Shakugan no Shana III (Final) – Episode 8 & Episode 9


Looks like it’s time for another double-episode post, eh? I do apologize again for the occasional delay on these posts. School will always be school, but at least the semester is almost over (and then I can be forever alone when I retreat into my cave when Old Republic launches). But hey, at least it’s due to school and not because I don’t want to write the posts, right? Though on the other hand I really, really want to finish Mass Effect 2… That can wait for tomorrow, though.

Speaking of Old Republic, I can talk about it now since the NDA was a lifted a while ago. I didn’t want to write a post of it’s own though since this is mainly an anime blog. Maybe I’ll dedicate a post to it right before launch though. Anyways, a short summary would basically be that if you’ve played WoW, then you’ve played Old Republic. At least gameplay-wise. UI is extremely similar, the tank/healer/DPS trinity is still there, etc. BioWare did throw in some nice tweaks here and there though that I really liked, not to mention, they actually gave a shit about story so leveling was actually enjoyable. I wasn’t killing random enemies for their teeth, I was killing specific enemies for their teeth because they were a bunch of dicks to this one guy’s family and they deserved a shot/slash to the face. There’s a difference. Basically, if you’re expecting anything massively innovated, you’ll leave disappointed; if you go in looking for a very solid and shiny version of a formula you’re mainly used to, Old Republic kicks ass.

Oh, and one last thing before I get to the episodes. While these two episodes had quite a bit of action compared to previous episodes, I ironically have probably the least to say about them. Then again, maybe it’s not that ironic. I’ve already discovered that I primarily enjoy the drama in the show, and the action takes a bit of that away. Other than that, action honestly speaks for itself. There’s only so much you can say about explosions. Though every time I say that I don’t have much to say, I usually wind up writing quite a bit. Perhaps I should stop giving these notices, or just write them after the post, so I know what actually happens.
…Nah, too lazy to scroll back up.

So this final season is drawing closer and closer to the climax. It’s building more tension the more it goes, and is just generally being awesome. I’ve noticed most of the other bloggers watching this show are also now enjoying this season quite a bit, if not as much as I am. There are a couple exceptions, with some people who still think a good show is primarily based around senseless explosions and violence, and nearly any dialogue (and therefore context) that takes away time where there could be even more violence and explosions is an abomination. This still baffles me, but to each their own, I suppose.snap3

Wilhelmina, Khamsin, and Rebecca ran off to prepare for their own invasion, and “revived” Tendou-kyu (Heaven’s Road Palace, for my fellow non-weaboos out there). The reason why at first was kind of nonexistant, other than the fact that having a floating fortress is pretty badass. The next episode explained the importance of it, though.

On the main front, the Guze no Tomogara/Crimson Denizens (I’m starting to get tired of writing both of these, so I’m sticking with Crimson Denizens from now on, because I don’t pretend to know Japanese) invaded pretty much everywhere on the globe. Well, at least as far as Europe goes. I think the ones listed were: Romania, Greece, and Egypt. Though for some reason I recall them being in America at some point. Maybe it was an earlier episode. Or I could just suck at skimming.

The Flame Haze, on the other hand, talked about their defense and attack plans, but I couldn’t keep up with it at all. I’m not sure whether this is due to my lack of understanding of military tactics, if it was purposely written to be hard to understand, whether it was just bad writing, bad translating, or if they’re going to explain it later. It could be any of those. I have no idea.snap4

We were also introduced to one of the “Four Gods of the Motherland,” the Summoner of White Mist: Centerhill. I have no idea what this whole god thing is about, and I’m pretty sure it was never mentioned in previous seasons or episodes. I think it’s something to be thrown into the pile of, “to be explained later.”snap5

On yet another group’s perspective, Yuuji/Snake and the gang are tripping out on LSD traveling down further into the Abyss to get his body back. I’m kind of eager to see what Snake’s real body looks like. I’m going to laugh if it’s worse than his current setup in Yuuji’s body, if anything because the amount of people complaining about his current look amuses me to no end, so it’d be a slap to the face if his true body was something genuinely bad.

Finally, over to our last perspective (no wonder they can only cover so much this episode, there’s five bloody groups moving simultaneously), Shana is pondering about her feelings for Yuuji. Shana has changed quite a bit, hasn’t she? She used to not give a rat’s ass about humans or their feelings. All that mattered was a Flame Haze’s job. Then she slowly developed feelings for Yuuji, which confused her, until she wound up caring more about being with him than being a Flame Haze. And now that Yuuji is with Snake, she has to her duty as a Flame Haze, yet she can’t ignore her feelings for him, so she’s conflicted yet again. The scale has gone to both ends, and passed the center of balance multiple times, but now she has to find a way to balance it, and make it stay there.
Though I once again seem to be the only person who cares about this kind of stuff. It feels odd being in this position.snap6

Shana reflected on how she and Yuuji were destined to fight at this point, which was incredibly conflicting. It also provided a fantastic picture which will most likely never be turned into a wallpaper. Truly tragic…

Anyways, the episode ended with Khamsin and Rebecca destroying the crap out of Seirei-den (Palace of Stars). Yay violence! no give me back my drama

There’s much less to say about Episode 9, considering it was almost nothing but fighting. However, there was one thing that stuck out to me that I want to touch on for a little bit.

Is it just me, or are the Crimson Denizens kind of… well, being portrayed as victims?

Okay, just stick with me for a second. If you abandon all previous knowledge that the Flame Haze are doing this for balance and all of that wonderful stuff, and ignoring the fact that Rebecca’s nature is naturally violent, the Crimson Denizens seem to be pretty pitiable in this season. The things that the Flame Haze are doing would normally be things the villains of a series would be doing, and the Crimson Denizens are doing things that normally the victims or protagonists would be doing. Khamsin and Rebecca showed up and started killing everyone, and wrecking everything. The Crimson Denizens are genuinely concerned and are panicking and trying desperately to defend the place. Rebecca blows up a tower full of Crimson Denizens that didn’t stand a chance, as we hear them scream as their lives (non-lives?) are ended. The Rinne try to protect Shana, even when they’re crumbled to pieces and she’s attacking them.

All of this almost makes me want to side with the Crimson Denizens in this whole ordeal. The only thing stopping me is that we obviously know why the Flame Haze are doing what they’re doing (again, balance and all that glorious stuff). The one other factor that restrains me from taking their side, is that we still aren’t entirely sure what Snake is up to. We’re a few phases into his plan, yet he’s still tight-lipped about what he’s planning, other than the whole thing about “changing the truths of the world.” Snake must be planning something big, because he’s been holding back his core idea for quite a while.

But yeah, just something I noticed.

Going back to what I mentioned before about Shana…snap7

Now, hold onto your underpants, because this may very well be the first and only time I ever say something negative about the Shana series.

This scene felt extremely out of place. I understand what the point was, with Shana being completely powerless and in a moment of desperation turned pretty barbaric, but it still didn’t feel right. Despite the reasoning, Shana still seemed to be extremely out of character here. Do I know what she should/would have done instead? No, I don’t, but this still won’t stop prodding the back of my brain like a bad itch. If anything, this scene just added to the whole “Crimson Denizens are the victims” mindset that I was talking about before (and even mentioned this exact scene).

Okay, you can let go of your underpants now.

Other than all this, the episode was basically Khamsin and Rebecca continuing to wreck shit, Fecor getting killed, and Shana finally getting her powers back at the end.snap8snap9

They also broke the spell that was hiding the place at the end, so I expect the Flame Haze army will be showing up soon. And you know what? I’m willing to bet it’ll be timed nearly exactly with Snake reaching his original body. I sense another big, climactic scene on the way.

This final season is still playing out like some giant game of chess playing out in real time, and I’m loving it. The black side (Crimson Denizens) have their king and all of his special pieces are off the board right now, doing their own thing, while the white side are also in the same situation, with the leaders traveling around and making plans about the attack on the enemy side. The pawns for both sides are just kind of colliding into each other right now. However, soon the special pieces for both sides will be back on the board, and all kinds of intense crap will happen. Unlike pawns, these pieces can move diagonally and shit, so all hell will break loose.


11 Comments on “Shakugan no Shana III (Final) – Episode 8 & Episode 9”

  1. “Is it just me, or are the Crimson Denizens kind of… well, being portrayed as victims?”

    It’s just you.

    Seriously though, I understand where you’re coming from because I distinctly remember reading that Snake’s intention is to “eliminate the never-ending conflict between Flame Haze and Crimson Denizens”. That can’t be bad can it? Plus, I think it goes hand in hand with your notion of Shana attempting to be just a normal person who can love and not solely be seen as a Flame Haze.

    For some reason, I always try to find a way to sympathize with the villains in a show because I think it makes the show more interesting and fun. I obviously can’t do that with every series I watch but I try. Also, I didn’t quite get the same agitated feeling you got from the scene that showed Shana struggling to find her chance (which for some reason Funico kept using the word “change” instead of “chance” lol) and repossess Nietono no Shana but it did seem like in some strange sense, she had to go two steps back to go one step forward.

    Other than that the past two episodes have been very entertaining despite my lack of comprehension at certain points.

    • Riyoga says:

      The only thing is that we need to know what Snake’s plan is first. He could be misguided with good intentions, for all we know. Though that would again bring up the whole “ends justify the means” debate among viewers. I just really want to know what his plan is.

      I think you misread what I wrote. I wasn’t agitated about Shana struggling to find her chance (if anything I enjoyed it, since it gave her time to think and share her thoughts with the viewers), I was agitated by her berserker rage against the Rinne. Like I said, I understand the point of the scene, but it still seemed too out of character.

  2. Well to say that a scene felt extremely out of place usually implies some discontent. If you really did enjoy it, then it couldn’t have been too out of character. Maybe it was the editing of the scene is what was lacking.

    Anyway, I try not to read too much into the logic of one scene but I think they were just trying to convey Shana’s growing frustration at being captured, paraded around, her powerlessness and her lack of being able to relate to Yuji like she was once was able to do.

    • Riyoga says:

      I’m confused. I guess thought we were talking about two completely different scenes somehow. I thought the scene where she stabbed the shit out of the Rinne was out of character. When you referred to the part(s) of her trying to find her chance, I interpreted that as everything BEFORE that scene, which I was fine with.

      Does that clear it up?

      • I was defining the whole scene as starting with the Rinne trying to lead Shana out of the castle and ending with Shana finishing them off and then recapturing her sword. I think the exact scenes in contention were the part where Shana was writhing in anguish on the ground trying to force herself to keep going and then where she actually does kill the Rinne.

        So I think the scenes leading up to that were fine and then after that big blow to the castle everybody gets knocked around and Shana goes ballistic is what were we particularly discussing. The point is that the scene was certainly a bit odd and the only reason I can think of why Shana showed any kind of murderous intent towards the Rinne was because I assume she was at her wit’s end about the reasons I mentioned above (powerlessness, etc).

        The whole point was to debate whether I felt this scene was really out of character or just something that adds a different aspect to who we know Shana to be. The only qualm I would have about this scene, and therefore Shana, being out of character is if this event never took place in the light novels of which I have no idea.

        • Riyoga says:

          Ah, that’d explain it. I was defining it as just the part with the whole knife deal.

          But you can add things to your character without it seeming out of place. We’ve had two seasons to get to know Shana, so we should be a fair judge of how she’d act in situations at this point. Like I said, I still get why it was done, it just felt somewhat forced.

  3. By the way, I really like OP. It took some time for it make an impression on me but now I really enjoy every time I watch it. Hopefully the next one is just as good!

    • Riyoga says:

      I always liked the OP, it’s catchy IMO.

      The next OP should be glorious, because Mami Kawada is doing it. I always love the songs she does for Shana. Hell, I like her songs in general.

  4. Robbie Bell says:

    “Though I once again seem to be the only person who cares about this kind of stuff. It feels odd being in this position.”

    One of my favorite things about the Shana series is that the characters have these believable and clever internal conflicts but it seems like almost no one even notices them. I’ve shown the show to many of my friends and while two of them are on the same page with me, it seems to almost always be the case that I say “Wow isn’t this internal conflict interesting!?” and they reply “What internal conflict?”

    • Riyoga says:

      Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone here. You hit the nail on the head.

      I admittedly kind of shortened the whole thing to just “drama,” but the internal conflicts are definitely a huge part of why I love the series so much. It seems like they’re only there if you look for them, though. I mean, they’re set up in a way that you can notice them, and see them take place and morph the characters over time and such, but they aren’t spoon-fed to you or anything. I really respect the show for that, but it seems like too many people just don’t see them, or don’t bother to notice them.
      It really seems to follow the whole mindset of “You get what you’re looking for.” Go in not wanting to like the show, and you won’t, go in wanting to, and you will.

  5. […] reminds me of Robbie Bell’s comment back on one of my Shana posts that I agreed with. This series doesn’t lay the […]

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