Let’s see, what have we here… Girl with superpowers runs into boy who holds the key to the bad guys for their ultimate plan in order to gain an infinite amount of power. Boy and girl fall in love. The end. Let’s see, where have I seen this before?
The anime starts out pretty nicely. Yuji (the boy) discovers that he died a long time ago and that he had been temporarily replaced by a blue flame which keeps getting weaker and weaker. All this is told by a very nonchalant girl who couldn’t care less about him. Yuji just doesn’t accept this and keeps bothering this girl. After he sacrifices himself in order to save others, Shana (the girl) finally realizes that not all humans are selfish and care only about themselves. Then, at the point of a dramatic ending, Yuji convieniently appears to have a unique power to restore all his lost energy by midnight. Even though that minor detail ruined a couple of scenes, I found myself enjoying these parts. The only problem: these were only the first four episodes.
The episodes that followed featured some kind of bad guy who had to be defeated. Some of them were kindof interesting to see (for example, the doll fetishist), some were just plain boring (for example, the flashback arc). But the biggest problem I had was our main character: Shana. She managed to change from a nonchalant red-haired warrior to a whiny little girl. Not particularly the best development ever and as the episode progressed I began to hate her more and more. In an attempt to counter this, the creators made her obsessive about melon-pan, which she then tried to eat in a very cute-like way. When they first introduced this, Shana was still in nonchalant-mode, so it didn’t really fit that character at all. As the series progressed, that behaviour fitted her character more and more, but I really couldn’t care less about this, and it wasn’t really the cutest thing I ever saw. If you want cute, you should see Becky in a cat-suit, bottle-fairies playing pirate or Mori doing a cossack dance.
The characters I did like were the side-characters, especially Yuji’s classmates. If you ignore the fact that each flame haze that visited the town convieniently chose one of them to be their side-kick, then they have some very interesting personalities. I especially liked Yoshida. I kept hoping for her to beat Shana and just make Yuji fall for her, although I knew that this was false hope, as Yuji and Shana were meant to be together for the sake of being the main characters. Anyway, I had a very enjoyable time whenever one of Yuji’s classmates came in the spotlight. I especially loved the confession between two of them. It was the last thing I expected from a show like this.
Then the ultimate bad guys. These guys really are 1-dimensional characters, being bad for the sake of being bad. We never get to hear their intentions, or why they’re doing what they’re doing. For example, I’d have loved to see a bit of background from Hecate, but no. Apparently, Shana’s more important, so she’s the only one who we get so see some background of (which by the way, was really disappointing. It didn’t feel special to me at all, except maybe Shana’s outfit. There’s also the question remaining as to why Shana turned so cold, as she was pretty energetic when she was young).
The ending of the series was horrible. Giving me fake hope like that! And yes, all of the side-characters are conviently put out of the picture as our hero sets off to the ultimate showdown. Anyway, blah blah, fight fight, drama, blah blah, drama. *yawn* The aftermath shows us an open ending, which shows some hints for a second season (>.<)
Shakugan no Shana does excel in the music department, however. The tunes are nice and catchy, especially at the beginning of the series. They turn a bit repetitive at the end of the series, though, but that's a minor issue. I just don't like the tune the creators used for the commercial-introduction-sequence. It doesn't really work along with a very dramatical scene right before it.
The art itself is also pretty decent. The eyes of the characters might be a bit too much, but apart from that, it didn't bother me much. The CG also looks very interesting, except for the fact that there seemed to be a thick imaginary line between the usual art and the CG. I could exactly distinguish both of them, and they really were not blended in too well. That was a bit of a pity to see.
Overall, this is a pretty popular series, but I just don't like it. Period.
Overall Rating: 51/100