Shakugan no Shana Second, Episode 1

After a year and 7 months, the sequel for Shakugan no Shana is finally airing. I never knew why JC Staff decided to do Zero no Tsukaima sequel before Shana, considering ZNT is “younger”, with far less potential, but meh.
Well then, with this return, we will follow Shana in her battle against Bal masqué and probably other rogue Tomogara…
This entry is kinda late considering the content of this episode and the horrible size of the RAW was released before, so I preferred waiting for the subs this time.
That said, this first episode rather tries to give some recap for the forgetful watchers, and this leads to some mixed feelings…


Opening Theme : JOINT, by Kawada Mami.

The opening begins with a clear view of the reiji maigo, the hougu stashed in Yuuji. As the gears are rotating wildly, several flash shots of Shana, Bal Masqué officiers (Hecate, Bel Peol, Sydonay), a mysterious gauntlet and Margery.
After some shots of Shana in her flame haze form, kazumi and shana are surrounding Yuuji, who seems rather hesitant.
The pace then accelerates with Shana fighting against bel peol, while Hayato confessed to Kazumi during christmas. After this, Wilhelmina is fighting against a new Guze no Tomogara. Shana collapses in front of Yuuji, while in another scene, that new Tomogara approaches Yuuji very closely.
Hecate is casting something in front of a big clock, and the opening ends with Shana in a different dress, with yuuji in a battle stance.

My thoughts on this opening are quite mixed: the song itself sounds a bit wrong with the plain rock start. It is kinda noisy and a bit weird for the franchise. Once the lyrics start, it matches the sequences well, and I liked how the lyrics of “why” matched well Yuuji’s “dilemna” (as if…). That said, It is nowhere near of Hishoku no Sora, the first opening of the S1. Seriously, it lacked of “rythm”. The tempo was there, but that’s all. Well.. that’s my opinion anyway.
Something interesting in the sequence: they actually hint blatantly about “silver”, the Tomogara that Margery is hunting for decades.


Shakugan no Shana Second, Episode 1
Time for Restart

The first episode starts in a weird space, where the land is covered by many leaves, while a whole field of trees are scattered around. A girl with hors is standing with a weird item with many bells. “A transient and eternal dream” she says.

Yuuji is walking to school, and looks like life in his city didn’t change much after what happened after Bal Masqué first strike. Yuuji meets with Hayato, greeting him though something looks a bit wrong. As they are walking, Yuuji asks him if he is free after school, but Hayato can’t as he is attending a cram school. Yuuji is impressed he is already taking measures for college. Hayato asks what he was planning to do and Yuuji answers he was about to check some CD, then suddenly feels some “déjà vu”.
Yuuji tends his hand around the sakura petals falling around, wondering if they are in September, which Hayato confirms.

Kazumi arrives and greets him happily. Then, Hayato asks her if she can help him studen council meeting of Tomorrow, after school. She doesn’t mind, while some girls are observing them. Eita and Keisaku are as usual reluctant to attend school.
Meanwhile, Magery is trying to withstand a horrible hungover

And finally, Shana is arriving at school, though Wilhelmina was following her, since she would like to check what kind of etablissement Shana is attending. Of course, Shana isn’t happy with this and says she can simply wait for either a athetic or cultural festival, so she should go home. Wilhelmina is “defeated” and then asks her to give her the dates of such events when they will soon occur.
As she finally get freed from Wilhelmina, Shana rushes to Yuuji

English lesson. Yuuji comments that Shana didn’t change at all, but is bothered about something: Shana told him something just after casting the Tenpa Jyousai (season 1, last episode). However, he wasn’t able to hear what she said because of the explosion. Yuuji has an idea, but can’t believe Shana would say this. Then, the teacher is scolding “Yukari” about the said “quiz”. Much like in the first season, Shana is defiant agaisnt the teacher and talks about the meaninglessness of this exercise, considering the lack of possibility to fill the blank without memorizing the original sentence before. As he is listening to her, Yuuji feels strange about it, thinking that he already hear that before.

Kazumi brought some puddings, and share with the main cast. Yuuji begins to think something is really wrong, as this event already happened before, and the one back there too.
Suddenly, Shana feels something and stands up.

There is a Fuzetsu, and Shana picks her Flame Haze coat and draws out Nietono no Shana. Suddenly, a completely unexpected guest arrives: Friagne, the hunter!
Yuuji is dumbstruck: it is completely impossible for him to be alive, because he was defeated a long time ago.

Friagne doesn’t waste anytime and uses his Hougu, Regular Sharp. Shana doesn’t have any issue to counter this attack, while Yuuji is still wondering how Friagne can be alive now. He is then attacked by Marianne wielding Bubble Loot. As he is dodging, Shana intervenes, and is able to grab the doll, killing it with a lethal blow.
Yuuji is puzzled, and somehow, Friagne get back Marianne in his arms.
Much like what happened before, Friagne takes his leave, and Yuuji tries to ask Shana what is the matter.
However, Shana doesn’t exactly listen to him, and wonders about Friagne and his “hunting ground”.

Yuuji is outside of the school and meets Hayato. He asks the later when they are, andhe assures him they are in december. However, Yuuji comments how strange there are scherry blossoms during such season. Hayato doesn’t answer, and weirdly answers back with a complete offtopic line, saying he must work to avoid issues with his parents.
As he is trying to follow him, Yuuji then bumps on Wilhelmina. He tells her there is a problem with Shana, and more accurately everyone in school, as everything is rewinding events from the past. As he is asking her if the notice something, Wilhelmina just plainly says she came to pick shana up. Once again, Yuuji is puzzled.
Shana is reluctant by her “escort”, and asks Yuuji not to be late for the training today.

Yuuji is more and more worried, thinking the Tomogara might have used a unrestricted spell. Thinking about it, Margery might know something about it, and gives it a try. As he is trying to remember where Keisako’s house is, he is weirdly going in circle, always bumping on the sight of the radio antenna.
He then hears again a bell sound, and another laughter, which quickly give him a headache.

Yuuji is trying to stay calm and think about the current situation. He is currently the only one being able to tell what is going on. Since he is alone on that matter, he wonders if he can’t handle this by himself.
After some reflexion, Yuuji concludes it is impossible that a Tomogara that strong can’t be detected if he happens to use such type of spell. He then proceeds in the complete reversed theory: what if he is the only one affected by it?
Then, his mother knocks his door and asks if he wants some coffee. Yuuji then tests something, and asks her where did she buy this coffee from. She is silent then talks about his father.
As soon as she leaves, the events from the pasts occur again: this time, it is Sorath and Tiriel.

Shana is caught by the seal spell, while Sorath and Tiriel are standing in front of her. Yuuji is coming, while Tiriel steals Nietono no Shana, and gives it to Sorath.
Yuuji is able to catch the ladder, and while climbing, he summaries the weird events, and proceeds in another test. Yuuji releases his grip, and falls. However, as he is almost hitting he ground, he begins to float, which doesn’t surprise him much.
He is then flying towards them and order the twins to stop. Again, Yuuji notices that Shana is silent, which confirms that he actually cannot tell what she would actually say in such situation.
Yuuji concludes this world has been created by himself. Sorath leaps and slashes him, turning the world completely upside down.

Yuuji snaps out and finds himself in a Fuzetsu. The wound sorath dealt to him isn’t there anymore. Shana then is annoyed and asks what he is doing, and quickly grabs him out of range of an attack. She is scolding him about spacing out in the middle of a fight. Yuuji apologizes and wonders how long he was like that, and Alastor is kinda outraged, saying he was only closing his eyes for some mere seconds.
The Tomogara attacks again, and Shana “helps” Yuuji to get out by… kicking the hell of him. Shana is calling Yuuji an idiot, and he is quite relieved to be back with the true Shana.
She then tells him to stay cautious despite their weak opponent, especially since the later has a hougu.

Yuuji is surprised by this comment and stares at their enemy, who greets him welcome back from the dream. Shana is pretty straightfoward, tells to her opponent that she surprised her by coming over her despite the ridicule strength she has. The later has no difficulty to aknowledge it, but justify it by claiming she has a wish to fulfill. She attacks again, but Shana deflects the blows with a simple swing. She then finishes her off with a direct slash.
Shana puts back her sword in her coat, commenting that this tomogara had the weakest existence she encountered. Alastor even adds that if she didn’t show herself while they were on their way to school, they wouldn’t even be able to detect her. Yuuji then says she had a strange power, and Shana is curious what it was, as it might be something else than putting him asleep. However, Yuuji isn’t able to remember what happened to him, and Shana complains he was really half-asleep. Alastor asks him to be more concentrated, because Bal Masqué will probably attack again to get his Reiji Maigo.

Shana disables the Fuzetsu and they are heading to school.
As usual, she is enjoying eating her melon pan, and Yuuji takes advantage of the dream rememberance to ask that he always wanted to know what Shana said after they stopped Hecate. Shana freezes, while Alastor is speechless. Completely blushing, she says she didn’t remember. Yuuji remembers that she mentioned his name (with the “ga”), but Shana stops him immediately, claiming she said she had a lot of respect for him. Yuuji is a bit surprised this is only that, while Shana is barking her triple urusai. She finishes the matter off, claiming it was worthless that she doesn’t remember. Yuuji buys her explanation, while Alastor sounds a bit uneasy.

They are finally at school, and they are then rejoined by Kazumi and Hayato. Yuuji remembers of both declarations, while Shana is not especially happy with the extra bento box Kazumi prepared. Kazumi doesn’t falter, and keeps her smile, claiming she is serious, which completely disconcert Shana. The flame haze repeats what she said in S1, claiming she won’t lose.
Meanwhile, much like in the dream, Margery is struggling with her hung over, while Marcosius isn’t really cooperative. Keisaku pays her a swift visit, fetching the medecine for her, while Eita is dealing with Matake, both are kinda embarassed. School life is rather back to normal, though Hecate is seen while Bel Peol and Sydonay are in the shadows, while this unknown Tomagara is still laughing.




Ending Theme : triangle, by Kawada Mami.

Short description: Reiji Maigo as a background, and various renders of the main characters are shown.

The ending wasn’t my cup of tea: the song and the lyrics were completely unabalanced: the “BGM” is quite noisy, and the pace is bleh. Rather a matter of taste but well.
As for the sequence, they are going more and more lazy, and it is seriously too bland.



Thoughts :

I waited a long time for this sequel, and I must admit I had many fears because how Zero no Tsukaima, Futatsuki no Kishi was handled (like i said on AS: horrible disappointement).
The return of our favourite flame haze isn’t without any trouble, and frankly, it doesn’t help me to rate it high, because of many obnoxious parts, be it the design or the plot devices…

Taken from my “review” on AS:

First, the biggest problem is probably the “reset button”. It is purely dumb, as the first season clearly demonstrates that Yuuji HEARD Shana, and the later scenes after the Tenpa Jyousai did imply deeper interactions.
I dunno if it was some device to actually fix the mistake they did in the first season (as, IIRC, shana wasn’t supposed to confess back there), but it is terrible since they are just trying to boost up the triangle, which completely fails as i will explain later on.
AT LEAST, Kazumi’s confession was still aknowledged (hard to avoid this anyway…but they DID mention nevetherless, along with Hayato’s!).
Still, the triangle effect doesn’t worth anything if Yuuji is clear with his feelings (which can be altered if JC staff do jack, just like they did with the reset). How this move was stupid enough? Because even if Shana doesn’t confess to him, that doesn’t mean Yuuji might begin to change his feelings out of the blue. Knowing it or not just gives the ability to actually execute the “couple dilemna” later or not.
That absolutely doesn’t reactivate the triangle, as as i said, until Yuuji changes his mind (very unlikely), Kazumi has 0 chance.

Aside of the major disappointement, I just realized it when i was screencapping the episode for the blog: basically, the art was completely unstable.
It has nothing to do with the change of design (as it is quite easy to distinguish the changes, especially the girls’ eyes, much smaller, giving a wider gap between them. Compare “SII” shana with the faint flashback of the Tenpa Jyousai), but really the consistency of the design, which go completely budget in various instances.
Example: Friagne… “glove” (is that rather a muttin!?),
Let’s not mention the unbalance in detail: why the staff decides to put crapload of details for Shana’s lecture scene? See the details in the hair (though Kazumi was still shafted big time, anyway) and eyes were largely superior to most sequences in this episode.
I begin to fear some “ZNT” legacy for the art, as many “lazy” part can be spotted aside of what i just wrote.

At least, they didn’t use poor old footage for the whole “flashback dream” stuff. In fact, it is funny to see they completely reworked it to adapt with the Movie (as they have shown Marianne wielding bubble loot, which doesn’t happen in the first season)
That said, that doesn’t redeem JC staff for the very poor job in the character design consistency.
On the other hand, the animation is still smooth enough, though I would complain again for some parts (toncrap of stillshot).

Now as for the plot itself, we didn’t get much except that weird tomogara who can project such dream. It doesn’t exactly look like harmful yet, which is why this first episode was kinda useless. True enough the pace and the parts chosen were nice, but that didn’t exactly tell us who she is.
It would be better if they shortened this dream part to 2/3, and we could grasp something, instead of her idiotic laugh.

Consequently, this episode looks really like a filler to me, as it didn’t flesh out the new plot yet (which could be done more efficiently with less dream thing)
Aside of the weird change for the Character Design, the series kept its heritage from the first season with the usual BGm and seiyuu (Though Kugimiya Rie’s engrish is even worse this year…)

Now… for the good parts, I actually liked how Yuuji wasn’t dense and used logic to understand the peculiar situation he was in. He wasn’t helpless (just like in the first season) and actually has a good sense about the Tomogara, which is good since he is supposed to as a Mystes and companion in arms for Shana.
Another good part was probably the camera and the dynamism and focus for the scenes. The execution itself is quite good (while the content isn’t that much).

In the end, this episode was “just” shafted by its dubious retcon, art inconsistencies and lack of true purpose instead of a kinda lame recap episode.
That’s quite a lot, but since it is the first episode, it isn’t that bad. That said, this episode is barely average to me.


1 Response to “Shakugan no Shana Second, Episode 1”

  1. 1 CASINO Trackback on February 25, 2015 at 10:33 am

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