Sakai Yuji thought he was an Ordinary High-School Student... until time stopped one day and everyone around him was turned into light and consumed by a huge monster, right before his eyes. He was saved by a girl with long red hair who drove the monster off with sword and flame. "You don't exist anymore", she told him.The Denizens of the Crimson World are monsters from another world who consume the "power of existence" of humans. The power of a human that is leftover becomes a Torch, a shell of their former self, destined to disappear without a trace — physical or mental — when their remaining power burns away. Flame Haze are independent humans who have allied themselves with the kings of the other world, gaining the power to fight back.But Yuji is no ordinary Torch, and the minion fought that day is only the beginning of the troubles his city is about to face...Shakugan no Shana is based on a series of novels by Takahashi Yashichirou. The anime was produced by JC Staff and ran for three seasons: the first aired in 2005, and the second in 2007. A movie readaption of the first novel was released in Japan on April 21st, 2007. Starting on October 2009, OVAs have been released every four months or so under the name Shakugan no Shana S. The third and final season of the anime premiered in Fall of 2011.An series of omake called Shana-tan and Hecate-tan have been released which parody the events of the series with Super-Deformed characters. There is already a Shana-tan episode paralleling the new series, called (appropriately enough) Shakugan no Shana-tan G.The character sheet can be found here.
This series provides examples of:
All Just a Dream: The second season starts with Yuji trapped inside a dream (created by the real first villain of the season). Yuji picks up on some deja vu, but when complete scenes and defeated villains from the first season start showing up, then he knows something's wrong. No one will listen to him or tell him anything he—the one the dream is based on—doesn't already know. The dream falls apart once he pieces everything together.
Almost Kiss: Happen a couple of times in anime and light novel, most of the times Shana is the one who initiate it but always interrupted. The first time it happened in anime Shana backed out and shove a melon pan instead on his face. Poor Yuji was already hoping for his present. It's no wonder in their Sacred First Kiss it's Yuji who initiate it.
Alternate Continuity: The movie provides a closer adaptation of the events of the first novel than the anime, thus differing in a few respects, such as using an important plot point that the anime reserves until the end of the first season.
Art Evolution: Other than the flame effects improving throughout the series, Final also greatly varies the amount of runic circles used in Unrestricted Spells, up from the one circle and ribbons used in the first two.
Very notable in Yuji,while in season 3 it was probably part of the plot demand to emphasize Yuji's Face-Heel Turn He is getting better looking than any other character since season 1.
The original light novel illustrations and the manga adaptations also experience this.
Cessation of Existence: What happens to people who become torches; after gradually becoming less and less present in the world, along with Ret Gone at the moment of cessation.
Chekhov's Gun: The anti-flame ring. After being forgotten for most of the first season it ends up saving Yuji when Shana summons Alastor. Snake of the Festival Yuji also uses it liberally throughout Final to No Sell most attacks from Shana and the other Flame Haze, due to most relying on fire and their elemental power.
City of Adventure: The first villain started it, hanging around Misaki City as part of some sinister scheme and gaining Shana's notice. Shana and Yuji being who and what they are tends to attract the rest of the attention. Lampshaded in the second season by speculation that Misaki City has become some sort of naturally-occurring nexus of misfortune. The city later earns the nickname/title, "Maelstrom of Warfare"
Civil War: The Civil War, between the Four Gods of Earth (and their followers the West Army) and the rest of the Flame Haze (East Army), broke out in 1863 during the American Civil War. The Four Gods of Earth were Native American Flame Haze who resolved, like all Flame Haze, to remain uninvolved in human affairs, despite the treatment of their people at the hands of the European settlers and their descendants. When a group of American soldiers killed a young Native American girl praying for deliverance, the Four Gods finally snapped, killed the soldiers, and resolved to destroy the United States. The rest of the Flame Haze, opposing this violation of their neutrality, fought against them. Ultimately, the East Army won the war because the Four Gods realized that their vendetta was distracting the Flame Haze from hunting Crimson Denizens and Lords, who were running rampant at this time. This caused them to cease fighting. As a peace offering, the Four Gods were made leaders of the branches of Outlaw (the Flame Haze support organization) in North and South America.
Clingy MacGuffin: The Midnight Lost Child (Reiji Maigo). Yuji needs it to live, and removing such Treasures in general is supposed to be dangerous.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Snake of the Festival Yuji delivers one to Shana and the Hazes, the beatdown was so severe that Shana couldn't believe that Yuji hadn't had his mind taken over by Snake of The Festival. Yuji insists that there is only him in control and later tries to apologize for using force against her.
The Flame Haze army is decisively routed at the battle of the Sereiden. So many are killed or demoralized that, with the exception of a few renegade Flame Haze led by Shana, they are knocked out of the war.
Dead to Begin With: As impatiently explained by Shana, the original Yuji's life was consumed before the anime started, and he is just a Torch—the remainder of that lifeforce, a placeholder to preserve the balance while quietly fading away.
Though how long he'd been dead considering that he's been the Midnight Lost Child's container is never elaborated upon.
Defusing the Tyke Bomb: Yuji's influence makes Shana think of herself as more than the Flame Haze she was raised to be.
The omake picks up on this interaction with a slew of impromptu H-scenes.
One scene begins with Margery Daw making sounds of pleasure while the camera pans up from her curled toes... she's actually getting a massage.
Enemy Mine: Shana and Kazumi form a quirky alliance in response to Konoe's perceived usurping of Yuji's affections, although they spend more time moping about it than doing anything constructive. Eventually their understanding of each other extends beyond the non-combative theatre of operations.
The Extremist Was Right: Snake of the Festival Yuji succeeds in his/their plan to create a duplicate world for Crimson Denizens to live without needing to feed on humans' Power of Existence. The Crimson Denizens go a step further and, admiring humanity and wishing to coexist with it, allow the Flame Haze to create a limiter preventing them from devouring humans. An uncountable number of people are saved from future harm. Since Crimson Denizens no longer feed on humans and threaten the balance of the world, the need for the Flame Haze to fight them are gone, allowing them to finally be people instead of walking weapons. Yuji is able to have a relationship with Shana that is not marred by endless conflict that would have probably resulted in her death one day, and the Forever War is ended.
Fanservice: Sorath neatly slices Shana's clothing while she is restrained.
Giving the class girls a shower scene during Season 2's school festival also counts. Groping is involved.
First Episode Spoiler: The first episode reveals that Yuji is a Torch. Yuji being The Protagonist, this is a big deal to the rest of the series. You can't describe this series to anyone without spoiling the plot twist of that first episode.
For some reason, they decided to put Yuji's apparentFace-Heel Turn before Yuji's permanent death and reincarnation in the first few minutes of the final season.
Flaming Sword: The titular artifact, Shana's name comes from the sword.
While its true that Shana got her name from her sword, the title of the series, which translates to "Burning-Eyed Shana", refers to Shana the girl, not Shana the sword.
Mathilde (Shana's predecessor) can make swords, axes and shields with her flames. She can even summon an army of knights complete with armour, horses, and rams made out of fire.
Floating Continent: Bal Masque's headquarters, Seireiden, as well as the Tendokyuu, where Shana received her training.
Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: A Flame Haze awakening/summoning their sponsoring Lord's full power into this world, killing them from inability to contain their Lord's massive power. As revealed by the movie, the first villain was using a gun that induced this to kill off the Flame Haze who came after him—thus forcing their Lords to depart or else risk destroying the balance. Used as a suicide attack in the anime's backstory by Alastor's previous vessel.
The cross pendant that Pheles gives Kazumi is designed to summon her at the cost of the summoner's life.Except not really.
Foreshadowing: Didn't watch the S episodes and wondering what's up with Season 3? S are relevant, but the significant lines are few and rare. In order:
Episode 1 involves the relationship with Shana and Yuji, and how much they have progressed and understand each other. Notice anything strange about the length of time they've been together?
Episode 2 looks at Wilhelmina's side, and she wonders about Yuji's personality.
Episodes 3 and 4 acts as foils to the main series, as they focus on the past of Shana on another Tomogara from a different time. That ending... is rather open.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: In the first Shakugan no Shana S OVA, Yuji accidentally uses the artifact Reshuffle to bodyswap with Shana. Naturally, Yuji-as-Shana is endearinglyderedere, while Shana's usual tsundere antics come across as mildly repulsive. They spend the entire episode trying to keep the swap a secret under Alastor's orders, because Reshuffle only works if there are no barriers between the users' hearts and he doesn't want their relationship to go public.
Freak Out: Invoked by Yuji when he is apprehended by Zarovee. This may fall into Narm, depending on your viewpoint.
One character plays this horrifically straight: Tanaka, when he sees Ogata lose an arm and a leg after being blasted by Margery Daw in her blind rage.
Keisaku in episode 2 of the final season when his Denizen detector starts reacting (to The Snake of the Festival inside Yuji) and he can't run away as Margery advised him to because he's stuck on a train. It turns out the Denizen was on a passing train.
Geodesic Cast: Every Flame Haze has a weapon, a Crimson Lord, and a magical object through which the Lord speaks. And in Season Three, there are a whole damn lot of Flame Haze.
Giant Food: Season 2 filler episode. All of the student characters met and ate at a restaurant that super sized everything. The bowls looked like they were meant for real giants and not puny humans.
Go Mad from the Revelation: When Snake!Yuji reveals that the success of his plan will prevent Denizens from ever having to feed on humans again, the majority of the Flame Haze army goes insane from the realization that their eternal lives will become meaningless, thus becoming easy prey for the Denizen army.
Grey and Gray Morality: The final arc which featured the final war between the Flame Haze as led by Shana on one side and Bal Masqué as led by Snake of the Festival Yuji on the other. Both of them are darker shades of grey, with the latter's leader verging onto A Lighter Shade of Black. Bal Masqué wants to create a paradise called Xanadu with limitless Power of Existence, allowing Crimson Denizens to coexist peacefully with humans in that world. With the unlimited Power of Existence and the humans not being devoured, the distortions that threaten Earth and the Crimson World's existence will cease. The Flame Haze, however, believe that the Crimson Denizens lack the self-restraint to not eat humans even with limitless Power of Existence, making them have a Hobbes Was Right view, and feel that Xanadu will only exacerbate the distortions. Both sides oftentimes show little regard for humanity, with Flame Haze just as willing to use humans' Power of Existence as Crimson Denizens if it suits their purposes. In short, Shana and company view Yuji and the Snake of the Festival as too naïve, while Yuji and the Snake view the Flame Haze as too cynical. Ultimately, the Crimson Denizens win the war, but having come to admire humanity, allow the Flame Haze to input a code into Xanadu's blueprints preventing them from eating humans.
Yuji offers up part of his own Power of Existence early in the series so Shana can repair the classroom and students damaged by Friagne, rather than let Shana use a human's Power of Existence, which would have erased them from existence. At the time, neither Yuji or Shana knew that he had the Midnight Lost Child, which replenishes his Power of Existence, and assumed that this would hasten his death. This is a critical first step in challenging Shana's protect-the-balance-over-humanity worldview, as well as an important step in Shana's evolving crush on Yuji.
Also, the Bal Masqué general Decarabia. While Decarabia doesn't deliberately die, he is willing to risk, and ultimately lose, his life to hold off the Flame Haze long enough for a Bal Masqué army to come to defend Seireiden, Bal Masqué's headquarters.
Infant Immortality: Subverted in the very first episode, but never done to the same extent again.
Instant Runes: Often in the form of growing, encircling ribbons of blue runes.
By Final, rune circles have become most common display, and with much more variety than the standard circle from season one.
It Began with a Twist of Fate: Lampshaded in the opening narration. Yuiji wonders how different his life would have been had he not decided to go to the CD store on the fateful afternoon where he met Shana and found out that he's a Torch with incredible magical power.
Just A Torch : Quite a few Flame Haze and Denizens share this view, in particular, Shana to Yuji at the start, and Yuji to himself briefly.
Matchmaker Crush: Ike tries to help Kazumi to have time and hook up with Yuji. When he chastises Yuji for leading her on, Yuji confronts Ike about his own feelings for her. It isn't until the second season that Ike tries to do anything for himself, though. But even so, Kazumi still holds her heart for Yuji.
Meet Cute: Just replace "crashing into each other" with "getting run through with a sword" and you've got the same formula.
Naked First Impression: In Margery's flashback, when she and Yuri first meet she is naked because she was using the Purification Flame to clean her body.
Nice Hat: Hecate seems to wear a pillow adorned with two large, red jewels.
Omake: DVD specials: two mini-episodes of "Shakugan no Shana-tan" and one of "Itadaki no Hecate-tan", featuring a pocket-sized version of the titular character that spoofed events in the main series.
Opening Narration: By Alastor in the first season: "Infinite time stopped beating its heart, and humans burnt away without making any noise. Not one person notices as the world becomes dislocated and is covered in the flames of The Crimson World."
In the dub; "A heartbeat that lasts for eternity, lives consumed in soundless balls of fire. No one is aware as the world is displaced, and the flames of the Crimson World sweep over all."
Panty Shot: 3 in quick succession during the final battle in the first season. And a quick shot during the first OP. Also a couple slips during season 2's battle penultimate battle. You know the show is almost over when they start upskirting Shana.
Phantom Zone: Fuzetsu barriers. Everything inside the barrier is frozen in place, while everyone outside the barrier temporarily forgets about and subconsciously avoids the enclosed area. This only applies to normal people, of course. Also, any environmental damage done inside a fuzetsu can be undone, given sufficient energy.
Phrase Catcher: Marcosius seems to refer to Margery as "My (adjective/verbing) (noun), Margery Daw" quite a lot.
The Power of Love: A major theme of the series, triumphing over its opposite Love Is a Weakness. Originally, Shana's feelings for Yuji causes confusion with Friagne and Margery exploit in her battles against her, and later leaves her conflicted over her role as a Flame Haze. However, these same feelings mean that when Yuji is supporting her, her confidence increases enormously, resulting in the above-mentioned wings. Later, it grants her incredible strength of will and fuels one her primary goals: redeeming Yuji. This same power also drives Yuji to become stronger to fight by Shana's side, and is responsible for Yuji later having the audacity and determination to join the Snake of the Festival in changing the world, all for the sake of protecting his loved ones and free Shana from the Forever War.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Treasure Tool Trigger Happy, a weapon which forces a Flame Haze's Crimson Lord to manifest with his/her full power, killing the Flame Haze. Back in the 19th century, after his town was destroyed by a Flame Haze leading some Native Americans, the boy Billy Hawken worked with Friagne to kill that Flame Haze. Hawken was mortally injured, but his hatred for Flame Haze combined with Friagne's desire to kill them to form the ultimate anti-Flame Haze weapon. Friagne promptly used it to kill their target, and before dying Hawken named it Trigger Happy.
Previously On: Every episode in the second season begins with Alastor summarizing the entirety of the previous episode. It gets rather egregious, especially when calling back to a Filler episode totally irrelevant to the current one.
Rank Inflation: During a trip to an amusement park, Shana uses her powers to cheat at a swordfighting virtual reality game, maxing out the score counter and earning a rank of SSS.
Retcon: Shana confessing to Yuji right before using the Forbidden Chekhov's Gun at the (anime-original) end of the first season. The second season has him turning out to have not heard it, thus maintaining status quo.
Ret Gone: Anyone or anything that loses its Power of Existence also has all evidence of its existence erased; photos, memories, records, all disappear. Objects usually remain, but have nothing tying them to the owner.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Season 3 boils down to this: The Crimson Denizens are led by the cold and ruthless Enlightened Yuji Sakai and the Snake of the Festival (who is inhabiting the former's body, with a belief that Utopia Justifies the Means, who tries to create a world where the Crimson Denizens no longer have to consume humans to survive. Opposing them are Shana's and the Flame Haze's equally ruthless Romanticist Anti-Heroism which will do anything for the sake of protecting the balance which Denizens disrupt by consuming humans, even if it means occasionally using humans' Power of Existence themselves (though to be fair, Shana has, through Yuji's influence, made protecting humans a priority on par with protecting the balance). Shana and a small group of Flame Haze, eventually realizing that there was no way to stop the duplicate world Xanadu's creation after the Flame Haze were routed in a previous battle, attempt to insert a code into the device building Xanadu preventing Denizens from eating humans. They apparently achieve this until Yuji and the Snake of the Festival reveal that the device, while playing a role in the creation of Xanadu, was actually a decoy. A combination of the distortion energy collected by the Midnight Lost Child and their own power as the God of Creation was going to create Xanadu, and the code could easily be overwritten. However, the Denizens appeal to the Snake of the Festival to keep the code in anyways, and he agrees. So judging how Yuji and the Snake succeed in the end, this would make the series an Enlightened work.
Actually, it appears that the work is a hybrid of Romanticism and Enlightenment. While the means of Snake of the Festival Yuji and Bal Masqué are Enlightened, their motivations are a mixture of Enlightenment and Romanticism: a world where Denizens can fulfill their passions and desires being romantic; and Yuji's beliefs for a world where Flame Hazes, Humans and Crimson Denizens can coexist peacefully, the Crimson Denizens no longer have to consume humans to survive because they are given infinite power of existence, and the Flame Hazes can live normal lives, no longer just walking weapons, being enlightened. Also Romantic is The Power of Love is what gives Yuji the incredible determination and vision to actually end the millennia-old Forever War, and his primary motivation for changing reality itself is to create a world where Shana can be more than just a Flame Haze, i.e., an eventual, inevitable casualty of the war (and to protect humanity).
Sitting on the Roof: Yuji and Shana, who at first is content to stay up there until Yuji invites her inside.
Slice of Life: It has moments. The beginning of season 2 is largely without conflict and instead focuses on the whole group's antics during normal life.
Half the first episode. That is, until Shana comes.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The entire franchise. The world of Shakugan no Shana is a world where Eldritch Abominations known as Crimson Denizens, some of them Physical Gods called Crimson Lords, secretly come to Earth to devour humans' Power of Existence, erasing them from existence. This causes the balance between Earth and the Denizens' point of origin, the Crimson World, to be damaged, threatening to destroy both worlds. They are opposed by Flame Haze, former humans commissioned by other Crimson Lords to protect the balance. However, most of these Flame Haze are Knight Templars at best who prioritize preserving the balance over human lives and at worst are sociopaths who seek to get back at Denizens for having been wrong by them in the past. The Flame Haze's belligerent nature and differing motivations means that they rarely work together, forming large groups only in the face of existential threats. Otherwise, they fight each to the point of near death. Oh, and they won't hesitate to use humans' Power of Existence to repair damage caused by the war. Additionally, the Flame Haze can only delay the inevitable, limiting the damage but not preventing or eliminating it entirely. This dark, cynical environment is counterpointed by the protagonists Shana and Yuji, who believe that Flame Haze can be more than just walking weapons, but people with a reason for being beyond their mission or revenge. They believe that with The Power of Love, they can protect those they care about, overcome impossible odds, and forge a lasting relationship between the two of them. Yuji is even more idealistic, envisioning a future where Flame Haze, Denizens, and humans can coexist. As for Shana, after Yuji joins the enemy Bal Masqué in order to realize this dream, she refuses to even consider killing Yuji, confident that she can both fulfill her duty as a Flame Haze and redeem Yuji. Ultimately, it is their idealism that triumphs over the cynicism of the setting.
Small Name, Big Ego: The Four Gods of Earth. Despite their names, none of the four Crimson Lords affiliated under this group are real Gods of the Crimson Realm like Alastor, the Snake of the Festival, and Shaher.
Split Personality Takeover: Averted. While it seems that way early on, the Snake only ever comes out to talk with the rest of Bal Masque. Yuji's the one doing all the fighting
Story Breaker Power: The Snake of the Festival Yuji is the God of Creation, whose power equals Alastor's, and he seems to have no problems showing off: infinite power, Prehensile Hair, and a sword that causes anyone who tries blocking it to sustain heavy injuries (Blutsager). Plus the whole "Creator" bit.
Sweet Tooth: Shana, if her eating twosuper duper extra ginormous servings of ice cream sundae is any indication (One is almost as tall as she is!). Her thing for melon bread may also count. She also consumes a "couple dozen" ice cream bars during the Shana S ova and thinks that Yuji's body is weak for getting sick afterward.
Taking the Bullet: Shana intercepting Wilhelmina's spear after Yuji gets captured. She's a Flame Haze, though, so she's good to go again after a little time off to heal.
Took a Level in Badass: Yuji, in Season 3. Sure he did improve in his fighting skills in Season 2 of the anime, but it wasn't until Season 3 that he truly proved to be a formidable opponent. From simply aiding Shana in her fights to being so strong that few people can even hit him (at first), he really lived up to the trope's name.
Shana essentially started her own type of tsundere, that is much more 'bipolar' than the classical tsundere. Later incarnations of this trope are described as 'Shana clones'.
Ironically, the clones often lack the character development that softened (relatively) Shana as the story went on. She's still a Tsundere, but much less "bipolar".
Verbal Tic: Wilhelmina ends nearly every sentence with "de arimasu", an archaic form of "desu" usually restricted to writing ~de arimasu. It gets a little annoying ~de arimasu.
This was changed to 'indeed' in the dub. And you thought Teal'c used the word a lot.
Voices Are Mental: This is averted in the Shana S OV As where Yuuji and Shana swap bodies. They still voice like themselves, though of course some effort was made by the V As to mimic eachother's tones and speech patterns.
Wham Episode: Volume 16: Yuji is now the Big Bad. And another in Volume 22, the final light novel: Yuji wins, but the Crimson Denizens decide to compromise with the Flame Haze and allow their paradise, Xanadu, to have a built-in limit preventing them from devouring humans' Power of Existence.