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Shakugan no Shana Season 1 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Review

Shakugan no Shana Season 1 Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack

The first season of “Shakugan no Shan” is a bloated mess.

In the 24 episode first season of “Shakugan No Shana,” viewers are introduced to a seemingly normal high school teen (Yuji) living in Misaki City. Yuji’s life becomes turned upside down when he encounters 2 massive Rinnes (servants of Crimson Lords and or Denizens) draining the power of existence from humans. Their reign of terror is short lived, however, when a sword fielding Flame Haze (a Crimson Denizen hunter) named Shana takes care of the situation. Unfortunately, Yuji winds up dying (sort of) in the conflict, but becomes a Mystes (a person drained of power of existence that contains a special treasure inside them). From there on out, Yuji’s normal life no longer exists as he not only finds himself on a new journey, but discovers the existence of 2 realms (a human realm and a crimson realm) as well as killer Crimson Lords and Crimson Denizens who seek to drain humans of power in order to survive.

Other key plots you can expect to see in season 1 are: An introduction to Yuji’s friend and classmate Yukari, a villainous treasure hunter named Friagne the Hunter, Shana joining Yuji’s school, an enemy Flame Haze to Shana named Margery Daw, a love triangle between Yuji, Kazumi and Shana, a torch eater named Lamis, Yuji training to fight, Denizens such as Hecate and Sydonay, Rinnes, a flashback to Shana’s past and how she became a Flame Haze, Flame Hazes Khamsin Nbh’w and Wilhelmia, the Misago Festival, Shana’s pendant Alastor, Yuji’s mother Chigusa, spells, and Crimson Lord Bel Peol.

As I mentioned in my review of the “Shakugan no Shana: The Movie” (link here: https://dvdcorner.net/2013/04/28/shakugan-no-shana-the-movie-blu-raydvd-combo-pack-review/), I felt the film did a better job of setting up the characters and mythology than the start of season 1 did. If you go into season 1 without seeing the film, you will likely feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of terminology this show has. It is hard to keep track of everything in this series and it only grows more convoluted with each season.

While I’m all for creating a new universe filled with magic, fantasy, action and so forth, it should never take precedence over characterization. Sadly, ‘Shana’ suffers from a real lack of characterization. While the two leads (Yuji and Shana) get plenty of screen time, most of their dialogue is spent asking questions, setting up storylines, or spouting exposition. As a result, the characters lack substance early on which makes the show frustrating to watch. Sure, there is an interesting flashback to Shana’s past in episode 3 and an obligatory love triangle inclusion, but you’re left wanting more. Thankfully, some of the mistakes are corrected in seasons 2 and 3, but I’ll get to that in my future reviews for those titles.

Video/Audio:

Presented in widescreen 1080p, “Shakugan no Shana” is not the finest Funimation Blu-ray release to date, but the colors are sharp enough to make it preferable to the DVD copy.

This set contains English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 audio tracks. I may be in the minority here, but I actually dug the English track more than the original language Japanese track here. Personally, I felt the voice acting was a tad uneven in the Japanese track in the show’s inaugural season.

Season 1 Extras:

* Trailers for “Shangri-La,” “Fractale,” “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “Tales Of Vesperia,” “Oblivion Island,” “Haibane Renmei,” “Kaze No Stigma,” “Fafner,” “King Of Thorn,” and Funimation.com.

* 2 textless opening songs and 3 textless closing songs.

* “Naze Nani Shana”- 8 comedic segments that explain some of the MANY terminologies.

* “Shakugan No Shana-Tan”- A little more than 3 minutes of short segments featuring Yuji and a chibi Shana. Don’t ask.

* “Shakugan No Shana-Tan Returns”- 6 more minutes of Yuji and the chibi Shana. Don’t bother.

June 24, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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