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

January 6, 2013 by  



“Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” is a Blu-ray release for those who have no intention of watching the first season on DVD!  Exciting and full of action!

Images courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Shakugan no Shana: The Movie

YEAR OF MOVIE RELEASE: 2007

DURATION: 90 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: January 22, 2013

Directed by Takashi Watanabe

Series Composition by Yasuko Kobayashi

Music by Ko Otani

Original Work by Yashichiro Takahashi

Original Character Design by Noizi Ito

Character Design by Mai Otsuka

Art Director: Shin Okui

Sound Director: Jin Aketagawa

Director of Photography: Shingo Fukuyo

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

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

Mitsuo Iwata/Justin Cook as Marcosias

Wielding a blazing sword, Shana’s sole purpose is to fight demon-like beings that consume human lives. During a volatile war to stop a foe from devouring every life in Misaki City, Shana cuts Yuji in her crossfire. When the villain discovers this teenage boy is gifted with an immense power, he holds Yuji hostage to lure Shana into a trap that could to destroy the huntress and the entire city!

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 in 2007-2008.

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.

But not long after the first series ended in Japan in March 2007, the animated film was released in theaters in April 2007.  Later that year, the DVD for “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” was released in two different editions, the director’s cut and original version and a director’s cut only release.  In January 2013, FUNimation who has released the first two seasons on DVD and Blu-ray will be releasing the Director’s Cut version of the film in a Blu-ray+DVD combo.

“Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” is set in Misaki City.  Where there is a human world, there is also the Crimson Realm.

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,  a teenager named Yuji Sakai is 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 a Rinne, a denizen that feeds off remnants of ones existence. 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/Mystes, 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.

Meanwhile, Yuji sees his friend Yukari, who happens to have a flame that is so small.  Shana tells Yuji that her flame is small because she will be disappearing by the end of the day.  And as the two go to school, he notices that slowly, everyone is starting to forget about Yukari and when Shana starts attending the class, Yukari is replaced by Shana.

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.

Meanwhile, a mysterious man in a white tuxedo has his attention on Shana and Yuji and is preparing for the right moment to reveal himself to them.

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.  And because Yuji is a torch, he will be dying soon.

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, she notices that his flame is growing bigger instead of depleting.  Shana believes that its because there is a Treasure Tool inside of him.  A magical object created by the Denizens that can provide special abilities or Powers of Unrestraint to a Flame Haze.

As far as the pulsing torches, Alastor suspects there is another Flame Haze in the city and is trying to draw out Friagne, a twisted Flame Haze murderer who has this close relationship with a doll he calls Marianne and he is bent on performing the Power of Unrestraint in order to make Marianne an independent being.

And Friagne ends up capturing Yuji to make his twisted dream come true.  But will Shana be able to rescue him?

VIDEO:

“Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). It’s important to remember that while the film is pretty much a 98-minute version of the first season, it’s an animated film not a TV series and thus there is an improvement on the overall picture quality.  Characters have much more shading, art backgrounds are much more detailed and the film looks more vibrant and colorful than its TV series counterpart.  Some scenes tend to be re-used, especially classroom scenes but for the most part, the animated film looks good with the newer footage or backgrounds featuring more detail.

AUDIO:

“Shakugan no Shana” is presented in Japanese and English DolbyTrue HD 5.1.   The animated film tend to have more dynamic range and better use of the surround channels compared to the TV series.  So there is an improvement thanks to the lossless soundtrack.  Voice acting is well-done on both soundtracks but its important to let people know that the original “Shakugan no Shana” series was dubbed by a Canadian cast from the Geneon release, while the film (and 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.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • Why? What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box: Review Lesson  – (5:44) Featuring super-deformed versions of the characters undergoing knowledge training.
  • Shakugan no Shana-Tan, the Theatrical Version – (5:46) Shakugan no Shana-Tan shorts (which are usually about a very short version of Shana or Marianne).
  • Shakugan no Shana Movie Promo Videos(4:55) The Japanese movie promos for “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie”.
  • Shakugan no Shana Movie DVD Commercials (:49) Commercial for the DVD set of “Shakugan no Shana”.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:02) FUNimation trailer for “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie”.
  • Trailers – Featuring FUNimation trailers.

EXTRAS:

“Shakugan no Shana: Season Two” comes with the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

“Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” is a film that manages to capture the action of the original first season of the TV series in 98-minutes. I have to admit that what made me enjoy the original series was its use of characters, there was more focus on relationships with Shana, Yuji, Kazumi, Keisaku, Eita and Hayato, “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” eliminates that.

But because there is no way to fit 24-episodes into a 98-minute film, they had to cut certain elements out and that is primarily anything to do with Yuji’s friends, Margery Daw’s friendship with Eita and Hayato and also the love triangle between Kazumi, Shana and Yuji.

So, the animated film primarily focuses on Shana and Yuji, how Yuji has the Power of Existence and although the film does bringing in Flame Haze, Margery Daw, the film pretty much focuses on Yuji trying to learn about torches, Shana’s responsibilities and eventually leading up to a battle between Shana and Friagne.

While I do recommend the first season of “Shana no Shakugan”, unfortunately, because it is an older anime series, the first season was an upconvert that didn’t look the greatest on Blu-ray.   So, fortunately with “Shakugan no Shana: the Movie”, it’s definitely a major improvement on Blu-ray compared to the original TV series in terms of detail of the art backgrounds.  I did notice some scenes that may have been re-used from the TV series (because they have less detail and are plain looking) but for a 2008 animated film, there is an improvement of overall picture quality and it helps that the film is presented in lossless 5.1 in both English and Japanese.

And as for special features, there are no audio commentaries but you do get the Shaku-Tan special features and Japanese promo and DVD-set commercials.

Overall, “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” was an enjoyable animated film but of course, with the TV series having so much more story and more characters featured, I do prefer the TV series than a shortened animated film version.  But for those who are interested in “Shakugano no Shana” and have no interest in purchasing or watching the first season but are curious to find out if the series is worth pursuing, especially the Blu-ray releases for the second season and the upcoming OVA will definitely want to pickup the animated film version (note: I still do emphasize that the TV series is much better in terms of storyline, so I do recommend checking out Season One on Blu-ray).

But pretty much, the “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” is a Blu-ray release for those who have no intention of watching the first season on DVD!  While not having the more dramatic elements incorporated to the film version, it still is quite exciting and is action-packed!

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