself as writing on blackboards and posters which change with every cut. Also known for having a somewhat minimalist yet oddly stylish bent to their own productions. One of the more divisive anime studios. People either love the style or hate it. Middle ground is rare. (Some people think their style is more suited to quirky Tim Burton/Wes Anderson-esque comedies like Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei or Arakawa Under the Bridge and edgy supernatural drama like Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica, and less to more traditional fare like Nisekoi and Gourmet Girl Graffiti.) Oh, and keep one thing in mind: whether the adapted work was originally a Quirky Work or not, the SHAFT anime will most likely be one. They were one of the animation studios behind Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

Akiyuki Shinbo has been their primary director since 2004, and is responsible for much of their present image.

Note that some fans refer to them as just "Shaft". Do not confuse this with a bad mother—(SHUT YO' MOUTH!), or a minor character in two Castlevania games.

Studio SHAFT solo productions:

In cooperation with Studio Gainax:

Shows for DiC:

Other projects as support include:



Tropes associated with SHAFT:

  • Anime First: Puella Magi Madoka Magica is their first-ever original work (read: not based on any preexisting material).
  • Creator Thumbprint:
  • Deconstruction
  • Denser and Wackier: Their anime series which are based on preexisting works will often be sillier, stranger, and/or more prone to Deranged Animation than their source material.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Eto Rangers contains little to none of the tropes that defines SHAFT.
  • Enhanced on DVD: Their by-now infamous scrambling to meet deadlines during a show's original airing season generally means improved animation for the eventual DVD release. They've become so notorious for it that this practice of revising art and animation has come to be known as "Shafting", as in "Bakemonogatari was Shafted".
  • GIS Syndrome: SHAFT has developed a reputation for this.
  • Harem Genre: Most of their series have at most The One Guy.
  • Quirky Work: Many of their shows are considered to be rather quirky in nature, particularly with their fondness for Deranged Animation. Even if the source material isn't particularly weird, SHAFT's extra layer of weirdness will inevitably turn it into one.
  • Retraux: They'll often add old-time-y film effects or use old-time-y orthography.
  • Schedule Slip: They're becoming increasingly infamous for this, due to a company policy of not rejecting work. Though they're generally good at fixing any errors on their TV release come the DVD/BD release.
  • Signature Style: Part from the studio, part from Akiyuki Shinbo, but there are a lot of those:
    • Deranged Animation: To quote a random blogger: "Whenever I watch a SHAFT anime, I feel like I'm on acid. Not just a little bit of acid, a tanker truck filled with it."
    • Design Student's Orgasm
    • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Whenever they stop trying to get some point is as glorious as orthopedic squid panties to behold.
    • Medium Blending
      • Pictures of real-life objects
    • Mind Screw: "Meanwhile at SHAFT..."
    • Camera showing whatever instead of the characters that are talking at the moment
    • Art Shift: Frequently for asides or flashbacks, the art style will be drastically different from the show's usual style. Just watch almost any five-minute segment of a Bakemonogatari episode and you'll probably get an example.
    • Mundane Made Awesome: SHAFT will often, and for no reason, up the framerate and animation quality immensely, and can focus on incredibly mundane things.
    • Surreal Theme Tune: All of them. Madoka Magica's makes complete sense, you just don't get context until the end.