Shankugan no Shana [Month of Shana]

Type: Burning-Eyed Shana

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Synopsis: A lot of confusing words are used to describe not-demon hunters who hunt down not-demons and not-vampires who eat human not-souls. This story stars a particularly not-developed “Flame Haze,” or not-demon hunter, who meets a recently not-ghosted boy named Yuji. Together, they fight not-monsters, go through puberty together, and sometimes waste their time in boring school with boring people and generally waste all our time.

Pros: So Shakugan no Shana is apparently a HUGE series, spanning multiple seasons. The first season mainly introduces all the characters and sets the foundation of their interactions. The two star performances come from the two stars, Shana the Flame Haze and Yuji. Shana was raised a warrior, but lack many of the social and emotional skills necessary to function in society. She’s not deadpan or quiet, she’s just a little rough with interacting. Sometimes this is funny, like all her bored expressions while at school. It was particularly fascinating how the adults in her life addressed this. Her sorta dad/necklace of power and sorta mom/maid didn’t view this as a problem, but Yuji’s mother/social mentor pointed out that if Shana doesn’t learn how to deal with people as as child, it will be a serious problem as an adult, especially when dealing with men. Then there’s Yuji, who becomes a Torch (basically a ghost), and is our introduction to Shana’s work. He suffers from momentary existential crises. The best part of the show is their interactions with one another. Their relationship is great to watch, in a “First time Boyfriend and Girlfriend” kind a way. So expect a few misunderstandings.

Con: You can tell right away that this show had a budget. I’m not talking about looking different become it comes from the pre-digital era, I’m saying you can notice cuts here and there made to save money. The exception is Shana’s Flame Haze form, which always looked really cool with the added floating ember effect put in. There’s also the matter of the side characters. Other than Yuji, Shana, everyone else was pointless. I simply did not care about Yuji’s school friends. Ike and Kazumi could go F@#$ off for all I care. They are not important. Kazumi does throw a love triangle wrench at Yuji and Shana, but a random new character that goes away after three episodes could have done the same. Then there’s the matter of Margery, Eita, and Keisaku, who I’m pretty sure are just their for filler. They add nothing to the story, and aren’t really related to the overall plot other than Margery being a Flame Haze. For real, they don’t hang out with Yuji or Shana, they have no real history with Yuji or Shana, and aside from going to the same school and I guess sharing the same plane of existence, they are not relevant. That, I feel, is the show’s biggest flaw. It’s 24 episode length meant filling it with a bunch of filler content, such as school events and side fights, that just acted as fodder for the skip button.But if you can, I’d advise looking for the Bonus mini-episodes. They put a very funny spin on some of the cliches.

Watch it?: Skip where you may (3/5)

MVP: Shana’s Outfit

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Burning Red Hair and A Black Trench Coat with the Collar Popped Up. Bad Ass.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “The Burning Flame” (ironic title)

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