So this is review number sixty four. It’s the last season of Shakugan no Shana and I was a bit torn of watching this one because I love the series. I couldn’t accept the fact that it’s over. No more Shana. I get to see her one more time though so it’s ok. This anime is twenty four episodes and it’s more action centered. Surprising.
The final season of Shakungan no Shana. A war between the Flame Hazes and the Crimson Denizens has erupted and caught right in the middle is Shana and Yuji. Shana draws her sword proud promising victory for the Flame Hazes. Yuji would side with the Crimson Denizens. He’s becomes their leader?
Taking the Pants Off
So this is the third and final season of Shakugan no Shana. No more melon bread eating, no more complicated love triangles and saving the city from the threat of evil forces. If you’re planning to watch this anime then I suggest taking a bit of a refresher by watching both seasons 1 and 2 because this third season mentions all the events of the previous ones to establish the story. I was able to remember bits and pieces by just watching but it did get confusing at times. Also, prepare to be shocked because this is not the Shakugan no Shana you know. The first two seasons has this brilliant balance of action and romance that JC Staff is pretty known for. They are able to give us a handful of fighting and still give us a blossoming romance in the process. It’s this great balance that makes Zero no Tsukaima, To Aru Majutsu no Index and Hidan no Aria very enjoyable. I think Shana started it all. I’m not sure but JC Staff was in a huge streak back when Shana first aired. That was back in 2005. My gosh, the time just passes by unnoticed, huh?
The third season of Shana did not have this balance of romance and action. This anime is a completely different creature and I think it’s because JC Staff wanted this series to go out with a bang. This anime is more Shounen than anything else. Majority of the episodes involves a lot fights between The Flame Hazes and the Crimson Denizens. The first season established the status quo of Flame Hazes eliminating the monsters because they eat people’s existence as if they were prey. The second season introduced this bigger picture between the two factions. There are a lot of Flame Hazes who hold tremendous power that they use to eliminate the denizens. There are also a lot of the monsters. Shana and Yuji experience that first hand when they clashed with Bal Masque, this group lead by Hecate. The second season ended with Bal Masque promising a plan so big nothing would stop it and I distinctly remember Shana and Yuji promising to protect Misaki city that holds this mana river that Bal Masque is interested in. The third season reached a boiling point where the two factions finally met and a huge war erupted.
The biggest shock though is that Yuji is leading Bal Masque. I was really surprised and it was revealed at episode one. I was still figuring out where the anime first left off and then they drop this huge twist on me. Yuji Sakai is willingly leading the resistance with “the god of creation” inside of him. The exact reason is slowly told in the anime but to think that one of lead character of this anime suddenly embraced the dark side is really interesting. So Shana and Yuji is at opposite sides and they are bound to clash swords.
Not to worry though because the goody two shoes image that the first season build about Yuji is quickly crushed into fine dust in this season. They did a great job of turning him against the viewers with his new arrogant voice and his speeches full of ambition. I didn’t take me long to wish harm to Yuji especially since he sits atop the very force he fought on season two and they accepted him as their leader. He became this man filled with desire willing to crush anyone who opposes him. That sadly includes Shana. Yuji stands out in the first two seasons because he thinks fast on his feet and most of the victories Shana gained were thanks to his delicious brain. He holds on to the fact that he is weak but it doesn’t stop him from jumping in front of a powerful force. In this season, he still retains that trait but he’s such a douche now.
There were a lot of new characters in this season and most of them were involved in the battles between the two groups. They are side characters whose main purpose is to beat someone up but they take up majority of the screen time. It was hard for me to remember their names too but thank god, they all have unique looks and their powers aren’t the same. The characters made the fights more exciting and their involvement really made the anime feel grander. It wasn’t the cute romantic yet action filled Shana anymore. I felt like I was watching an episode of D gray man with the new characters beating up a lot of nameless monsters. The old characters are also here. All of them are here. Yes, each and every character the anime introduced from the previous seasons appeared in this one. They had a specific role that made the events in the anime exciting but they aren’t really given a lot of screen time. I love the new characters coming from Bal Masque’s side. They are mere leaders of a group in the war but the really stand out. The old characters are also very developed but without any flashbacks to recount how they changed, most of the times, you are just confused. There was a huge time gap between seasons so I suggest you rewatch the previous seasons.
The battles are nicely paced. Bal Masque has this interesting advantage of having more pawns combined with Yuji’s cunning mind. Most of the time, the Flame Hazes would get their ass kicked. I love how the anime would make it seem that all hope is lost but then one of the flame hazes pulls of an awesome move that catches the enemies off guard. I enjoyed the storytelling in the battles a lot. There was a lot of talking about plans and strategies in the battles. It was exciting to see these plans executed in moments you never expect them to do it and it was even more exciting when the enemies counter it. I love one scene where the Flame Hazes where retreating and they used a bit of deception and fast thinking to escape. The build up for the battles was nicely done and the battles themselves are really enjoyable to watch.
This anime has a lot of flaws though. One of them is the notion of a “final battle”. I was expecting strong enemies from both sides to drop like flies but the fight is so stretched out that it didn’t really satisfy me. Yeah, I love seeing this camel walking on two legs get beaten up by Shana but after fourteen episodes of beating up no named enemies, it would be nice to see some important names die on the battlefield. It’s as if the anime is afraid to let the characters go. The characters that did die on the anime had a bigger impact on me because I remember how they left the stage. There were a lot of characters from both camps that I was looking forward to die. They didn’t. The anime lied to me. It’s not as if they were needed until the end. I would use Hecate as an example. She was awesome and a huge threat on season two but in season three, she barely did anything.
Shakugan no Shana loves spewing out some technical jargon here and there. The whole title in front of the name got old really fast. “The one who dances of the tip of the billow”, “The manipulator of objects” and so many more titles confused me at times. I was glad the characters stand out when they fight because I immediately shut my brain off when they introduce the names. It doesn’t stop there though. There were a lot of terms from the previous season and in this season that the anime used a lot of times. I guess you’d eventually get used to it or like me, you’d just ignore them. Still, it was annoying. Why can’t I just call her Shana? The flame haired red hot eyed Shana? No thank you.
The story is biggest flaw in the anime though. There were a lot of clutters in the story that often distract us from the main plot point. The exact role of the “Spiral organ” guy was one thing. He helped Yuji and the God of Creation but his role was never really explained in detail. I’m still lost on exactly what the hell that guy did. The appearance of the Four Gods of Motherland is also something the anime could’ve done away with. They are considered strong but Shana is still leading the front line. In fact, a lot of the side characters did a lot more action that the so called “powerful” ones. The anime could’ve done away with this entire unnecessary thing that doesn’t really improve the story. The thing that irked me by far though is Yuji’s role on the whole ordeal. The whole idea of Shana/Yuji being lovers and forced to fight each other wasn’t really executed as great as I wished it could have. Yuji didn’t explain himself on most part of the anime where you expected an explanation. They clashed sword so many times only to end in a stand still. It came to a point where all this fighting could’ve been avoided if Shana and Yuji simply talked. Even Shana acknowledged Yuji’s defection at one point but he still didn’t let up. I understand that you want to have this tension between the two but you can’t really do that until you really make the other super evil. I would also complain about the ending but I guess I’m just nitpicking on that. Besides, I’ve said a lot of spoilers now. Go see for yourself if the ending truly fit an anime like Shakugan no Shana.
I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed the final season of Shakugan no Shana because of the conflict between the Flame Hazes and the Crimson Denizen. I also enjoyed the old and new cast even though they took the spotlight from Shana for a brief moment. It had a few minor blemishes here and there but the anime decided to go out with a bang. It did. It went out in a very grandiose way and comparing that to its sister, Zero no Tsukaima F, I really couldn’t complain.
Sight and Sound
The character design really standout. There were a lot of characters in this anime but they were all unique because of how they were dressed. No two characters looked alike and it helped a lot for me because I don’t remember their names. The character design has a wide range from the beloved flame haired Shana to the Indian inspired four gods. The monster designs were also great. A lot of them are anthropomorphic beings with heads of animals on human bodies. Some of them are skeletons with afro that made me laugh at times. I really love Sydonay’s Chimera transformation. It looked really bad ass.
The background is the standard JC Staff style with impressive buildings and the attention to detail really stands out. The design on the floating castles was a nice touch and the futuristic appeal of the tower at the later parts of the anime is really amazing.
The fights were nicely animated. They were easy to follow but JC Staff has a habit of letting the characters talk more than fight even if they already trying to main each other and it were present here in this anime. It had a nice storytelling though and I like it a lot. Some of the counter attacks come out of nowhere and the anime had you fooled that the character would lose. It was smart.
The soundtrack is the only thing that didn’t change. It still had the nice feel of romance and action to it that was present in the previous seasons. They took a backseat to all the action in the anime but they were great nonetheless.
5/10 “A decent ending but I was honestly expecting something better.”
So the awesome adventure of Shana is done. I feel sad but life goes on. It is worthy of a last season and the anime forced the story to end in a grand way. I would prefer Shana and Yuji standing side by side in victor but that’s just me. If you’re going to go out then go out in a blaze of glory, right? If you’re a fan of the series then you’ll enjoy this final hurrah.