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ikebana's Shakugan no Shana Tv Review

Shakugan no Shana

Shakugan no Shana tv Review

Yuji Sakai is suddenly plunged into an alternate reality where he sees human souls being consumed by monsters.
Just as he is attacked, the katana-wielding Shana intervenes and destroys the monsters known as 'Denizens of the Crimson Realm'. Identifying herself as a 'Flame Haze', an enforcer of balance in the spirit realm, Shana reveals Yuji is a 'Mystes', a special soul that holds a powerful treasure sought by the monsters to throw the spirit world off balance. From that moment on, Shana vows to protect Yuji as his guardian and becomes his companion at school.

Summary by princessmeyrin023

Story & Characters


Shakugan no Shana follows the story of high school student Yuji Sakai as he gets swept into an ancient battle for balance on earth. On one side of the conflict are the Crimson Denizens (Guze no Tomogara), demigod-like individuals who seek Power of Existence for their own purposes. In opposition to the Denizens are the Lords of the Crimson Realm and their servants, the Flame Haze, who strive for balance. This Power of Existence I speak of is essentially the spirit of all living (and magical) things. It is found in humans as well as Torches, temporary replacement beings for those whose Existence has already been taken. Sakai gets introduced to the conflict when he is caught in the middle of a Denizen’s minion’s Power of Existence feeding-frenzy. Soon he becomes the target of the feast, but is saved by Shana, a flame haze. After the battle she exposes Sakai to the truth about the world and the fact that people are having their existences destroyed and then being forgotten forever. Sakai is shocked to learn that his own existence has been in fact destroyed as well. However, he also learns that he is a Mistes a type of Torch with special powers and who does not fade away. Soon he teams up with Shana and as time passes their relationship grows more complex and intimate.

Concerning the story, its power (darkness) seemed to bob up and down for me. When the show attempts to take on a more melancholy mood it does so with devastatingly emotive precision. However, for my taste such scenes were far too infrequent. The same is true of the show’s attempts at more serious, though not necessarily melancholy, moods. The series starts out with a very serious and sad start. First Sakai learns that his existence has already been extinguished and that his current self is just a temporary replacement. Secondly, his classmate Yukari Hirai has her existence eaten and is turned into a torch. Extremely troubled that his classmate is going to vanish and be forgotten, particularly because of his discovery that she has feelings for his friend Ike, Sakai embarks on a vain attempt to save Hirai. And in the end, he of course fails. I found this section very moving and hoped that it hinted at the path that this series would take. However I was somewhat disappointed to find that this powerful beginning was to be contradicted later in the series by very light hearted sections and extensive comic relief. But judging purely the core of plot itself, I must say that it is of very high quality. And also, I did find the comedy sections pretty hilarious at times, particularly ones involving Marchosias. Accordingly I was able to put aside some of my misgivings and thoroughly enjoy the story as it unfolded. Besides, the plot's more powerful moments compensate for its weak spots, well, almost.

In terms of characters, Shakugan no Shana's writers did an exceptional job. This especially applies to the more mystical beings such as Alastor and Rammie, who have a strong sense of intriguing mystery about them. Oddly, such characters come off as more realistic than those who are normal humans. For example, Sakai's mother's blind ignorance to everything, including the fact that Shana stays in her son's room overnight, is a bit hard to buy. Also, when Margery Daw explains to Eita and Keisaku the true nature of the world they don't seem too worried. If someone told me such truths I might be a little startled. In the end, I actually found the show's evil characters much more intriguing than the rest. Friagne with his doll fetish, the Aizen siblings with their intense incestuous relationship, and Hecate with her lack of self-realization are all just too bizarre to brush aside. As with the plot line, I found that the weak points of Shana's character selection are mostly compensated for by its strong points.

Rating: 8

Art

Perhaps the most consistent aspect of Shana is definitely its art direction. In almost all aspects of design, the animators excelled greatly. Firstly, the spell-effects are very well done. This adds a great deal of excitement to the already intense fight scenes and just all around make such sequences much more pleasing to the eye. Also, in terms of character design, the artwork is top notch (though not flawless). Aside from the students, each character has a distinctive design that reflects his or her personality and attributes, giving each individual a unique presence. However, it is also in this aspect that Shana falters slightly. I found that the beast forms, used by some of the characters to fight, were a bit too childish. Plus, the biker Rinne who attacks Alastor's sanctuary looked incredibly cheesy. Yet, on a more positive note, the color treatment used to display certain moods was executed with masterful precision. And since this has a strong effect on all aspects of the artwork, it tremendously helped the series come alive. Bright colors are definitely used at times, but when need be, the color palette switches over to dark reds and blues, which emphasis some characters design a great deal (such as Shana's red glow).

Rating: 8

Sound

Shakugan no Shana's sound however was not so great. Concerning effects and voice acting (particularly from Lamies) it was smooth sailing. But from there the waters can get rough, and the music would occasionally descend into maddening horribleness (mostly during some of the fight scenes). At times it felt as if I were watching a video game cutscene. The opening and ending music was adequate enough but choosing pop songs (nothing against the J-pop industry) was a major factor in undercutting the shows early promise for dark emotional power. Changing these sections of the scoring to something of the same caliber as Elfen Lied's opening song could have greatly increased the power of show. As for the background music it had its high points and its lower points (mostly the former though). For the most part, when it stuck to classical (string) composition, the soundtrack was quite good, but as things got more electronic sounding, they degraded in quality. On the whole though, the music was rather good and suited the genre. I just can't get my mind off those damn video game-esque sections.

Rating: 6

Presentation

In the end I did enjoy Shakugan no Shana. However, I cannot shake from my mind the possibility of what it could have become had its darker moments been fleshed out more. The early episodes are of a magnificently dark caliber, but things get more light hearted as time wears on, only to be remedied somewhat in the end (even though I sympathized with Hecate more than Sakai). Yet my point is, this show COULD have been better. Although, by saying that, I am not implying that the existing product is by any means a bad show. In fact, I think Shana in its current state is a great hybrid of comedy and seriousness. My complaints are only a product of my stubborn love of melancholy (which can occasionally overrule reason). I may have wanted Shana to be a mind meltingingly dark show (because I know it could have pulled it off), but I greatly enjoyed it in its current form and am anxiously looking forward to watching the second season.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.67 (good)

Reviewed by ikebana, Aug 18, 2007

Comments

  1. bdrc Aug 27, 2007

    This is a good review. I agree with what you said.
    Anyway, the original light novel is very good. Better than anime series.

  2. ResonantSoul Jul 23, 2009

    I should watch this -w- I read the manga a bit.

  3. SchRita Aug 24, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  4. nainoi Sep 13, 2009

    thank you for review.

  5. SchRita Oct 31, 2009

    Thanks for the review!

  6. Sharon-sama Sep 18, 2012

    Thanks for the review , I love this anime!

  7. agasca311 Nov 08, 2012

    If you want to buy this series on blu/ray or dvd for a cheap price go to www.arturoga.gps5.com/shop.php

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