Anime Review: Shakugan no Shana Final (Season 3) Episode 1

Anime Review:
Shakugan no Shana Final Episode 1

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Shakugan no Shana Final is the third and concluding weekly anime television series in the long-running franchise, starting in October 2011. In the past ten years, there have been 25 light novels, 13 manga volumes, two television series, a movie and OVA series. Immediately following the last series, Shana and Kazumi discover that Yuji’s very existence has been wiped from the face of the Earth. But not all hope is lost, as they hang on to a sliver of a chance they can get him back.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Series set-up (possible spoilers): Since I really cannot do any sort of plot synopsis justice in this case, I’ll lift the episode summary directly from Wikipedia this time: “Yuji’s existence has disappeared on Christmas Eve after the events of Statue of Pride. Like a disappearance of a torch, all those who aren’t engaged in the World of Crimson have forgotten him including his closest friends and families. Shana and Kazumi still believe that Yuji exists due to the fact that their letters given to Yuji haven’t disappeared. However it is shown that Yuji still exists but makes a contract with a Crimson Denizen and takes the Palace of the Stars’ throne as the new leader of Bal Masque.”

My Impressions: What is this…I don’t even…

If there is one thing that is for certain, watching the first episode of Shakugan no Shana Final (the third television series) is most absolutely positively definitely entirely ****NOT**** for people like me, who does not have a clue what the story is about, or has never seen an episode of Shakugan no Shana before.

Some shows, such as Natsume Yuujinchou San, are fairly easy to get into by jumping on the first episode of the third season. With that series, I felt comfortable starting right there, no need to go back and see earlier episodes before moving onwards. Other shows, such as, say, Yozakura Quartet, I could puzzle out with a little bit of work.

But Shakugan no Shana? Nope, not a chance.

I was lost within the first minute, and never really did get a good idea of what is going on, who the characters are, what they are doing, or why they are doing it. You have to be intimately familiar with the previous story to even have a hint of a clue what is going on. This is entirely aimed at the existing fanbase, full stop, no exceptions.

And because of that, I truly cannot review this with any sort of authority. Other than to say that it was visually quite nice, and I was impressed with the quality of the animation (even if I was forced to watch it in the substandard Hi10p format). It’s quite clear that there’s a complex story going on, and we really are in the middle of a long-running plot with many characters to follow. But there is absolutely no way I could continue onwards from this point without spending lots of time checking out the first and second seasons.

Which, I might add, I still might do. This *does* look interesting, and the show clearly has a very loyal and dedicated fan-base that loves the slow. But I don’t really have the time for that, so it ends up on the “to do” list, which is already way too long to begin with.

If I was already an existing Shakugan no Shana fan, I’m pretty sure I would be giving this an enthusiastic thumbs-up. But I can only just based on my myself, and that means a thumbs down…pending further review.

The verdict:

For more information:

Sampling of Online Reviews:

  • “This was a pretty good introductory episode overall. They recapped some things and while I wish they had recapped more (for once), it’s probably best just to move on. No one wants an episode wasted on flashbacks. Moving on, the special effects used for the magic were pretty to look at as always.” – Metanorn
  • “They do give a very vague overview of what happened before because, after all, the second season to this series debuted years ago. Nonetheless, for anybody that hasn’t seen the first two seasons, this third season will feel completely random. Heck, I’ve watched the first two seasons, and I even felt it was pretty messy. Grade: 7/10.” – Emory Anime Club
  • “It was a good thing that they are going straight into business and waste not much time in hand-holding the audience. People who are excited about this should have watched the first two seasons anyway; or has wasted themselves on the shana OVAs. I’m ok with getting a series to end.” – The Dere Moe Project
  • “The episode brought the audience back into the story by looking at how the characters have reacted to Yuuji’s departure. So we got the recap, but without it feeling like a straight-up retelling. New things happen, and we see the characters’ reactions to the events being retold.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
  • “I will be clear on this matter. There is no point picking up Shana III if you haven’t seen the previous series. On the contrast, if you have seen it then by all means you should continue the story. Sure Shana can get quite annoying (for you people that is, not me) but the war is a promising aspect in delivering Shakugan’s action genre in the future episodes and if you’ve already come this far, why drop it?” – Sekijitsu
  • “The Shana universe is a very complicated one – maybe too complicated. There are lots of characters and lots of facts and figures and mythologies, and I find the series is usually better when it keeps it’s focus relatively narrow. It’s a show that can pack surprising emotional power when it deals with the core relationships that really matter, and my hope is that those are going to be a big part of what we see over the next six months.” – Lost in America
  • “Are the creators really building up to a cheese ball finale where Shana is forced to have to fight Yuuji? Is that what these 80 episodes are building up to? Such a soap opera twist?! Please tell me that I’m wrong. I mean, pulling such a thing for a novelty is one thing. but to make it the main focus of 80 whopping episodes!? Potential: 35%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
  • “But GOD DAMMIT, now I have to watch more of my mediocre guilty pleasure anime, because I’m just that much of a loser. It actually seems like an interesting plot this time around, even if it does kind of seem stolen from The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. But, if you’re gonna steal, might as well be from something good.” – The Notaku Blog
  • “This was amazing. No, it was BEYOND amazing. It was GODLY, and probably one of the only huge successes that J.C. Staff can claim credit to. And when you start a series with warfare, dodgy-looking monsters and a badass Sakai Yuji, the only thing that should be running through your mind is: “Holy shit, I’ll be looking forward to every Friday for the next 23 weeks”. No wonder Rebecca Black was so happy.” – Angry Anime Bitches
  • “I sat through this episode in a daze of confusion. While I have seen every Shana TV series and all the specials, I still don’t actually remember much of what’s meant to be happening in the ‘plot’…what’s meant to be going on? Your guess is as good as mine.” – Caraniel’s Ramblings


Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Shakugan no Shana Final

Coming up next: Hunter x Hunter, Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Love, Tamayura: Hitotose, Persona 4: The Animation, Maken-ki, Cross Fight Bedaman, Digimon Xros Wars II, Yurumates wa, Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, Gdgd Fairies, Sora no Kiseki, Kyousougiga, High Score

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One Response to Anime Review: Shakugan no Shana Final (Season 3) Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Recap of the Fall 2011 Season (after watching the 1st episodes) | This Euphoria!

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