Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meron-pan Project: Shana I eps 7-12

Episode 7: The Two Flame Hazes

Summary
Shana trains Yuuji by hitting him on the head with a stick. Margery chases after Lamies, intending to kill him since he's a Denizen, and we learn she's looking for a silver-flamed Denizen who's not going to show up this season. Shana and Yuuji hurry to try to protect Lamies, since if he's killed enough energy will be released to seriously mess up Misaki City.

Impressions
Maybe it's because I just watched Kanon, but Yuuji's mom reminds me of Akiko a little--she gives Shana training Yuuji the 'one second approval' just like Akiko would. It's starting to be more obvious Shana likes Yuuji, but not being exactly experienced, she's not really aware of it herself. Got to love Shana telling it like it is--"Yuuji, you're really weak. No, really. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone worse at this shit than you are." Shana's definitely not much for politeness, but she's probably also a wildcat in the sack, so Yuuji's smart to just walk it off.

Episode 8: The Beautiful Goblet

Summary
Margery finds Lamies' hiding place and tries to take him down, only to get her ass kicked by Shana and Yuuji. Yuuji finally has something useful to do, now that he has Friagne's fire-repelling ring.

Impressions
Good battle between Shana/Yuuji and Margery/baka Marco--J.C. Staff did a solid job on this episode. Some background on Margery too, although I wish we had more detail on exactly what went down between her and the Silver Denizen...but I guess that's what Shana II is for...

Episode 9: The Poolside of Love and Desire

Summary
Pool episode, which means swimsuits! Moe~!

Impressions
Love triangles can be interesting, but the Kazumi-Shana-Yuuji triangle just irritates me for the most part. It really just makes Yuuji look like an indecisive coward--coward's a strong word, but when two girls like you and you don't have the guts to make a decision between them and/or tell them how you feel, there's no other way to put it.
I think the love angle in Shakugan no Shana would have been much more interesting if Yuuji had been dating the real Hirai Yukari, who was killed by Denizens in the first episode. Then you'd have a more complex situation like Kaze no Stigma, where Yuuji would have to choose between a past that's no longer there and the present/future. You could have a Denizen create a Yukari-look alike using some of her memories and try to use it against him...there are a lot more interesting possibilities. Instead, Yuuji just comes across as indecisive and impossibly dense. Although at least this isn't School Days, so he's not getting Kazumi pregnant, then giving Shana chlamydia and having gay sex with the gym teacher...wow, there's an image I don't want...
Anyway, this episode was particularly easy on the eyes, since we get the cast in swimsuits--although Shana's swimsuit is...not moe. As Konata would say, maybe there are "special needs" people who like it, but I think the frills need to go. I'm a little disappointed in Yuuji's mom, since she picked it out.
Overall, still an enjoyable episode, especially when Yuuji's getting the top of his head pummeled by oppai.

Episode 10: Entwined Feelings

Summary
Ike keeps trying to set Kazumi and Yuuji up, this time putting away books in the library after school, and Yuuji's depressed because in spite of training with Shana, all he's getting better at is getting hit on the head. Kazumi gets all hot and bothered because she can't get the balls to ask Yuuji what Shana means to her, and the sibling Denizens show up in town, along with Hang in the Background Sunglasses Dude.

Impressions
A decent episode, mainly because Chigusa, Yuuji's mom, kicks ass--fortunately, Chigusa has better taste in dresses than in swimsuits, and we get to see Shana wearing something other than her school uniform for once. Also, at the risk of sounding like a criminal in Fumoffu, ponytails are totemo moe.
The two new Denizens, however, are kind of weak as bad guys go--they're brother and sister, but they have a habit of exchanging power of existence by french kissing. Now, if they were both girls, I'd have no problem with it at all, but when they're siblings it's more than a little nasty...

Episode 11: Yuji, Shana, and Kisses

Summary
Shana wonders what the meaning of a kiss is after seeing one on TV, and asks Chigusa. Alastor becomes alarmed and arranges for a phone call with Chigusa to ask her not to talk to Shana about such things anymore, but in the end he ends up impressed by Chigusa's argument.

Impressions
Chigusa really is up there with Akiko in the top anime moms list (although granted, anime mom mortality is high, cutting down on her competition)--she not only always gives good advice, she's even able to convince Alastor her view is correct. I keep thinking there has to be more to her than meets the eye--does she really know what's going on? It wouldn't surprise me if she knew Yuuji was a torch and had the Reiji Maigo...
It's cool that the writer didn't take the easy way out and have Yuuji living by himself with his parents working overseas in Oregon or something, like it seems like every single harem anime series does. Chigusa's an interesting character, and I'm hoping we'll get some more screentime for her in Shana II. I'm also curious what Yuuji's father is like--to marry Chigusa he's got to have something going for him.

Episode 12: Flowers Bloom in the Cradle

Summary
Kazumi angsts after seeing Yuuji and Shana together, and it turns out Ike likes Kazumi, making the love triangle a love square. Fortunately, the soap opera gets broken up by the Denizen siblings attacking. Shana goes after them alone while Yuuji searches for the source of their power, and Shana vs. Denizens is looking like the Denizens will win.

Impressions
Have I mentioned I don't like Kazumi? She's perfectly capable of being bitchy to Shana but can't do anything but simper around Yuuji--thank Haruhi for the fast-forward button. It doesn't help that the Denizen brother and sister who have major PDA issues aren't my favorite bad guys in this series either, I'm remembering as I watch this that it was my least favorite arc. But at least we get Shana in Badass Winged Flaming Mode.

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