[9] Waiting for Shakugan no Shana

The story of how a joke became something rather serious.

Shakugan no Shana OP 1.jpg

This is the fourth of my entries into 2017’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. Please also check out the spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating!

Remembering a Vague Love

At some point this year, everyone’s favorite anime streaming site, Crunchyroll, began adding a large number of anime titles from its partner site, Funimation. This has resulted in a steady influx of anime—some new and some old, some good and some bad. However, one show that has not (yet!) made its way to the hallowed Flash player of Crunchyroll is Shakugan no Shana. And this, perhaps oddly (but perhaps not, as we may come to see) has been something I’ve been interested in seeing happen for a while now.

After all, Shakugan no Shana was one of those anime I watched back when I was first getting into anime. Somewhere in the middle of the second season, I even had thoughts like, “Wow… this could possibly be the greatest anime ever…”

It’s been long enough now that I don’t remember much about Shana—or even how many years back it has even been since I saw it. But even so, those wispy feelings of regard and affection remain, even as the concrete facts of the show to which they were once attached have been forgotten. In short, even though I don’t remember Shakugan no Shana, I remember the love I had for it. Feelings sit heavy, particularly those felt strongly in the grasp of newness. Anime was new, and therefore Shana was anime.

Shakugan no Shana Wings.jpg

I remember how Yuji helped Shana find her wings.

Does that make sense? Anime is weird in that people often eventually get into “anime” rather than specific genres. As the anti-memes go, anime doesn’t look the same. Nor are they same in their stories, characterizations, or goals. And yet we treat this one industry as a whole. When I was discovering “anime,” I was mostly watching similar sorts of things—fantasy, often blended slice-of-life elements. For all I knew, all anime was like this. And at the time, Shana was for me the pinnacle of that genre; ergo, Shana was anime. Not an anime, but anime itself. The archetype. The paradigm. The avatar. (Which, in some ways, historically, it is).

And this is why I want to see Shakugan no Shana again.

I doubt Shana will stack up against the favorites I’ve made in the years since I first watched it. But I still want to experience it again, to revisit the show that once represented what anime meant to me. I remember, vaguely, the red shades of Shana’s fire, but I want to experience them again. I said a couple days ago that you can’t go backwards in your anime experience, but I think now I may have been wrong to state this so categorically. If/when Shakugan no Shana finally makes its way to Crunchyroll, I will rewatch it again, and I suspect I will be transported back to those early days of my anime fandom. I will be watching with eyes both new and old. I suppose the color I pursue in this case is the one that answers the question, “What was it like to be me?”

Shakugan no Shana Kiss.jpg

Seeing this made me emotional, and I don’t even know why.

A curiosity of mine: What show(s) from the days of your early anime fandom would you want to revisit?

13 thoughts on “[9] Waiting for Shakugan no Shana

  1. The one that got me into anime was Madoka, and it was my number 1 anime until I met the girls from K-ON. I know it’s still there in my top list, but other than “it’s my gateway anime and it’s one of the best I’ve seen”, I’m not sure what kind of feelings it would give me now.

    I guess a rewatch will answer that.

    Nice article, Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It probably would—although I acknowledge rewatching something that was a former favorite with new eyes can be rather intimidating! It’s almost like you worry about yourself letting you down more than the show…

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  2. Enjoyed this post overall. Shakugan no Shana actually had slipped past me until I finally got around to watching it a few years ago.

    It really does encapsulate what anime from that era was like. Right down to the Kugimiya-voiced tsundere. Despite it being far from my gateway anime, it was a surprisingly​ fun and easy watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the KugiRie tsundere is iconic of a certain kind of thing—a thing that became so rote for a while that it quickly became panned by the community—and yet the progenitor endures, I think.

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  3. What a lovely contribution to 12 Days 🙂 Shana was an early love for me, as well, though I have yet to ever go back and rewatch any of the seasons. Probably the earliest series I can recall rewatching would be Azumanga Daioh. No matter how much time passes, every time I see a scene from that show I’m transported back to my initial feelings of shock and laughter. THIS is what anime could do, these moments of hilarity I had yet to experience anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After the death of the voice actress of Meryl, I’ve been wanting to revisit Trigun. But I have been revisiting Yu-Gi-Oh! occasionally, since back then the only subbed version was crappy VHS tapes or Chinese DVDs with gibberish subtitles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I watched Shana on Hulu back in the heyday of anime on Hulu, and lemme tell you Hulu’s video quality was not great. Seeing Shana (although it’s certainly not the best looking show every made – part of the charm for me now!) in better quality is another reason I’d like to revisit it.

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  5. Before last week I hadn’t heard of Shakugan no Shana before. Now, not only has someone brought it up through private messages, but you’ve made this post today. If I hear about it one more time I’m calling it the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

    I’m going to have to add this one to the watch list alongside Tsuki ga Kirei, which has been getting many recommendations from 12 Days bloggers.

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    • Haa, well I don’t know if I’d be so bold as to recommend Shana (if only because it’s been so long since I’ve seen it). In some ways, though, it does at least have some historical value given that it was the forerunner of an entire subgenre of LN adaptations like it (A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun probably being the best known) and pioneered the Rie Kugimiya tsundere.

      It’s probably a mixed bag overall, but then again so are many other things. Hopefully it does appear on CR soon so I can see both good and bad for what they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I became a dedicated anime fan in the summer of 2015, but I had watched anime when I was younger, even though I didn’t realize they were anime at the time. So, if I may, I’ll answer your question with an anime from that summer and two from my childhood.

    I would like to revisit my #1 favourite anime, Your Lie in April, which was also the first anime that I watched as an anime fan. It resonated with me so deeply it hurt. It was beautiful, not only when it came to the lighting, shot composition, colours and backgrounds, but also when it came to the music, both the classical pieces and the soundtrack by Masaru Yokoyama. In fact, I listened to part of the soundtrack before I even started watching YLIA, and it gave me such a warm feeling of contentedness. Additionally, the emotions and the awe that this anime instilled in me were beautiful and wondrous, and beyond what I expected from this show that I originally wanted to give a chance simply because I heard that it was a romance with excellent piano animation. I loved this anime so much, I rewatched it right away. The colours of my experience with YLIA were ones of warm pink and yellow.

    I also rewatched it in April 2016, and I thought more deeply of the motivations and development of the characters, and whatever little details I could find, and I still loved it. But as time passed, I’ve heard criticisms here and there, and while I can confidently refute some of them, others I’m not so sure about. That’s why I would like to rewatch it again, so that I may reaffirm my strong feelings towards it.

    However, I’m also hesitant to do so because I’ve gained more experience in analyzing and criticizing anime over time due to both thinking deeply of and discussing many shows as well as following bloggers, youtubers and other people who are deeply knowledgeable about the industry and the minutia of animation, direction, etc. I worry that I may find flaws in YLIA that I didn’t see then. Consequently, it may no longer be my absolute favourite anymore and that worries me.

    As for the two anime from my childhood, I would like to revisit Medabots and Monster Rancher. I hardly remember anything from those two shows, especially the latter, and I would like to know why I liked them as a kid (most likely the presences of robots and monsters, respectively, were enough, but perhaps there’s more to it), and if I may still like them now. Also, I’m surprised to see that many famous animators worked on Medabots, so that’s another reason.

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    • Well, hey! I wrote a series of episodic posts about Your Lie in April, so you might enjoy checking those out!

      It definitely can be scary to go back to something you once loved when you have more tools and more points of reference to find flaws in it. But if I my offer some encouragement, I’ve often found that with my true favorites, seeing their flaws becomes part of their charm for me. If I can understand and accept both the things I like and don’t like about my favorites, then I can feel all the more confident that they truly are a show I love. I think as long as you don’t go in with the mindset that it has to be flawless for you to love it, you’ll be fine. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the kind words. I’ll also read your posts on the show sometime in the future.

        I forgot to mention that there were some criticisms that I understand and agree with, such as the rival pianists, especially Emi, not getting the amount of screentime you typically think would be allocated to rivals, the first episode being slow, and the dissonance with the anime’s usual sombre tone whenever Kaori berates Kousei, which can oftentimes be violent. Right now, though, I consider these flaws to be very minor in the grand scheme of things, but there’s the possibility that I may think differently come the rewatch. The same dilemma applies for the existence of the main love triangle.

        However, I’ll definitely keep your advice in mind whenever I do get around to rewatching it. Even if on the off chance that I no longer consider it my absolute favourite, I’m sure it’ll still be a favourite.

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