Shakugan no Shana III (Final) – Episode 14


Hey look, I’m putting the post out at a decent time for once! I’m trying to restore myself to my more prompt posting habits, because Winter Break is almost over. Ironically enough, being back at college should actually make me post more. You’d be surprised at the stuff I convince myself to do in order to avoid homework. Though I guess I should explain what the whole deal with posting has been during the last month or so.

For those of you who read regularly, I was extremely excited for Old Republic coming out. In fact, it was right after the first semester was ending, which was perfect. However, there’s a lot to do in MMOs, so they can last a long time, and I knew one thing for sure: if I was still having too much fun with it once break was over, my grades were not going to be happy with me. So this entire break, I have been playing as much as I possibly can, to try and bore myself of it. Not to the point where I don’t want to play, but just to the point that I don’t feel like I need to be playing it 24/7. I’ve pretty much reached that goal, and not a moment too soon, either.

On another note, I’ll write up a season impressions post tomorrow or the day after, despite it already being the second week into the new season. I like being fashionably late, okay?
Season review for summer will be out after that… maybe.

First things first, the new OP. As much as I hate to admit it, Mami Kawada, I prefer the first OP. I still really like the new OP, but I don’t feel like the tone fits the setting for this season. The first OP absolutely nailed it, though. But like I said, I still like the song and the video for it, but whatever.

On the other hand, finally, FINALLY, we have gotten to hear what Yuji’s/Snake’s plan is (albeit some fine print I’m sure will show up later).snap2

Creating an entirely new world between dimensions, where the Crimson Denizens can live peacefully, and nobody has to kill each other. I’m willing to bet the source of Power of Existence for them to stay alive will be supplied by making use of Yuji’s Reiji Meigo/Midnight Child in some way. It may be partially why Yuji is so determined about this course of action, he’s finally found a solution that only he can help bring about. Though obviously stopping the war altogether is the biggest reason.

So… I don’t know about you guys, but I’m with Snake on this one. I fail to see the problem with making a new world, so that the two groups can both live peacefully.

Though that was when it was brought up (or we were reminded) that last time Snake tried to do this, there was worry about the current world potentially being destroyed. Whether it was a real threat or just a perceived one is yet to be determined, unless I missed that part. Guess it’s only fair to assume bad shit could happen when attempting to create a whole new world.snap3

At first, I didn’t really understand that massacre that happened at the end. I knew the Crimson Denizens were still going nuts since their god had been revived, but I thought Yuji wouldn’t have approved of the slaughter. But then I realized that Yuji crushed their reason for existing in front of them for that very reason. The Flame Haze screwed over Snake’s plan before, and they had already been fighting despite saying what his plan was, so he wanted to make sure there was no chance that they would get in his way. Of course he knew Shana and the more powerful Flame Haze wouldn’t be affected, but having that much of a loss in your army is going to significantly hinder you.

You know, some people might want to lynch me for saying it, but Yuji is reminding me of Lelouch, in more ways than one. Making a decision that would absolutely slaughter tons of people on a side you personally have no quarrel with, all for the greater good in the end is the kind of decision Lelouch would have made. Though, as I said, there’s a few other points to why I’m reminded of Lelouch.

And that brings me to what I really wanted to discuss in this post: Yuji.snap4

Despite being infamous among the anime community, this guy has been through a lot.

Does anybody remember the very first episode? When he tried to stop Shana from killing the Rinne, even though it was going to eat him? Despite them putting him in immediate danger, he didn’t like the killing that was happening. Even after the Rinne went after him again, and Shana saved him, he was still slightly skeptical (though thankful) of her.

When he learned the truth of Torches, he was upset about how such a cruel fate could happen to people. It hit him even more when it happened to someone he knew, despite trying to prevent it.snap5

Though it wasn’t explicitly stated (until this episode), Yukari Hirai’s death has affected Yuji for the longest time. It was when he first learned how powerless he was to change anything, and his best course of action was to join with Shana and prevent Crimson Denizens doing this to anyone else.

But time went on, and more things happened. Bigger and badder Crimson Denizens continued to show up, and no matter what, someone, somewhere, was being eaten and replaced by a Torch. It was hellish cycle, and it even got to the point where Yuji was almost lost for good.snap6

It also made Yuji realize that his supposed immortality was also very much vulnerable. If this continued, it was just going to get worse and worse. The battles were getting bigger, the wagers more extreme. This feud needed a permanent end, and Yuji had become aware his childish fantasy of good always winning out in the end if you follow the “righteous” path was just what it was: a childish fantasy.

And that’s when Snake found Yuji.

Yuji, who had been practically slapped in the face with how he could do nothing about people being eaten and Torches being created, who had now been woken to the realization that something big needed to happen in order for a permanent end to this feud, who despite even through fighting alongside Shana always cared about other people more than himself; he had found his role.snap7

Two episodes ago, Shana said that she would simply take Yuji and Snake to the Flame Hazes and they could all work something out, and be diplomatic about it. Yuji and Snake both responded at the same time with the above quote, nearing what was probably the only display of rage from them this season. Yuji (and Snake) both had been following what they thought was the right and just path, just to realize that that path doesn’t always lead to the desired results. Yuji’s ideals from back when he tried to stop Shana from killing his attacker are gone. Shana’s idea of what they needed to do was practically an insult to him at that point. All that matters to him now is that the ends justify the means (see: Lelouch).

He still cares very much about other people more than himself, but he knows that this is the only way any permanent change will happen. In order to end a war, a war must, after all, be fought.

It reminds me of Robbie Bell’s comment back on one of my Shana posts that I agreed with. This series doesn’t lay the character’s internal conflicts on a silver platter for you. If you don’t even look, you can even miss them entirely. I’m a guy that’s not even good at analyzing shows or characters or metaphors or whatever, and connecting Yuji’s thoughts and mentality after this episode wasn’t hard at all. Shana doesn’t solve the puzzle for you, nor does it expect you to solve it on your own. It merely puts the pieces before you, already has the border done, and just lets you fill in the rest if you want to.

I dare anyone to try and tell me after this episode that Yuji’s behavior in this season is a complete 180.snap8

I fucking love this show.


10 Comments on “Shakugan no Shana III (Final) – Episode 14”

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more on many things. The first OP was indeed better. It just had that certain edge while this one does not. It’s not a bad song by any means but it just doesn’t quite fit.

    I too caught whiff of a Lelouch connection in Yuji’s demeanor and actions and all along in this final installment, have been siding with Yuji and his plans to solve everyone’s problems. Which to me, also sound very feasible and amicable. Of course, I’m not privy to the ins and outs of creating a new world but that’s why we have the Snake of the Festival isn’t it? And in a sense I have found Yuji’s actions to be less confusing than the ones made by Sophie and the Flame Hazes but I’m sure much of it will come together very soon (the whole love as Shana’s ultimate weapon thing and how for most of the show they’ve simply been reacting to anything Bal Masque have done).

    Anyway, I also was left slightly perplexed by the whole massacre at the end after Snake had just extinguished the Flame Hazes’ will to fight but we certainly know that Snake is quite the pragmatic Crimson Lord isn’t he? The last few episodes have been a real joy to watch and as we’ve both touched on before it’s enhanced by how much the characters change and interact with one another.

    • Riyoga says:

      Yeah, although it looks like we have all the information about the plot at this point, there are always more details that get thrown in later that are important to take into account. So now we just have to wait for those extra details and such to be explained/presented.

      I used to say that Shana was my favorite series with a tone that said that I didn’t think it was that great objectively, but this season is seriously starting to change my mind about taking that attitude. I don’t think I’d have a problem arguing why Shana is a great show to anyone at this point.

  2. Cytrus says:

    Agree on the OP and most of your analysis of Yuuji.

    The one thing I’d argue is that there are pronounced differences between Lelouch and Yuuji. Lelouch views the welfare of his sister at a completely different level from anything else and makes the decision to abandon his comrades at the drop of a hat when he has to for Nunnally’s sake. Yuuji, on the other hand, wages his fight for the greater common good (involving his and Shana’s). Yuuji wouldn’t pick an obviously evil and selfish solution to save Shana, Lelouch would.

    Yuuji had his misgivings, of course. But the later half of the second season was used to set up what he would become in this season.

    First the revelation that Misakishi is a “disaster magnet” – which basically means that even if Yuuji and Shana get super-strong, his family, friends, and the friends of his friends will be forever in danger. This also serves as a constant reminder that the devouring goes on endlessly, somewhere in the world. Temporary solutions are not solutions at all.

    And second, the portrayal of Yuuji’s responsibility to those around him. Obviously, he screams out that he will protect Shana at the end of the second season, and that’s one of his goals here. But another point is the discussion he had with his family, where it is revealed he was the second child, and that there’s a third one coming. While the relationship might appear merely symbolic, it is said that Yuuji’s older sibling died so that Yuuji could live (the reason why his name basically means “two lifetimes”). When Yuuji, who was always concerned about the well-being of others to begin with, finds out about this “sacrifice”, he realizes it is also his obligation to do everything in his power to protect his younger sibling, even if he himself has to disappear from everyone’s lives to accomplish this.

    Yuuji and Snake have their differences (Snake is older and hardened, Yuuji has more personal reasons to fight etc.), but they are both idealistic types who can’t agree on giving up in their fight against a harsh world. They had their failures and learned that a perfect solution is not possible, but they licked their wounds and are back for the “second best” solution, even if they have to cause some of the suffering they ultimately want to vanquish.

    If you think about this as a story of conflict, it seems obvious the plan will not out as well as Snake and Yuuji want it to. But from their current perspective, there’s little reason to think that what they are doing is not ultimately justified.

    • Riyoga says:

      Fair enough on the Nunnally fine print for Lelouch. In my effort to draw a comparison to a well-known character, I kind of omitted that detail. But even taking that into account, I still think Lelouch is the closest comparison.

      Fantastic points on the city being a “disaster magnet”, Yuuji’s unborn brother, and everything else you stated. I completely forgot about those (I KNEW I should have watched the second season again before this finale). Though it just further emphasizes that I’m not as good as other people are at analyzing these things, because I probably still wouldn’t have even been able to see that. But hey that’s what blogs are for, right? So that other people can share their knowledge when you don’t notice stuff. So kudos to you, good sir.

      • Cytrus says:

        You might think you suck at analyzing, but I quite enjoy reading your “ramblings”.

        It probably won’t do much good, but I allowed myself to add you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work.

        • Riyoga says:

          I suppose it’d be more accurate to say that I’m not as good as some other people at analyzing things, I don’t necessarily suck at it. Or maybe I just do a good job in the presentation of it. I don’t even know. I guess I just like to stay modest in order to prevent me from thinking I’m good at something that I’m actually not.

          Oh snap, I forgot blogrolls existed. I should probably do some editing to mine. Though by editing, I really mean adding people.

  3. feal87 says:

    I agree with you that Yuuji’s behaviour was proper and I cant really see him as an enemy… I just wonder how they will find out an happy ending in this story…:D

  4. Toru_VMO says:

    It’s hard to believe, but KOTOKO won this time
    The first OP is/was way better than the second one in this season

    Well, Mami’s ‘score’ still better than KOTOKO’s if you consider the whole SnS anime series

    My opinion
    (BTW, i really like Blaze OP too)

    • Riyoga says:

      Yeah, I thought Mami’s OP for the second season was the best one of them all. Overall, Mami does win, but KOTOKO did a pretty damn good job on the one for this season.

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