Shaft, Inc. (株式会社シャフト Kabushikigaisha Shafuto), sometimes referred to as Studio Shaft, and more recently as SHAFT ANIMATION STUDIO, is the Japanese animation studio behind the anime adaptation of Arakawa Under the Bridge. It was founded on September 1, 1975 by Hiroshi Wakao.
Notable works include the Monogatari Series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, March Comes in Like a Lion, Maria Holic, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei, Hidamari Sketch, Pani Poni Dash!, Nisekoi, and Mekakucity Actors.
Ever since 2005 they began working exclusively with the director Akiyuki Shinbou, who is best known for his unique use of gags, references, and avant garde cinematography.
In 2015, the studio celebrated its 40th anniversary with Madogatari, an art exhibition that not only featured cross overs of their two most popular franchises (Monogatari Series and Madoka Magica) but celebrated all past works from the studio. The exhibition also ran at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa from 22 - 25 Dec 2016.
Since 2004, Akiyuki Shinbō, Tatsuya Oishi and Shin Ōnuma have participated in most of Shaft's productions, starting with Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase. The studio is unique due to their use of gags and references to other anime through writing on a classroom chalkboard or any available empty space in the background. The studio is also known for the use of various animation styles in a single series, changes in art style, a characteristic head tilt, abstract background designs, and use of unusual music for opening sequences of their shows.
The Shaft Head Tilt in particular has become a famous visual trademark of the studio ever since its first appearance in Bakemonogatari (Monogatari Series), and has appeared in many of their other works.
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