I was all set to do a NANA review when a fellow Bleach addict mentioned her ongoing love affair with Shakugan No Shana. She was absolutely enthralled by it and with my interest piqued, I decided to check it out. By the end of episode 1, I was hooked! It has all the elements I adore in any anime, great drawing, engaging characters and a plot that has action/fantasy/romance written all over it from the get go.
Shakugan no Shana (Shana of the Blazing Eyes) is a series of Japanese light novels and related media works written by Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrated by Noizi Ito. Since its release, other related media was made– from prose to manga to anime adaptations, and movie and videogames. The anime was aired between October 5, 2005- March 22, 2006 by JC Staff and an OVA and movie was spawned thereafter.
“Infinite time stops its heartbeat, and people are soundlessly consumed by fire.” – Alastor, the Lord of Crimson Realm where Shana came from.
The story revolves around Yuji Sakai, an ordinary Japanese high school boy who inadvertently becomes involved in a perpetual war between forces of balance and imbalance in existence. In the process, he befriends the title character: a female fighter for the balancing force (Flame Haze), whom he takes to calling “Shana”.
I’m only up to episode three so I’ll give the story as how I understand it so far.
Sakai Yuji was a high school freshman who is living an ordinary life, his world dislocates when a huge doll-like monster appears and begins sucking out the life force (in the form of flames) of the people around him who were frozen in time. When the monster noticed that he was unaffected by the time-stop, it said that Yuji was not an ordinary human but a Mystes. He was rescued from being eaten by a flame haired, blazing eyed girl who sliced through the monster’s arm with a long sword.
The girl defeated the monster but also cut Yuji in the process. She later explains to him that Yuji will not die inspite of apparently grave injury because he is no longer exists but is also in fact another “Torch” or a temporary replacement for human beings who died. What distinguishes Yuji from other Torches though is that as a “Mystes” he has a treasure inside him known as a “Hougu”, a device possessing special abilities of sorts, and an extremely powerful and valuable one at that. The girl also called herself a Flame Haze and her job is to maintain the balance in the world by defeating monsters who would consume other people’s life force for the sake of power.
After having a difficult time dealing with his own “death” and the disappearance of his own classmate who was turned into a Torch, Yuji somewhat befriends Shana resolved to protect Yuji from the Denizens. Apparently, more monsters will be seeking Yuji’s Treasure to disrupt the balance of the world, and with that Yuji decides to join Shana in her fight.
Overall, I find the anime very intriguing and the artwork’s amazing. I love the whole concept of Torches and Flame Hazes. The time-stop and life force as flames is also interesting. And of course, a gorgeously drawn female protagonist who wields a sword and kicks serious ass is definitely an anime on the top of my list! Oh and apparently, there’s a love story brewing somewhere in the plot.
Here now is the link to the first episode of Shakugan no Shana if you feel like checking it out. It’s one of those kinds of anime that develop and the characters grow in depth as time goes by. So make sure you catch this!