Shakugan no Shana II – 20
When bright red flames suddenly erupted around Misaki City, they quickly overwhelm and knock everyone out. Yuuji eventually wakes back up relatively uninjured and finds everything around him in ruin. Right as he stands up, he gets stabbed in the chest by a Tomogara that he quickly realizes has an incredible power that he never sensed. The arrival of Wilhelmina saves Yuuji, and she also identifies this Tomogara as the assassin Sabrac. Wilhelmina uses her ribbons to grab onto one of Sabrac’s blades, but he cuts off his own arm and sends the blade rocketing toward her. Although she is able to avoid it, the blade explodes in a volley of deadly energy spikes that fly in all directions. Sabrac then regenerates his arm and heads for Yuuji, but Wilhelmina stops his approach. Unfortunately, she has started to suffer from an unrestricted method that she refers to as Stigma – it causes her wounds to open further with time. Yuuji realizes that she got hit with this during the initial explosion that knocked him out because she had protected him. He then worries about Shana and is relieved that he can still sense all of his friends even though they’ve been weakened.
Keisaku meanwhile wakes up before Margery does, but she soon regains consciousness too. Seeing the red flames around them, Marchosias figures out that this had all been a trap set by Sabrac. Unfortunately, Margery is also suffering from the Stigma now, as evidenced by how her back is bleeding. By now, Yuuji and Wilhelmina have taken refuge inside a building, and Wilhelmina comments on how she couldn’t sense Sabrac’s appearance this time either. She explains that Sabrac’s strongest weapon is that others aren’t able to sense beforehand that he’s going to appear, and she had experienced this previous when Sabrac attacked during her travels with Pheles and Johan. That was what forced Pheles to put Johan into the Reiji Maigo, and Wilhelmina knows that Sabrac relies on using surprise attacks to kill his targets before they can regain their balance. What makes it harder is that the Stigma worsens any wounds they get, so they’re fated to fall while being kept on the run. Right as Yuuji questions how they fight an enemy like that, Wilhelmina grabs him and jumps out of the building. A split second later, it crumbles under the force of Sabrac’s sudden attack.
Elsewhere in the ruined city, Kazumi is wandering around while thinking about the cross that Pheles gave her. She finds an injured Shana and helps bandage her up, however her main concern remains Yuuji. Part of that comes from how she feels that she had said something cruel to Yuuji, and Shana admits that she shares those feelings. However, Shana feels that they shouldn’t worry anymore because Yuuji returned to normal, and she is sure that he’s okay. At that moment, he’s being dragged through the city by Wilhelmina as they flee from Sabrac, but Wilhelmina notes that Sabrac can only use his large-scale surprise attack only once in the beginning. Plus, he’ll only fight the enemy in front of him and won’t commence another large-scale attack, meaning that Shana and Margery should be safe as long as Wilhelmina’s the one who has his attention. With Sabrac now rapidly closing in on them, she attacks him first, dodges his counterattack, and then tries to strike back with a drill made of her ribbons. This, however, does not hurt him at all. Yuuji thinks of Sabrac as a monster because of how powerful Sabrac is, and he considers his own abilities, but Wilhelmina says that there’s something else she wants him to do .
Meanwhile, after Keisaku bandages her up, Margery decides to dampen his determination to help by asking him what he’d do if she died. Keisaku doesn’t have an answer, and their conversation is soon interrupted by a giant explosion in the distance that actually resulted from Wilhelmina trying to destroy Sabrac after crushing him between two buildings. Even this does not finish him off though, and when Wilhelmina asks him about Zarovee and Bifrons, Sabrac admits that he had Bel Peol arrange it for him. Wilhelmina thus concludes that the request came from the Bal Masqué and that they’re still after the Reiji Maigo. When Sabrac attacks again, Wilhelmina blows him out of the sky with her ribbons, but Sabrac reforms himself and responds with a multi-directional attack that breaks the ribbon that Wilhelmina is using to hold onto Yuuji. This allows him to capture Yuuji, however it turns out to be only a doll made out of ribbons. The real Yuuji had earlier been dropped off in a sewer pipe that he has sensed something from, and as he runs, he tries to think of how to defeat Sabrac. Wilhelmina meanwhile continues her fight with Sabrac, but her wounds have gotten worse, and she’s breathing heavily now.
Well that was a pretty exciting battle episode with a lot of back and forth, but I didn’t really feel that Wilhelmina ever had the upper hand. I was a little surprised (in a good way) that the episode was devoted to her fighting, and she got to show off the versatility of her ribbons, however given how powerful Sabrac is, she really could use some backup. Yuuji ended up being fairly worthless and even went back to screaming at one point, though he does seem to realize something towards the end of the episode.
Speaking of backup, what I don’t understand is why the Bal Masque doesn’t ever make a full-force attack. If they want the Reiji Maigo so much, why don’t they overwhelm Shana and company with all of their top people? Sabrac, Bel Peol, Sydonay, Hecate, and Fecor could probably wipe the floor with Shana, Wilhelmina, Margery, and whoever else. Instead, as it stands now, if the preview for next week is any indicator, it looks like Shana and company will combine their powers and find a way to defeat Sabrac. For the sake of keeping things interesting, I’m hoping there’s another twist in there somewhere…