Studios: Shaft

denpa 2Shows like Madoka Magica and the Monogatari shows were crafted by this unique studio. Daring visuals and storytelling techniques separate Shaft from the others in the anime industry.

Shaft is probably best known for the Madoka Magica franchise, which has many different adaptations and a broad fan base all over the world. Shaft has been around since 1975 and has produced a multitude of other shows. I’ll take a look at some noteworthy shows that I’ve seen.

magicaMadoka Magica is an unorthodox story about the life of magical girls. A genre defying show with interesting visuals, strong script and a dark underlying theme. The strong script is thanks to Urobuchi Gen, who was also responsible for the series composition.

The theme magical girl can be a bit misleading for this show. It is indeed centered around the magical girls and their activities. This show separates itself from the other series within its genre by its complexity and background story. The way it is presented is a blend between colorful and haunting, creating a complete package that delivers an unique experience to its viewer. The success this show has obtained over the course of time since its release is well deserved and should be watched by any anime enthusiast.

denpaDenpa Onna is series about a girl, named Erio Tōwa, who believes she is an alien. She was missing for half a year and doesn’t remember anything about that period. The only explanation that she could think off, is that it was all an alien scheme. One day her life takes a new twist with the arrival of her cousin, Niwa Makoto.

This is a show with slice of life elements where an extraordinary girl finds her way to blend in with society, together with her cousin Makoto. The events are cute and interesting, showing how someone with a turbulent past and attitude tries to finds its way into society. Learning how to function and to communicate with other people.

The show in itself isn’t revolutionary, but it depicts a character that faces familiar struggles. It is not the events that make this show any more special than others in the same genre. It is Erio who is the embodiment of opening up to society and finding the right people to shape one’s life.

bake 1In Bakemonogatari we witness how Araragi helps his friends and family to get rid of mythical creatures that possessed them. With the help of Oshino he tries to free his friends and family of the supernatural beings who took them over.

It must be said that Bakemonogatari is very culturally focused. There are many references to mythical beings that speak to the imagination for many. The series tries to explain them within the narrative. It shows the beings in an original way, trying to explain their importance in the story. Bakemonogatari also features a lot of frames full of texts, that aren’t possible to read in their entirety. Maybe it was the intention of the producer to let the viewer pick up a group of words to create a certain atmosphere for the next scene.

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10 thoughts on “Studios: Shaft

  1. Overlord-G says:

    I mainly like Shaft for their low-budget esque feeling, how they love playing around with the camera, their fascination with diagonal necks, random dialogues that range from enjoyably pointless to enlightening and lastly, their bizarre antics that can be identified when watching a SHAFT anime. In short, it has very little to do with the stories being told and more with their presentation and character interactions.

    • ninetybeats says:

      It’s true that the way they present it, is what makes them kind of unique. I don’t know about their budget though. At madoka they gave the witches an abstract, almost silent movie vibe. The colors were limited and felt quite old fashioned. They all give a certain vibe.

    • ninetybeats says:

      Haha thanks, I thought it was a nice change of pace to show what studios have to offer and what recommendable shows are. You can also have an understanding of what studios stand for. I’m sure there are other blogs out there who had the same idea. I thought I saw it pop up somewhere a while back. I’m glad you appreciate the posts!

  2. milesvibritannia says:

    The only Shaft anime I’ve actually watched so far are Madoka and Bakemonogatari, both of which I’ve been quite impressed with. Madoka especially because of its dark story and themes. Though I felt that the anime was too short to expand on a lot of areas that I felt would’ve been interesting, it told a very powerful story for only 12 episodes and was quite well done. Bakemonogatari was quite the unusual series but I really liked its style and how it handled character interactions and dialogue. Bakemono was really unlike any other anime I’ve ever seen and I’m looking forward to watching through the rest of the Monogatari series as it’s clear that Bakemono only scratches the surface on everything that takes place.

    Funny how I saw Bakemonogatari recently and instantly thought of Madoka when I started it. It’s interesting how the two stories are almost nothing alike but the studio’s style influence is clearly there. That said though I’ve actually heard Shaft has made other series with much more normal visuals than the unusual style of these two (as I recall ef was made by Shaft as well and that looks a lot more “regular” stylewise), though I wouldn’t really know as those two are the only ones I’ve seen so far as I mentioned before.

    • ninetybeats says:

      Madoka had the right amount of episodes to tell its story I believe. They have highlighted the different characters and their backgrounds and placed them in a setting that fitted. The dark background gave a grim touch to the overall package. But if you don’t have enough of the Madoka franchise, there are still movies out there for you to watch.

      The Bakemono series was good, but at time to abstract. Resulting in me not being as hyped for the series. But I praise the uniqueness of the franchise and the daring storytelling techniques.

      Denpa Onna was less unorthodox. It didn’t have all the Bakemono text effects and over the top visuals. Maybe you could give that one a go. Its not better than Madoka or Bakemono(still Bakemono had some pacing issues for me), but it’s worth the watch.

      • milesvibritannia says:

        Well in general 12 episode series usually feel too short for me, although there were definitely some things I wish Madoka expanded more on. Mami’s character development was kinda lacking in comparison to a lot of the others and I was interested in the origins of a lot of the witches the characters came across, which we sadly didn’t get to find out about in the anime. I heard there’s a manga that tells more about Kyouko and Mami though so I really want to read that. And I definitely want to watch the movies, I’ve heard in particular that movie 2 was brilliant and some people even say it did a better job than the original TV episodes in that part of the series. Have you seen them yet?

        Yeah I get what you mean, Bakemono was definitely abstract and quite unusual but that is the appeal of it all. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and that’s a good thing I suppose. What do you think of the other installments of the series? Bakemono is the only one I’ve seen as of yet.

        Denpa Onna looks like an unusual series, but not as far as the style of stuff like Madoka or Monogatari. As far as visuals go it looks a lot less over the top. I’ve seen comparisons to Sakurasou and Chuunibyou so if it’s actually like those two I bet I’d enjoy it.

      • ninetybeats says:

        I haven’t seen the movies yet, but I plan to watch them. I was a great fan of the madoka anime series and can’t wait to see the movies(I’m a terrible movie watcher, my patience is tested most of the times).

        The first two movies are presumably a recap of the anime series and the third one will have original material. I’ll surely be on the look out of that.

        I have seen the Nisemonogatari series and after that kind of lost interest for the series. You have Nekomonogatari I believe and Bakemono second season now airing. But it’s a little bit to abstract for my taste. The dialogue also is too fast paced at times, making me wonder what I was actually watching at the end.

        Well as I said Denpa Onna is nothing out of the ordinary, but it was entertaining. You won’t have a mind blowing trip during your watch. With that mindset the series is pretty decent. Not all series can be a Madoka or a Clannad after all.

      • milesvibritannia says:

        Yeah I’m looking forward to movie 3 more than anything else, although I’m still looking forward to the other two movies since it wouldn’t be a bad thing to relive the whole Madoka experience redone as a movie, especially since it’s not just a copy/paste recap.

        Ah alright, and I get what you mean. Monogatari is really quite the unusual series and sometimes it’s a bit hard to follow even if it’s not necessarily “complex” per say. I’ve heard Bakemono is the best installment of the series anyway, although from what I’ve read about season 2 it might be even better so hopefully it’ll prove itself as the season goes on.

        I’ll keep that in mind. Some series don’t aim for masterpiece glory anyway, and that’s not always a bad thing since it is all about entertainment and as long as a series succeeds in that, it doesn’t need much more.

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