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May 15, 2012

Anime Review: Shakugan no Shana II

That's right! The "Flame-Haired Burning-Eyed Hunter" is back with some more action to keep us occupied at the end. Defeating those Denizens have never been so easier (or harder) since Sakai Yuji is now training with Shana to become stronger.

Shakugan no Shana IISynopsis:
Shana and Alastor, Lord of the Crimson Realm, continue to do battle with the Denizens, who are trying to steal the Power of Existence from mortals. In the last battle, Yuji is revealed to be a mystes, a "torch" of nearly unlimited Power of Existence. Since the Denizens want to capture Yuji and use him to upset the balance of the Realm, Shana resolves to protect Yuji. Yuji then vows to join Shana in her fight.

Review:
WARNING: CONTAILS SPOILERS, PLEASE WATCH THE PREQUEL TO CONTINUE.
Shakugan no Shana II continues where the prequel Shakugan no Shana left off. The series starts off extremely slow with the first ten or so episodes being 'fillers'. However, these first ten episodes does set the scene and gives us some additional insight into the character's backgrounds and forming relationships with one another. There were some surprises and a couple of action moments, but nothing major to mention. The story gets pretty linear until you hit the middle of the series. Here is when everything starts going uphill. Suddenly we see Yuji accidentally discover that his "Fuzetsu" has a silver flame. This gets interesting as Margery Daw is after the 'Silver' which Yuji has. From here on, the story is full of surprise, suspense and full-on action. It is nice to see some of the action again after plodding through ten episodes of daily life. I welcome the sudden change of pace. The ending was exciting and unexpected.

The art was well done yet again. Nothing major or different from the prequel, but I realize that the "Fuzetsu" looks a bit different now. Apart from some improvements in minor detail, the rest of the anime was pretty much similar to the prequel. Expect the same quality of character details and battle scenes from Shakugan no Shana. Perhaps though, Dantalion's crazy experiments get even crazier with this series.

The theme songs were catchy yet again, this time with different opening and theme songs. The voice acting was the same as the cast from the previous series were used in Shakugan no Shana II. Some additional characters are introduced in this series which is a nice addition to the already packed cast. Sound effects and ambient sounds were present throughout the anime and provided a nice atmosphere to the overall presentation.

The characters are pretty much the same from the previous series with some additions to the cast. As mentioned in my previous review, I still think Margery Daw and Wilhelmina are my favourite characters of the entire series. Besides them, Shana gets more stronger and gets additional skills, along with Yuji who is determined to get stronger so he can fight next to Shana (aww). Of course, the Denizens are back providing us some smashing entertainment. We must not forget the Bal Masque, which is determined to steal the treasure from Yuji using whatever means possible. Finally, who's that new girl that looks so similar to Hecate? Find out for yourself!

Overall, in the end I enjoyed this series. However, I did start of in a slump since the beginning was pretty much all 'fillers'. I was so happy that the action was back halfway through the series that I got emotional. I'm sure many fans would agree that Shakugan no Shana II lacked a lot of action at the start, but was compensated at the end. This series was an excellent sequel, keeping the story alive and paving way for an exciting sequel, Shakugan no Shana III. (Note that Shakugan no Shana S is a four episode OVA that showed some background information about Shana's past. Of course I will still review the OVA, but I do not consider it to be a direct sequel to Shakugan no Shana II, but rather more of a side-story.)

STORY: 7
Disappointing start that led to an awesome finish. Seems a bit linear, but the action was there.

ART: 8
Same as the prequel with some minor enhancements to detail.

SOUND: 8
Great theme songs and the voice acting was the same.

CHARACTER: 7
Same cast of characters are back with a few additions.

ENJOYMENT: 7
The 'filler' episodes were a bit boring and a waste of time, but they were beneficial and informed us of some needed background information.

OVERALL: 7
It was a good sequel to Shakugan no Shana and it does provide the mystery and action in the end.