Love, White Fox.
This is my first journey through the “100 Days of Anime” Challenge, an ambitious project that I’ll be taking. For the full list of prompts, click here.
I never paid attention to anime studios. From the day I entered the medium to even after my first blog post, I never cared for which studio made what. If a show was good, it was good. The person who made it didn’t matter. Anime was still anime. I don’t remember what changed my view, nor what exactly led me to look up the name Studio White Fox. I do know that it was an experience that had me hopping from one show to another, desperately consuming anime in an organized manner-a first in my career as an aniwatcher. The action-packed havoc of Jormungand, mellowed out by the fantasy epic of Utawarerumono with Katanagatari following right after. On that day, I became a fan of White Fox, eagerly awaiting their next works. I still am. The shows they’ve worked on were always right up my alley.
Though it was great to finally jump into series after series and know that I’ll enjoy it, I never thought of the why. What made White Fox so appealing? What sets the studio apart from the likes of Studio Deen, or Pierrot? It was the first time I really analyzed what made these shows stand out. And I discovered something. A signature. Different directing styles, art, stories, themes. Everything that made anime the sprawling, varied medium it was today. Not every show followed the same formula, and the ones that did were nuanced-like comparing horses to zebras. A KyoAni show isn’t just defined by the dramatic romance of Clannad, nor does the feels-good daily routine of K-ON what makes it a KyoAni show. Kyoto Animation thrives on details, not just in storywriting, but also in character animation. The way Yui idly fidgets during band meetings, or how she’s happy/nervous/confused/etc; expressing these emotions beautifully and showing off the studio’s talent.
It’s a particular style that screams Kyoto Animation. They’re the king of moe. They’re one of a kind.
Ufotable is known for its action-packed set pieces. Gainax for their stylish visuals that border on experimental. Madhouse’s “quality above all” approach (with mainstream hits like Death Note and One Punch Man under their belt).
And Shaft for their godly head-tilts.
As for White Fox? It’s their exceptional directing ability that has me completely enamored. The way their visuals can swing my emotions with just a setting change. Present me with a fantasy world: I’m feeling adventurous. A comedic slice of life: I’m laughing along with my favorite characters. An action-packed shootout: I’m right alongside Koko and her crew. A drama and I’m at the edge of my seat. Whether the show did well or not, I’ll always be immersed til the very end. If White Fox has taught me anything, it’s that every studio has a different style. Their own formula. A formula they have perfected for many years.
And it’s what makes this medium so damn interesting.