Based on the legendary light novel series that sold over 5.6 million copies, Shakugan no Shana goes to the big screens. Shakugan no Shana: The Movie – At long last! FUNimation continues their releases of stellar material as Sakai Yuuji is a regular high school student. On his way home, he encounters a monster that sucks up human life. On the brink of his death, a girl called a “flame haze” appears and saves him. Sakai then finds truth in his life and reality around him. An alternative retelling of the original “Shakugan no Shana” first chapter. If you are a fan of the series, you don’t need me to tell you that the movie follows the very same plot with the series’s first arc with very little modifications.
So why bother watching the film then? he movie provides more emphasis to the background and small details than the anime and employed broader views, emphasizing the significance of the situation. The story is certainly fleshed out quite a bit more and the final 15 minutes of the film comprise a surprisingly powerful conclusion (worth the price of the blu-ray on its own), but I would have liked a more original story rather then a highly polished version of one that I’ve already enjoyed. In the end, spectacular visuals, great new music, and well thought out additions to the core story leave you feeling glad to have seen the film. On the other hand, the fact that anything new that was added obviously doesn’t change the events that come later in the series means that established fans will likely leave the experience less than satisfied.
As for the Blu-ray, it’s an older anime series, so I knew the upconvert was not going to showcase great video quality and the fact that it was original created by Universal Geneon, that FUNimation would not be redubbing it, thus not giving it a 5.1 lossless soundtrack. So, for those who have high hopes for this movie to look or sound incredible on Blu-ray, don’t have too high of hopes because it’s not all that great when it comes to PQ or AQ. The mix itself is not as aggressive as some of the Hollywood blockbusters, or even other anime productions, but it works. Last of all, let me say that if you’ve never seen the first season of Shakugan no Shana, then you are in for a real treat with this movie. It is beautifully animated and takes you on a whirlwind ride from start to finish. All around good stuff here, gentlemen.
In the end, spectacular visuals, great new music, and well thought out additions to the core story leave you feeling glad to have seen the film. On the other hand, the fact that anything new that was added obviously doesn’t change the events that come later in the series means that established fans will likely leave the experience less than satisfied. For those anime fans (like myself) that don’t mind the recycling of material, Shana is right down your alley. There is nothing that redeems the series except that it offers a lot of mindless fun. The film is a great companion piece to the series.