Episode 13: The Declaration of War Behind the School Building
Tiriel and her brother, the tonsil hockey-playing Denizen siblings, seem to have the upper hand, but with help from Yuuji and Margery they end up taken down by Shana. Sydoney, the third Denizen, runs away, after fighting Margery.
So Sydoney is supposedly nicknamed "Thousand Changes" and can assume any form he wants presumably--so WTF was up with the lion crossed with a chicken? You can't bring anything more badass looking than that? How about a dragon? Hell, even a freaking panda would inspire more ph34r. That was one fugly Denizen...if I was Yuuji I'm not sure if I'd be scared or just bust the hell up laughing.
There's a LOT of collateral damage in this series--just 3:30 into the episode, five innocent people are taken out by one of the Denizens' Rinne. By the end of the second season, Misaki City will have a population of about 300,000 torches and about a dozen real people left.
More Shana in action, with the flaming hair and sword combo--combined with the invincible zettai ryouiki, it's hard not to like her. Kazumi has no idea how formidable an opponent she has. And given Yuuji was prepared to kiss Shana at the end before he ended up with a faceful of melon pan instead, I'm thinking Shana will beat Kazumi down in the end. It's not called Shagukan no Yoshida-san for a reason.
Episode 14: A Remarkable Person
This episode starts the flashback arc, as we see Shana before she entered into her contract with Alastor. Shana was living at the Palace of Heaven's Road, being trained by a Flame Haze called Wilhelmina and a skeleton named Shiro. The Palace of Heaven's Road is a concealed floating island in the sky, and seems idyllic enough--but Evel Knievel and the Invisible Man are closing in on them fast. Shana tries to trap Shiro with ketchup, making him go batshit insane.
Wilhelmina must have a Costco card or something to have that much freaking ketchup in the house, since Shana went through at least a dozen bottles. I mean I like hot dogs as much as the next guy, but do I have a whole bucket worth of ketchup in the house?
Not a bad episode, since Shana plus Chinese dress is an excellent combo, and it's interesting to see some of Shana's life before she met Yuuji. They say she was adopted as an infant, and being raised by Wilhelmina, I guess I can see why Shana's a little emotionally distant when she first meets Yuuji. For a minute, I thought I was watching Munto with the whole Palace of Heaven's Road on an island floating in the sky...speaking of Munto, it's too bad Gass isn't in this, he'd be a kickass Flame Haze.
I guess Shiro went nuts because the ketchup looked like blood to him and triggered his Dororo Trauma Switch or something...I'd think just life as a fleshless walking skeleton would be horrifying enough by itself, but fortunately I can't say it's an area I have a lot of experience with.
Episode 15: The Day when the Flame was Born
Evel Knievel arrives at the Palace of Heaven's Road, along with Tenmokuikko, a Mystes that lives to fight and kill strong warriors. The Invisible Man fights Wilhelmina, while Shana enters into a contract with Alastor, reaching her dream becoming a Flame Haze.
A solid episode with some good action--Shana didn't look hurt enough to need THAT many bandages though... I wish they'd elaborated a little on Shana's 'hidden feelings' which turned out to be doubts about the cause the Flame Hazes were fighting for. It seems like she's gotten over any doubts she had, since up to this point she's been cutting down Denizens like nobody's business.
Episode 16: The Flame-Haired Scorching-Eyed Slayer
We get some of the past of the last Flame Haze to contract with Alastor--she died using an ultimate attack of sorts, but not before asking a Denizen who had fallen for her, Merihim, to train her successor. Merihim turned into Skeletor and did just that, but back in the present he changes back to his original bishonen form to kick the Invisible Man's ass. Shana defeats Tenmoku Ikko and claims his sword, Nietono no Shana, and her and Wilhelmina part ways, now that Shana's a full Flame Haze and her training is over.
Shana's battle with Tenmoku Ikko seemed kind of anticlimatic for fighting a monster Mystes that's supposedly taken down all kinds of Denizens. She does a backflip, stops the sword with her hands (one of the few areas of her body not covered in bandages), and before you know it, it's over. She even took him down without a weapon of any kind, and he had a freaking sword. Not a bad episode overall though, and closes out the flashback arc, setting the stage for the last arc of the series to start.
Episode 17: A New Beginning
Shana asks Chigusa to help teach her to cook, and Kazumi asks Yuuji to the Misago Festival. Khamsin, another Flame Haze, arrives in town, and tells Kazumi about torches and what's going on in the town.
I love how Chigusa keeps trying to set Yuuji and Shana up, with Chigusa helping Shana cook and then suggesting she wear a yukata and go to the festival with Yuuji. Too bad Yuuji the man-whore has already accepted an invitation from Kazumi, although Chigusa and Shana don't know that...
I think that split second just before the title is the only time Khamsin smiles all season--it just looks out of character on him. I keep wondering if Khamsin is going to end up liking Kazumi or not, but we'll see how big a role he plays next season soon...
At least Kazumi's first reaction when she found out about torches was asking about her family, and not Yuuji--if she'd thought of Yuuji first and her family was just an afterthought, I'd have been kind of annoyed.
Episode 18: A Shattering Wish
Kazumi discovers Yuuji is a torch and freaks out; then Shana goes to the festival and finds Yuuji chasing Kazumi, tries to stop him, but fails. Professor Crazy Denizen activates a Unrestricted Method over the whole town, and Khamsin asks Shana to find Kazumi to help him tune the city before Professor Crazy causes more distortion.
Khamsin isn't very good at finding reliable help--he should have picked an obaa-san (old woman), not only would they know the town even better than Kazumi, but obaa-sans are completely freaking fearless. If you've ever seen a time service at a Japanese grocery store, you know not to get in their way, or they'll just run you the hell down with their carts. If an obaa-san was up against a Denizen, I'd put all my money on the obaa-san.
For a second, I thought Yuuji was going to slap Shana when she was telling him to just ignore Kazumi, but to his credit he didn't. Then again, he was probably just afraid she'd kick his ass.