This was a great ending to a great season two. And I think there’s plenty of opportunity for a season three, and J.C. Staff should definitely take advantage of it within the next year. With the way the final scene went, we should get some new twists in terms of future humor and romance and conflict. Did the novels really go that way, too?
Shakugan no Shana Second is a series I’ve often categorized as “dark” because of the red and black color schemes during battles and other Tomogara incidents (although this episode is primarily blue — a gloomy blue, though!). Plus the flames and Torches and magic in the series just make things really dreary and fearsome. But all the elements are mixed in so well, that it’s very entertaining to watch and follow from an outside perspective. Plus I do like all the characters and their personal titles. I wish I had a unique title.
Overview and Summary
Balle Masque’s plan progresses well. Shana and Wilhelmina learn more about it from Dantalion, and Sydonay and Hecate are there to prevent the Flame Hazes’ intrusion. Margery is still alive, fortunately, but isn’t doing well. Marcosius does his best to heal her while she lies waiting and watching the action.
Outside the blue shell, Kazumi can do nothing but wait as well. She considers the hougu, knowing it’s pretty much the only thing she can do — sacrifice herself to summon Pheles — in order to save Yuuji.
The fight continues, Flame Hazes and Crimson Lords flying about and firing power of existence at each other. Shana notices a trend, though; Sydonay and Hecate won’t attack if there is chance the clock tower could get damaged.
Yuuji recovers from his previous fall and begins searching for the Silver; without his Reiji Maigo, he knows he has limited time. Domino’s robots still give him chase.
For Shana and Wilhemina, it looks almost silly to see their attackers rush in, only for them to grit their teeth and fall back when they realize the clock tower is behind their blast area. However the Flame Hazes still lose if too much time elapses; they can’t be delayed so to allow the new Tomogara to be born. The Reiji Maigo must be retrieved; Shana decides to go into the clock tower to find him.
Kazumi further considers summoning Pheles, but flashbacks of previous promises keep her waiting. Rather her own fight is to win Yuuji’s heart when her duel with Shana can resume, so she has to trust in Shana and Yuuji right now while they finish their own fights.
Yuuji’s motivation is to save his family, friends, and the entire city. It keeps him from being scared of disappearing, which is unlike how he has previously felt about these situations. He also wants to save Shana, which seems to be the biggest of all the motivations.
And NOW we get the name of the episode! That means we pretty much had a 10-minute introduction scene; fantastic! Awesome first half to the finale.
A bleeding Shana rushes to find who is most important to her. She leaps into him when she finds him, dropping her sword and just wishing for him not to disappear. A piano rendition of the first OP plays while the two reconcile their feelings and learn more about the final Tomogara from Alastor. Together they rush off to find the Reiji Maigo.
Meanwhile Hecate begins the birthing process of the Tomogara. The blue seal shatters, and everyone in town is shocked at the giant that’s suddenly in the center of town. But Margery jumps in and casts a normal fuzetsu over the whole city, basically returning everything to the normal combat situation we’re familiar with. Margery’s wounds open up again as a result of her effort, and Marcosius scolds her. But this time she pets him tenderly (instead of the usual punch).
Dantalion gets impatient and makes the Tomogara sprout wings. Everyone must hurry. Shana and Yuuji reach the Silver, and they both know the Reiji Maigo is inside. They fight as a team, depending on one another to attack and defend.
Yuuji discovers that the machine behind the Silver is the weak point, and Shana begins to target it. The Silver attempts a shot at Yuuji, who is unable to lift Blutsauger as easily because of waning power, but the shot seemingly misses deliberately. Hecate, who is observed as the (subconscious?) controller of the Silver is surprised.
Next, Shana leaps in the air for a diving attack. Her fiery wings make her resemble a bird … which also resembles a past memory. A memory experienced by Konoe Fumina. Hecate can only stand float there in shock as the Silver ceases to take action, awed by the memory of the bird, and allows Shana to destroy its power source.
Yuuji calls out for Reiji Maigo and recaptures it. A chain reaction results where the huge Tomogara basically falls apart, no longer able to sustain its energy requirement. Balle Masque is frustrated yet again, but they quietly retreat. Hecate sheds some tears before leaving, unsure as to why she’d do that.
With the crisis averted, Kazumi is able to reach everyone, welcoming Shana and Yuuji back from their mission. Now the next one begins, where perhaps a few days later Yuuji gets to start again in the center of the festival with an important choice to make. As the credits roll and we see glimpses of the other characters enjoying their Christmas, Kazumi quietly sheds tears while she waits at her gate … perhaps much longer than she had hoped.
And on the other side, a patient Shana is happily rewarded.
Smashingly colorful fights! Hecate and Shana’s green versus orange/red .. amidst a blue background, too .. makes for wonderful eye candy. Sydonay and Wilhemina add a few extra colors (different green and some pink) themselves. There are combo attacks and combo defenses. Lots of flying around and weapon clashes. At least through the first half of the episode, we have a lot of exciting buildup. And lots of hope for Margery to get in on it! She kinda never does, though, except for a Kazumi rescue; it’s a shame because the Silver had been her objective for a long time, and yet she doesn’t even get to witness its defeat. Shouldn’t this leave her a little bit upset?
Man, that Shana/Yuuji reunion scene was totally asking for a hug or kiss of some sort, but it never happened. The music was all there. He was fading away and she was as worried as she’s ever been for him. Perhaps the gravity of the situation kept it from getting any more romantic, but I’d love a doujin of that scene. It’s definitely apparent that they have a bond anyway unique from any other couple. And their teamwork while fighting the Silver was top-notch; she hadn’t depended on him like that before. Plus Yuuji asked afterward what would have happened if he didn’t fulfill his role. Shana could only answer that he did do what he was supposed to; that’s all that matters. She trusted him not to fail. ^_^
I’m really proud of Yuuji overall. He’s grown up a ton since episode one of season one. And there was even an unsure moment halfway through this season. Both girls were pretty unsure of him, and he eventually figured out what he needed to do, instead of being as indecisive as Eita (although he figured it out, too). Even since the beginning he took his apparent death easier than I’d expect most people to. And now that he wants to fight, he practices hard to control his power. And here in the finale he’s got that fireball attack down well. Must be nice to recover all your MP every night.
Dantalion is so cool. His exuberance and Engrish really help to make Balle Masque enjoyable. Instead of evil masterminds, they seem to be a dysfunctional family of Crimson Lords almost like any other. And poor Domino as the faithful sidekick; he does his best, though. With how excited he gets about a plan in action, I wonder how he’ll be once the plan succeeds. It seems healthier for him to experience the defeats like this, so he doesn’t go too overboard. We’ll definitely see him again, though.
Wilhelmina is looking mysteriously sexy like that (Leon agrees). Maybe it’s the shoulder .. in addition to her determination and awesome attitude. She has really put a lot of faith in Shana to do what she needs to do, not only in battle but also in life. Shana is growing up and discovering love, so Wilhelmina has to do her best to cater to it and continue to raise her well.
We only got a brief glimpse of Pheles in this episode. While I’ve predicted Kazumi sacrificing herself for a long time, I guess I’m happier she didn’t, if mostly to keep her around for the sake of plot and character development. Because Pheles isn’t going anywhere; she can still appear I think. The hougu is just an instant teleport if necessary. However with how this episode ended, I wonder if Kazumi will continue to play a role in future stories. She’ll be with Ike most likely, but I guess she can still provide battle support of some sort with her ability to move within fuzetsu. Maybe help Keisaku with Outlaw?
I wonder about Hecate’s emotions. Kurogane calls it forced. I can’t quite remember all the details, but Hecate basically has all of Fumina’s memories .. and those emotions are required to run the large Tomogara. That was where the weakness was with Hecate not understanding everything that Fumina experienced. And she can’t rid herself of the memories it looks like, so maybe it’s the start of some deeper character development for Hecate? I’ll take whatever; she’s just too cute to ignore. But I will ignore Sydonay’s obsession over her; Hecate belongs to all of us, not just him.
The first half of the episode was full of fights, but the second half dropped off a bit. I know that some story development was necessary, but the ‘final’ fight with the Silver wasn’t that great. Mostly because I barely realized it was a final fight. With all the tension given by Hecate and Sydonay, I was expecting a super final showdown involving one or the other (though it seems if Hecate would pull anything that resembled Starlight Breaker, totali would have a fit). Or heck, bring Bel Peol into the fight, too. I wanted something like the fight with Sabrac. Instead it was Yuuji’s “Reiji Maigo, come here!” And it responded as if saying, “Okay!”
But even without a true final fight, I’m quite satisfied with the conclusion and how the plot arc wrapped up. The villains do seem rather mellow about yet another defeat. While Dantalion is devastated, the rest of them are more like “Meh,” as if they’ve resigned (and semi breaking the fourth wall in this observation) to being the villains to always fail in light of the good guys.
Hooray for Shana; hooray for a relationship that may finally begin (Xebek wants some). She totally deserves it, and the story is open to more possible lines of character development. A third season just has to happen. If not, an OVA much like the extra episode of Clannad, where we get a little bit of romantic fanservice between Shana and Yuuji.
Overall I can’t hate any part of this series. I’m not a drama hater, so even the first 8 episodes weren’t that bad to me. I had to be the one to report to some friends that “Hey, Shana is good again,” although I felt like I was personally lying. Shana is never not good, and there was still some fun to be had with all the Fumina scenes… and Ike’s stresses.
But Pheles was refreshing after all that. She’s an interesting character, too, with her own agenda. Throw in Johan and the story of the Reiji Maigo, which connects to Sabrac and the final plot arc of the series … well you have some happy viewers who are always ready to see and learn more. And other fan panderings like PhelesxWilhelmina (via Zyl), too, make things more fun for me. ^^;
Artwork was superior all season long (so says Kabitzin too), sleeker than first season, as there’s definitely a better budget this time around for it. The music, too, I always enjoy and download and loop. The French titles to most all of the tracks is always interesting, and the style of music reflects that. Maybe it helps add to the ‘dark’ or ‘gothic’ imagery of it all. But it’s not quite like Rozen Maiden‘s music I think. It sounds more traditional almost.
This entry comes late, but hopefully not too late. I’m waiting for other Shanatans to get subbed so I can blog those. And maybe we’ll have a second movie?
Extra screencaps. ^^; I took 45. Dropped 4 of them, but I had to put other unused ones here, because I think they’re nice…