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Old 2007-10-13, 07:21   Link #1
Kinny Riddle
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Shakugan no Shana Terminology and Metaphysics Discussion Thread

As the name suggests, this thread is used by users to provide information as well as post questions and answers concerning the terminology and metaphysics seen in the Shana-verse, as envisioned by series author Takahashi Yashiro.

This is more or less an "ad-hoc encyclopedia", as I have tonnes of stuff I can write about but not sure where to start.

I'll start with a few today then, my preference is to use an English equivalent name wherever possible, since most of the terms are just adjectives:

Crimson World (Guze)
A world that is adjacent to our own. Residing there are Crimson Denizens (Guze no Tomogara) and the more powerful Crimson Lords (Guze no Ou). The name "Crimson" is just a metaphor, coined by a certain Flame Haze ages ago, and does not necessarily mean the world is crimson in colour. Their world is not as "physical" as we would normally perceive ours to be. Overall, a very abstract world. For various reasons, Crimson Denizens and Lords decide to physically manifest themselves in our world. (See entry below)

Crimson Denizen and Crimson Lord
There are various reasons Crimson Denizens and their more powerful counterparts Crimson Lords physically manifest themselves. Some to fulfill all sorts of desire that they are not able to achieve in the Crimson World. Mostly it has something to do with love, or a twisted form of it, like Friagne and the Aizen siblings. Though there are others, like Bal Masque, whose purposes are entirely unknown.

In order to physically manifest themselves, they require Powers of Existence (Sonzai no Chikara) found in this world. Think of it like the MPs (Magic Points) of the Crimson World. It is the power that keeps this world in existence.

There are two ways to acquire PoE (I'll be using this abbreviation from now on): one is to "devour" a human being's PoE, causing his/her existence to be "forgotten" after becoming a Torch; another is to "borrow" the existence of a human being, i.e. living in "symbiosis" with that human, these humans are known as Flame Hazes.

The difference between the former and the latter is that the former acquires PoE indiscriminately just to fulfill their desires. If too many PoE have been extracted, then it could upset the balance between our world and the Crimson World. Some of the more concerned Crimson Lords decide to stop their own kind from going too far, hence they form contracts with Flame Hazes.

There are also certain Denizens/Lords who are neither and do not affect the overall balance of the two worlds. One example is Rami, the Bone Collector (AKA The Spiral Harmonica). He resides inside a Torch, hence he does not take away anybody's PoE, and he only extracts from other Torches, which does anybody no harm (from the "Balance World" PoV anyway).


That's it for now. Feel free to fire any questions you may have.
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Old 2007-10-13, 20:51   Link #2
serenade_beta
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Originally Posted by Kinny Riddle View Post
Rami, the Bone Collector
Perhaps it would be best to change "bone" to "corpse"

As his title has "屍" (shikabane), not "骨" (hone).
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Old 2007-10-14, 00:30   Link #3
Kinny Riddle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serenade_beta View Post
Perhaps it would be best to change "bone" to "corpse"

As his title has "屍" (shikabane), not "骨" (hone).
Yes, I was aware of that, but Bone Collector sounds better than Corpse Collector, but I'll make a note of it.
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哀莫大於心死。
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Old 2007-10-14, 03:44   Link #4
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Is there a reason why the nice Lords don't all inhabit Torches instead of going to the trouble of contracting a Flame Haze?
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Old 2007-10-14, 04:35   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Is there a reason why the nice Lords don't all inhabit Torches instead of going to the trouble of contracting a Flame Haze?
That is because the torches don't have a "capacity" large enough for abilities.
Rami is different because he doesn't tap much of PoE and actually feeds himself slowly.

Meanwhile, "good" Guze-O who are willing to fight require a proper host, not only a capable fighter, but also a refined container.

A simple torch would be crushed by any usual Guze-O dormant PoE, but would hardly be able to tap enough PoE for the Guze-O and they would die => disappear. (I don't even know if actually anything except flame haze wouldn't be squeeshed during the ceremony of the contract)
Even though Flame Haze are more similar to a Torch than a human, they are quite different in "spec"
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Old 2007-10-15, 03:24   Link #6
Kinny Riddle
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Power of Existence
The basic power that keeps everything in our world "in existence". Every person is born with such PoE. Some people have larger "existences" than others, in that they have more "contacts", "friends", or are just "popular".

In a nutshell: For an average popular person, his "existence" grows as he meets more people, and is at its climax during the person's prime. Once he ages (i.e. goes into retirement), his "existence" would gradually shrink as he gets out of touch with the people he normally comes into contact with, though it never disappears, even after death.

This changes when his PoE is forcibly taken by a Crimson Denizen/Lord. In which case, he is devoured and is deemed to have "died". However, unlike death, he will not be mourned, because since his "existence" is taken away, no one will know he even existed.

However, while humans normally won't even detect whether one of their own is devoured by Denizens. Overconsumption of PoE would mean people would begin to question the very fabric of their world as more of more people "disappear", this would lead to great distortion, and eventually a collapse in the balance.

Flame Haze usually seek out Denizens by searching for these "distortions". Once a battle is over, these "distortions" are then adjusted and repaired, with the help of a local inhabitant, by a certain group of veteran Flame Haze known as Tuners.

In order to hide their presence, Denizens invent the idea of using Torches to replace the devoured victims. This buys them time to escape before the Flame Haze arrives. Though sometime Flame Haze also create Torches themselves in order to utilize their PoE to repair areas damaged after battles in a Fuuzetsu (Sealed Barrier).

PoE is also the basis for both Denizens and Flame Haze for their Unrestricted Spells (Jizaihou).


That's all I can remember about PoE for now. Any feedback or questions are most welcomed.
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哀莫大於心死。
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Old 2007-10-15, 05:23   Link #7
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Just to add some "explanations" of the concept, just in case:

As shown by Kinny's explanations, Power of Existence is completely different from "life span".
Even though one should live , let's say, roughly 80 years (think "Death note" life span, which is the common concept of most people), this person disappear if their PoE runs out (which happens only when it is forcefully cut short by a Denizen).
PoE is rather another "variable" which is the representation of the "existence", not "life" of that person (well, the word is "self explanatory")

As result, when a Denizen eats the PoE of someone, the said person doesn't have a "normal" existence, as the existence is conflicting with the prior interactions with other humans. Existence which shouldn't be shrunk in the first place are simply irregular in the world, and therefore, instead of being "harder" to realize (conflicting again with previous connections of the said person's existence), the existence itself cannot "exist" just like prior the intervention of a Denizen, and thus, it is steadely vanishing, until it is turned into a Torch.

Torch

As denizen usually don't create torches since they are only interested in their wishes (and so the PoE), the balance of worlds is disrupted. Even though devoured existences are forgotten, living humans still can sense inconsistencies due the abrupt disappearance of "existences".
Flame Hazes use a temporary method to lessen the impact of this, by creating Torches from the remnants of Existence.

A Torch is somewhat an "avatar" of the deceased human, as its existence is just a placeholder to prevent any abrupt disappearance. The torch "lifespan" depends on the remnants of the eaten PoE. This of course can vary from some days to weeks or even years.

Since eaten existences cannot stay in the world in such state, the Flame Hazes just recreate the persons under Torches, who will only live on with a degrading PoE.
Once an existence is turned into a Torch, it is no longer considered as a "human existence", and the said human is "officially" dead, as the Torch will never be able to turn back to a true living existence.

Flame Hazes aren't able to "repair" eaten PoE because PoE can only be "fixed" with PoE, and so, "helping" a torch would mean to tap the PoE from someone else. Therefore, they are unique and cannot be "replinished" until a specific power is designed for such purpose. (There is currently only one thing which has the power to do so, the Hougu named "Reiji Maigo")

Thus, Torches are replacing the presence of eaten people, but as their existence is fading, the impact of this disappearance is lessened since the existence of the torch is gradually degrading, leaving the humans with a near-perfect impression the person never existed from the beginning.

---

I'm not exactly sure if Denizens do care about the balance, but i really doubt it, so the use of Torch for them is quite limited, except some stuns like Friagne and Rami used.
Feel free to correct me etc
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Old 2007-10-15, 07:57   Link #8
Kinny Riddle
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Here is my definition of a Torch.

Torch

According to the novels, it was the Denizens who first came up with the idea of creating Torches to buy themselves time to escape from Flame Haze, who sniff their trail by following the "distortions" that they leave behind. Over time, Flame Haze also install Torches in the case where they've already killed a Denizen before he could make a Torch, or after a "massacre" has occurred and they want to reduce the damage caused to the world as much as possible.

Anyway, once a person is "devoured" of his PoE, a small fragment of that PoE is used to form a "temporary replacement". However, this is but a mere shadow of the original, who for all intents and purposes, should be considered "dead".

This replacement looks like the original, talks like the original, thinks like the original, and even has the memories and personality of the original.

In the early stages, a torch would still behave like any other human being. However, this is where their true function really begins. Slowly, as his flame slowly burns away, people around would stop paying attention to the Torch, and slowly the Torch behaves as though he's a zombie. When his flame finally runs out, he "extinguishes" without anybody noticing.

Torches are not meant to last forever, hence they are not designed with "aging" in mind. Think of it like creating a robot clone for yourself that doesn't age but his batteries will expire in a few months. Thanks to the Hougu inside him, the Mistes Saki Yuji is the sole freak exception in that he is able to maintain his flame perpetually, hence making him technically immortal.

(Separate entries for Mistes and Hougu later)

An interesting question arises concerning Torches: When a person disappear, what happens to his family?

Let's consider the following example:

Unlike time travel, where you go back in time and kill your grandfather, you end up killing your existence.

If a Denizen ends up devouring your grandfather, you will not disappear, because nothing will change the fact that you're "born". Rather, your perception of who your grandfather was will change.

You will wonder "I wonder who my grandfather was?" Your grandmother would struggle to remember how on earth did she have children, etc. But they would then come up with a "rational explanation" to explain away this "unnatural distortion" to their perception of the world.

The same applies to a Torch's physical possession. Take the hapless Hirai Yukari for example, after she disappeared (along with her just as unlucky parents), her apartment does not become vacant overnight. Rather, the stuff inside would continue to remain there, collecting dust. Neighbours would wonder "Did someone ever live here? No one's ever gone in and out for ages." (Not counting the fact that until recently, Shana never bothered staying there. )
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哀莫大於心死。
我對這裡的管理員的霸道與毫無準則的執法行為感到徹底失望﹗

It was fun while it lasted.
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Old 2007-10-15, 09:16   Link #9
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*ahem*

Mistes has no meaning in any language.
Mystes refers to an initiate in a mystery cult.

Which one do you prefer?
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Old 2007-10-15, 14:52   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinny Riddle View Post
Take the hapless Hirai Yukari for example, after she disappeared (along with her just as unlucky parents), her apartment does not become vacant overnight. Rather, the stuff inside would continue to remain there, collecting dust. Neighbours would wonder "Did someone ever live here? No one's ever gone in and out for ages." (Not counting the fact that until recently, Shana never bothered staying there. )
Where was it mentioned that Yukari's parents had disappeared and that Shana is actually living in her house?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokkan View Post
*ahem*

Mistes has no meaning in any language.
Mystes refers to an initiate in a mystery cult.

Which one do you prefer?
I know Wikipedia uses the latter and I believe believe that someone noted that that was the spelling on Geneon's R1 DVDs.

Last edited by Devard; 2007-10-15 at 15:08. Reason: Adding a question.
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Old 2007-10-15, 15:56   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devard View Post
Where was it mentioned that Yukari's parents had disappeared and that Shana is actually living in her house?
I just ran across this passage in the second (translated) novel:
Spoiler for novel text:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devard View Post
I know Wikipedia uses the latter and I believe believe that someone noted that that was the spelling on Geneon's R1 DVDs.
FWIW--and it's not much, I know--the Viz novel translations use "Mistes."
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Old 2007-10-15, 17:36   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teiran View Post
I just ran across this passage in the second (translated) novel:
Spoiler for novel text:
Thanks.

Quote:
FWIW--and it's not much, I know--the Viz novel translations use "Mistes."
ANN's review here seems to use Mystes, so I'm assuming that's what the subtitles say. I don't own the R1 DVDs, so I can't check myself. Does anyone have those?
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Old 2007-10-16, 09:59   Link #13
Kinny Riddle
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Note that most of the info I wrote are based on novels, where everything else (anime, manga, game) is based from.

Flame Haze
Concerned with the overconsumption of PoE, some Crimson Lords decide to take it upon themselves to stop their own kind from disrupting the balance between the Crimson World and our world.

Physically manifesting themselves is impossible, however, as this means they have to consume other people's PoE as well, which totally defeats their purpose of "preserving the balance". So they decide to "borrow" the existence of certain humans, forming contracts with them, and lending them their power.

Which humans are qualified to become Flame Hazes? Basically, since these are powerful Crimson Lords, so they require "vessels" large enough to contain their existence. Usually, people with such "large existences" tend to be very influential people in society, like nobles and royalty. Example: Khamshin was a prince of a long forgotten kingdom, while Wilhelmina Carmel was a princess in medieval Europe. This may also imply that Shana, who "is large enough to contain [Alastor] with room to spare" may be of noble heritage or descended from someone influential, despite her being "an orphan", but we'll see.

After forming a contract, a Flame Haze would receive tremendous power from the Crimson Lord that he has lent his existence to. He would stop aging physically as well, becoming immortal in their eternal pursuit of Crimson Denizens.

The price of becoming a Flame Haze is that he would lose everything that he has and the world that he once lives in. His existence would be "forgotten", no one would know of his existence, besides other Flame Hazes and Denizens. Thus, as Shana puts it "Flame Hazes are no different from Torches in a way".

Most Flame Hazes tend to be avengers - those that bore a personal grudge towards Crimson Denizens as they have lost their loved ones to the Denizens. It is based on this hatred that some Crimson Lords choose their vessels as it drives the fire in their pursuit of Denizens.

The downside is that the Flame Haze may end up being subjective and too emotional. Margery Daw is a prime example of a Flame Haze driven to extremes by her hatred of Crimson Denizens.

The Crimson Lord Alastor, the Flame of Heaven, wishes to avoid such a situation, hence he chooses to raise a girl from childbirth and instill in her the knowledge of this world without any hatred attached, to allow her to understand the true meaning of "Maintaining the Balance of the Worlds".

Crimson Lords communicate with their Flame Haze via a Device (Jinki) (I forgot what it's actually called, can someone help?) It comes in any shape the Flame Haze desires. (Shana chooses a pendant for Alastor, Margery a book for Marchosias, Wilhelmina a ribbon for Tiamat, and Khamshin a hand ornament for Behemoth) These Devices act as the eyes and ears of the Flame Haze in our physical world, and can be summoned (teleport) any time even when its not physically by the Flame Haze's side.


That's all for Flame Haze for now.
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哀莫大於心死。
我對這裡的管理員的霸道與毫無準則的執法行為感到徹底失望﹗

It was fun while it lasted.

Last edited by Kinny Riddle; 2007-10-17 at 04:48.
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Old 2007-10-16, 12:52   Link #14
Anh_Minh
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But how could Baby Shana acquire so much PoE?

I mean, think about the most famous baby in the world. Who's that? I don't know. And I'm sure lots of people don't know either. Does it come close to, say, a Britney Spears? (And before people harp on me for saying she'd make a good Flame Haze, think of the upside: if she did contract a Crimson Lord, it'd be as if she never existed!)

Short of coming out of the womb speaking in tongues and telling us she's here to guide us to the Kingdom of Heaven, how could a baby be important?
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Old 2007-10-16, 19:21   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinny Riddle View Post
Crimson Lords communicate with their Flame Haze via a Device (Shinki) (I forgot what it's actually called, can someone help?)
Static Subs has translated it as Jinki in the episode 15 in anime season 1. Does that helps?
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Old 2007-10-17, 04:53   Link #16
Kinny Riddle
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
But how could Baby Shana acquire so much PoE?

I mean, think about the most famous baby in the world. Who's that? I don't know. And I'm sure lots of people don't know either. Does it come close to, say, a Britney Spears? (And before people harp on me for saying she'd make a good Flame Haze, think of the upside: if she did contract a Crimson Lord, it'd be as if she never existed!)

Short of coming out of the womb speaking in tongues and telling us she's here to guide us to the Kingdom of Heaven, how could a baby be important?
This might be one of the (perceived) loop holes Takahashi has wrote himself in.

Here's my take on this:

Maybe she could be some royal baby that somehow went missing after she was born, and Wilhelmina somehow picked her up and said she was "an orphan". The "Muggle" (a convenient term, no? ) authorities probably spent years trying to look for her, but they (and maybe Bal Masque) were wasting their time, since she's staying in a giant floating island with a Cloaking Device.

The moment Shana made the contract with Alastor, the "Muggles" would probably completely forget that a human princess baby went missing for years.
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哀莫大於心死。
我對這裡的管理員的霸道與毫無準則的執法行為感到徹底失望﹗

It was fun while it lasted.
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Old 2007-10-17, 12:01   Link #17
Anh_Minh
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So... Do you think the search somehow increased Shana's fame, and therefore her PoE?

(Because, who can name a royal baby? I certainly can't. I can barely name a few royals.)
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Old 2007-10-17, 12:04   Link #18
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But it's usually, right? Not always. Shana could very well be an exception.
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Old 2007-10-17, 14:25   Link #19
Kinny Riddle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
So... Do you think the search somehow increased Shana's fame, and therefore her PoE?

(Because, who can name a royal baby? I certainly can't. I can barely name a few royals.)
Before Shana becomes a Flame Haze, if you come across her, you could still wonder "Hmm could she be this royal baby that went missing years ago?" After she forms a contract with Alastor, it's no longer possible for you to wonder if she was even famous, because you no longer know of her existence, much like a Torch that got extinguished. Hence the quote Flame Hazes are no different to Torches in a way.
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哀莫大於心死。
我對這裡的管理員的霸道與毫無準則的執法行為感到徹底失望﹗

It was fun while it lasted.
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Old 2007-10-17, 14:34   Link #20
Anh_Minh
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Yeah, I got that part.

I was asking how a baby, even a royal one, could acquire a "large existence". Especially one raised in isolation. Babies are usually important to their relatives, and not many else.

So I was wondering if, if Shana really was a kidnapped royal, a televised search, like the one that occurred for that child whose name, ironically enough, escapes me, could have increased her existence. By having people wonder how that princess got disappeared, and where she was... Even if they never met her, or had any "real" reason to give a damn.
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