Shakugan no Shana III Final–Anime First Impressions

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Shakugan no Shana III Final is obviously yet another sequel. Given the title, this one had better wrap up the story or the fans will be awfully annoyed.

I’ve watched this story faithfully from the beginning but I’ve been anticipating this sequel with a mixture of hope and fear. While I think on the whole it’s a darn good story, J.C. Staff’s handling of it has been rather uneven. Let’s look at the record:

  • The first season. A powerful opening, an intriguing fantasy world and strong character development throughout.
  • The onsen OVA. A total waste of time.
  • The movie. A pernicious waste of time.
  • The second season. A weak opening. Indeed the entire first cour was weak. However it redeemed itself with a powerful and effective second half.
  • The “S” OVA. Four episodes: a funny filler episode, an inane and unfunny filler episode, and a two-part prequel that was OK but didn’t really add anything to the story.

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons there’s no point in trying to watch this one. Newcomers will probably be totally lost.

Based on the first episode, this is going to focus even more on the two main characters: the ordinary human who needs to become a hero and the supernatural hero who wants to become human.

Like the second season, the third starts out by pulling the rug out from under the loyal viewers, but while the second season did it in a dumb and annoying way, the third starts out with something bold and imaginative. Yuuji becomes Evil. This is particularly bold since Yuuji has always been a rather bland Goody Two-Shoes character (though of course that’s what Shana likes about him.)

Nevertheless Shana’s faith in Yuuji remains pure and unwavering, at least so far. And quite likely Yuuji is just pretending to be evil and actually has a secret plan. Either that or he’s just gone crazy like all the other evil characters.

Anyway I’m cautiously optimistic about this–though given the record the emphasis is on “cautiously.”