Warnings for this post: there’ll be a lot of youtube embeds, and to get the point of the post, you’ll have to watch most of them. This post features some presumptuousness on my part; I’m going to say things like “this is Oonuma’s doing” or “this is Shinbo’s doing” or “you can see Shinbo’s influence on Oonuma here”—obviously, I can’t prove any of this to be true, as I’ve never met Shinbo nor Oonuma. This information is what I personally believe to be true, but you should formulate your own opinions based on the evidence.
I have a distinct mental image of Oonuma Shin and Shinbo Akiyuki as directors, and of SHAFT as a studio. Each has a definitive and irreversible influence on the others, and tracing whose original ideas are whose could very well be impossible. However, I have a lot of fun imagining all the guys at SHAFT as they come up with ideas to put into each new show. I also have a helpful device that makes this post possible—Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, the first show that Oonuma directed away from Studio SHAFT. I already know what Shinbo is like away from the studio, so now I feel I have a pretty good sense of what each of the three parties contributes to the work they’re involved in.