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Shakugan no Shana the Movie(TV) (2005-2008)
Sakai Yuuji is a regular high school student. On his way home, he encounters a monster that sucks up human life. On the brink of his death, a girl called a "flame haze" appears and saves him. Sakai then finds truth in his life and reality around him. An alternative retelling of the original "Shakugan no Shana" first chapter.
For more about Shakugan no Shana the Movie and the Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray release, see Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 19, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Josh Grelle, Kristian Ayre, Tabitha St. Germain, Cherami Leigh
» See full cast & crew
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray Review
Cutting to the chase(s) turns out to be a very good thing for Shana.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 19, 2013
There's an oft-quoted adage that says "less is more", and there's no better example of the veracity of that general sentiment than Shakugan no Shana The Movie. The Shakugan no Shana franchise has a fairly sizable fanbase, and those fans have been greeted with a number of Blu-ray releases over the past several months, including Shakugan no Shana: Season 1, Shakugan no Shana: Season 2 Part 1 and Shakugan no Shana: Season 2 Part 2. (Shakugan no Shana S: OVA Series will be released simultaneously with Shakugan no Shana The Movie and later on down the line in 2013 fans can look forward to Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 1 and Shakugan no Shana: Season 3 Part 2.) But the glut of releases only points out one problem with the series, a problem that afflicts many anime that try to keep going like the veritable Energizer Bunny when the figurative creative juices have run dry: there's simply too much of the show to ultimately enjoy after a while. Even longtime aficionados are on record stating how tiresome certain aspects of Shakugan no Shana become after a while, and that, coupled with a certain derivative quality that overhangs the entire offering, make sitting through season after season of the show something of a task, at least at times. And that's why Shakugan no Shana The Movie may in fact end up being more appreciated by some who have been left cold, at least generally speaking, by the long running anime. That was certainly the case with me. I haven't been exactly shy in voicing some of my complaints about the anime taken as a whole, but I found this so-called Reader's Digest version of much of the first season of the anime actually much more enjoyable than the actual series. Is it missing salient content? Undoubtedly. Will "real" fans probably pine for the series anyway, since that version offers clearer storytelling and more character development? ProbablyŚthough not necessarily. The nice thing about Shakugan no Shana The Movie is that it actually manages to impart most (if not all) of the major plot points and character beats of the series' opening arc, without wasting a bunch of time on tangential items. As such, it might almost be thought of as a feature film analog to Dragon Ball Z Kai, that "slimmed down" and revised version of the original Dragon Ball Z series.
Shakugan no Shana is one of those franchises which really doesn't bear much furious logical examination, and is instead a show where certain aspects must simply be taken at face value, without argument, in order for any semblance of entertainment value to remain. The series (and this film redaction) is also full of at times almost funny "specialized" verbiage, which is given in brief bursts with equally brief explanatory exposition that helps to at least potentially anchor those not that familiar with the franchise in what's about to happen.
We therefore meet the film's hero, Yuji (sometimes transliterated Yuuji) Sakai, a kid who is muddling along in school with his best buddy Ike, until one day when everyone around him is apparently frozen by some kind of unseen magical spell and all of whom then find themselves under attack by a mutant baby that looks like the illegitimate child of the Michelin Man and some demon from the third ring of hell. Yuji is about to be consumed by this oversized tot himself until suddenly a young girl with a flaming sword appears and quickly dispatchesŚat least for a momentŚthe demonic baby and its "parent", another demon who appears in a variety of forms throughout a fairly short battle. The young protectress is the film's heroine, a nameless "flame haze" (there's that "specialized" verbiage I mentioned) whom Yuji christens Shana, kind of against the young girl's will.
The two characters then form a sort of Odd Couple bond as Shana decides to stick around after figuring out that Yuji is what's known as a "Mystes" ("specialized" verbiage alert) and in fact reveals to the shocked young man that he is (how to put this delicately?) not among the living. This is one of Shakugan no Shana's biggest plot conceits and it's unfortunately the one that requires the biggest suspension of disbelief, especially in this film where we really are divorced from any context (not that the series gives that much more, to be frank about it). We're simply presented with a handful of facts, including that Yuji is dead (or "almost" dead, to quote Monty Python), that his city is full of other "pod people" known as "torches" and that he bears a special "gift" within him that designates him a "Mystes". Some anime fans thrive on this sort of mythology, while others may want to roll their eyes (at the very least) in bemused detachment.
Oh, but wait, there's more: the "bad guys" in this franchise are known as Crimson Denizens, and they might be fairly described as succubuses (or is that succubi?) from another dimension who transport to Earth to suck the living daylights (and anything else) out of unsuspecting humans. That sets up the central conflict of the film, where Shana and Yuji find themselves attempting to prevent a catastrophe that won't just affect Yuji himself, but his entire city. The film does a really smart job of offering just enough information to present the plot fairly cogently without getting tied down in a bunch of tangential material that, yes, may give the series more "color", but which also tends to make it a trial to sit through (at least for some).
There's some kind of surprisingly philosophical content here as well, especially after Yuji becomes aware of his own existence (or nonexistence as it were) and even more especially when he sees people around him disappearing into thin air as their torches extinguish. There's a rather nice little plotline here (included in the series as well) with a sweet classmate of Yuji's who "evaporates" in this way, and it's rather unexpectedly touching. Shana "replaces this girl as a sort of magical d÷ppelgńnger, but Yuji will have none of it, wanting to remember the girl in her "original" form. It's a nice piece of real feeling emotion in a film that is more apt to exploit bombast.
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray, Video Quality
The recent Blu-ray releases of Shakugan no Shana have been a mixed lot at best, but the good news is that Shakugan no Shana The Movie looks at least as good as the best of the series has, and some might argue a tad bit better. Presented by FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, the film still has the overly soft appearance that hampered the series (and a lot of the footage in this film is culled directly from the series), but somehow it seems just slightly sharper in places than in the original series versions. There is some new footage here as well, though there's no noticeable uptick in clarity or precision. This presentation does offer some very nicely saturated color and as has been the case with all of the Shakugan no Shana franchise, the animation itself is quite appealing.
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Shakugan no Shana features Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes in both the original Japanese as well as an English dub. Both of these tracks offer some fairly boisterous surround activity, especially in some of the epochal showdowns that dot the film. There are some very vivid panning effects when various demonic presences skirt through the frame, and quite a bit of the dialogue and other foley effects in these sequences are nicely directional as well. Fidelity is excellent, with very full midrange and some nice bombastic LFE on a few occasions.
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Color me surprised, if not actually shocked, but I really kind of liked this film version of Shakugan no Shana. It still defies credulity, as if one were expected to really believe a fantasy like this to begin with, but somehow it worked much better for me in this cut down, straight to the point version. Longtime fans will probably still want to stick with the series, if for no other reason than that they get more "bang for their buck", so to speak, but others who are curious about the Shakugan no Shana franchise would do well to start out with this offering, as you get all the basics with none of the filler (why does that sound kind of familiar?). This Blu-ray offers a high definition presentation that is perhaps just a little sharper than the series, and the audio is great. This may be some sign of an impending apocalypse, but Shakugan no Shana The Movie comes Recommended.
Shakugan no Shana: Other Seasons
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Shakugan no Shana: The Movie Blu-ray & Limited Time First Look (E... - January 18, 2013
To celebrate the upcoming release of Shakugan no Shana: The Movie, FUNimation Entertainment has decided to give fans a first look at the full English dub of the film for one weekend only. The embedded video can be found in our news post. Both Shakugan no Shana: ...
Shakugan no Shana the Movie Blu-ray Screenshots
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