SHAKUGAN NO SHANA SEASON 1

Posted On May - 27 - 2013

SHAKUGAN NO SHANA SEASON 1SYNOPSIS:

Wielding a blazing sword, Shana is a fiery huntress whose sole purpose is to fight demon-like beings that consume human lives. To reduce the impact on the human realm, Shana turns the slain into shadows of their former selves. Once a flame that represents their remaining life goes out, they fade from existence. This should have been Yuji’s fate, but when he discovers he holds a special power that ignites a newfound strength in Shana, they join forces in her ongoing mission to maintain the balance between the ordinary world and the supernatural. Contains the entire 24 episodes first season!

 

REVIEW:

Shana is a fantastic, mesmerizing fantasy epic set in modern day Japan. And the show has guts, it takes risks and tends not to pull punches. Example? In the first episode, we learn our hero, Yuji, is dead! That’s right, he’s dead as a doornail. Apparently he, and many others around him, are torches, the last flames of their original existence. And the fiery haired tempestuous hotty that he meets fighting a monster trying to consume all the torches is the sword wielding girl he calls Shana and she’s a Flame Haze. It’s her duty to stop Crimson Denizens from crossing over and gulping up all the torches. What she didn’t expect was that Yuji is no ordinary torch, he has a Mystes inside of him, a hidden treasure of untold power. Naturally that means denizens of the crimson world and the Crimson Lords are crossing over to get their hands on Yuji, but not if Shana has anything to say about it!

 

I love this show! It was fun, cool, evil at times with the plot twists, great characters, and tasty story you can really sink into. Sure, there are some predictable moments like Shana transferring into Yuji’s school, him wanting to get stronger so Shana trains him, his buddies all getting in on the fight, and of course the hot springs/beach/water resort episode that is in almost every anime, but the show has lots of surprises too. The denizens are captivating and range from truly evil and Machiavellian, to honorable and still Machiavellian! Those Crimson Lords and their posse are always up to something! We get to meet and to know returning characters like Friagne and his precious Marianne, Margery “Total Hot Babe” Daws, the maid outfitted Wirhelmina, and many, many more. The parade of badass characters really help drive the show up several notches. At first the show is about Yuji and Shana getting closer as they fight the various denizens out to get Yuji. Then there is a bit of comedy and romantic angst when his best gal pal gets into a romantic showdown with Shana over Yuji. But after the halfway mark, the show gets super serious and it’s all about trying to save the world but at what cost? As a Flame Haze, Shana is given a choice – protect Yuji or do her duty and save the world by destroying the Mystes inside Yuji and thus killing Yuji once and for all!

 

The climax of season one has the evil Ball Masque appear, Hunters left, right and center, Yuji captured, and Shana faced with an impossible choice! It all comes down to the wire and is edge of your seat adrenalin fueled action. The show manages to settle a lot but leaves the door firmly open for the upcoming second season which I cannot wait for, thank you very much!

 

The show has fantastic music. My favorites included the second opening theme “Being” that is sung by KOTOKO (that group did great work in the music of Kannazuki no Miko) and a super pretty ending theme “Crimson Calmness” sung by the legendary Yoko Ishida. It was hard to pick favorites out of all the great music but those are the ones that stood out the most for me. The score was great too, super dramatic, very tense for the dark atmosphere of the show. Great stuff.

 

The stand out animation was done by J. C. Staff, the same studio legendary for the Slayers series and fan favorite shows like Ghost Hunt and Shigofumi.  They would have had a real challenge here because there is nothing quite like Shakugan no Shana. It is super dark, almost horror-esque at times, but also has comedy, has a lot of sword and sorcery fantasy, but is set in modern day Japan. They manage to merge all those different facets in a way that makes in one solid production throughout.   The show has a dark landscape, a lot of things happen after sundown. But the magic, the extraordinary powers, are all done with these rich colors that leap off the screen. Part of that may be due to the use of CG for the magic and action. Although it sometimes stands out a little from the 2D, overall the CG came across smoothly and beautifully accented the powerful scenes.

 

EXTRAS:

There are a lot of bonus goodies, including trailers of other anime, all versions for clean opening and ending animation, all Naze Nani Shana videos which are short shorts with chibi Friagne and Marianne, and Shana-tan episodes which are a different set of comedy anime shorts with a teeny tiny Shana!

 

IN SUMMARY:

Shana rocks! It’s awesome anime! Shakugan no Shana is an edgy, thrilling and stupendously animated series! Enthralling! Kick ass!

 

  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment
  • Available on BLU-RAY + DVD Combo Pack
  • Running Time: 600 minutes
  • Rating: TV – 14
  • Release Date: 8/21/2012
  • Reviewed By: Davey C. Jones

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