I just happen to know this.
|"Her body was absurdly light..."|
Where is he going with this? I thought this was a blog about anime... Does he have a point?
Yes, I do. Up until recently, my favorite animation studio was Kyoto Animation. I loved their tendency to use real locations for their expertly-painted backgrounds. I loved the adorable way that they portrayed female characters. I loved their clean art, and attention to detail. I still do love all of these things. But what changed? I watched more anime.
|Hyouka, one of Kyoto Animation's best works.|
As I laid back in my chair, watching moe characters do moe things, something crept up on me. That something was Puella Magi Madoka Magica. This anime was recommended to me over and over again, so one day, I decided to pull it up and watch it. I think that was the moment that it all shifted for me.
|The character of Madoka Magica find out a|
There is something distinctly different about anime made by Shaft. They don't use real locations, but they do, sort-of. Their style isn't a style of drawing or animation, it's more of a storytelling style. They don't take themselves seriously, often throwing in photographs and focusing on seemingly random elements in a scene in a way that should shatter the fourth wall, but somehow makes the whole thing more immersive.
|Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei|
I had noticed and started to appreciate all of this, but then I discovered Bakemonogatari. Just when I thought I had seen all of the highs and lows of anime, yet another one came along to blow my mind and shift my paradigm. Everything in that anime comes together just flawlessly. I think it's absurd to try and break down anime into its vital components, but Shaft seems to have figured them out and learned how to balance them.
|One of my favorite scenes in Bakemonogatari is made great|
simply by setting, angles, and interesting dialog.
I have just begun Monogatari Second Season (which isn't really the second season at all), and I am more confused than ever at what really makes an anime "good." But perhaps this is Studio Shaft's strong point. It's like they're trying to confuse the viewer into not caring that they are watching an anime. Maybe the best art is the art that makes you forget that it's art.