ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:00 - 18th July 2015, by NEO Staff

Shakugan no Shana Season 2

High school hero Yuji Sakai and his flame-eyed guardian, the titular Shana, are back for another two-dozen tussles with the mysterious Denizens of the Crimson Dimension, while trying to juggle the supernatural occurrences and romantic sub-plots that are a part of life at every anime high school.

Based on the light novels by Yashichiro Takahashi, and the subsequent manga adaptation, the second series of Shakugan no Shana supplements the fantasy battle elements of its plot with a hefty helping of slice-of-life storylines. This is certainly a familiar formula for this kind of series, but it can still work, as long as the characters are interesting and relatable enough to make you care about their happiness.

However, Shana’s cast struggles to express much emotion at all: while the voice actors try their best with a slightly stilted script, the characters don’t have a lot in the way of personality, and they all seem to have been drawn with the same glassy-eyed expression on their faces most of the time. J.C. Staff, the studio behind the series, has been responsible for such critical successes as Bakuman and Toradora!, but this definitely isn’t the best example of their work.
The action scenes – which are less frequent than you’d expect – do have a lot of visual flair, but lack the level of inventiveness or fast pacing that we’ve grown accustomed to from other titles in the genre. If you were a fan of the first season, then this will be more of what you enjoyed the first time around, but it’s unlikely to create any new converts to the series.

This season could have been a blazing inferno, but unfortunately can’t quite make it above a low simmer.
SCORE: 2.5/5
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