Shakugan No Shana FINAL
When you say “Sleeper hit” to me, you’re not talking about Chihayafuru, because that’s been given the attention it deserves(just not in sales). You’re talking about Shakugan No Shana’s final season, because it’s turned into something that’s hardly recognizable when compared to the first two seasons. Gone is the useless male lead, the angsty Shana who doesn’t know what to do about love and the school antics, and they’ve been replaced with moral battles over who’s right and wrong and a large scale war between the Flame Haze and the Tomagora.
See, many of you started your anime watching life with stuff like Fruits Basket or stuff on Toonami, but I was really late to the picture. I didn’t start watching anime until I was about 15, when my best friend got absorbed in the fantasy world Shana created. So I will admit that I may be biased by saying that the fantasy setting in Shana has always been something that’s captured my interests, yet the second season turned into high school antics and a stupid love triangle. With the male lead having disappeared at the end of S2, S3 tells the end of this story, and what Shana does after Yuuji’s vanished into nowhere.
So, like many of you probably heard, Yuuji has switched over to the side of Bal Masque, to create a world where humans, monsters and the Flame Haze can all live together, using the power of the Reiji Maigo and the Silver which sleeps within it. Yes, it’s cliched to make your two lead characters fight each other…but man, I never expected it to turn out this well. See, a world of equality sounds perfect, right? And that’s what the baddies want to create, with no strings attached. And in creating this world, all the baddies will leave the human world to go there, so peace exists in two worlds. This…doesn’t actually sound like the motive of a criminal nor a typical badguy, and this is what’s happened because that wimpy male lead became the leader.
So, interesting moral side. Do the Flame Haze continue to fight, or do they accept the peaceful new world? Shana decided to fight, and that’s what I liked. The heroin of this show effectively turned into the bad-guy, where the bad-guy became the heroin. Shana 3 managed this with flair, with style and with grace, and whilst telling the story of the rest of the Flame Haze population as they declared an all-out war on the Tomagora and Bal Masque.
The love interest and stuff is still there, but it’s played right this time. She loves him and he loves her, and they can admit that now, but they can’t agree with each other. It’s not as bad or as cheesy as it could have been, but that doesn’t make it good. It’s probably borderline average. But luckily, Shana’s got a lot of characters to make up for it, each with their charms and unique quirks to carry the show forward. And there’s a lot of action. Lots of action.
Ultimately, I end up very devided over the show. My inner self tells me that it’s just my nostalgia and fanboy-ism liking this show, and the show’s terrible, but my mind decides to ignore that and just go with the flow and accept that it IS an enjoyable show for lovers of fantasy, and it’s a perfect way to close off a series. However, there are those who aren’t going to be able to read between the lines, and to them, Shana 3 will just be a mess. I, however, love it when a show forces you to do that, and I love the political and moral undertones which replace all the bad elements of Shana.
Alex’s Score: 8.5 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)
Dusk’s Score: 8 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)