At some point in their lives, all anime fans would probably come to know the name Studio Deen. They’re rather (in)famous, having created popular shows like Fruits Basket and the original Fate/stay night. I don’t want to say it, but Studio Deen is also almost universally hated. I mean, just look at this:
Think that’s bad? There’s a lot worse from Studio Deen. If you do a Google search there’s a funny Tumblr blog dedicated to sharing some of the worst that Deen has to offer. For the sake of convenience I’ll post the link here.
What’s funny is that the screen cap above is from When They Cry, one of Deen’s most famous shows. Bad animation and debatable direction aside, it’s actually a decent show. Granted, I wasn’t invested too much into that anime to watch the second season, but if I had nothing to watch I’d say that it’s probably worth it.
What I said above pretty much describes most of Deen’s works that I have seen. They’re decent, somewhat like an anime that is enjoyable until you discover that they totally butchered the source material (Fate/stay night) or another studio (Ufotable) comes out with a reboot that is better in every aspect ten times over.
Fate/stay night (2006) by Studio DEEN
Fate/stay night: UBW (2014) by Ufotable
Now I know it’s not fair to compare animation that’s 8 years old to something as modern as Ufotable’s version. But considering that shows like Gurren Lagann came out soon after Studio Deen’s original Fate/stay night with great animation quality that still holds up well today, I don’t think there’s a lot of excuses for the animation that Deen offered. This is just my personal opinion, but I feel like Deen doesn’t do adaptations very well. I didn’t like the original Fate/stay night, feeling that it had terrible pacing and a bland, somewhat cheap animation quality throughout. The same goes for Pupa. Let’s not even talk about that…
There are a few exceptions to Deen’s normally lackluster adaptations. I thought that their Trust and Betrayal OVA to Rurouni Kenshin was actually a masterpiece. I’ve read the manga, and they somehow improved an already solid foundation. To this date, Trust and Betrayal remains my favourite samurai anime and for that I thank them! They did a stellar job on not only the animation but the sound and direction too.
But apart from Trust and Betrayal, there’s not a lot to like. To be honest they are improving, slowly. They moved from what I’d rank as a low, to a low-medium level. I’m not only talking about their animation quality, but their direction in the shows too. Sankarea actually had good animation in the first few episodes, but it dropped throughout the series. I haven’t even finished that show but it was decent and what I thought an improvement overall.
That said, I wouldn’t put them above my favourite studios like Kyoto Animation, Ufotable, Sunrise or Gainax. If an anime is made by Deen, I feel like I can enjoy it, but it would definitely have been better if it were handed to another studio. So what do you think? I’d really like to hear your opinions on Studio Deen!