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

December 17, 2012 by  



A fun, action-packed anime series with a teenage love story! “Shakugan no Shana” continues where the first season left off with teenage emotions now at their all-time high.  But while love and jealousy is in the air, a war is brewing between the Flame Hazes and Denizens.  Find out who is victorious in “Shakugan no Shana: Season Two”!

Images courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Shakugan no Shana: Season Two

YEAR OF SERIES RELEASE: 2007-2008

DURATION: 1-24 (625 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: December 18, 2012

Directed by Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi

Music by Ko Otani

Original Work by Yashichiro Takahashi

Character Design by Noizi Ito

Character Design by Mai Otsuka

Art Director: Shin Okui

Sound Director: Jin Aketagawa

Director of Photography: Shingo Fukuyo

Producer: Kohei Kawase

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

This bundle contains Shakugan no Shana Season 2 part 1 (limited edition) and part 2 plus an art booklet!

The heated bond between Shana and Yuji is tested as their paranormal adventures continue. The Flame Haze fends off supernatural foes by night, but by day, she contends with a classmate who’s also after Yuji’s heart. Emotions flare as a suspicious transfer student who resembles a recently defeated Denizen clings to Yuji. His training rises in intensity when they catch wind of a revered warrior in search of her lost lover, who will stop at nothing to extract the power keeping Yuji alive!

It’s another season of “Shakugan no Shana” but as Shana and Yuji take on Denizens, there is another thing that Shana must deal with and that’s jealousy when she realizes there are other girls who are vying for Yuji’s attention.

With Shana and Yoshida both competing to get close to Yuji, both must get used to Konoe who also starts to get close around Yuji.  Meanwhile, Yuji continues to get stronger as he trains with Shana and Wilhelmina, but making his return is their biggest enemy yet, the Destructive Blade known as Sabrac.

Will the group find a way to beat the powerful Sabrac?  Find out in “Shakugan no Shana: Season Two”!

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?

But just when Yuji and friends are trying to realize their teenage emotions, a war begins!  And a new enemy known as Sabrac emerges.

VIDEO:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” is presented in 1080p High Definition. While the last series was originally created back in 2005-2006, the second season is from 2007-2008.  It is essentially an upconverted anime series. While watching on DVD, for most people, picture quality would look good but on Blu-ray, while the anime series is colorful and vibrant at times, it’s also a bit soft and has banding issues. It’s not the best looking upconverted anime series on Blu-ray but I am glad that “Shakugan no Shana” was released on Blu-ray because it is eventually leading up to the more recent episodes, “Shakugan no Shana Final” which aired in Japan in 2011-2012.

AUDIO:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” 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 Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Engineer Chris George, Cherami Leigh (voice of Shana) and Josh Griele (voice of Yuji).
  • Episode 21 Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with ADR Director Christopher Bevans, Justin Cook (Marcosias) and Kent Williams (Alastor).
  • Naze Nani Shana II (Disc 1) – (17:06) Featuring four “Why? What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box!” episodes. Note: These are the typical omake shown at an end of an episode.
  • Naze Nani Shana II (Disc 4) – (20:24) Featuring four “Why? What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box!” episodes. Note: These are the typical omake shown at an end of an episode.
  • Shakugan no Shanna II DVD Commercials – (:48) Commercial for the Japanese DVD Box Set
  • Shakugan no Shana II Promo Videos – (4:27) Japanese PV’s for “Shakugan no Shana: Season Two”.
  • Shakugan no Shana-Tan Begins – (4:00) Featuring a short animated episode with Yuji and Shana-Tan (a small tiny version of Shana that rides on top of Yuji’s head).
  • Shakugan no Shana-Tan & Yoshida – Fumina Konoe Strikes Back~-(9:05) A tiny Shana rides on top of Yoshida’s head and are jealous of seeing girls with Yuji.  And other short animated stories.
  • Shakugan no Shana-Tan REVENGE – (7:10) This time the series features a few short animated stories involving Shana-Tan, Yuji and friends.
  • Textless Opening Song “JOINT”
  • Textless Opening Song “BLAZE”
  • Textless Closing Song “TRIANGLE”
  • Textless Closing Song “SOCIOMETRY”
  • Textless Closing Song “SENSE”
  • U.S. Trailer – (:30) FUNimation trailer for “Shakuan no Shana: Season II”.
  • Trailers – Featuring FUNimation trailers.

EXTRAS:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the animated series.

An anime series with a lot of action but also a lot of heart, “Shakugan no Shana” is an anime series I enjoyed for its characters.

For season two of “Shakugan no Shana”, there are no secrets between friends, this time around everyone is part of a group and hang out with each other.  Shana, Yuji, Kazumi, Keisaku, Eita, Hayato and new friend…Fumina.

And this time around, unlike the first season which was full of action throughout the series, the first half of “Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” is not so much action-based but relationship-based.  The first season featured Kazumi Yoshida in love with Yuji, but then Shana falling for Yuuji and both girls professing their love for Yuji and are ready to compete for his affections.  Then we have the intelligent Hayato who loves Kazumi.  Then throw in a new classmate Fumina Konoe, who loves to be close with Yuji but she throws off red flags to Shana because of her resemblance to Hecate.  And then you have Eita Tanaka and Hayato Ike who help Flame Haze Margery Daw  Then there is Matake Ogata who has feelings for Eita and Keisaku falling for Margery.

Suffice to say, it’s a complicated web of love triangles but nevertheless, teenagers who are discovering their emotions of love.

That is until you get to episode 8 and chaos breaks out as the Flame Hazes and Denizens prepare for war and the new nemesis of the Flame Hazes, Sabrac emerges.

With very few surviving Flame Hazes to fight against the Denizens, will Shana and Yuji survive the onslaught of the Denizens?  And what will happen to Yuji’s home, Misaki City?

Suffice to say, “Shakugan no Shana” delivers in action and a solid storyline!  If you enjoyed the first season, you’ll more than likely enjoy the second but things get a bit crazy and chaotic with the war and this creation of”Xanadu”.

There is a typical banality when it comes to human and a being from either another planet, dimension or world but those tend to be comedies (and sometimes those released in the U.S. seem to be perverted comedies), but “Shakugan no Shana” is quite intriguing because its protagonist seem so opposite, but yet overtime, these opposites start to become attracted towards each other.

So, in some way, the series is a love story about girl loves boy but is not sure how to understand her emotions because she has never had this feeling before. But aside from that banal storyline, instead of being overplayed and overdone because other anime series have done that, “Shakugan no Shana” brings in this sci-fi and fantasy element as Shana is a fighter, a darn good fighter from another world. the

At first, you wonder why she is so smug, blunt and mean. But overtime, you start to warm up to her because you learn that she has been taught to think a certain way and act a certain way because of her job and what is expected of her. But on Earth and staying with humans, she starts to learn about kindness, love and other human emotions that lead to kissing. And for this warrior, she is not exactly sure what kissing means or what love is but she knows that she gets flustered when Yuji is not near her, especially when she sees another girl who is in love with Yuji and wants to declare her love for him.

And while this series does have a lot of action and Shana engaged in major battles, for those who want fan service, get a little of that through the character of Margery Daw, your typical well-endowed woman. But suffice to say, this is is one wild character that otaku’s will enjoy watching.

As for the Blu-ray, it’s an older anime series, so I knew the upconvert was not going to showcase great video quality.  But the second series looks much better than the first season and as for lossless audio, with FUNimation now having the chance to redub the series from here on out, that means they were able to give a 5.1 lossless soundtrack to season two.  While it’s not a fantastic upconvert, the animated series still looks good despite the slight aliasing and banding.  But I do expect things to get much better with the upcoming OVA and film release as they were made and released not long ago.

And as for special features, you do get two audio commentaries and the Japanese special features such as promotional videos, omake videos, Shaku-Tan episodes and more.

Overall, “Shakugan no Shana” was a fun anime series. And I enjoyed how a love story and action anime series was combined and balanced for those who enjoy either genres. If you are looking for a not-so-serious sci-fi , action anime series but also a series that has a teenage love story, then definitely give “Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” a try.






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