Before reading this please note that:
-This review will be broken down into two separate reviews, one for the season and one for the overall series
-This review may contain light spoilers
-This review is from the standpoint of a person who loves a good romance anime
**PART 1- THE SEASON**
For any reason that you are persuaded to not watch this anime, WATCH IT. This season is a direct sequel to the second season to the point where Yuuji has to choose between Shana and Kazumi. But something has gone wrong and Yuuji has disappeared. Then we learn that our main male protaganist is pursuing the role as the leader of the Bal Masqué. I know it sounds a little fishy and it seems that Yuuji has become corrupted but i ensure you that he has his reasons.
The story is what makes this season the best season of them all in the Shakugan no shana anime. There are twists and turns. There are sad parts, parts in which you can chuckle at, parts that make you frustrated, and parts that you will remember for the rest of your life. The whole thing about Yuuji and the Bal Masque is confusing and makes you want to punch Yuuji through the computer monitor but it is well put together and i applaud an anime with plot twists.
I believe that i seen the same animations and quality of art through the 3 seasons (roughly 5 years) which is great but i would think that it could had changed for the better for a 2011 anime.
I'm almost always not a critic when it comes to sound but the soundtrack was AWESOME! and the English voice actors where great (like always).
I believe that this season added too much characters and gives back-stories for too much of them but then again the whole 3rd season is about a giant war. Still the character of Shana always impresses me, i believe that she is a very 3-d character meaning she has outside personalities like being harsh, but in the inside she has hidden romantic feelings and leadership qualities. Yuuji on the other hand i didn't really like until this season because i think he was indecisive at times and did things that went against Shana. This season Yuuji redeemed himself stating that the reason why he does what he does is for the people that he loves, like Shana. And then that whole thing about Margery and Keisaku is really great.
Credit the amazing ending for the enjoyment because this season is just basically a giant cat and mouse game. Seasons one and two had a mix between comedy, romance, action, and school life. But war and romance are the only two themes in this season. Which is great for those who has came to this anime for romance (like myself) but not so great for the people who came to this anime for the sole purpose of action. Meaning that the battles were not that great like a Dragon ball battle or a Naruto battle.
This anime quickly shot up to one of my favorites of all time almost everything was spot on, the errors and bad things about this anime was quickly overshadowed by the all of the great things.
**PART 2- THE SERIES**
Oh it's been a hell of a ride through almost 80 episodes and there was a great payoff. Seriously Shakugan no Shana was a anime that had me quite surprised but i guess i should had knew it was good because it shared a lot of the themes from the familiar of zero which is up there as one of my favorites. This is one of those anime in which your not going to be moved by it like a Clannad but you are going to deeply enjoy it and cherish the memories of watching it for as long as you live because i know i will.