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Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2(TV) (2009)
Shana and Alastor, Lord of the Crimson Realm, continue to do battle with the Denizens, who are trying to steal the Power of Existence from mortals. In the last battle, Yuji is revealed to be a mystes, a "torch" of nearly unlimited Power of Existence. Since the Denizens want to capture Yuji and use him to upset the balance of the Realm, Shana resolves to protect Yuji. Yuji then vows to join Shana in her fight.
For more about Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 and the Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray release, see Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on March 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Josh Grelle, Kristian Ayre, Tabitha St. Germain, Cherami Leigh
» See full cast & crew
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray Review
In Xanadu did Shana-tan. . .
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 16, 2013
And so it's finally come down to this: after 100 or so episodes, some additional OVAs and a feature film redacted from the first arcs of the actual series, Shakugan no Shana is wrapping up (supposedlyŚI have my doubts). This series has been an up and down climb for me. I still find it maddeningly over convoluted, with sometimes ridiculously hard to understand verbiage and a plot line that veers off on tangents right and left, but as the third season opened, whether or not my resistance had finally been worn down, I actually found myself enjoying the adventures of Shana and Yuji. The second half of the (ostensible) final season is basically one protracted battle, and so for those who are, like I am, not especially fond of the more "slice of life" elements of this series, that's a good thing. Oddly, Shana is relatively absent from a lot of the proceedings, as several supporting characters enter the fray and a bunch of sidebars are interwoven into the main Yuji arc. But there's a certain satisfaction to seeing the series wrap up several elements in a more or less comprehensible way, and longtime fans should certainly be mostly pleased with the outcome. If there's some unexpected "collateral damage" along the way, that probably only adds to the emotional impact the series will have for these aficionados. For those coming into Shakugan no Shana uninitiated (so to speak), it might be worthwhile to spend a little time poring over our coverage of the (many) previous releases in this franchise:
Shakugan no Shana: Season 1 Blu-ray review
Shakugan no Shana: Season 2 Part 1 Blu-ray review
Shakugan no Shana: Season 2 Part 2 Blu-ray review
Shakugan no Shana S: OVA Series Blu-ray review
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray review
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 1 Blu-ray review
Part of the disconnect that some may have with Shakugan no Shana is exactly because the show tends to combine more mundane elements with the labyrinthine adventures of Yuji and Shana fighting the forces of evil. At its core, Shakugan no Shana simply boils down to an epic struggle between good and evil, though it's colored by the "slice of life" elements as well as the series' increasingly complicated mythology. That gives the series an odd feeling at times that nothing is happening and too much is happening. The fact that the second half of the third season tends to concentrate on one final struggle works to the show's benefit, streamlining a lot of relatively irrelevant plot points and focusing squarely on restoring things in Misaki City to how they "should" be. Of course this also involves Yuji's status as being "not quite dead yet" (to paraphrase Monty Python's Flying Circus), as well as the long simmering romance between Yuji and Shana.
There's a rather interesting middle section of these final episodes where (and we need to delve into the series' confounding verbiage here) the Flame Hazes are tricked (more or less) by the Crimson Denizens in a gambit that seems like an armistice but which in fact turns out to be something decidedly more sinister. There are two parallel arcs here that are somewhat interrelated. The Crimson Denizens want to build their own version of a new reality where the so- called Power of Existence is like an eternal "green energy" source, renewable and immutable. Yuji on the other hand wants to construct his own paradise, which just to make things all the more perplexing, is called Xanadu. There's also a subplot that pits Shana against Yuji, part of the carryover from the first half of the season which included Yuji's supposed disappearance and reemergence as a potential bad guy.
Some longtime fans may feel at least a little cheated when the series engages in what might be thought of as a bit of a cop out with regard to the Crimson Denizens, who in a climactic moment more or less review their nefarious history and habits and say, "Never mind". That disappointing aspect is probably at least partially offset by the wrap up of the Midnight Lost Child arc as well as a final restoration of Misaki City and, in one of the series' most affecting touches, the reappearance of a supposedly long lost character (fans of the series will immediately understand who this refers to, but I'll refrain from posting the identity for those who want to be "surprised"). There are frankly some aspects to the final episodes that are at least a bit head scratching, with a number of "mirrored" realities intersecting with each other, but the good news is that after a long (and for some, occasionally tortuous) journey, Shana and Yuji have something approaching a happy ending.
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
After no fewer than six previous Shakugan no Shana Blu-ray releases, there really isn't a lot left to be said about the AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. presented courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment. The series continues to be on the lackluster side, with an overall softness and some issues like minor stair stepping in line detail. Colors continue to be rather vibrant, but because of the general softness of the presentation, never really pop with the vivacity that they should. This second half of the third season features more "special effects" like magical circles and the like, and even those are offered in a kind of flat perspective, with not enough sharpness or clarity. Even for fans of Shakugan no Shana who are probably more willing than others to overlook some of the series' flaws, the middling high definition presentation of this series has certainly been at least a bit of a disappointment.
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Once again, Shakugan no Shana Season 3 Part 2 features Dolby TrueHD mixes, a 5.1 in English and a 2.0 in Japanese. As with the video side of things, there's not really much new information to impart here, aside from the fact that this second half of the third season being so concerned with major battles makes the 5.1 mix probably even more consistently immersive than some of the other seasons. Both mixes offer excellent fidelity, with dialogue very cleanly presented, and the 5.1 mix benefits from some good LFE. Dynamic range is very wide in this second half of the third season.
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It's been a long strange trip through the three seasons and assorted "extras" in the Shakugan no Shana universe, and it hasn't always been an enjoyable one for this reviewer. I still find Shakugan no Shana The Movie a much more enjoyable redaction of the opening arc of episodes, and the second season was bogged down by too much repetition and tangential subplots interrupting the main story flow. But I was rather pleasantly surprised by the "comeback" Shakugan no Shana achieved in its third season. The first half of the season got off to a great start with the supposed disappearance of Yuji, and the second half maintains that interest by pitting Yuji against Shana, at least for a little while, while at the same time finally bringing the Midnight Lost Child arc to a satisfying conclusion. Fans of the series are probably going to want this release one way or the other, even with the middling video quality, but my personal recommendation for those not acquainted with the franchise is to start with the movie, gauge your interest from that, and move out from there if warranted.
Shakugan no Shana: Other Seasons
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