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DVD Review

DVD cover

Shakugan No Shana
Volume 5


Starring (voice): Rie Kugimiya, Satoshi Hino, Ayako Kawasumi and Hitomi Nabatame
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 05 January 2009

Had Yuji Sakai turned a different corner his life may have remained that of a high school kid, but Sakai did turn that corner and his life changed forever. What do you do if you discover that rather than being human you are little more than a shell, a shell destined to fade away, as you are nothing more than a replacement for an already dead person? Sakai is about to find out...

Another month and another anime release this time it’s Volume Five of Shakugan No Shana (2005), the penultimate disc for this romantic magic thriller, which originated in the popular light novels of Yashichiro Takahashi, which were then turned into a manga by Ayato Sasakura. The premise of a young man who finds himself embroiled in a war between chaos and order spawned not only this anime but also a number of games for the DS and PS2. The popularity escapes me somewhat; this is defiantly no Death Note and as an anime often struggles to rise above the morass of other similar shows. On the plus side the animation is quite detailed, the characters are sympathetic and the design is pleasing.

Episode seventeen, A New Chapter, and the City festival is about to kick into action, Shana’s growing sense of selfhood has even extended to learning to cook, in an attempt to impress Yuji. But before Shana can do anything Yoshida asks him out to the festival, leading to embarrassment for them both. Wandering the city Yoshida is approached by another Flame Haze who has come to put the city back into balance. With the use of an eye glass he shows her what the city really looks like. Most of this episode concentrates on the high school romance part of the show, with various characters trying to sort out their relationships, though the introduction of a new Flame Haze Khamsin starts a new direction for the show.

Episode eighteen, Shattered Wish, and the professor’s experiment reveal the girls inner feelings, including Shana’s. Yoshida continues to struggle with her knowledge that Yuji is no longer human, just a transient Torch. As the various romantic strands start to come together so does another attack on the city. Yuji is torn between the imminent attack on the city, Shana’s obvious jealousy and Yoshida’s distress about discovering Yuji’s real state.

Episode nineteen, Within the Battle, and while Shana fights to save the city from the Denizens, she can feel that Yuji is slipping away from her. With all the pieces now in place, let battle commence. This one even includes a zeppelin, I kid you not.

Episode twenty, Heartless Wirhelmina, and Shana’s old teacher returns to give her an ultimatum.

I still remain impressed with the English dub, even though the show only comes in English or Japanese Dolby Stereo 2.0. The disc continues with a similar content for the extras with even more production art, a textless opening sequence and the rather odd question and answer session called Naze Nani Shana video, plus a few trailers.


Charles Packer

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