Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shagukan no Shana: Off-Campus Class of Love and Hot Springs

Since I finished re-watching Shakugan no Shana, it made sense to watch the OVA that came out after the series too--while there's surprisingly few lines for everyone's favorite flame-haired, flame-eyed, flame-sword-wielding Flame Haze, it's still a pretty funny episode.

Plot summaries always put me to sleep, but here goes: the story is set before episode 17, after the PDA-loving twins got taken down but before Ball Masque made their move, and the whole class at Yuuji's school goes to an onsen.

That's about it...there are no major revelations, no changes in the relationships between the characters, not much character development, and there don't need to be any of these things since it's focusing on comedy. If this had been in the original series, you'd call it a filler episode--but for me it's worth watching just for the situations below:

- The worst two days of Ike's life. He gets violently ill on the bus ride there (fortunately not on camera, or it wouldn't be as funny). He passes out in the onsen trying to eavesdrop on the girls. He gets nailed in the head by a pillow thrown at Mach Two. After Oga falls over and accidentally almost suffocates him with her butt, she pummels him. And on the way home--he gets sick again. Sure, if Ike was thinking 'maybe I'll get to give Kazumi a baloney pony ride' his expectations for the trip would have been way too high--but this is still just about the worst-case scenario. Only thing that could make it worse is if it turns out Oga-chan gave him pinkeye.

- Oga-chan's overactive imagination, and her overreactions to it. I guess if guys can imagine Kagami and Konata as a yuri couple, it stands to reason Oga-chan can imagine Sato and Tanaka's friendship as...er...more than that. Oga's dream sequence at the beginning was pretty funny too.

- Oppai grabbing fanservice. I was disappointed when my wife informed me her sorority did not, in fact, have topless pillow fights like in Animal House, so I hesitate to even ask about oppai grabbing. I suspect real girls don't do this in onsens, but hey, don't hate on my dream.

For an onsen episode, the amount of fanservice is surprisingly tame, really nothing beyond would you could see in any given episode of the TV series. It's interesting they chose to sideline Shana and Yuuji almost completely, and focus more on Oga-chan and Tanaka, which is one of the less interesting subplots for me. Oga-chan likes Tanaka, sure, but they don't really explain why in the TV series, and they don't explain it in this OVA either--the lack of any background there makes it harder for me to care too much about what happens.

Still, a decent episode overall--definitely looking forward to Shana II, not much time left...

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