After finally watching some works by Shaft Studio and the upcoming Fire Force I think it’s safe to say that Shaft Studio has made it up to be my favorite studio.
Shaft studio being “good” or “bad” is a large controversy in the anime community. I can’t go a day without seeing a discussion on the quality of shaft’s animation. Now that i’ve finally seen a few of their work, I can finally join in hehe.
The Classic Headtilts
Yep, It’s not Shaft without the good ol’ headtilts. The head tilts are really pleasant to watch. Like, really. I’d love to see more head tilts in anime because I just find them to be so interesting. I wasn’t much of a fan at first but as I started watching more Shaft anime, well…here I am writing about my love for them. The headtilts and camera movements make everything more dramatic even when whats going on doesn’t have the slightest bit of drama.
oh boy I can feel the drama from here
this one is not for the faint of heart…or should I say…fAiNT of NecK?
The Eyes and Eye Zooms
Shaft loves focusing on the eyes entirely for certain frames. Sometimes you’d have headtilts focusing on the eyes, sometimes you’d have a soild 10 seconds of someone blinking. I’m a huge fan of anime eyes and since Shaft’s eyes vary around, it’s always fun to examine the eyes closely when we get a zoom-up. Sometimes I just like to pause at a frame that is purely eyes for both March Comes in Like a Lion and Monogatari. That came off weirder than it sounded in my head, but hopefully you get the point. I suppose my biased liking towards anime eyes works well in Shaft’s case. With this section, it’s just coincidence Shaft’s style of drawing eyes matches my disproportional liking to anime eyes.
Shaft’s Character Designs
Granted, I have only seen about three of their works but nonetheless, I always fall in love with the character designs. The characters match their surroundings and don’t feel at all too simple or too detailed. Only these character designs could work with the anime they animate. For example, Kyoani’s style of art and animation probably wouldn’t be the best pairing with Monogatari. I’m a huge fan of shadowing and Shaft has mastered the art at body shading. The shadowing is probably the stand out point for the character designs. Reading the subtitles feels tedious when it’s Shaft a shaft anime.
When it comes to animation, Shaft really knows how to do it. Even though some Shaft Episodes feel like a powerpoint at times, when animation starts to kick in it doesn’t seem half-assed at all. It’s hard to form the right words to describe this animation so i’d rather explain it visually with you guessed it….GIFS!
As you can see, the animation is nothing to scoff at. It fits well with the color pallete, background, you name it. As i’ve said, it’s not too detailed or too simple. It’s just the right amount to allow it to sustain it’s novelty.
The Unique Background
I absolutley love the use of lines and geometrical shapes in this anime. Just check out these Madoka Magica backgrounds.
Yeah. There’s quite a lot of use of horizontal lines and rectangular prisms. Shaft keeps it’s backgrounds simple while also looking complex at the same time. Those gates are just simple horizontal lines and geometrical shapes, yet why do they look so beautiful and entrancing? The beauty of the perfect balance between the simplicity and complexity of the backgrounds is something I enjoy marveling at and is one of the key features of Shaft Studio.
I don’t know how many people have noticed this, but oh boy, does Shaft sure love using factories in the background! They look even more gorgeous with the orange tint of the setting sun hehe. I’m sure you’ll at least find one factory background in Shaft Studio’s work. Hell, even Fire Force is still carrying the factory legacy to this day.
finally I can use my monogatari screenshots i’ve been saving up
I see a lot of people have a problem with it, but in my opinion, the color choice is what makes this so unique. The bright pastel colours are distinctive to Shaft and it’s one of the main reasons why I love Shaft’s art. I have yet to see any other animation studios also apply bright colours as often as Shaft does. The bright colours drag the viewer into looking at the background more rather than the characters which can allow you to catch subtle details be it for art purposes or character detail.
For example, this single frame brings attention onto the chairs which are spread out along the room making the room seem large. In psychology, fear exaggerates your perspective such as a hallway feeling longer than it is. The same applies for any feeling and in this case, it’s loneliness. We are looking at the room in this girl’s perspective which is why it seems so large even though it actually isn’t. The colour choice puts empathsis on this girl’s loneliness without outwardly stating it which is a great minor detail on Shaft’s part.
Abstract Art and Real-Life Picures in the background add to the fun experience of Shaft. Keeping it a caption because this post feels too long to add another paragraph on this (˃̥̥ω˂̥̥̥)
That’s about all I wanted to say for this one. Shaft Studio had a big impact on me as an anime studio. From their art, animation, special traits, everything. This studio feels like no other and provides a great aesthetic (I need to learn more synonyms for aesthetic) I’m a bit sad I discovered this so late into n but i’m happy I at least did learn about it. This is easily one of my favorite studios and I reccommend you give it a try!