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Old 2011-10-13, 20:58   Link #152
Licensed Hunter-a-holic
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 30
Figured I could post my impressions about this episode while I'm awake.

So, Shana is back. Personally, while I've never been a huge fan, this franchise had always had a soft spot with me. Looking back at what I about how ''Shana is that it's certainly not the most ambitious, good looking or intense action anime, but it manages to balance the good with the bad for an all-around decent watch'', I think that turned out to accurately sum up how I felt about this episode, if not the majority of episode of this series. There were good parts to it, and certainly bad ones, but at the end I felt pretty satisfied at it.

To start off with, the score is once again by Koh Otani. Once one of my all time favorite of music, even at one point beyond anime, even though I still think that he had lost his touch after Shadow of the Colossus , which I consider his magnum opus and my absolute personal favorite game OST, that doesn't mean the stuff he makes is by any means bad. Even if I had been disillusioned by his Hyouge Mono score for being far too zany from what I like to hear from him (aside from the few notable pieces when Oda Nobunaga shows up) I could still count on him bring out the good stuff when it comes to this show. Nothing that I could call his best, but even what I rank as good is already miles ahead of a lot of other anime related OST's. Always a pleasure hearing his music again.

The animation and art style is solid for the series, looking like it usual does, even though I never particularly cared for JCStaff's set template for character designs that make all their shows look like they are set in the same universe, but nothing worth losing sleep over.

Not much to talk about the fights (since there isn't any to talk about other than that apparent fast forward at the beginning) so the story. I have to say, looking at it, this does feel more like it's intended to be watched back to back with the past season, even though that would cause an issue (but I'll get to that in a bit) since without watching it, I feel very disconnected from the casts suffering over what happened to Yuji. Had I been with them for 24 episodes recently, I feel like I could've felt more for them, but regardless I do think that the way a lot of the characters handled the situation by channeling their frustrations down a more constructive path was very nice. Also it does seem that, going by the fast forward, there is going to be a battle to end all coming soon, so I'm guessing we are going to be having a bit of setting up to do while everyone gets ready for the up coming war, which I personally don't mind since I'm not watching this show on weekly bases but rather in bulk so that works nicely with me.

And of course, the big elephant in the room, how this episode connects with the last one.

I will admit, watching this episode at first did cause me to cringe a bit at how badly the transition between the last episode of season 2 and the start of this one had been handled, and reading the thread I see that the case had been made and discussed already so I won't go deeply into that ... but I want to point out that I don't actually think that the events that had happened here (mainly Yuji switching sides) could be described as illogical going by what happened in the past season. If anything, I think that it's a natural progression for his character (and the story) to take, just that the problem was that the note the second season concluded on made what happened here seem to be out nowhere.

In short, I think that the problem is the way the content had been shown, with the end of the past season trying to paint things in a positive light and the start of this one saying that it was actually a more depressing ending than we were told. Of course, having a direct continuation being tonally different is not a good thing at all, but at the same time, I can understand why, and am partially glad, that the animation staff had went with this route.

To put it simply, they were going to pick between the lesser of two evils. On one hand, they could've had ended the past season on a more bittersweet/downer note with Yuji disappearing or making it seem like something ominous is about to happen, making the move to the third season much smother ... but at the cost of leaving the second season open ended, with a possibility of a sequel somewhere down the line after 3 years, and leaving the viewers (in particular, the anime only watchers such as myself) with a sense that they ended up with a rather horrible ending and they had to wait for the next season that might be coming in 3 years time (if not longer, or if nothing happens that prevented a sequel being made in the first place). On the other hand, they could end the second season on a more uplifting tone, making it seem like a complete series on it's own, and in case a continuation wasn't possible in the near future, it would give anime-only watchers peace of mind. And that was at the cost of the next season starting out looking like it's contradicting the previous ones end (even when it really isn't).

In that sense, I can't fault the staff too much. This could have been fixed had they made sure the writing had been tighter or planned thing in advance better of heck, even paced the material in a better manner, but oh well...

Overall, decent start.

Yay, I didn't mention how they included Shana's panties once in my post! I'm proud of myself.
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