March 28, 2008

  Takanaru kodou fureau ima erande,
  Susume toki no hate e…
Wargh! Okay, let me try to take this whole thing from the top again. Nope, I don’t think that will do either. Sigh… I guess it’s pretty hard trying to sing or even get it right, even after several attempts. I admit that I really fell in love with the song Being when I first heard it. This is the second opening theme for the anime series Shakugan No Shana and is sung by Kotoko.
  Potsuri kokuu no you ni tsubuyaita,
  Mata ashita ne tte kotoba,
  Moemeguri terasu taiyou no you na,
  Tsuyosa to eien ni kogareta
As usual, my vocal problem while singing this song is that it does have that high pitched tunes and long vocal sustaining lines. I guess most of Kotoko’s songs are like of this nature. Even so, I’m quite determined to overcome it. Yeah, I find this quite challenging and enjoyable. Surprisingly I kinda noticed that most of the time, I’m able to prevail over these tough parts. Is it that my efforts are bearing fruit? Yeah, right. The verses and bridges are okay and manageable and I think I even sound as close to the singer! (Yeah right. Dream on!).
  Tatta hitotsu nokoseru nara,
  Sonzai wo daita kono shunkan no egao wo,
  Tada hitotsu mamorubeki wa,
  Kimi no mirai
Aside from having a great voice, one must also have great lungs to sing this song. Yup, this is another problem I encountered. At the end of each chorus, you need to sustain your voice for a certain period of time. It seemed like an eternity to me trying to hold my voice but once I can’t anymore, my voice will waver when I try to do the impossible and go on. Especially the last chorus before the song ends. I’m not sure whether Kotoko really can sustain her voice that long or is it part of the recording special effects. Yeah, I always lose out here. Because so, the breathing timing has to be precise so as not to end up catching your breath in the end and at the same time ‘disrupt’ the flow of the song.
  Setsuna yurete kishimu kono yo wo erande,
  Zutto unmei no chi wo kakeru,
  Mebae hajimeta honoo mune ni hime,
  Ima wo asu wo kimi e
Though with more practice and ‘training’, I’m gradually feeling that the ‘tiresome’ feeling each time I sing the song becomes less and less, but it’s still pretty obvious that there is still more do be done. Previously, I get tired as the song gets near the end. So much so I really do sound like an unenergetic person trying to sing!
  Kakegae no nai kimi to no ima erande,
  Zutto yoru ni niji wo kakeru,
  Tashikameatta tsuyosa toki ni kae,
  Sora wo umi wo koeru
The song lacks any background vocals but I could say that would be the least of my problems. I mean, I’m trying to figure out the timing and such to sing this song right so I couldn’t really be bothered with that. Speaking of timing, I’m still having a slight problem trying to start my opening lines when the song starts. I dunno why, but I’m usually thrown off and it’s either I’m a second too late or too fast. I timed that the singing starts at the 9th second into the song. Having done so, each time when I start singing I have to look at the timer of my radio so as not to lose track of time (literally) to make my start. Yeah, it’s become a habit now.
  Takanaru kodou fureau ima erande,
  Kitto unmei no ri ni ikiru,
  Itsuka kie yuku honoo negai ni kae,
  Yume wo asu wo kimi e
Just like the title of this song, it’s about existance, which basically fits the theme of the anime itself. Something also about moving forward into the future and such. Because I’ve sang this piece who knows how many times already, it’s expected that the lyrics has already been drilled right into my head. Yosh! Let me have another round of practice. I’ll show the world (myself rather) that I can sing this song right just like Kotoko herself! AAAAAAAAA!!!!! Dang. That won’t do.
  Sora wo umi wo koete………
  (NOOO!!! I can never beat this part still!!!)
Shakugan No Shana

Shakugan No Shana

June 15, 2007

Being the third anime series to be shown on local tv in original Japanese audio with Malay subtitles, I thought to myself, what the heck, I should give Shakugan No Shana a try. But after watching the first episode, I had this feeling that I should stop watching the series because the first episode itself has lots of heavy terms and I’m at my usual, lost and blur. However, being the self-proclaimed anime geek and kiasu (meaning must see as much anime as I can), I decided to stick watching it for several more episodes and hopefully till the end (which I finally did. Yay!).
I guess it’s not that bad since there are only 24 episodes of supernatural action adventure and fantasy. But of course it’s not just that since most of the main characters are high school kids, there’s gonna be some drama and romance as well. It’s like all-in-one, huh? Well yeah. Maybe.
So as we see in the first episode our main guy, Yuji Sakai, who’s your typical normal ordinary high school kid who’s starting the new school term with his best buddy, Hayato Ike. Normal day normal life, nothing out of the extraordinary happening in the city of Misaki. And Yuji expects this normal life of his would go on for a long time. We also see a little romance blooming here. One of their classmates, Yukari Hirai seems to have a crush on Ike and her body language and way she says things indicates so. Yuji notices this and in a way wants to help her out.
After school on his way back while walking through the streets, he spots Yukari. Suddenly, out of the blue (red actually), the whole world freezes like as though time has stopped. Yuji is the only one who can move among the crowd of life like statues. What’s going on as he’s still confused over everything that’s happening so suddenly. Then a giant babydoll creature (no, not that sexy lingerine lah!) and a round cluster made up of several heads appear and seems to be sucking the lifeforms out of everything there. At this point, I thought it was gonna be a horror genre as those 2 creatures seem pretty scary to me. Which is also one of the reason why I felt I shouldn’t continue watching. But I shouldn’t just chicken out. While the creatures are in the midst of their feeding frenzy, a girl with flaming red eyes and hair, cloaked in a black cape (you’ll find her cape can keep anything big or small, long or short, just like Doraemon’s pocket) and wielding a sword attacks the menacing creatures. She also has those fire cinders falling off from her hair.
The creatures realized they’re dealing with a Flame Haze as she soon destroys them in no time. Yuji who’s still in shock and in the dark, comes up to her and seek some explanation. She says she’s Enpatsu Shakugan No Uchite, a Flame Haze who seek and destroys Tomogaras and Rinnes to keep the world’s balance in check. To make things worse, she tells Yuji that he’s dead, no longer alive and that he doesn’t exist anymore. Furthermore, Yuji’s split into half! Luckily she’s able to fix him back. This all seems to be shocking news for Yuji. In addition, he’s just a Torch and the real Yuji died some time ago along with the other people who were caught in that time stopping feeding frenzy. Yuji of course couldn’t accept all this. Not just yet. It’s too sudden. What happened to his normal life. Yeah, it’s turning out to be quite interesting now, huh.
Before I continue, I just want to mention a few terms so that I would remember what they mean as the series does mention them a lot. And it’s quite confusing and frustrating (for a blur case like me) to go "Huh? What does that mean?" everytime they mention it.
Power Of Existance (POE) = Erm… It is what it’s said… An entity which gives a human being or living thing to exist. Something like a soul, but it could be stolen.
Torch = A replacement entity for a human being which serves as a ‘shock absorber’ so that the world will not experience the sudden ‘shock’ of a person who suddenly disappears. Think of it as a temporary living replacement. You can see a blue flame within their body and after some time it will extinguish and that person will disappear from the world and everybody else won’t remember him/her as though he/she never existed in the first place. Huh? So what’s the difference of totally disappearing sooner or later?
Mystes = A special kind of Torch.
Hougo = Magical objects which can provide certain special abilities.
Flame Haze = The supposedly ‘good guys’ of the series whose duties are to maintain the world’s balance by hunting down Tomogaras and Rinnes.
Tomogara = The supposedly ‘bad guys’ and villains of the series who don’t care of the world’s balance and would use any means to ensure their own existance or whatever purposes.
Rinne = Servants of Tomogara who serve their master. They need to get POE from their masters or torches or else they too will disappear.
Lord Of The Crimson Realm = Powerful entities who monitor the POE and world balance and are like partners to (more like bouned to) Flame Haze in their quest to hunt down Tomogaras.
Fuzetsu = That time stopping event. Battles ensued here can cause damage to the objects in the real world but can be repaired if enough POE is supplied.
Unrestricted Methods = Spells used in battles and can be identified as round blue emblems with some strange writing on it.
Haridan = A projection of the real world through a crystal-like projector used to observe the appearance of Torches and Unrestricted Methods.
Now that’s a lot of terms, isn’t it? Since Yuji is unfazed by all this, he tries to befriend her and calls her Shana. Why? Because she says she has no real name and that her sword’s name is Nietono No Shana, thus Yuji decides to call her just that. And note that long Enpatsu title is just her title and nickname. Shana thinks Yuji’s just a normal Torch and will soon fade away but Yuji rebuffs her statement saying that he if he’s just a Torch, why does he still have memories and feelings of the old Yuji. Shana says since he’s the remainder of the old Yuji, of course he has his memories and feelings, but all that will soon disappear.
To Yuji’s horror, he finds Yukari has turned into a Torch as well. And once the Fuzetsu’s over, everybody continues with their daily lives as though none of this happened, whether that person’s a Torch or not. Yuji’s desparate to make Yukari remember but she seems so ‘dead’. But all his efforts are in vain when Yukari soon extinguishes and Shana took some of her existance. Shana and her talking pendant, Alastor, supposedly some powerful Lord Of The Crimson Realm, noticed that Yuji’s no ordinary Torch. Yup, Yuji’s a Mystes, has Hougo and has Reiji Maigo in him. Throughout the series, I don’t really know what or who is this Reiji Maigo but I think it must be something special. It seems Yuji can’t vanish like other Torches. At every stroke of midnight when his blue flame is gonna extinguish, it suddenly lights up again, restoring his POE. SO you could say he’s eternal. Thus, Shana and Alastor decides to stay close to Yuji and keep an eye on him. Since he’s a Mystes, they think Tomogaras may want to go after and posses whatever that super special power is inside of him.
The next day back at school, Yuji’s still pondering the events that happened and to his shock he finds Shana to be in place of Yukari! I guess she really does want to keep an eye on him. As for everybody else, they see Shana as Yukari in their eyes, but just as not to confuse myself, I’ll refer to her as Shana as always. Whenever Shana’s not in battle mode, her hair will remain black instead of flaming red. We also see an odd pair who’re Yuji’s classmates and aren’t too fond of him at first, Eita Tanaka and Keisaku Sato, who I notice seem to skip class most of the time. They don’t really get involve in other activities with their other classmates. Also Kazumi Yoshida a shy girl who has a secret crush on Yuji but doesn’t have the guts to tell him. And everyone else besides Yuji and Shana doesn’t know that Yuji is a Torch. I like the funny part whereby Shana’s attending all the classes and she’s telling off all the teachers about the kind of quality education they’re giving so much so they all ran out in frustration screaming and one even jumped out the window! Way to go girl.
I guess Shana’s pretty serious in keeping an eye on Yuji (or is it just plain ol’ love? You’ll start to notice this as the series progresses) so much so that she’s staying at Yuji’s house. Well, Yuji’s kind and gentle mom, Chigusa doesn’t really know Shana’s staying in his room nor their true relationship nature, she’s just glad with the way thing is. Furthermore, to protect himself from Tomogaras, Shana decides to give Yuji a little training. Plus, Yuji feels that he may be of help in future battles. And Chigusa seems be happy about it and asks Shana not to give Yuji any chance, much to Yuji’s surprise. Even if Chigusa doesn’t know what’s going on, she still manage to maintain her positive manner and at times provide some advice to Shana. Even Alastor acknowledges her wisdom later on, when Chigusa and Alastor (posing as Shana’s guardian) chat ‘over the phone’ about certain stuffs.
Also, Shana seems to like to eat that melon bread very much. You can see her facial expression everytime she lands a chomp. Oh that face full of satisfaction and enjoyment she gets from every morsel and crumb she puts in her mouth. And her favourite words happen to be "Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!" (Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!) and says it to Yuji whenever he’s asking too much questions or she herself is embarrassed and can’t answer back. So much so whenever she says that, it reminded me so much like Louise of Zero No Tsukaima. Speaking of which, Shana’s voice actress, Rie Kugimiya is the voice actress of Louise too! No wonder they sound so alike. Hey, doesn’t Shana look like Lousie too?
Anyway, at the same time, a Tomogara named Friagne and his little doll Rinne, Marianne (the one who sent those 2 scary creatures on a feeding frenzy back in episode 1) is planning something big on the city. I find it a little amusing to hear this guy going "Ahh…" in nearly every sentence and I wonder why he has a long white scarf floating around him. To cut things short, Friagne wants to give his beloved Marianne an existance of her own and is gathering all the Torches in Misaki. And he’s monitoring the city through his Haridan in some building.
Also making his appearance is Lamies, another Tomogara but unlike other Tomogaras, he isn’t that evil as he only collects POE from Torches whose blue flame is gonna fizzle out soon. Also a busty blond heavy booze drinking Flame Haze, Margery Daw, and her Lord Of Crismon Realm, Marcosius, which is a thick spell book. I like this Marcosius guy because of his voice acting. Sometimes making sarcastic remarks, teasing Margery (and often getting punched in the end) and the way he laughs is kinda amusing. Marcosius can also fly which is what Margery uses him for when she needs to get to places. Plus, though Shana and Margery are Flame Haze and are on the same side, but it seems they don’t like each other very much.
Shana has a short encounter with Friagne while Yuji’s at class. A short battle ensue which damaged the other human beings. Shana decides to use one of the existing classmate’s POE to repair but Yuji says to use his, which confirms the fact that his POE is eternal. Later on as Tanaka and Sato are skipping classes again, they got into some trouble with some gangsters but in a way were saved by Margery. In a way, you could say those 2 became her subordinates voluntarily as they’re grateful. Uh-huh, underlings you could say. Yeah, especially Tanaka who seems to show lots of admiration and respect for Margery and calls her ‘anee-san’ (big sister). Even though Margery has a short battle with Friagne, that guy isn’t interested in the fight and withdraws. At the same time, a seemingly date between Yuji and Yoshida (at least that’s what she thinks) at the muzeum, Yuji meets Lamies and they both talk about Friagne and his intentions. Yuji has to ‘abandon’ Yoshida to go to Shana.
To cut things short, Friagne is making his move on Misaki as he imposes a Fuzetsu. Margery gave her 2 underlings some sort of paper charm (which can work as a telephone as well) so that they could move around during a Fuzetsu. Shana faces off with Friagne at the rooftop when the latter abducts Yuji. Fight fight fight. In the end Shana wins as Friagne and Marianne vanishes. The city is saved. At first I thought Friagne would return later on but nope. It isn’t the case, he no longer exists after this. So much for that. Shana gives the ring that Friagne posses to Yuji as some sort of a protection, which will help save his life in future episodes.
But it isn’t really over yet, Margery is still after Lamies because he’s a Tomogara and Margery just like hunting down them down out of sheer fun (or rather hatred for them) of it. Before you know it Margery and Shana lock horns. It seems Margery can transform into some sort of a bear wolf to enhance her attacks. At first Shana lost. But a second rematch later on, not only made Shana the winner, but Shana gained a new ability… She now has fire wings and can even fly! So after some winner’s bragging from Shana to make Margery realize her role as a Flame Haze bla bla bla, in a way you could say those 2 don’t hate each other so much as they use too. Though, they maintain some distance between them. With Lamies continuing his journey to wherever that is, the building that Friagnes once occupied now has become some sort of a base for Tanaka and Sato to use the Haridan whenever they need to help Margery in her battles.
Okay, which anime doesn’t have a filler episode? For this one, it’s episode 9, whereby Yuji and his classmates go to the amusement pool park during a hot summer. Yes, swimsuits and… swimsuits. Yuji’s other classmate Matake Ogata invites everyone there this weekend. Tanaka and Sato declined the invitation as usual but in the end, ends up there because Margery’s going there too. These guys do really follow her to the ends of the Earth. So nothing much as they have their fun (some water kibasen contest), Shana looks horrible (in a funny way) in her swimsuit while Yoshida looks the opposite and is stunningly sexy but embarrassed by it. Though Shana and Margery met, but they didn’t kill each other as Margery tells her she’s just here to rest. But by the end of this episode, Yoshida notices something. She’s worried of the relationship between Yuji and Shana as she’s always seen them together, walking to school and going home. Oh oh. I smell a love triangle coming up.
While Shana ponder over the meaning of a kiss and though she says she won’t give Yuji one (I’ve said to myself countless time that this girl’s in love and don’t even realize it. Probably too much Tomogara hunting) and even asks Chigusa for advice on it, several new Tomogaras appear. A couple of young incest siblings who dressed in old fashioned Western culture clothes, Sorath and Tiriel, and some elderly guy named Sydonay. I find it disgusting when those 2 kids are kissing each other or even licking each other’s face at times! Ugh! Argh! In short Sorath wants Shana’s sword and his ever loyal sister would be glad to do anything that pleases him. Though the trio met Margery and her underlings on the streets, Margery didn’t really fight back even though Tanaka and Sato knew they were Tomogaras and wonders why she isn’t taking any action. I’m not sure, but we see several short flashback clips on Margery which amounts to nothing and from what Marcosius said, they kinda saved Margery from something. Not that I really can remember.
Before the big battle, we see some teenage love romance as Yoshida spots Yuji and Shana together one night at the bridge and her worse fears are confirmed that Yuji may have feelings for Shana. Why don’t you go ask him yourself? Even at school, Ike notices Yoshida’s strange body language behaviour of looooove and even tries to set her and Yuji up nicely. But eventually somehow that oblivious-to-the-word-love Shana seems to forbid whatever it is. Yuji’s another blur case. Don’t know what’s going on. And Yuji thinks Ike likes Yoshida. Nothing conclusive. But I think so lah. So much so, later Shana bumps into Yoshida who’s crying at the back of the school building and a war of words erupt between the 2. Yoshida confesses how she likes Yuji and is going to tell him she loves him. Shana of course forbids it. It’s so funny to see the 2 with Yoshida going "I’ll definitely tell him" and Shana going "Impossible. You can’t do that" back and forth back and forth. So cutely irritating. But I like it lah. Hehehe. And when Yoshida asks what is Yuji to Shana, Shana can’t answer back. Either she really don’t know or too embarrassed to say it. But their stand-off has to be postponed when a Fuzetsu occurs.
So off Shana goes to fight another round of Tomogaras. So it’s Nietono No Shana with Blutzauger, some thick sword belonging to Sorath. During the fight, Shana got into one of Tiriel’s trap when she destroyed some flower, which Shana believe is their source of power. Tiriel’s flower vines wrapped around Shana’s arms so much so she dropped her Nietono No Shana. Sorath happily picks it up and claims it as his. He’s gonna test the sword on her, cutting her clothes and the pendant in which Alastor is in. Meanwhile Syodnay’s suppose to be guarding something at the bridge while the siblings did their stuff when Margery shows up and the 2 sworn enemies battle each other. And it seems Sydonay can transform into some hideous looking chimera. Yuji comes in to help as he thinks the power source is up on the bridge but since it’s so high up, he fails to climb up but is caught by Sydonay. He notices Yuji as a Mystes and tries to dig into Yuji’s chest for it but Margery came just in time to interrupt. 
Then I think out of convenience, after Shana witnessed that disgusting sibling kissing, she gains enough power to break out from her vine chains and reclaim Alastor back before sending those 2 into oblivion. And even in the face of death, Sorath still wants Nietono No Shana. That obsessed, huh? And you could say that these 2 just like in Friagne’s case, won’t be returning anymore. Sydonay now realized what he’s up against as the tables are turned as he make his escape. The city is saved once again. Later as Shana thanks Yuji for his help and wants to give him a reward, Yuji thinks it’s a kiss (perasan!) but it’s just Shana’s favourite ol’ melon bread. You’re just a torch to her buddy. After the Fuzetsu’s over, Shana resumes their cute war of words with Yoshida. But it ended with the 2 walking away and both not giving up on Yuji. Ganbatte ne.
It’s flashback time in episodes 14-16 when Yuji asks Shana why she likes melon bread so much. This prompts her to reminisce the good ol’ days before she became a Flame Haze. We see her living in some large floating island, Tendokyuu and she’s under training with some skeleton guy called Shiro and there’s this Shana’s caretaker-cum-trainer Wilhelmina Carmel, a Flame Haze who dresses up like a maid and uses long ribbons as her weapon, buys melon bread for Shana as some reward. This flashback also tells how Shana got her sword. One day, Shana decides to play a prank on Shiro because she always loose out to him and when Shiro fell into that trap, it’s like due to the overwhelming embarrassment or something, his whatever aura caused Tendokyuu to become visible and is destabilizing the island. Thing is, Tomogaras are searching for this place for whatever reasons. So at that time some full faced and full suit biker Tomogara, Vine, and some invisible guy, Oregon, visible only because of his French royal outfit, found it and prepares to launch their attack. Then there’s this big Mystes samurai guy, Tenmoku Ikko, who’s only interested in finding the strongest one so that he could pass on his Nietono No Shana sword to him/her.
So while Wilhelmina took on Oregon (yeah, she powers up with some funny looking mask and just like Alastor’s case with Shana, Wilhelmina’s is Tiamat, in a headband form), Shana initially took on Vine but with the appearance of Tenmoku Ikko, she decides to go make a pact with Alastor. Some fighting here and there as Shana successfully does and now becomes a Flame Haze. Tenmoku Ikko swallows up that irritating Vine (like want to die but cannot die) once and for all and battles with Shana. Of course Shana proves to Tenmoku Ikko that she deservingly has the right to wield Nietono No Shana. We also see some past flashback of Wilhelmina when Shiro transformed himself into some gorgeous looking prince and beats the crap out of Oregon. Like a flasback in a flashback, Shiro’s a Tomogara and was known as Merihim. Though Wilhelmina loves him but he loves somebody else, to fulfill that promise of love, he vowed to train the next person to become Enpatsu Shakugan No Uchite, which is Shana. Is it confusing. It was for me.
Soon the floating island is gonna crumble and crashes into the sea below. I’m surprised at that impact, no tsunami occured and flooded the city below. Shana and Wilhelmina manage to land safely on the beach below as Wilhelmina says her goodbye to Shana. Though Shana’s reluctant, Wilhelmina says Alastor’s with her. With that, Wilhelmina pack her bags and gave some melon bread to Shana before leaving on some journey. What happened to Shiro? Dunno. Maybe he died. Back to present time, Yuji’s still wondering about the melon bread fascination but Shana says she won’t tell him as she runs off happily and Yuji giving chase from behind.
Sydonay is relaying his report to Bel Peol (she has 3 eyes. Scary) and a little girl who’s always seen praying, Hecate (Mamiko Noto fans alert. She’s the voice actress for this little girl too) at Bal Masque after what he has witness during that event with Yuji. Back down at Misaki the city folks are preparing for an upcoming festival while Yoshida plans to ask Yuji out for that festival. She manages to sum up her courage and successfully manages to do so. Finally. Later as Yoshida’s walking in the streets, she bumps into an orange hooded boy with a round glass in hand and carries a large pole behind his back. He introduces himself as Khamsin, another Flame Haze with Behemoth (what a name for something small) as a bracelet. I’m not really sure why, but he proceeds to tell Yoshida about Tomogaras and Torches. And that Yoshida girl believed him because he showed her through his round glass which is able to see the blue flames of a Torch and detect whether a person is one or not. Yoshida fears that Yuji may be one too. So Khamsin gives Yoshida that round glass of his. So it’s like this. Yoshida’s scared of knowing whether Yuji’s a flame or not and her indecisiveness is quite irritating. Uh-huh, it affects her sleep pattern as well. She’s up all night thinking about it. Want to know or don’t want?
Margery menawhile meets up with Yuji and Shana and tells them the return of Bal Masque and the appearance of Khamsin. Because of that, Shana and Alastor urges Yuji to leave Misaki. Then we see Wilhelmina trekking aimlessly in the desert decides to head back after detecting the return of Bal Masque. Like out of convenience. The night for the festival comes. I must say Shana doesn’t look that all cute in her yukata. Honest. As for Margery in her yukata, her oversized boobs are causing people to make their heads turn. Yeah, it’s sticking out like a sore thumb. Yoshida’s true fears came true when she finally saw what Yuji’s really made off at the festival. She’s in disbelief and shock over her new found knowledge as she drops the round glass and runs away crying. Yuji notices this and wants to go after her but Shana appeared and told him not to. Because of that, Yuji gets angry and decides to go after Yoshida anyway. This causes a great deal of pain in her heart to Shana, though she still doesn’t know it’s the pangs of love or being rejected. While Shana too is crying and running off somewhere, she bumps into Khamsin who then tells her of the current situation. It seems Khamsin needs Yoshida to adjust and fine tune something.
I wouldn’t have guessed it because at the festival, Tanaka and Sato got separated as Tanaka bumps into Ogata. I didn’t expect Ogata to blurt out her confession that she likes Tanaka! Uhh… Well, this is really partly turning out to be a teenager love romance. Soon several Unrestricted Methods appear in the sky. The Flame Hazes know it’s a Tomogara’s doing but can’t sense its presence. We see some made doctor scientist, Dantalion (a little bit more and he could be Father Abel of Trinity Blood’s twin), who’s obsessed with conducting whatever experiments, and his assistant, some chubby robot, Domino, activating some controls of some machine. I find this Dantalion guy to be quite comical. Margery casts a Fuzetsu, in a way saves Tanaka because he doesn’t have to give an answer to Ogata as he apologizes and rushes off. The birds which are set up for the festival as decorations now seems to have a life of their own and begins attacking. Our heroes go into action as for the first time, Yuji and Sato meet in times like this and gets to know of each other’s side of the story like how Sato and Tanaka’s are under Margery and that Yuji’s a Mystes. Yoshida who’s away from the Fuzetsu is seen crying on the bench when a bird attacks her but finds out that she is being saved by Shana.
Shana spill the beans about herself and Yuji. Then Margery and Yuji meets up with Khamsin and Yuji’s pretty mad that he dragged innocent Yoshida into all this. Shana and Yoshida eavesdropped on their conversation as they appeared out from the bush. Though Yoshida doesn’t seem to mind it all, Khamsin mentions it’s time to start fine tuning as he takes out his pole and starts to pound it to the ground but when Yoshida tries to begin, the process fails because of some barrier. Shana and Margery thought that the Tomogara may be operating from somewhere else since they can’t detect its presence and soon, Dantalion enthusiastically appears in a blimp and transform his blimp and merges Domino to form some lame robot. Yeah, even Margery thinks it’s pretty lame too. Like it’s all a joke. But when Margery and Shana heard that Khamsin is gonna take out the airship with his stone golem, they quickly get out of the way. Yeah, Khamsin’s pretty accurate in his shots and you don’t want to be in the way when he shoots. Dantelion and Domino ejects and make their escape as their blimp crashes.
After all that, Yoshida had a heart to heart talk with Yuji and mentions that even though he’s already dead, Yuji’s still warm and kind before confessing she likes him. The next morning, as everyone gathers, Khamsin continues his fine tuning process using Yoshida. It seems the reason why Khamsin decides to use Yoshida because of her beautiful perception of the city. With that, Khamsin is able to restore the city and correct any distortion. I thought this Khamsin guy would help out in the remaining battles with our Flame Haze heroines. But nope. His part ends here and that’s the last you’ll see of him. Okay, maybe not the last but he doesn’t do anything more than that. So I suppose his appearance in the opening and ending credits is just ‘for show’, huh? Because Shana saw how close Yuji and Yoshida were, Shana herself begins to cry and ran away. But while doing so, she bumps into someone familiar. Why, it’s Wilhelmina and she’s back! I think that’s partly why they show the flashback.
While Shana’s surprised and happy with Wilhelmina’s return, it seems Wilhelmina isn’t too amused of how all this turned out, especially now that Shana’s being called Shana and taken that Yukari role. So Wilhelmina’s like observing things, notices things (like the Shana-Yoshida stare off) and Chigusa seems to be quite receptive of Wilhelmina as Shana’s caretaker and all that. Meanwhile, Margery and decides to leave Misaki without saying goodbye to Tanaka and Sato. I’m not sure what her rationale is for doing that but her departure really saddened those 2 blokes. Yeah, it’s like the end of the world for them. And before that, she left Blutzauger in the garden for them to pick up. It’s like the Sword In The Stone whereby Tanaka and Sato assumes that if they manage to lift and carry it, they think Margery would allow them to do things with her (not ‘that thing’ lah!) and follow her wherever she goes. Though they couldn’t, it didn’t stop them from trying.
While Shana’s taking a bath and pondering over things, Wilhelmina tells her that Yuji indeed has Reiji Maigo in him and there’s only 1 way to stop Bal Masque from obtaining him and avoid some big collapse of the world’s balance, that is, to kill Yuji! Oh the horror! And later that night, Wilhelmina saw Yuji talking a walk by himself, casts a Fuzetsu, and strangles him with her ribbons. Furthermore, she mentions to him that Shana has agreed to this, shocking Yuji, who thinks that this can’t be happening. Luckily Shana manages to arrive and stop her. Looks like Shana’s having a conflict of interest as a Flame Haze or as Shana who’s-in-love-with-Yuji-but-don’t-know-she’s-in-one. Though Shana and Alastor manage to convince Wilhelmina not to kill Yuji, Wilhelmina says she’s merely postponing her plans. Later, Yuji decides to leave Misaki so that he could protect the city he loves and not get everyone else involve. So later, Yuji along with Yoshida, Tanaka and Sato met up and have some small talk like how those 2 guys love the city too and will protect it and will help Yuji in doing so though Margery is gone now. Looks like they’re close friends now.
But the next day as the gang watches some workers burning off those birds used during the festival, the bonfire activated some spell and a Fuzetsu. It seems Yoshida now too can move during a Fuzetsu because previously Khamsin gave her some charm. Suddenly a huge floating island, Seireiden (the headquarters of the Bal Masque) appears. Bel Peol comes down and tells Shana and Wilhelmina that she’s planning of making this city into a giant pond of existance. Wilhelmina, knowing that Bel Peol may have come for Yuji, started to attack Yuji to get rid of him but unfortunately, her ribbons pierced through Shana’s stomach as the latter intercepts. Everyone could only watch in horror. Shana’s bleeding profusely as she collapsed in the arms of Wilhelmina. At the same time, Sydonay dives down and abducts Yuji back to Seireiden.
I suppose the gang can’t go and give chase to Yuji straight away because Wilhelmina’s nursing Shana’s injuries and luckily Shana manages to heal. As the city is still under Fuzetsu, we see Yuji embeded in some machine as Hecate tries to synchronize with the Reiji Maigo inside Yuji. It’s like Yuji and Hecate floating in some space. To cut things short, Hecate wants memories and feelings and it seems Yuji’s got all the right one that she wants and she’s happy that all his memories and emotions are flowing through her. And with Dantalion’s machine, it’ll suck Yuji’s eternal POE (since it replenishes itself) and this will cause the POE to overflow and into Misaki below. It’s just like a giant fountain with the POE sprouting out from the top of Seireiden. With that Shana and Wilhelmina realized what’s gonna happen to the world balance if this continues.
Meanwhile, Tanaka and Sato who still finds the Blutzauger too heavy to lift, eventually manages to lift and carry it onto some carriage and brings it to Shana and tells her though they can’t find, they want her to bring Yuji back as they rush off to the Haridan building. Likewise, Yoshida too tells Shana the same thing, to bring back Yuji if she loves him and of course Shana herself. Soon Shana and Wilhelmina flew up to Seireiden. And just like out of convenience, Margery comes back to Misaki because Bal Masque has appeared. At the same time, while memories and feelings of Yuji flow through Hecate, Yuji remembers something he forgot – Shana. It seems Yuji now thinks that Shana has been trying to do things as Shana herself all along and not as a Flame Haze as Yuji has always viewed her as the latter. Yeah, right back at ‘cha. Earlier on in the series, he himself told Shana not to look at him as a Torch, but as Yuji. How ironic.
Because of the arrival of the Flame Hazes, Dantalion set loose several Domino robots (what’s with that number 27 1/5 on their body mean?) to stall them. And some machine of Dantalion is sucking the POE from the 2, making this a handicap match. Luckily, Margery blasts the device at the which causes the power sucking thing. All thanks to Tanaka and Sato who are really really really glad that Margery’s back when they first heard her voice. With the use of the Haridan, they manage to tell Margery the pin point exact location of it. With that, Bel Peol and Sydonay decides to greet the Flame Hazes so as not to interrupt Hecate and her synchronization. So Sydonay took on Margery in the battle of the beasts in the sky while Bel Peol fought with Wilhelmina. This leaves Shana to go save Yuji. Finally we hear Shana saying to herself how she likes Yuji. Looks like she’s finally recognized her feelings for him.
Shana arrives in the chamber where Hecate and Yuji is but is having a tough time trying to break through a solid barrier Hecate created. Meanwhile, after hearing from Hecate, Yuji eventually tells her that she’s empty from the beginning no matter what and that those feelings and memories belong to Yuji and even questions her own existance. Probably with that and Shana’s determination which allowed the latter to break through the barrier. Shana then pulls out the blutzauger from her cape and stucks it into the machine to free Yuji. Hecate is in shock and disbelief over Yuji’s empty comments on her as she screams uncontrollably and her own POE is spewing out. Sydonay notices his beloved Hecate is in trouble and abandons the match with Margery as he rushes for her. Though Bel Peol is to be seemingly winning the match as Wilhelmina is being beaten badly, Wilhelmina’s determination keeps Bel Peol from going away. At the same time, the POE which has overflowed into Misaki is starting to crumble buildings below. Tanaka, Sato and Yoshida are hanging on for their dear life but they have confidence that their friends will come back.
Because things have become more unstable, Shana and Alastor realize that there’s only 1 way to stop it, that is, Alastor uses some super all consuming POE. But whatever that is, Shana has to sacrifice her life. Shana tells Yuji that she saved him as Shana but now has to save the world as Flame Haze and already knew of this. But Yuji decides to go through it with Shana as he hold her hands and with a whisper of some magic word, the whole place is engulfed in flames. Shana then confesses her feelings to Yuji. But this time our Tomogaras didn’t really die because Dantalion and Domino ejected and vanish in some escape pod while Sydonay who managed to retrieve a shaky Hecate and even consoling her that Hecate is Hecate herself before disappearing somewhere else. Bel Peol too does the same shortly. Wilhelmina saw what Shana’s gonna do but dropped to her knees because she can’t do anything to stop her. Luckily Margery’s there as she picks her up to safety. The flame and some physical being (I read it’s supposed to be Alastor’s true form) soon engulfs the entire Seireiden in flames followed by a bright flash of light.
But to prevent a tragic end for our heroine, Shana opened her eyes when Yuji calls her name on some rooftop and it’s a clear blue sky for the city of Misaki. Thing is, Shana’s naked with only a white cloth drapped around her! I could understand that maybe her clothes were burnt during that incident but why is Yuji still clothed? Perhaps the producers want to be in some ecchi element, huh? Even while Shana’s taking on Hecate’s barrier, you could see a little slip from Shana. Anyway, I didn’t really understand how they survive but I read, it was Friagne’s ring which protected Yuji and some container of Shana’s which is big enough to fit and protect her. I see. Shana soon realized she’s naked and is embarrassed when Wilhelmina comes in and hugs her. Glad to have her back.
As the end credits roll we see Margery deciding to stay on in Misaki to watch things over for a little longer, much to Tanaka and Sato’s delight. And looks like Shana’s keen on going to school with Yuji too as Chigusa and Wilhelmina waves goodbye to them. I think Wilhelmina has become less strict on Shana after almost losing her. We also see Khamsin standing on some cliff but that’s about it. Nothing much. Also Lamies is taking his usual stroll in Misaki. At school, Ogata greets Tanaka as they blush. And Ike tells Yuji that he’s gonna make his move this second term (wink wink). With that, Yoshida thanks Shana and says she’ll not lose to her for round 2. Hehe. Though the battle with Tomogaras is over for now, it’s the battle for looooove. Shana too says she won’t lose. It’s gonna be a ‘friendly fight’.
Overall, I suppose it’s kinda okay for this anime. Nothing really that bad but at the same time nothing really that unique. Except the fact that on occassions have a headache of trying to remember the terms, which I manage to do so by the end of the series. At least I’ve got the general idea what it’s all about.
Another thing I’d like to mention is the secondary titles for the Flame Haze, Lord Of Crimson Realm and Tomogara characters. They sound so ‘terror’ and I don’t see how it really fits to that particular character’s role in the series. Besides, I also find this hard to remember as the names are being used in the series as well. Uh-huh, I’ll go my typical "Umm… Who’s that already?". Besides Shana, here’s a few other examples:
Alastor = Conflagration Upon Heaven And Earth
Margery Daw = Interpreter Of Condolence
Marcosius = Fang Of Destruction
Wilhelmina = Manipulator Of Objects
Khamsin = Mobilizer Of Ceremonial Equipment
Lamies = Corpse Retriever
Bel Peol = Judge Of Paradoxes
Sydonay = Thousand Change
Hecate = Supreme Throne
Dantalion = The Discovery Addicted Utmost Researcher (hahahaha)
Sorath = He Who Loves Himself
Tiriel = She Who Loves Him
Get an idea of what I mean? Don’t they sound just grand. Okay, so some of them may relate to their roles, but as for the others, I can’t reall see how.
By the way, it’s not really anything or what, when I first watched the show, I happen to notice that the way some of the character’s eyes are drawn, it makes them have that ‘blind’ look. No, there are no blind characters here, though it’s your typical big eyes bishie characters, something in the eyes’ make me have the perception that they look blind. Hmm…
The drawing, art and animation seems pretty okay to me. Since there’s some fantasy element, some of the character designs are quite okay and well done. Maybe with the few characters, the character developments are just satisfactory and is mainly between Yuji and Shana. Of course on occassion other characters as well. The mid-intermissions accompanied with a short ‘heavy exciting orchestra music’, besides the ‘normal’ character posing, sometimes shows the characters in a comical and chibi form, and some in sexy poses.
Speaking of which, if you can’t get enough of the series, there’s a short special episode released somewhere in year 2006 called Shakugan No Shana-tan Special. Shana here has become chibi and the special is quite comical and has no relation to the storyline, though there are scenes from the series but it’s more like a comical ‘what if’ version of it. Short. Cute. Funny. Weird. Mostly nonsensical. And even ecchi too! Especially when it involves Yuji. It’s so darn cute and hilarious to here Shana go "Urusai!" several times. And she spends most of the time eating her melon bread on top of Yuji’s head! Then there’s Yoshida the stalker who’s thinking about killing Shana. But I guess it’s just her thought. While Wilhelmina’s doing some analyzing from afar with her Tiamat. Something about the voice actresses, some food… Wikipedia and And Alastor… He’s lost somewhere. On a tropical island to the freezing South Pole to outer space.
There’s even a Hecate-tan Special in which, you guessed it, a chibi Hecate. So funny and lame to hear her go "Urusai!". Looks like that line only fits best with Shana. And if you want to know further on the Ogata-Tanaka relationship, there’s a 1 episode OVA whereby Yuji’s school went on a hotspring trip and Ogata tries her best to do something about her feelings for Tanaka. Believe it or not a movie is coming out soon in mid 2007 and a the second season is coming later somewhere by the end of year 2007. Now that’s a lot of Shana. This girl must be really really popular to spin off several shows.
The movie isn’t a sequel but a remake of the first few episodes which involves the fight with Friagne. And probably I’m speculating that the second season will have more drama, fights, love and romance. Possibly new Tomogaras and our Bal Masque trio since the latter didn’t exactly permenantly vanish. Though there are several albums and soundtracks, there’s a BGM which I like most, the piano version of the 1st opening song, Hishoku No Sora. To my surprise, it’s not in any of the soundtracks! It’s quite a slow nice lovely piece and I think the producers purposely omitted it and to make fans wait. Uh-huh. I read that several people too were searching for this song but couldn’t find it on any of the albums.
Hmmm… I’m wondering if other people around me are Torches as well. What about me? Hopefully not. Just like Alastor narrating at the beginning of each episode (surprisingly it hasn’t been drilled into my head), the people of the world are unknowingly being consumed by the flames of Tomogara without even realizing it. I hope my natural Torch will last as long as possible. So that I can continue to watch many more animes to come! Ganbatte ne, Shana-chan!

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