Shakugan no Shana II – 08
Waking up after a nightmare of an armored knight killing everyone and haunting her, Margery wakes up to find herself still in Keisaku’s home. Across town, Yuuji is being trained by Wilhelmina and Shana, the former of whom summons a Rinne for him to fight. Though scared, Yuuji meets the Rinne’s punch with his own fists and dispels it. Alastor observes Yuuji’s progress and suggests afterwards that it’s time to advance to the next step: the creation of unrestricted methods. As for the Reiji Maigo and its kaikin, Wilhelmina reports that it’s still being investigated, but Alastor thinks that Yuuji should just concentrate on the task at hand. That night, Wilhelmina is poring through several stacks of books when she comes across a name – Pheles – and decides that she has to go somewhere for a while. Keisaku meanwhile returns home after having watched Yuuji’s training and asks Margery to train him too. He doesn’t care what it is, as long as he’ll be able to do something so that he can go along with her and help her. Margery, however, thinks that he’ll die. Since she also thinks that he and Tanaka don’t understand, she decides to tell them about her past.
In New York, many years after Black Thursday, Margery had fought a Tomogara named Annaberg whose goal was to repaint the world through what he called the acceleration of civilization. She had thought she killed him, but Annaberg had Sydonay’s help in striking back at her and knocking her out. Margery had gotten up after Annaberg disappeared, and as she was being bathed in Marchosias’ Flame of Purification, she had been discovered by a boy. It turned out that this boy was a relatively new Flame Haze named Yuri Chvojka who was with a Crimson Lord called Valac, and he had looked up to Margery because of all the Tomogara she had defeated. Yuri was working with the East Edge guy that Margery was going to go see, but Margery got an odd feeling from him and thought that he was strange. In any case, she visited East Edge to give him a letter that’s related to how the Flame Hazes of the world were heading to Europe to fight a large group of Tomogara. When East Edge asked what Margery thought of Yuri, she explained Yuri wasn’t suited for this since he didn’t bear hatred or anger towards the Tomogara. Plus, she felt something about him was weird.
East Edge actually sensed that Yuri has a madness inside of him that he shouldn’t have. It made him too dangerous, and East Edge’s Crimson Lord Quetzalcoatl even thought that Yuri shouldn’t go into battle. They wanted Margery to train Yuri, and so Yuri began to follow Margery around. It soon became clear to Margery that Yuri didn’t like the Tomogara, but, as Valac pointed out, Yuri was more concerned about protecting humans than keeping the balance of the world. Yuri himself knew that he was weird for a Flame Haze, and he told Margery of how he became one. He had been on a boat to America when it came under attack by an octopus-shaped Tomogara that had proceeded to eat his family and friends. Valac had found him as he was sinking into the water, and he became a Flame Haze. Although Yuri is thankful for this, he regrets not being able to save anyone, and so he wanted to be able to do that next time. Having heard this, Margery had ordered Yuri to just go home because he wasn’t fit to be a Flame Haze. She felt that a novice like him would be troublesome for her. When Yuuri tried to chase after her, she had thrown him back without even turning around and ordered him not to come.
On that night, Annaberg had entered the Empire State Building and called for it to sacrifice itself for his acceleration of civilization. At roughly the same time, as she was flying over the building, Margery activated a Fuuzetsu.
That was a very, very impressive start to the episode. However, it looked like they compensated for it a little by having the first third or so of the episode (after that scene) be a bit worse in animation quality than usual – the character designs looked off. It’s probably unrealistic, but I wish the entire show could look as good as that opening part. Of course, that wasn’t the only good part of this episode since it also explored Margery’s past. It was definitely a step up from the previous few episodes. As much as I like plenty of character development, I like it even more when there’s a dose of action to go with it.
As for the actual story, I get the feeling that Yuri won’t survive, though that’s mainly because there had been no mention of him before this in the current storyline. Maybe he’ll end up dying die, but he’ll succeed at saving Margery first since he’s so concerned about saving people. Whatever the case, it feels like Shana II is finally picking up the pace since, even after the story of Margery’s past concludes, they’ve laid out more stuff that can be developed after that with Yuuji getting stronger and the mention of Pheles.