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Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 22, 2013 by  



“Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” definitely turned things around with the “Shakugan no Shana” series by making it more darker, more emotional and more action-packed now that the war has begun.  I can’t wait to see how the series ends in part two but for now, if you have dedicated so much time watching the previous two seasons, the movie and the OVA’s, “Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Shakugan no Shana: Season Three, Part One

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2011-2012

DURATION: 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 14+

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Directed by Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi

Music by Ko Otani

Originally Created by Yashichiro Takahashi

Original Character Design by Noizi Ito

Character Design by Mai Otsuka

Art Director: Tomonori Kuroda

Sound Director: Jin Aketagawa

Director of Photography: Tomokazu Nakanishi

Producer: Isao Hidaka, Kazuma Miki, Kentaro Hattori, Nobuhiro Nakayama

Anime Production: J.C. Staff

Featuring the voices of:

Rie Kugimiya/Cherami Leigh as Shana (“Enpatsu Shakugan no Uchite”)

Satoshi Hino/Josh Grelle as Yuuji Sakai

Ayako Kawasumi/Brina Palencia as Kazumi Yoshida

Hitomi Nabatame/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Margery Daw

Kenji Nojima/Greg Ayres as Keisaku Satō

Masashi Ebara/Kent Williams as Alastor (“Tenjou no Gouka”)

Mitsuo Iwata/Justin Cook as Marcosias

Shizuka Itou/Carli Mosier as Wilhelmina Carmel (“Honjō no Shite”)

Mamiko Noto/Lindsay Seidel as Fumina Konoe

Nobunaga Shimazaki/Aaron Dismuke as Orobas

Nobuo TobitaBarry Yandell as Dantalion

Takaya Kuroda/Brad Jackson as Sabrac

Yuji disappeared the fateful night he was supposed to choose between a life combatting evil by Shana’s side or as a normal teenager. He returns from near-death to lead the Crimson Denizens in a dubious plot to bring peace to the universe – but Shana isn’t fooled. In an explosive reunion, the fiery warrior faces her unlikeliest of foes while Flame Hazes from across the world join forces to ignite a war that will determine the fate of all supernatural kind.

This limited edition includes a chipboard art box sized to hold both parts 1 and 2 of Shakugan no Shana season 3.

For over a decade, “Shakugan no Shana” has entertained readers of the original light novels by Yashichiro Takahashi featuring artwork by Noizi Ito.  For seven years, “Shakugan no Shana” has entertained manga readers and anime fans.

And for the longest time, we have seen the characters of Yuji Sakai and Flame Haze, Shana, form this unbreakable bond and seeing this bond lead to possible romantic interests between these two characters.

But we also know that Yuji is a teenager who had died but has been given a new chance to live thanks to the Mystes, which contains a treasure known as the “Midnight Lost Child”, a special power that allows normal torches to restore their “Power of Existence” at midnight.

But one night, Yuji Sekai disappeared from Misaki City.  What has happened is that inside the Mystes, two entities have essentially merged with Yuji.  Johan, the lover of Pheles who created the Mystes and  “The Snake of the Festival”, the Crimson Lord with his black flame and silver shadow and one of the true gods of the Crmson World and the founder of the Bal Masque.

While Shana is unaware of what has happened to Yuji (who has been forgotten by his closest friends and family), she believes that Yuji is still alive.  Meanwhile, Yuji makes a contract with a Crimson Denizen and takes the throne of the Palace of the Stars as the new leader of Bal Masque.

But what happens when Yuji returns to Misaki City and reveals that he is now the Crimson God, the Snake of the Festival.  And he has returned to save Shana from her inevitable fate as a Flame Haze of fighting Denizens until she burns out.

Refusing to believe the Yuji is now working with the Crimson Denizens, can these two people who had feelings for each other, now become enemies?

What is “Shakugan no Shana”?

In 2002, Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrator Noizi Ito created the Japanese light novel series “Shana”.

Published by ASCII Media Works from 2002 through 2011, the light novel series would receive two manga adaptations serialized in “Dengeki Daioh” and “Dengeki Maioh” and in 2005-2006, a PS2 and Nintendo DS video game and would also receive an anime series adaptation by J.C. Staff. A second season titled “Shakugan no Shana Second” was aired in 2007-2008, followed by a four-episode OVA in 2009-2010 and most recently, a third season titled “Shakugan no Shana Final” airing in 2011-2012.

In August 2012, FUNimation released the first season on Blu-ray and DVD. In December 2012, FUNimation released the second season and the OVA and “Shakugan no Shana” movie are set for release on Blu-ray and DVD in January 2013.

“Shakugan no Shana” is a series in which there are two worlds…the Crimson Realm and the human world. For the Crimson Realm, the main people living in that world are Crimson Denizens and these individuals can manipulate the “Power of Existence”. Those who excel and are powerful are known as “Lords of the Crimson Realm” and those who are even powerful are known as Gods.

But there are those who are Crimson Denizens who do not care about the balance between both worlds and have their own goals, some that are bad, some that are good. Some of the Lords have contacted humans, these Denizens are known as “Flame Haze” and their primary duty is to maintain balance between both worlds and to stop and destroy any Denizen using their powers to disrupt the balance between both worlds.

In Misaki City is a teenager named Yuji Sakai. A normal guy who lives with his mother and goes to school and hangs out with friends, his world is changed when he gets involved in a conflict involving a young female Flame Haze and Yuji is impaled by a Denizen/monster. As Shana defeats the monster, she informs Yuji that he is actually dead and he has been dead for quite some time.

She then tells him that he is a Torch, a temporary replacement entity for a human who’s “Power of Existence” is depleting. She introduces him to a world where he can see blue flames attached to certain people, these people are already dead but will soon disappear from this world.

He tries to befriend the Flame Haze who has a cold demeanor and names her Shana after her sword. He also learns that Shana works together with a Lord of the Crimson Realm named Alastor, to which she is bound. Alastor tries to help Shana by mentoring her but also watching out for her. He is also quite fascinated with Yuji because unlike most humans who try to live their final days in sadness, Yuji just wants to hang out with Shan and learn about this new world and use his last days of life to protect his friends.

But when Yuji’s blue torch was about to be depleted, he is still alive and it is revealed that Yuji is a special torch known as Mystes and these Mystes contain a Treasure Tool, a magical object created by the Denizens that can provide special abilities or Powers of Unrestraint to a Flame Haze. They learn than with Yuji, he has the power to restore his Power of Existence, his torch every night at exactly midnight.

And because his nature is unlike any human that Shana has come in contact with, not only does she get more powerful when she is with him, she starts to become fascinated with him to the point that she trains Yuji to be strong, as they will be in battle often with other evil Denizens.

But as the two spend a lot of time training, Yuji treats her like a good friend. Let’s her stay over his house and she eventually gets close to her mother and for the first time, Shana experiences emotions that she has never had. And that includes “love”, as she starts to find herself jealous when other girls are near him and she has this need for wanting to be with him no matter what.

Is Shana, the Flame Haze falling for Yuji?

Meanwhile, we are introduced to other characters such as Kazumi Yoshida, a teenager who has a crush on Yuji and is jealous of Shana, that she declares Shana her love-rival. Also, another Flame Haze is in the city. Her name is Margery Daw, a well-endowed, blonde alcoholic. She uses her book Grimoire, a divine vessel to which she is bound to and her main goal is seeking revenge against a Denizen that uses a silver colored flame. She chooses Yuji’s classmates Keisaku Satou and Eita Tanaka to be her guides, but more than often, she uses them to crash at their place, so she can drink as much alcohol as she wants.

As Shana, Alastor and Wilhelmina train Yuji for upcoming battles, in the first season of “Shakugan no Shana”. As Yuji does all he can to train to become more powerful in the second season, Shana’s emotions are being tested when her jealousy of other girls trying to get closer to Yuji starts to bother her.

But will Yuji realizes how Shana truly feels about him. But by bringing love into their currently relationship, will that cause more harm to Yuji’s development?

In season three, Yuji disappears from Misaki City.  Inside the Mystes which has kept Yuji alive, thanks to two entities that have essentially merged with Yuji.  Johan, the lover of Pheles who created the Mystes and  “The Snake of the Festival”, the Crimson Lord with his black flame and silver shadow and one of the true gods of the Crmson World and the founder of the Bal Masque.

While Shana is unaware of what has happened to Yuji (who has been forgotten by his closest friends and family), she believes that Yuji is still alive.  Meanwhile, Yuji makes a contract with a Crimson Denizen and takes the throne of the Palace of the Stars as the new leader of Bal Masque.

But what happens when Yuji returns to Misaki City and reveals that he is now the Crimson God, the Snake of the Festival.  And he has returned to save Shana from her inevitable fate as a Flame Haze of fighting Denizens until she burns out.

Refusing to believe the Yuji is now working with the Crimson Denizens, can these two people who had feelings for each other, now become enemies?

VIDEO:

“Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” is presented in 1080p High Definition. It’s important to remember that the series is a TV series not an OVA or film.   So, while a colorful series, it is a bit soft.  A bit better when it comes to animation and shading, especially art background that the previous seasons.  But for the most part, the anime TV series looks good as expected for a TV series  on Blu-ray.

AUDIO:

“Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” gets a bump up in audio quality, with the English lossless track receiving a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack and the Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 soundtrack. As one will expect from the English soundtrack having a lossless 5.1 track, you get better dynamic range. Better use of the surround channels during the more action-driven scenes and dialogue and music are crystal clear coming through the front and center channels.

Voice acting is well-done on both soundtracks but its important to let people know that the original series was dubbed by a Canadian cast from the Geneon release, while the second season features an all new cast courtesy of FUNimation. But for the most part, FUNimation did a very good job at casting because the new voice actors are not so far off from the original Geneon voice talent.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season 3, Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 4 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Jerry Jewell and ADR Engineer Alyssa Galindo.
  • Episode 7 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Jerry Jewell with Josh Grelle (voice of Yuji).
  • Shakugan no Shana-Tan Final Destruction – (8:51) Featuring short clips featuring the very small Shana-Tan and friends.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song
  • FUNimation Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season 3, Part One” includes a chipboard art box sized to hold both parts 1 and 2 of “Shakugan no Shana” season 3.

The most intense season of “Shakugan no Shana” yet!

I must say that I’m quite surprised by how things have changed in season three compared to the previous two seasons.

In season one, it was about the developing chemistry between Yuji and Shana and the love triangle while fighting Crimson Denizens.  In season two, it was about relationships and the growing relationship between Yuji and Shana.

And just when you think these two have become close, Yuji disappears and because of his love for Shana, he joins with the Crimson Denizens… the enemy!

And because there are two spirits that are tied to Yuji because of the Mystes, you wonder of how much of this motivation to alter reality is so much Yuji vs. the Cromson God, The Snake of the Festival.

The story also gets a bit complex as more and more characters are introduced.  We are introduced to the Outlaw – Widened Eye of Incineration, Ernest Flieder, who wants Wilhelmina to join them in battle.  We are also introduced to the Scatterer of Sparkling Light, Rebecca Reed.

We see Keisaku now realizing his true feelings towards Margery Daw and the war between the Flame Hazes and Crimson Denizens begins!  Wilhelmina, Rebecca and Khamsin take on Sabrac and Shana vows to use the Heaven and Earth Sundering spell to kill the God of Creation and the Bal Masque.

As for the Blu-ray release, there is definitely an improvement with animation  with the third season of “Shakugan no Shana”.  We see more shading and better art backgrounds and as expected from a TV series, you get the softness as well.  So, while there is an improvement with overall animation, softness is still seen as I was expecting a much more vibrant and sharper picture compared to the previous two seasons.  As for audio, the English dub has better dynamic range thanks to its 5.1 lossless soundtrack but both English and Japanese soundtracks are well-acted.  As for special features, you get two audio commentary plus another “Shaku-Tan” special feature.

Overall, “Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” definitely turned things around with the “Shakugan no Shana” series by making it more darker, more emotional and more action-packed now that the war has begun.  I can’t wait to see how the series ends in part two but for now, if you have dedicated so much time watching the previous two seasons, the movie and the OVA’s, “Shakugan no Shana Season 3: Part One” is recommended!






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