“The War Begins”
After weeks of dialogue heavy episodes and lack luster battle scenes, this episode finally kicks things up a notch. With a war of epic proportions breaking out, I was impressed with the scale that things are taking place on — we’re not talking about just Misaki City anymore, but the entire world.
In all honesty, I always had this impression that the Flame Haze existed in ragtag bands here and there; all fighting for their own purpose and removing anyone, including other Flame Hazes, who got in their way. But as I watched hundreds Flame Hazes throughout the world rallying together as they were getting bombarded by thousands of Tomogaras, it really changed my image of just how many and how organized the Flame Haze are. As I think about it more, they’d have to be pretty organized to stand up to a well organized barrage like this huh.
With explosions and fights breaking out everywhere, I thought the action matched well with the high paced tempo this episode had. To my surprise, Ernest Frieder seemed to be a much bigger badass than I originally thought. While his introduction a few episodes ago led me to believe he was a big pansy, my entire perspective changed as I watched him leap straight into the front lines to save his fellow comrades and take on Ribesal! But Ernest wasn’t the only one busting out some fancy moves — Wilhelmina, Rebecca, and Khamsin all looked pretty cool this week.
As the three began their assault on the Seireiden, I thought that their goal was to quietly retrieve Shana and get out as quickly as possible to avoid a large fight they might not win — boy was I wrong. If Rebecca’s large scale explosions weren’t enough to reveal their presence, I’m sure that Khamsin’s gigantic stone golem wreaking large-scale havoc on Seireiden did the trick. But after I stop to think about it, this large scale attack could provide the perfect cover for Wilhelmina to go and retrieve Shana, wouldn’t it?
While I’m on the topic of Shana, let me just say how impressed I am with her character’s growth since the beginning of this series. Starting as a Flame Haze whose only goal was to fulfill her purpose as a Tomogara hunter, she’s come a long way on the road known as life. Watching her try to accept and understand her emotions for Yuuji has been fun, and as lousy of a reference as it is, I love how she’s come to terms with her love for him by interpreting it as the “strongest unrestricted spell”. Not to mention that she finally recognized that to become a stronger person, she needs to accept both her roles as a Flame Haze and as a woman with feelings. All in all, I’m happy that as dense as I am, even I can see the progress she’s made.
I’m so pumped up for the next episode that I can barely wait. As it stands now, each side seems to be holding their ground fairly well. But in a war this large, who knows what will happen once each side’s ace comes out? Seireiden’s Yuuji/Sairei no Hebi is obviously their trump card but for the Flame Haze, I’m willing to bet that Shana’s role will eventually outshine even the strongest like Sophie. However, before that happens, I’d love to see Sophie start busting out some of her moves.
This time its war! and war of epic proportions, too. and both sides seem to keep their strongest assets from the battlefield – in the case of Bal Masque, to go with the leader (the Trinity) – and in the case of Exchange, to hunt down the Trinity. I wonder how much badass grandma is Sophie Sawallisch, because I just loved Wilhelmina raising entire sunken flying palace – Yoda can’t compare with rising X-wing 🙂
Shana meanwhile seems to try to find her inner strength and wisely bides her time for an escape attempt.
One thing I’ve found interesting is introduction of the third, impartial side to the conflict – supposedly extremely powerful four gods… Might they be the key for ending the war?
That’s right, Takaii and I both glanced right over the appearance of the old bartender that helped Margery out in Manhattan that time. In season 2 I assumed he was a flame haze, perhaps we ought to watch Margery’s flashback scene with him for hints. If there are four gods, and Sairei no Hebi and Alastor are both continually referred to as gods by each other [and Hecate], and this guy is another (?), this front has me curious too.
I shat a brick when we saw the Tenmokuiku in the previews – I totally thought he was defeated by Shana when she became a flame haze! If that’s not a flashback in the preview, I’ll be really curious to see his role. And speaking of roles, I want to see a scene with Rammie that lasts for more than a cryptic statement! He should still be on the sereiden, so I’m sure our heroes will run into him before that front is finished.
I’m still worried about whether Khamsin’s story last week might become a foreshadow for Yuuji and Shana’s fate… I’d really rather not have to see them hugging in sorrow while one of them bleeds to death. His discussion with Kazumi on different types of love makes me wonder about how different “love” is right now for both Yuuji and Shana.
Well Shana, *I* love you no matter what. :3
I’m pretty sure that Rebecca is constitutionally incapable of being “subtle”
Of course, her only known ability right now is “blow shit up”, so its not like you’d call her for that regardless.
I have two questions. Maybe someone can answer them?
1. How come this time Khamsin is in his golem (known as Qadesh’s Blood, I believe)? During the first season I thought the golem is something he “summons” like a pet. Did he use a different spell?
2. What is the true difference between a Guze no Ou and a Guze no Tomogara, really? Is Pheles considered a Guze no Ou or Guze no Tomogara? Is it possible for her to make a contract with Kazumi? If Yuuji is a container for Sairei no Hebi, can he be considered a Flame Haze too? Since Sairei no Hebi is (probably) a Guze no Ou (but I am not sure)???
It’s Khamsin’s power to create and cloak himself into a golem and control the stone surrounding him, so I guess it’s the same spell. To be honest, when watching the first season, I thought the Golem was Behemoth’s manifestation, you know, like Tenpa Jyousai.
Pheles is a Crimson Lord (Guze no Ou), and the difference is what you said, Crimson Lords can make contracts with Flame Hazes. There are also the Gods among the Crimson Lords, being Alastor, Snake…
They are basically Tomogara possessing great power, except they don’t feed on existences, but having a contract with a Flame Haze (orso I think).
Pheles is a rare exception, she is a Crimson Lord due to her power, but she doesn’t need to feed on human’s Power of existence, she gets her share through Johann in the Reiji Maigo.
I don’t know if she can make a contract with Kazumi, I believe you need some level of power to become a Flame Haze.
Yuuji simply merged with Snake to give him a body, he didn’t become his Flame Haze.
Well this concept between Out and Tomogara is still very confusing to me. In the most literal sense, Ou is “king” while Tomogara is probably “follower”. From Season 1 it seems that Guze no Ou were the protagonists – entities from Guze who make contracts with humans and maintain balance of the world; Guze no Tomogara were antagonists – they feed on human’s Sonzai no Chikara to maintain themselves in the world – something Guze no Ou do not need to do because they are more powerful than Guze no Tomogara.
Then there is Pheles. She is kind of in the neutral category in terms of her morality. However she does not maintain herself in the vessel of a Flame Haze; yet she is still a Guze no Ou. So maybe being a Guze no Ou does not have to do with whether or not you exist through a Flame Haze; maybe it just has to do with how much power you have – the more power you have the more “Ou”, if you will, you are. This is consistent with the shana wiki (http://shakugan.wikia.com/wiki/Crimson_Denizen).
If what the wiki says is all there is to it, then it seems that the Guze no Ou are a bunch of big bullies. They can easily survive in this world due to their intrinsic power and their Flame Haze vessels, yet they do not allow Guze no Tomogara to exist in this world because most of the Guze no Tomogara observe Sonzai no Chikara from humans to maintain themselves. However, looking at the recent revelation from Khamsin, becoming a Flame Haze is no different from being eaten by a Guze no Tomogara (none of your friends remember you, etc.); so I don’t see how Ou and Tomogara do things differently there. Furthermore, there are many antagonists on Seireiden who we have never seen to absorb Sonzai no Chikara from anyone… yet some Flame Haze want to destroy them, too.
To answer your 2nd question:
There are 3 classes of Crimson Denizens
1. Crimson Denizen (Guze no Tomogara) – The weakest and most numerous bunch, and hence oblivious to the “balance” between their world and our world, giving in to their desires and stealing Powers of Existences from humans in order to manifest in this world to pursuit said desires.
2. Crimson Lord (Guze no Ou) – A stronger variant of the Crimson Denizen as they have been around longer and are thus stronger and wiser. Two factions are formed from this group:
The first group decided to ignore the “balance”, believing that the pursuit of their desires have no effect on the balance, and deriding those that form contracts with Flame Hazes as kinslayers.
The second group are those concerned with what the first group is doing to the balance, and in order to redress this, decided to form contract with humans, “borrowing” their existence in order to become Flame Hazes to fight those Denizens.
3. Crimson Gods – Only 2 are known:
Alastor – The God of Destruction
Snake of the Altar – The God of Creation
Naturally these two are at loggerheads with each other.
This is the right answer.
I can’t say much without going into spoiler territory, but Tomogara simply try to survive, you shouldn’t really call them antagonists. Yes, from out point of view, they are the antagonists, as they are destroying the balance and therefor risking the collapse of the real world, but it’s not like they actually have another choice to survive.
Those who are Guze no Ou form contracts with Flame Hazes, borrowing their existence to fight Tomogara and keep the balance intact. To the Tomogara, they are the antagonists.
An eternal fight, just like Snake said in the first episode.
Show Spoiler ▼
Huh? wow I didn’t know Alastor are at the top O.O and head to head with Snake too o.o At first I thought Alastor’s no different than the other Flame Haze contractors
Thanks for the explanation!
What exactly are the power rankings? Alastor’s full power can’t be used without destroying his flamehaze vessel shana right? So what exactly determines how strong flame haze are? Is it their own training with level cap limited by their crimson denison partner?
@Shin Alastor can be ‘summoned’ by Shana. Shana has a vessel enough to contain the existence of Alastor. I’m not sure if it’s inherent though. Yuji’s power of existence is also as big as a Guze no Ou. This is from the last minutes of last episode of SnS season 1. (Which I just rewatched a couple of weeks ago 😀 )
A nice episode
Love the last scene….
No more goth loli shana T.T
Rebecca the explosives expert getting drenched in water seems to have become quite a running joke now. lol
While Khamsin is quite the badass in the novels, this must be the first time the anime does his badass-ness justice. Not even in season 1 did he look this awesome when summoning his golem Qardish.
A bit of explanation is perhaps needed for this Flame Haze CenterHill and the particular “Four Gods of Earth” that he represents.
Remember this bartender in Margery’s flashback episode in season 2?
Well this guy – EastEdge – is, along with CenterHill, and two others: WestShore and SouthValley, part of a powerful quartet of Native American Flame Hazes called the “Four Gods of Earth”.
Unlike most Flame Hazes, who form their contracts out of a desire for vengeance, these four Flame Hazes were specifically trained and selected for their Powers of Existence by their native tribes as “priests” to form contracts with four powerful “Gods” (all have names from Native American mythologies), much like how Shana was specifically chosen out of many to be trained as the suitable vessel for Alastor – the God of Destruction.
(Though the Crimson Lords they’re contracted to are still classified as “Lords” (Guze no Ou) and not “Gods” of Alastor and Snake’s caliber)
Another thing that makes them distinct from regular Flame Hazes is that only they hold specific knowledge of the true meaning of the “balance” between our world and the Crimson World, and hence they have always adopted a neutral stance in the Flame Haze’s eternal war with the Denizens, as they know most Denizens do not pose a threat to this “true balance”. Think of them as the loremasters of all Flame Hazes.
However, Snake’s ambitions has now prompted them to come out of their hermithood in order to assess whether his actions will be a threat to the said “balance”.
(As to why they went into “hermithood” in the first place, that’s another long backstory altogether. Perhaps I’ll write it in another post below this one. )
For millenia the Four Gods of Earth stood guard over the “balance” as well as the protection of their people in the Americas, that all changed with the arrival of the Europeans.
Unable to stand the sight of these new colonisers oppressing their people, the committed the Flame Haze taboo of interfering with human society. Flame Hazes from other parts of the world tried to talk them out of it, and when that failed, eventually evolved into a Flame Haze Civil War.
After much bloodshed, both sides finally saw the pointlessness of their kinstrife and came to a truce. The Four Gods, disillusioned with having to protect a world that has changed beyond recognition, lost the will to continue fighting. But rather than breaking up their contracts and disappearing from this world completely, their powerful existences was put to good use by having them appointed as Supervisors of key Outlaw posts scattered across the Americas, thus began their self-imposed exile until now.
That creepy fish monster is very perceptive, which I find very interesting: https://randomc.net/image/Shakugan%20no%20Shana/Shakugan%20no%20Shana%20III%20Final%20-%2008%20-%20Large%2025.jpg
I think he’ll be a cause of something major later.
This fish-guy DiCarabia is appointed by Bel-Peol as Supreme Commander of this entire operation for both the Eastern and Western fronts precisely for his ability to easily travel between far-off places via portals from his watery dimension and relay orders instantaneously as well as being able to understand the situations from all arenas.
Decarabia… is it me or there is something fishy about this fishman denizen? he looks like he would readiy rebel against Snake and his Trinity…
Yes, but he’s also enjoying his place.
It doesn’t seem he found anything worth betraying Bal Masque for yet.
Good enough place for a fishy guy.
I find one thing remarkable: While Shana had a huge – and I really mean huge – following during Seasons 1 and 2, the low number of replies here also indicates how much Shana has dropped in viewer preference. I think they successfully managed to deflate the franchise to fringe status, and the endless buildup with whole episodes dedicated to flashbacks to what obviously seems to become the final also discouraged alot of people.
JC Staff should take note of this concerning other shows of theirs.
Where did you get that idea? I think it has just been a long time. I haven’t heard of that many old fans watching but not liking it.
Other shows I might comment because I dislike certain aspects or want to speculate what is going to happen. I am pretty much just along for the ride on Shana.
Or maybe because the blog article is written days after the airing – not ‘fresh’ in the reader’s heads anymore so they critic other shows that just aired that day 😉
AniDB rating shows same rating as the first two shows.
Timing is certainly a factor, but also realize that Shana has an absolutely tremendous following in China and southeast Asia, not to mention Japan. This blog is written in English, so it’s not exactly tailored to the hordes of Asian fans.
i just cant seem to stop making connections to events of the 1940s…. maybe because they show large sieges in europe and egypt…
i wonder if they have bases in Leningrad / Volgograd and Sevastopol. would be interesting to see how the enemy storms both places….
+ it seems like they’re coming out of russia…..
I guess Shana III is living to my expectations, the more than 3 year wait is well worth it.
The Snake of the Festival speaks of changing the truth of the world, but the question remains: is that something that will benefit tomogaras, humans and flame hazes alike? Yuji is not the kind of person who will sacrifice others in the name of his own goal so makes you wonder about the true goal of Bal Masque.
Just 1 question. Why are the post 1 episode late?
as an episode 09 short spoiler, a latest FB status of Wilhelmina:
Show Spoiler ▼
and another spoiler
Show Spoiler ▼
I am the only who wishes for the Ball Masque victory? I don’t like Outlaw, Ball Masque is cooler, and hope that Yuuji win the war!