Shaft, Inc. (Japanese: 株式会社シャフト Hepburn: Kabushiki-gaisha Shafuto) is a Japanese animation studio founded on September 1, 1975 by Hiroshi Wakao. In 2005 they began working exclusively with director Akiyuki Shinbo, who is best known for his unique use of gags, references, and avant garde cinematography that are notably featured in Pani Poni Dash!, Maria Holic, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Hidamari Sketch, Bakemonogatari, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Shaft was founded on September 1, 1975 by Hiroshi Wakao, who previously worked at Mushi Pro. The company was founded to paint the animation but later worked on animation production as a subcontractor. They were able to produce their own first original series, Yume kara, Samenai (夢から、さめない Yume kara, Samenai) in 1987.
In 2000, after Shaft cooperated with Gainax to produce a DVD special of remastered Gunbuster, they were in joint production with Gainax to produce Mahoromatic, This Ugly yet Beautiful World, and He is My Master. After Hiroshi Wakao’s retirement in 2004, Kubota Mitsutoshi has become Shaft’s representative director. Their painting group has also been downsized in order to strengthen their digital group. Since then, Shaft’s productions have been mostly solo productions without major involvements of other studios.
In 2018, a notable portion of the studio’s production management and creative team left the studio citing inefficient systems and bad working conditions. The team, including former-Shaft director of 10 years Yūki Yase, joined David Production on its work with Fire Force.