Review: Shakugan no Shana III (Final)Posted: March 26, 2012
Anime: Shakugan no Shana III (Final)
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Number of Episodes: 24
Length per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes
After finishing my last post, I decided to screw around on the Internet and watch more House M.D. instead of getting straight to this post. It is now 6:45am. So I may not finish this before going off to bed. It doesn’t matter too much though, because it’ll still be out today (Monday), and I’ve posted the last two days, so I’m sure you guys can wait a few extra hours for this to come out. But who knows, maybe I will finish it.
I won’t be addressing any specific scenes in this review, because that’s kind of what my episodics were for. There may be a few exceptions, but even then they’ll probably be vague references, if anything. It won’t make this review shorter, though, because I still have plenty to say (unsurprisingly), and I’ll probably wind up implementing some kind of retrospective of the series into this review.
NOTE: THAR BE VAGUE AND NOT-SO-VAGUE SPOILERS ABOUND, MATEY. …I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I TYPED THAT LIKE I WAS PIRATE, BUT IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT IT’S TRUE.
For a while, I considered spending a chunk of this review refuting points other people have made against the season and show in general, as I tend to do in a lot of posts in order to offer a differing opinion. But you know, I don’t really want to. Maybe it’s just because of my mixed feelings about the show finally being over, but I’d rather spend my time saying what I liked about the season/show rather than use up the post defending it. It’s like how I don’t really care anymore when I see people that never liked the show or think it’s horrible. Odds are I’d never be able to convince them otherwise, and it doesn’t really matter because I enjoy it. It’s not as if my enjoyment of a show depends on other people liking it, too.
The only thing I will say, which is on the other side of the spectrum and may sound odd coming from me, is that I think too many people see the first season through nostalgia-goggles. No, it wasn’t bad, hell it’s what got me so into anime, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as some people make it out to be. It’s as if it’s some kind of epitome of quality, and I think it’s why there were fans that didn’t like the second season nor this one due to it. Honestly, this season was my favorite by a long shot.
There were always signs from the very beginning that the show was going to come to this. Some more obvious than others, but when you have a conflict as large as this fighting between the Flame Haze and Crimson Denizens, there’s honestly no way it was going to end without addressing it (otherwise it probably would have been a pretty dull and standard ending). Not only that, but we got a war with heroes, villains, and questionable stances on both sides of the fighting. You don’t get a more interesting conflict than that.
It always does come back to Shana and Yuuji, though. Kind of obvious, considering they’re the main characters, but honestly, the plot probably wouldn’t have even moved without them. The story needed a Yuuji to take the risk and extreme path the conflict needed, and a Shana to point out how risky and extreme that path was, and offer a more realistic solution. You could say they served opposing ends of a spectrum. Not to mention you could take the fact that they both carried gods as symbolism or a metaphor for how grand their positions in the story were.
I thought the new side characters that were introduced were also really interesting. Yeah, some of them were merely there to serve as cannon fodder, but we also got Rebecca, Sale, and Chiara, among some others. And that’s just the Flame Haze side; the Crimson Denizens had Pirsoyn, Snake, and Decarabia, among others. I like Shana and Yuuji just as much as any other fan, but these guys were also fun to watch. It also made both sides more personal, because it showed both sides had your canon fodder soldiers, and also notable personalities that had their moments.
I really liked the ending. As I mentioned in my last post, there were winks to the fans, but also this surreal feeling that nothing in the show had ever happened, with some exceptions, such as Yuuji’s little brother being born and the fact that Yoshida probably remembered everything. It works really well as an ending, because it just further adds to the sense of fantasy that the series has always been. Even with the school shenanigans, Shana had taken over someone else’s existence.
Another, maybe less-appreciated aspect of Shana is the dialogue. Some of the effect may be lost, since we’re just seeing a translation, but you’d be hard-pressed to find generic dialogue in this show, maybe with the exception of some of the school shenanigan moments of the first two season, but even then it still works. Shana didn’t know squat about humans, so having the occasional generic dialogue of a school show actually works by serving the purpose of showing Shana what humans are like.
To actually quote the translator of the show from Commie:
The dialog is simply not normal. However, unlike Symphogear, it’s written well. It’s consistent in style, and it fits the context, but that won’t make it any easier to translate.
I’ve always had a nagging thought in the back of my head in regards to the series, though. I occasionally wonder if I give it too much leeway. Whenever someone has a criticism for it, I’m always quick to think up an excuse or reason why they’re wrong, and I wonder if I’m just desperately (and unconsciously) defending the show, or if I’m actually right. It’s why while I loved the series, I was also somewhat hesitant about recommending it.
After this season, I honestly don’t think I’m grasping at straws. For one, it seems way too easy for me to come up with these defenses for me to be trying desperately to come up with an excuse. But more importantly, it doesn’t even matter. People are far too quick to throw the term “fanboy” around, when it’s really just a label that’s used when people are unable to comprehend that differing opinions exist. In order to be a “fanboy”, you have to find something likeable about whatever it is, after all. The feelings of unbridled adoration for something had to stem from somewhere. Now, perhaps it’s just because I’m older and wiser (*snicker*) since when I first watched the show, rather than this season being so good, but at this point I really do think I could argue the case for Shana. I no longer feel wary to recommend it, and I don’t have an inkling of shame to say it’s my favourite series, for more reasons than just being what got me into anime.
Shana is just one of the few series that absolutely leads me by the nose. It’s never “oh, I hope this happens”, or, “I expect this will happen”. It’s always me grabbing some popcorn, starting an episode, and gasping at every other line that’s said (the popcorn part my or may not be true). Shana could have probably done nearly anything, and it would have left me with jaw pains from it dropping so much. Obviously there is a limit, even someone’s favourite series can self-destruct, but Shana is a series that knows how to handle itself.
It pains me to see this show end. Shana was an unforgettable ride, with some absolutely incredible moments. I also don’t regret watching it, because it was the highlight my day, every time. Having it end leaves a void in me, as I never looked forward to any show more than Shana. Other shows are still fun to watch and can be good, but Shana was just pure, unbridled entertainment for me. Knowing that I may not get that feeling again for a long time straight up sucks. But I know that one day, a show will come along to give me the same joy and entertainment that Shana did.
So until then, I’ll be sitting here, watching anime, and waiting for my next “Shana”.
RATING: 11 out of 10. (oh-ho-ho, didn’t see that coming, did you?)