Shakugan no Shana Second, Episode 2

Shana and Yuuji defeated quite easily this new Tomogara. Nothing really special until now, but things look much more complicated from there…

After a mixed bag from the recap episode, the series doesn’t drag much and goes directly on the plot. As daily life looks rather “back to normal”, Bal Masqué doesn’t seem to slack off…


Shakugan no Shana Second, Episode 2:
Beginning of everything

The episode starts with Shana who is practicing her cooking “skills” with Chigusa. The burning flame haze reveals she isn’t exactly pleased with Kazumi’s bentos offered to Yuuji at school. She is unable to explain why she doesn’t like this situation, but she will act accordingly anyway. Chigusa is happy to be able to help her, but she is concerned that she should have talked about this with Wilhelmina.
However, Shana says that it is impossible because Wilhelmina isn’t able to cook anything, and thus, she will train Yuuji instead. Chigusa thinks that the maid might have a specific dish to cook, but Shana explains that Wilhelmina can only cook with dishes requiring the microwave, hot water, or only raw (probably vegetable, fruits, bread, etc). Shana then is going to work on an omelette or tamagoyaki, while Chigusa looks rather prepared for some challenge.

Meanwhile, Yuuji is training with Wilhelmina in a Fuzetsu. However, it appears the Manipulator of Objects is rather too serious. Yuuji is able to dodge some attacks, but he is quickly caught within Wilhelmina’s ribbons. She is mumbling and wondering why Shana is training her cooking, and even asking Yuuji’s mother instead of herself. While Yuuji is struggling, Alastor notices the problem and asks what’s wrong with Wilhelmina, going serious in such training. Tiamat comments it as well.
However, Yuuji suddenly shines and releases the grasp with a burst of Power of Existence.
Yuuji lands hard on the ground, and Wilhelmina checks him up. Alastor asks her what happened, but she only says she was contemplating a bit. She then wonders what was that, but Alastor thinks she was really addled if she didn’t notice it. He then explains that Yuuji’s Power of Existence expanded a lot. Wilhelmina is surprised and then notices the burnt trace on her ribbon. Tiamat comments it is about the seirei-den, and Wilhelmina can’t believe this. Alastor explains that when Yuuji was synchronizing with Hecate, he became a part of the Fountain of Existence. Since Hecate had a limitless capacity for her Existence, the Reiji Maigo filled her, and thus, this power was retained within Yuuji.

Meanwhile, Bal Masqué officers are taking a break in a castle, while Dantalion is repairing the Seirei-den. Bel Peol comments they will probably take care of some thins during this time. Sydonay agrees and he will probably go out for his job.

Shana and Yuuji are on their way for school. He asks her why Wilhelmina trained him, but Shana tries to make an excuse about the fact that training with the same person over and over isn’t good. Alastor then comments about Yuuji’s Power of Existence, which became equal to a King of Guze’s. The training purpose is that he is able to control it, which might even give him the ability to create a Fuzetsu.
At home, Wilhelmina is trying to cook…

Kazumi offers a bento to Yuuji and is going to prepare some tea. Hayato comments that Yuuji shouldn’t be considerate in a weird way. As they are ready to dig in, Shana is finally resolute and gives him her bento. Yuuji, Kazumi and Hayato are surprised by this. Yuuji is very pleased, but discovers the bento box is filled by 7 melon pan… It appears the Flame Haze turned her attempt to a literal barbecue which obviously didn’t give a edible result. Shana claims she has a lot of them, so she though she can share with him. Yuuji is very touched by it and thanks her, while Shana feigns her indifference. However, as he is eating, he realizes it is really too much, while Kazumi is worried about him. That said, Yuuji believes he shouldn’t let any leftover, and force himself to eat both bento.

During a lesson, the effect of such “rich” meal finally takes its toll on Yuuji, who suffers of a big stomachache. He collapses, and everyone wonders what’s wrong. Shana and Kazumi put him in the infirmary bed.
As result of this incident, Shana rants about this, telling to Kazumi that this isn’t good for Yuuji as they might have to fight at any moment. Kazumi is concerned and says she will reduce the size of her bento, but the flame haze still argues she has to stop completely, and shana will provide everything Yuuji needs.
Kazumi can’t agree with this, and says it is unfair, because she loves him and so, she is doing this with her heart content. Bento has nothing to do with battle and such, which cuts short of Shana’s lecture.

However, things are interrupted by the apparition of a Fuzetsu. Shana wakes up Yuuji. They decide to check on this, and as they are doing their sortie, Kazumi tries to accompany them, but she then asks them to be careful instead.
Once there, they notice it is only a bonfire. However, Yuuji thinks something is wrong because such bonfire was only for the festival which happened a month ago. Then, the Blimp of Dantalion is seen airborne.

Shana prepares herself, but Yuuji hears another bell sound, and struggles as he is feeling a repetition of the past. He then suddenly remembers about that Tomogara who put him in a dream. After realizing it, Yuuji tells to Shana it is a dream. As he said this, the whole world dissolve under some purple shades.
Yuuji confirms what happened, and Shana asks some explanations. He then says he was put in some sleep, but couldn’t remember it. In fact, he was in a dream where past events were repeated.
However, he stops himself during his explanations and wants to be sure of something. He begins to pinch Shana’s cheek, which ended with a painful punishment: a punch on his stomach. Shana rants about what he is doing while Yuuji confirms she is the real thing.

As they are running, Shana understands the whole dream deal and both conclude that Tomogara must be alive. However, Yuuji wonders why they are still in the dream despite the fact both know about itt, just like yesterday.
He then stops, and begins some deductions: things that they don’t know shouldn’t happen. The fuzetsu was seen, so that means they were already in the dream. Hence, Kazumi is supposed to say things that both should know, but this time, Kazumi said something they didn’t expect.
Thus, they conclude they are in Kazumi’s dream, and they must wake her up. As they are running, they found Kazumi, who is prisoner of the Tomogara. The later has a complete different appearance.
She introduces herself as Mare and explains they are in her unrestricted spell, Gemeinde, which is a world created from their memories.
Shana then deduces the Tomogara seen yesterday wasn’t her core, and Mare confirms it was just a Mystes she controlled. Mare attacks them, but both easily avoid her projectiles. Shana taunts her that she couldn’t sense her because she was very small, and asks her what she wants from them. However, Mare is evasive and replies this is something she would like to know.

Then, an image of Bel Peol appears and aims for Shana. The later will take care of this illusion, while Yuuji will wake up Kazumi. However, Mare tells them in her unrestricted spell, the world is done under her will and Kazumi will never wake up, and thus, both of them won’t either. Shana begins her attack against Bel Peol, but the later parries easily with her chain.

Shana is then hit by Bel Peol’s weapon. Yuuji tries to reach Kazumi, but he is attacked by Mare. Fortunately, Yuuji’s Azure protects him from the flame, though he is still affected somehow. Shana tries to cover him with a fireball, but it is vanishing even before it can harm the Tomogara. Mare reminds them the world works as she wants, and Shana is then struck several times by Bel Peol. Mare remarks that they can die in the dream.

Shana dodges Bel Peol attack, and tries to hurl another fireball in the same process, but Mare is still unaffected by it. Nietono no Shana is then chained by Bel Peol’s weapon. The situation is bad but Yuuji wonders why Mare is still unharmed even though they are in a dream. It looks like Mare doesn’t have a body, and then, he remembers of Shana’s words about Mare’s “core”. He concludes this “Mare” might be a fake, and realizes something. Within him, the Reiji Maigo is entrapped into some energy field generated by Mare, who sneakely invaded Yuuji’s body. She comments he was kinda smart.
Yuuji yells Shana that Mare is in her body. However, Shana is stalled by Bel Peol, while Mare says they can’t reach her because she is inside of Yuuji. The later is agonizing, but suddenly, the Reiji Maigo shines brightly when Mare is about to get it. The burst of Power of Existence forces the Tomigara to gets out of Yuuji.

Mare is on the ground, half cut. The image of Bel Peol disappears as a result. The dying Tomogara can’t believe the Reiji Maigo had a “Kaikin” (Keeper), which surprises Shana as well.
Mare is able to “stand up”, and says the Reiji Maigo is a Hougu the Bal Masqué is trying to get. Therefore, if she was able to get it, she might be known and get contact with them. Considering her state, she can only pretend to be the one who killed the Mystes with this Hougu. Shana readies herself as she heard these words, but Mare tells her that if she dies, Gemeinde will collapse. She then claims Kazumi will never wake up before this happens, and thus, the three of them are doomed anyway.
Just like Mare said, the world begins to crack, and Yuuji rushes to Kazumi, trying to wake her up. After several attempts, Kazumi begins to mumble Yuuji’s name, and she finally wakes up, which completely surprises Mare.
The tomogara died, while Yuuji, Shana and Kazumi escape from the dream.

Kazumi realizes what happened, and Yuuji thanks her and compliments her that she was able to wake up. However, she modestly answers she only wanted to see him, even a bit. Yuuji tries to say something but then collapses back in his slumber.
Shana is dumbstruck but finally admits Kazumi must pay extra care of her bento so that predicament will never happen to Yuuji ever again. Kazumi is okay to half the size of her bento, turning the discussion into a tacit deal.

At home, Shana explains to Alastor and Wilhelimina what happened, and both can’t believe about the fact the Reiji Maigo has a Kaikin. This affects Wilhelmina a lot, making her tremble a bit.
Meanwhile, Margery is still drinking a lot, and Keisaku and Eita are concerned about it. Even Marcosius mentions she drinks even more nowadays, but she says she only have a weird feeling.
At school, a new transfer studen is introduced. Shana and Yuuji are completely caught off guard: this girl is surprisingly looking like the Master Throne, Hecate.




Thoughts :

I lowered my expectations considering the episode 1, and it wasn’t exactly necessary. This episode was nicely done and they were able to revert “everything” back to normal.
To be fair, this episode was much more interesting (despite having 0 cameo of sexy friagne XD) than last week, considering the points seen.

As someone who already know the parts from the novels, I must say that JC Staff was able to correct many points which will help to take off the plot on a more faithful path.
First, the Kaikin of the Reiji Maigo which was supposed to happen during the Aizen Twins Arc. Yes, the Reiji Maigo was supposed to “defend itself” against sydonay’s “happy UFO catcher” time. (Shana was never able to defend Yuuji in Time. Sydonay was able to get the Reiji Maigo, but a sudden burst cut his arm)
The reason why Yuuji was able to be boosted is because Sydonay’s severed arm was absorbed by Yuuji during this event, which drastically increases his Power of Existence. And over the time, it was able to grows as big as a King of Guze’s.
This will lead to a little complaint: I wasn’t exactly sold with Hecate’s explanations, because the fact of Synchronizing doesn’t have anything to do with Yuuji’s ability to expand his Power of Existence. Hecate’s bottomless Power of Existence isn’t a skill, but an innate attribute, which shouldn’t be possible to be mimicked, otherwise, it should tranform completely Yuuji. I will leave the benefit of doubt that Yuuji might got a surge of Power of Existence absorbed so strongly that it forced some expansion, but meh.
This inconsistency leads to a minor problem: Yuuji’s power up looks a bit too fast, while he was supposed to increases his Power of Existence from a long time, during the Aizen Twins arc. And THEN with the synchronize part, it increased again (due the fact he was in contact with the Fountain of Existence). That’s why I believe many people were wondering how the hell Yuuji was able to wake up by himself and how he suddenly was able to wield Bluutsauger, back in the end of season 1.

That said, i must compliment JC Staff to have actually worked decently on these retcons, which will give many more consistent parts from the Novels.

The pace was really nice, and it was quite moving, without much of silly momentum we got last week.

Still on the script, Mare Arc was fine, though I’m a bit disappointed that this anime-only part was so fast. I was expecting that Mare would at least survive for some time and be really pesky, though not a part of Bal Masqué. At least the dream part won’t be something they can abuse so they can stall and loop some flashbacks again.

That said, they actually stick a lot of Hints about Bal Masqué which is a good point: they aren’t loosy antagonists and all and their involvement won’t take too long.

Finally, in the script, the “triangle” interactions were nice, and I must say that Shana was really ridiculous about the bento issue. Much like what Kazumi said, this doesn’t have anything to do with battle. Kazumi isn’t able to help them in anyway, therefore, she actually support them within her ability, without trying to stay in their way or to be a burden to them. That’s why Shana’s complaints were ridiculous to me (but clearly within her character, i’m not complaining about it) because she is just jealous and she tried to use this excuse so Kazumi will be less close to Yuuji. This point brought another good point with Kazumi: despite she “declared war” to Shana, at least twice (in the end of season 1, and back in episode 1 of season 2), she actually takes Shana’s feelings into account and is alright to leave her some room (in this instance, half a bento).
Meanwhile, they again kept Yuuji’s deduction skills which improve again his development as a strong character.

Now, for the episode itself, the amount of colors was really great. Bright, lively and really sharp.
The animation was really fluid, especially with Bel Peol. Speaking of which, she was incredibly sexy somehow, and JC Staff was able to stick with her cool demeanor and her powerful aura of dominating strength.
This is ironic, because OTOH, Yuuji, Kazumi and Mare were shafted a bit in their design in various instances, especially Mare, who was really a clown considering the hiccup in her design.
Nothing too annoying, except maybe the insane irregularity for Nietono no Shana who had like… 2-3 different designs during the same episode… (again, another irony, because Bel Peol chains weren’t affected much by this)

The good ol’ BGM tracks were a nice touch (giving some nostalgia from Season 1), while some new piano parts were really appreciated (especially with Mare).
Nothing to complain about the Seiyuu, they were doing well their job. Speaking of which, I was wondering if Mare’s Seiyuu isn’t Saitou Chiwa, because her voice was really similar to Quattro’s, from Nanoha Strikers.
But meh, I was proven wrong, since it appears to be Kobayashi Sanae (Lucy/Nyuu from Elfen lied) instead.

A very good Episode in my books, relieving me a lot. The preview is somewhat intriguing, because the “school Hecate” is another anime original content, so I’m completely clueless what they will do with her. Bel Peol was seen before the studen introduction, but the preview reveals that this girl is frozen in the Fuzetsu… huhu.


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