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Supramax 2010-04-28 09:27

What is your opinion on Shaft?
What is your opinion on Shaft(an animating company who made animes such as Zetsubou Sensei, Negima, and Bakemonogatari)?
I personally dislike Shaft alot. I feel they try to hard to create a certain feeling or atmosphere when they animate things and it ends up ruining animations. It worked for certain animes like Zetsubou Sensei, but as some of you may know, it really failed in animes like Negima. I'm curious about the opinions of many other people who watch anime so I look forward too your posts.

Marcus H. 2010-04-28 09:40

I honestly don't like the "experimental" or "avant-garde" animation styles they enforce into their works. Especially in Negima, where it tends to get cluttered because of the unusual framing and scene transition effects.

But they also have some pluses, one of which is their ability to use computerized graphics to make effects at par with JC Staff's. Also, when done correctly, they can use the styles they enforce to change the way a certain story is told. Bakemonogatari is one good example, but sometimes it doesn't give out consistently good reactions.

I can therefore they that their style can make or break an anime series.

DragoonKain3 2010-04-28 09:47

I personally don't like Shaft as an animation studio; I groan every time I find an interesting upcoming series only to find out Shaft is animating it. Too many still shots, reused animation, and visuals so weird that it forces you to focus on it, taking your attention away from the story rather than enhancing it.

Admittedly, their quirky style really fits in with equally as quirky works like SZS and Arakawa under the Bridge. But I personally find EF to be a major fail because it was done in extreme 'Shaft style' (why couldn't they have done it more normally like REC was?). Same thing with Maria Holic and Bakemonogatari, animation wise. Heck, I think at one point I said in the latter, that I find the series more enjoyable by just focusing ALL my attention on the subs and ignoring everything else that comes on screen.

Vexx 2010-04-28 11:00

Very mixed. Some stuff they've (Shinbou and Shaft) done has been brilliant, others were quite disrespectful to the material. They don't seem to know when and how far to apply their ideas in adapting material. Ego seems to be over-riding the craftsmanship at times.

They're also an utter disaster in terms of bringing a remotely finished product to the broadcast season. All the way back to Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, they've failed in time, budget, and outsourcing management and had to 'fix it in the DVD'. They *do* fix it (often beautifully), but they'd be toasted alive in a milestone project/design environment. Anyone remember the "still frame" fight scenes in Moon Phase's broadcast (rectified in the DVD)? Part of that was the outsourcing but that is *still* their responsibility. We see it in their series over and over again, most recently in Bakemonogatari in the latter episodes (where they actually apologize in the first frames).

What they do well and what they fail at - is also a very personal opinion. For example, I thought Bakemonogatari (once its finished properly) is brilliant, others hate it. The broadcast version was a mess though. Hidamari Sketch -- the same: messy broadcast but the style works very well (arty art school) in the finished version. Both Moon Phase and PPD in *finished* form are quite nice.

Negima!? was appalling but more because of the alternate history adaptation and I can blame the Ken A. as much as Shaft for that (kind of like slapping the crap out of Lucas would make some Star Wars fans happier).

Bocom 2010-04-28 11:08

SHAFT+Shinbou = Awesome.

Other SHAFT are usually nice as well.

justsomeguy 2010-04-28 11:40

If Shaft gets rid of that Shinbo guy and hires managers and animators so that they can actually finish their shows on time, then they would dramatically improve as a studio.

Pocari_Sweat 2010-04-28 12:17

Leaning more towards liking Shaft, but some of their approaches and flaws irritate me.

I give them credit for trying to be different - trying being the keyword. Their avant-garde, arthouse approach to things is a fresh change in comparison to the high-quality cutesy/"moe" approach we get from say studios like KyoAni or J. C. Staff. They even try to do "fanservice" shows in a quirky, unorthodox way (e.g. Hidamari Sketch, Bakemonogatari) Unfortunately, it seems to fail just as much as it succeeds.

For me, ef tale of memories is the pinnacle Shaft anime. Here, the animation style really worked, alongside a superb musical track. It was like watching an art-film more than an anime. Also had some very memorable scenes, which I will probably always remember (e.g. Miyako phone scene). One of the best VN adaptations I would say.

On the other side of the coin, Dance in the Vampire Bund was a disaster.

However, as a lot of people know, SHAFT is infamous for its failure to stick to schedules and have poor time management skills. Recent example would be episode 10 in Bakemonogatari, where the 2nd half of the episode might as well been a slideshow. They did however fix it up on the Blu-ray/DVD version (and funny enough was their highest selling Vol.)

There is also an ongoing rumour that Shaft trolls 2ch for some of their material (as well as being on drugs). "Nice boat" from ef ep 1, "Gaijin" shot from Kanbaru/Araragi in ep9, some of the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei jokes... yea I'm beginning to think more and more that this is true.

So yeh, half the time Shaft get things right and the other half of the time they get it wrong. Luckily, this season's Shaft show, Arakawa Under the Bridge, they are doing it right. Initially I disliked the 1st episode, but the next two is humorous enough.

Raiga 2010-04-28 13:55

I consider myself a Shaft fan. Some stuff is hit-or-miss but I prefer the wacky experimental stuff to just a plain straightforward adaptation. Makes it more interesting, and makes it feel like there was something gained from watching the anime as opposed to reading the manga or novel.

(Somebody's going to misinterpret that sentence and get angry at me so let me see if I can be clearer... as in, there was worth in animating it, more so than just seeing the manga except it's moving, colored, and has sound. Like, really taking advantage of what you can do in animated form that you couldn't do in the novel or the manga. Not saying the adaptation is necessarily better or that it's not worth reading the novel/manga as well, just saying that I like it if the anime also tries to be itself as an anime... sort of... hard to explain)

ANYWAY. I like Shaft.

Greenish Growth 2010-04-28 14:05

I usually don't care for SHAFT projects. I figured out that my main problems are these:

1. Their animation style is frequently too distracting to me. So I often watch SHAFT anime thinking more about the PRESENTATION of the story instead of the story itself.

2. I often don't like them because the characters often don't get that many good character shots and/or include their backgrounds. So instead of getting character shots that I like I see them from their mouth downward, only half of their face, from very far away or only in silhouette.

But that's just my personal preference. :p

Lord of Fire 2010-04-28 15:59

Though I haven't seen all of their stuff, I have seen quite a few shows of them and I loved them all to some degree (IMO, Vampire Bund wasn't bad, but it took a while to really get interesting).

All of their stuff I've seen so far was where Shinbou was at the helm and I must admit that he uses a very interesting style. I also see SHAFT as a studio who loves to think 'out of the box': sketchy art style and animation, lots of weird shit going on (especially in comedies) and more often than not, walls of text.

I'll admit that they have a style that doesn't leave for a middle ground you either love it or hate it. I personally love it and time and again, I find myself awestruck by what they've come up this time. Big advantage is that it's instantly recognizable and may have well become inspiration for other shows (BakaTest had pretty much all the ingredients for it to be a SHAFT production, but it was done by a different studio).

So yeah, assuming I don't change my mind as I watch more of their stuff, I can honestly call myself a SHAFT fan. They have yet to truly disappoint me.

0utf0xZer0 2010-04-28 16:11

Tsukuyomi Moon Phase, EF, and Bakemonogatari are all shows I'd consider to be in my top ten, so I guess you could say I'm a Shaft fan. EF in particular really impressed me, I felt the abstract visuals allowed the director to portray what the characters were going through in a much more intimate manner than a conventional style would, and that sort of intimacy is something that most visual novel adaptations tend to lose in the shift from first to third person perspective. Plus, some of the show's pivotal "wham" scenes like the cell phone scene would have just become narm otherwise.

All this being said, I don't always agree with Shaft's choices on how to execute scenes - stuff like the "black" frames in Bakemonogatari just strike me as a bad idea. That's one of the reasons why I actually like Shin Oonuma (EF)'s direction better than than the better known Akiyuki Shinbo's, I feel he has a better sense of how not to go overboard. In general I find Shaft has far more hits than misses for me though. My girlfriend is also a big Shaft fan, probably much more so than I am. My brother, not quite so much.



Originally Posted by Lord of Fire
(BakaTest had pretty much all the ingredients for it to be a SHAFT production, but it was done by a different studio).

BakaTest is directed by Shin Oonuma, who previously worked at Shaft. In fact, I'm not actually sure if he was at Shaft or Silver Link when he directed Bakemonogatari episode 9 (Silver Link being one of the studios that worked on Bakemonogatari with Shaft).

Daniel E. 2010-04-28 16:35


Originally Posted by Marcus H. (Post 3025203)
Bakemonogatari is one good example, but sometimes it doesn't give out consistently good reactions.

Bake started out with a lot of "shafteness" in it's earlier episodes (Hiitagi Crab), but eventually cutted down on it as the show moved on.

Can't really count myself as a fan of this style, specially when they resort to images of real people mixed in with the animated ones.

Marion 2010-04-28 17:06

I can't say I'm a big fan. Biggest reason is that the company is majorly grounded in adaptions, rather than anything original (I think their last original series was This Ugly Yet Beautiful World and that came out over 6 years ago. Everything else I found was adaptations) which is probably why they're so popular. And frankly I'm not a big Shinbou fan since the direction of the series he's in charge of is either a hit or a miss and considering he's pretty much the lead director of a huge majority of Shaft's recent works it isn't easy to avoid him.

However, besides that what I hate about SHAFT is the constant delays on many projects and the fact that they actually go out and willingly air unfinished episodes of their series. I'm sorry, you can say whatever you want about other animation companies, but at least they actually put out a finished product on the air and meet their deadlines for the most part. I can't recall in my recent memory that Shaft has met their deadline in a long time.

But I will give credit - they are a company that takes risks with what they do. They don't produce series that are too similar to each other and decide to adapt interesting series. Still, like I said before - their works are either hit or miss.

james0246 2010-04-28 17:34

The first Shaft definitely has greater historical value, but the remake is a far better designed and executed film (which only makes sense considering the credentials (and budget) behind the remake)...

Seriously though, Shaft has always been hit or miss, or even simply hit and miss (sadly more hit and miss...). The visual style is interesting, and the camera work and visual tone/mood can be quite provocative, but too often the episodes/series tend to drag, and the Shaft "style" is often used to simply give the viewer something to look at when nothing truly interesting is occurring on screen (which is a shame, since when this particular style is used correctly, the director(s) attains the highest form of artistic expression in a visual medium: showing, not telling, the story.)

solomon 2010-04-29 00:39


The question is in essence do you like Shinbo.

I like Shaft. They make a name for themselves with a style that sets them apart, very few studios do this in the anime industry.

More specifically, it depends on the work. I can understand how some argue against Shinbo's style in a work like Negima where it can distract from the source material (bad fit).

However, it was an EXCELLENT fit for Sensei and they made some crackerjack anime original eps that were bursting with creativity and fun. Bakemonogatari was another excellent show (overall strong animation helped).

I generally like shaft, I always keep an eye out for em. Still I am very picky about story material, (sorry no cutsey moe or lolis for me) so I can really only endorse Sensei, Bake and the now running Arakawa under the Bridge (which is actually toned down compared to the previous two).

solomon 2010-04-29 00:42


Originally Posted by james0246 (Post 3025781)
and the Shaft "style" is often used to simply give the viewer something to look at when nothing truly interesting is occurring on screen (which is a shame, since when this particular style is used correctly, the director(s) attains the highest form of artistic expression in a visual medium: showing, not telling, the story.)

Well when you get right down to it, the essence of anime is going full blown on character details at the expense of actual movement. Shaft shows are arguably par for the course (higher I would argue depending on the show due to strong individual animator participation). Also someone pointed out a problem with too many still shots and shortcuts.

I'd argue at least 85% of all TV anime is still shots/shortcuts and much of it is not well drawn to begin with nor always has unique graphics or rendering so...

zarqu 2010-04-29 14:04

I don't know, I like SHAFT in decent amounts. Marathoning Zetsubou-sensei would probably be too much.

But you could say I'm definately a fan of Shinbo+SHAFT. Zetsubou-sensei had a huge effect on me: I marathoned first season right after watching all of Naruto and Bleach (I was just starting to watch anime). Needless to say, it blew my mind away (=

I'm a fan, but I can definately understand why some dislike SHAFT.

For me, as I said, avant garde/experimental is best to be enjoyed in digestable doses.

Haak 2010-04-29 15:31

I like Shaft's arrogant avante-garde touch. I find it charming.

achirist 2010-04-30 21:57

I will always love Shaft for producing the amazing artistic brilliance that is Ef: a tale of Memories/Melodies. I also adore the visuals and overall style of Bakemonogatari, and Arakawa is developing well. I don't like brainless, artless action anime or the stuff the moe/fanservice studios put out, so Shinbo'd Shaft is right up my alley.

Of course, it should be pointed out that Shinbo did not direct the EF series, Shin Oonuma did.

ReinZwei 2010-04-30 22:24

Agree with Zargu marathoning shaft will make you faster to bored and groan, limit them and it will add a plus for the good points.

My feelings for the show are mixed, I read what the other have commented and I think the best show I watched and made me to marathon it was only Ef a tale of memo/melo since that was a good show.

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