Yuji Sakai, a high school student, is told by strange girl that he died some time ago, and that he is a "Torch", a temporary replacement for erased humans. Torches take on the forms of those erased persons, but after a period of time, they will vanish from existence and the memories of the living. Unfazed by his apparent death, Yuji befriends this girl and names her "Shana" after her sword. Shana resolves to protect Yuji from the Denizens, who would use his special replenishing Torch to disrupt the balance of the world, and Yuji decides to join Shana in her fight.
Shakugan no Shana is a fantasy anime title with a touch of drama. It manages to retain its fantasy element while keeping a high level of teenage high school romance-related drama in terms of unrequited love between a few of the characters. Shakugan no Shana never leans towards one side completely. The fights between Shana and the Guze no Tomogara are consistent and never drawn out or cut short. There is rarely a lengthy time span separating the fights to make a viewer question if one is coming up. This allows room for episodes that develop the characters beyond the war at hand.
fight in the initial episode may rake viewers in from the start, a number of things are thrown out from the second episode, making it a little difficult to get into the series. There is much foreign terminology used frequently. Words like "Rinne," "Mistes," and "Reiji Maigo" are part of the characters' vocabulary. The abundance of new words may be a challenge to grow accustomed to, especially since foreign words are continually introduced as the series progresses.
In terms of comparing the storyline and characters, the people in Shakugan no Shana are far more interesting than the plot will ever be. Shakugan no Shana's storyline never really escalates beyond what is set from the start. A handful of new characters that appear later don't necessarily help out the shallow plot. The series throws a curve ball in the form of dull side characters who are supposedly important to the storyline. Predictability weighs down whatever surprises the series strives to create. Thankfully, the main cast of characters is much more intriguing than what path the story decides to stroll down.