is it shana time yet?

A second wind for Shakugan no Shana.


I pretty much gave up Shakugan no Shana for dead after it was painfully clear that ten episodes of brooding girls was worse than five episodes of “Dozo! Have a starfish” (but not by much). I even had a reader e-mail me, “Well, you asked back in season one what Shana would be like as a harem slice-of-life series, and we now know.”

Ouch. That was a low blow, but I’ll take it. Shana just didn’t work well in slice-of-life framework presented early on in Second. The whole Konoe thing was puzzling, and character development regressed. Shana and Yoshida collectively went into the emotional fetal position.


One thing I did discover is that Shana is one of those shows better when marathoned over multiple episodes than a weekly format. Not enough happens in a single session, but, collectively, enough happens that the two hours it takes to bang out five episodes just fly by. So I think watching it in a marathon fashion and without having to blog about it (a straining mental task for most series… that’s definitely one thing I learned after six years of doing this), I started enjoying the series a lot more.

Was it up to Minami-ke‘s or Clannad‘s standards? Heck no. Well, until the school festival hit. The school festival arc and the introduction of Pheles wasn’t really interesting or ground shattering (except it did introduce the Shana and Yoshida “Wait, those two are getting too friendly” look). But what was very interesting was what happened after the arc that propelled the characters to change and finally grow. I was getting afraid that Shana would turn into Bleach with less posturing and more romance (especially with the new OP that looks like it was ripped off from Bleach), but it looks like I’m wrong.

I really enjoyed Tanaka and Satou’s story, even if they were pretty damn useless the first one-and-a-half seasons. They really grew as characters, and they’re not similar, redundant characters anymore. I also liked Yoshida’s story, as she’s in the role Yuji was in the first season. Every time she angsts about being “tada no ningyen,” I kept thinking of Yuji going, “tada no TORCH” in the first season. She might actually be useful. *shocked*


(Loved the random Yoshida fanservice scenes as well as Shana’s, “Is it really great to have fat?” line. I just hope this development doesn’t become a Louise / Siesta dynamic.)

(Probably doesn’t say much, but I’m finding all the non-Flame Haze, non-tomogara characters more interesting.)


But the character I’m most impressed with is Yuji. He was marginally useful in the original, inept at the beginning of season two, and now he’s reached gar status. It wasn’t that he killed a tomogara, it was officially granted when he viscerally snapped its neck. Three months ago, I wouldn’t have taken Yuji in the fourth round of a gar fantasy draft for this season, but now, he’s like a second overall pick after Hosaka. It took him 45 episodes (and 1 random OVA), but he’s finally there.

His only flaw now is his harem. It’s been over twenty episodes since Yoshida confessed to him, yet he hasn’t given her an answer. Twenty episodes! Make up your mind! DFC or not! It was originally before Haruhi Suzumiya or Gurren Lagann even airing. At least go with a, “I’m sorry, but I have to focus on fighting tomogara, so I can’t go out with you.” But, of course, telling Yoshida something like, “Look, there’s enough Yuji to go around for everybody” would cement his gar status. After all, that’s something Kamina would have done.


Now we’re in the home stretch for Second, and it’s gearing up for a great finish. The battle sequences not involving Shana are quite good. Wilhelmina ‘s and Sabrac’s battle is one of the best ones in the series, and it’s Wilhelmina ‘s versatility of moves that really keeps it interesting. Wilhelmina can do a lot with her ability (plus bandages is one of my hidden weak spots… coupled with her drill attack… I approve! Vote Wilhelmina ! YES WE CAN!), compared to Shana who just flails around a sword wildly. Margery’s fighting ability isn’t that interesting (as she kinda flails around fireballs instead), but when she went emo and owned the school, well, that was interesting if only for Tanaka’s “NOOOOOOO!” face.

Now what I want from my Flame Hazes, the Mystes, and the humans in the final few episodes? Entertaining battles. Keep it up, and please don’t just have Shana swinging her sword wildly. Work some cool special moves in at least, like Kenshin. Yuji has to keep his gar status. It’s a probationary period, but the anime world needs more effective male heroes. Lastly, fanservice, and I don’t mean the Yoshida stripping kind. I expect– no– demand Shana munching on melonpan, and she hasn’t done it since episode 7. It’s come up from time-to-time, but it’s been a while since she actively dug into melonpan.

(And, of course, more Shakugan no Shana-tan. Urachai! Urachai! Urachai!)

24 Responses to “is it shana time yet?”

  1. But, of course, telling Yoshida something like, “Look, there’s enough Yuji to go around for everybody” would cement his gar status.

    I think this could work. Pick a day and be done by midnight, and you are assured to get just as much Yuuji as the next girl.

    While I am sure Yuuji will eventually go super-GAR, I think it is still premature to crown him. He owned a super weak-sauce Tomogara who was not designed for fighting. Yuuji basically killed the decoy of the decoy. And watching him scream and do nothing while Wilhelmina covered him and told him to STFU didn’t do much to dispel the notion that he could be the next Jerome James.

  2. … In the novels, does Yuji have a girlfriend at this point?

    Like they say, “Don’t judge a book by its J.C.Staff adaptation…”

  3. Yuuji has really come into his own this season finally. The beginning of the season had me bored but it has really picked up from then. I expect some good things from the ending because their effort definitely didn’t go into the start =_=

  4. >>In the novels, does Yuji have a girlfriend at this point?

    No, but he almost did.

    Irony is a bitch for poor Yuji.

    I just hope they get to that point by this season.

  5. Too much go to through still, too little time thanks to 10 eps of slice of life experiment, no doubt a third season right?

  6. Life tastes better with DFC.

  7. I can’t give this series a positive score at the end, even if it turns into the second coming of TTGL. Not after ten episodes of total crap. That still isn’t keeping me from actively wanting to see the next episode now.

    But if they dive off into angst for so much as a half episode again, I’ll stab my eyes with icepicks and marathon Otome wa Boku before I’ll watch this series again. Much h8 for JCS right now.

  8. The reason why the first part sucked was because of the J.C. Staff padding … and even if a 3rd season is likely (when the novels are finished) I fear what happens if they do 26 episodes that can be done in just 13.

    SnS is the reverse of ZnT, were ZnT suffered from lacking enough episodes (and poor planning, they could have ended it with Colbert) SnS suffers from having to create content to fill 26 episodes.

  9. Unfortunately for Jason, the ‘solution’ to Yuuji’s love triangle problems (not a harem, absolutely not a harem) only comes in Book 16, where Yuuji, as the reincarnated/fused Snake of the Festival defeats Shana and brings her to Seirei Den to be his ‘bride’, leaving Yoshida in shock. It’s bound to continue well into the third season, when it comes.

  10. @ Myssa Rei

    after he beats her to near death…=_= He didn’t even bother healing her while telling Yoshida he doesn’t like her.

  11. Why are people so picky about a harem these days? 3+ makes a harem. That’s the fundamental definition. Shana, Yoshida, and Hecate/Konoe. That’s 3. That’s a harem. It’s not as impressive as others, but a harem nonetheless.

    But Shana is slowly turning into Bleach. I cannot stress this enough. If you’re at book 16 or whatever and pretty much it’s just about one villain topping the previous one, it might be time to hang it up. The only difference really is that Shana has more romance elements, which does make it feel different from a typical Toriyama series.

  12. I love that shot of Ryou. Makes me think of naked apron, but unfortunately, that’s not it.

  13. Yeah, they waste too much time on this season and now with only four episodes left, everything is settled to have a third season, hopefully before October 2009 (Shana in 2005 and Shana II in 2007).

    Well, this month will be fun with so many shows ending; Clannad, Shana, Gundam 00 and Hayate no Gotoku. Then, spring will come…

  14. The only thing different about Shana from most Shounen series is that it’s based on a light novel series, and there’s signs of the end on the horizon, unlike Shounen series that can drag on indefinitely ^.^ It’s a logical conclusion, when there’s the distinct possibility of the two REAL gods of Guze, Alastor and Seirei, battling it out to the bitter end… assuming Shana recovers from her beatdown.

  15. Arg, spoiler tag malfunction! Delete! Delete!

  16. Giga Carmel Drill!
    Good action and good episode. That makes third or second good ep? :P
    Loved all Wilhelmina goodnes. Those bandages… And Yuji. You gotta seize that gar status really. Now you were just hanging around.

  17. Yuji turns into a total asshat.

  18. I was wondering if you were going to do something like this unfortunately I’m in ubu the series fails as a whole but maybe these last few episodes can be salvaged and its sad that delicious car…I mean Carmel-san’s drill can pierce the heavens but not Sorbac’s defenses

  19. >>Why are people so picky about a harem these days?

    To me, at least, just because a show has a harem doesn’t mean that the show can be automatically classified into the harem genre.

    That doesn’t apply to Shana, but…

  20. Turns INTO a total asshat? He started out that way, improved a little, then goes back to being one.

    There’s a reason I’m a Wilhemina/Marjery Daw fanboy.

  21. Well, you cant really blame Yuji. Hes not stupid, he knows Sabrac is out of his league. Atleast he didnt seem all that scared and is helping Wilhelmina the best way he can.

  22. Yeah, You are right, The recent shana just swinging her flame swords wildly everytime she fight with a tomogara…..She will just lost her mind once she start fighting.

    #Or I think Shana had turned into barbarian’s Mind since it had been really long time din’t see her eating her Melon-pan….. ^.^#

  23. Finally caught up with the current episodes…

    Why oh why this season couldn’t start with the School Festival? The whole Konoe arc made no sense. She gets introduced as a third wheel and fades to background towards the festival, then Hecate appears and eats her away. The whole exercise served absolutely no purpose except to pad episode numbers. One of the biggest dead-end plot developments I can recall. As if they just threw their arms up and said, “this ain’t working, let’s just kill her off”.

    Yoshida has grown from first season’s token Shana foil into perhaps the most imporant secondary cast character (main cast being Yuji and the Flames). She’s showing considerable guts as well, going alone into the war zone, whereas the other humans always have a Flame Haze nearby to bail them out of trouble.

    It seems that Sabrac, upon assuming his king’s mantle, didn’t get his vopy of the Evil Overlords’ manual, seeing he constantly falls into one thing none of them should do: useless monologue. Perhaps it is just me but he would’ve appeared a lot mroe menacing if he hadn’t said a word instead of constantly over-analyzing his own actions.

  24. Right, forgot Yuji. He’s certainly gaining in his gar attribute. If I didn’t know about the novel spoilers, I would have bet good money on him being groomed by the author towards a Flame Haze pact. It was my feeling around the end of the first season, before I read any spoilers.

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