Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Power of the Dog, The
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
  Shana Flame-haired femme fatale
Year: 2005
Director: Takashi Watanabe
Stars: Rie Kugimiya, Satoshi Hino, Ayako Kawasumi, Hitomi Nabatame, Kenji Nojima, Masashi Ebara, Mitsuo Iwata, Shizuka Itou, Takayuki Kondou, Akemi Okamura, Akeno Watanabe, Atsushi Ono
Genre: Animated, Fantasy, TV Series, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Struck dead on his way home, average high school schmuck Yuuji Sakai (Satoshi Hino) glimpses the world around him is frozen and engulfed by blue flames. A giant, doll-like monster stands poised to devour him, but suddenly a flame-haired, sword-wielding heroine (Rie Kugimiya) saves his life. Calling herself a “Flame Haze”, the girl revives Yuuji as a “Torch” (a temporary spirit being) and enlists him in her mystical battle against the “Guze no Tomogara”, or “denizens of the Crimson World.” Yuuji in turn names this mysterious girl, “Shana.”

Whilst battling creepy, doll fetishist supervillain Friagne, Shana discovers Yuuji is a “Midnight Lost Child”, a torch who recovers his powers instead of fading away. Later, she loses a battle against rival Flame Haze, Margery Daw (Hitomi Nabatame). Armed with a talking spell book (Mitsuo Iwata) that periodically transforms into a giant, blue wolf that shoots flame from its paws, the sexy blonde wages war against the otherworldly monsters, whereas Shana seeks to preserve the balance between Earth and the Crimson World. Margery sets her sights on the ominously named, but actually benevolent Corpse Collector. Rejuvenated by her newfound bond with Yuuji, Shana sets out for round two.

Hot schoolgirls, monsters from another dimension, adolescent romance? Must another teen-oriented anime. High on imagination, but also heavy on exposition, Shakugen no Shana has a dense mythology that proves somewhat impenetrable for casual viewers. Terms like “mystes”, “torches” and “spiral organs” are babbled out at lightning speed, to occasional bewilderment. Nevertheless this pitches successfully to its target audience, with scenes of high school heartbreak (a subplot involves Kazumi Yoshida (Ayako Kawasumi) a painfully shy schoolgirl with a crush on Yuuji) and videogame style fantasy battles, propelled by inventive animation and delirious colours. The story features an interesting, existentialist bent wherein characters ponder the transient nature of existence. In spite of monsters and demons, Yuuji’s major preoccupation in early episodes is what will be left of him when he dies. What memories will he leave behind. At heart though the show revolves around a reoccurring anime trope: the gradual warming/humanisation of an icy, aloof heroine by love. Shana finds her powers grow stronger when Yuuji is near, illustrated in an explosive final battle where she sprouts fiery angel wings.

Mai Otsuka’s character designs are somewhat generic, but cute, while the end credits idolize the sultry-eyed heroine in typical teen anime fashion. The creators have a lot of fun with Margery Daw (yes, named after the nursery rhyme), a brash westerner whose heavy drinking affronts the straight-laced Japanese. She looks set to be a reoccurring character, as flashbacks reveal the blood splattered Silver Knight murdered her family and instilled a lifelong hatred of creatures from the Crimson World. As an ongoing adventure serial, this shows potential. The theme song, “Scarlet Colour Sky”, composed and performed by Mami Kawada, is also very engaging.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2333 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: