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Anime Info

Creator: Takahashi Yashichiro
Genre: Fantasy, Drama
Length: 24 Episodes
Official Site: View

Summary

+ Great cast of characters
+ Intriguing love triangle
+ Superb animation
– Shallow storyline
– Uninteresting side characters

Overview

At first, viewers will intrigued by the duels fought, but it's the relationship between Shana and Yuuji that really makes Shakugan no Shana what it is. Regardless of its eventual decline in story from the middle mark, the characters, both good and evil, come out and save the series from becoming an upsetting disaster. Overall, Shakugan no Shana is a series that shows potential to become a remarkable series in its beginning, but falls short and becomes nothing more than just a little above average.

Public Rating

Our Rating

Score of 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 · Highly Recommended

Shakugan no Shana Anime Review

Written by: Raye on 5/27/2006

Introduction

The world has been deceived from the truth. The Guze no Tomogara have been stealing human existence for selfish, power-fulfilling purposes. As a result, human beings become lifeless entities known as Torches. Their soul becomes nothing more than a candle in the wind and what's worse is that their identity is erased from the history of the world entirely when their flame goes out.
Shakugan no Shana
Sakai Yuuji was just a normal high school student until he found himself caught in between an eternal struggle for power. On his way home one day, time came to a screeching halt. Yuuji scanned his surrounding, finding everything motionless. Without any given opportunity to assess the situation, Yuuji met face-to-face with demons that wished to rob him of his life. Before their plans had succeeded, a small-stature, sword-wielding girl with burning red hair and matching crimson eyes calling herself a Flame Haze came to his aid. The mysterious girl managed to win the battle, but Yuuji unfortunately became a Torch. However, Yuuji's flame did not extinguish days later. Rather, his flame regenerated at the stroke of midnight. Yuuji's rare ability labeled him a prime target for the Guze no Tomogara. In order to protect their reality and prevent the loss of more human lives, Yuuji joins forces with Shana the Flame Haze in her never-ending struggle.

Review

Shakugan no Shana is a fantasy anime title with a touch of drama. It manages to retain its fantasy element while keeping a high level of teenage high school romance-related drama in terms of unrequited love between a few of the characters. Shakugan no Shana never leans towards one side completely. The fights between Shana and the Guze no Tomogara are consistent and never drawn out or cut short. There is rarely a lengthy time span separating the fights to make a viewer question if one is coming up. This allows room for episodes that develop the characters beyond the war at hand.

While the fight in the initial episode may rake viewers in from the start, a number of things are thrown out from the second episode, making it a little difficult to get into the series. There is much foreign terminology used frequently. Words like "Rinne," "Mistes," and "Reiji Maigo" are part of the characters' vocabulary. The abundance of new words may be a challenge to grow accustomed to, especially since foreign words are continually introduced as the series progresses.

In terms of comparing the storyline and characters, the people in Shakugan no Shana are far more interesting than the plot will ever be. Shakugan no Shana's storyline never really escalates beyond what is set from the start. A handful of new characters that appear later don't necessarily help out the shallow plot. The series throws a curve ball in the form of dull side characters who are supposedly important to the storyline. Predictability weighs down whatever surprises the series strives to create. Thankfully, the main cast of characters is much more intriguing than what path the story decides to stroll down.
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Another Flame Haze by the name of Margary Daw brings not only fan service, but some humor into the series. When Yuuji's classmate Yoshida is emphasized more in the series, it creates a rivalry between her and Shana for Yuuji's affection. And the villains are all superb not because of how the story builds up their character, but due to their presence alone. Each one of them is unique in terms of fighting style and personality. Shakugan no Shana features no goon squad, so there are no repeat villains who run away in cowardice once they sense utter defeat. A personal favorite has to be the two incestual twins, not because of their odd relationship, but just because they're so darned freaky.

Quite possibly the most unsightly move the series makes is explaining Shana's past some time in the middle of the series. By that time, Shana's character is already developed and out of no where, here comes her life story explaining how she became a Flame Haze. To take up two full episodes of a series that only spans twenty-four episodes gives off a sense of unorganization. What's worse is that she only reflects on her past when Yuuji asks her why she likes melon pan so much. Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds, and poor Yuuji, he never gets to hear one bit about her exciting life since the episodes are all on account of her memories. And not to forget mentioning that yet another unnecessary yet "important" character shows up as a result of Shana clearing up her background. If this all took place earlier in the series, there wouldn't really be a problem at all. This method of inserting a character's background somewhere in the middle is successful in a handful of series, but Shakugan no Shana fails to meet those same standards. The two part background story doesn't shed any light on what viewers don't already know. Rather than giving an in-depth look at Shana before she became a full-fledged Flame Haze, the flashback serves more of a purpose in building up the "important" character who appears afterwards.
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Conclusion

If the action of Shakugan no Shana doesn't pull you in, the drama will. The series shows potential to be an above par title in the first half, but signs in the middle of the show emphasize that it's heavily relying more on the cast of characters. The plot is like a jigsaw puzzle with extra pieces. Unnecessary characters who don't enough of an impact to win over any fans make surprise appearances and the final enemies aren't worthy of whatever hype they receive. Perhaps if this series were somewhere along the lines of a high school love comedy, it'd fair much better. Regardless, Shakugan no Shana is worth checking out just to see how things end up between Yuuji and Shana. Just don't get your hopes up in the end; that's why they're making a follow-up movie.

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