Sakai Yuuji is a normal high school whose world is turned upside down one day. While in class that fateful day, he sits beside a girl named Hirai Yukari. She hands him back an eraser that he dropped, and then saves Yuuji when the teacher calls on him. After school, he runs into her again at the CD store, and she is very interested to know more about his good friend Ike Hayato, including whether he has a girlfriend or not (he doesn’t). Shortly after they part ways, Yuuji notices a giant seal open up underneath him, and then his surroundings turn red. Two monsters appear and start consuming the people frozen in time around him. They notice that Yuuji isn’t like the rest, and conclude that he must be a Misutesu. One of the monsters tries to eat Yuuji, but a swift strike cuts off its arm. A girl with fiery red hair appears with sword in hand. After she destroys the baby-like monster and kicks the ball of heads into a building, she raises her sword against Yuuji. It comes down to lop off another arm – the arm of the monster standing behind him. As the girl gets ready to finish off the last one, Yuuji gets in the way, telling her to stop. The monster uses the opportunity to stick her hand into Yuuji’s back and starts to feel around. The girl wastes no time in slashing through him and destroying the monster. The consequence is that Yuuji’s left side is now separated from his body. After the puppet inside of the monster flies off, Yuuji can only cry for help to the girl. The pendant around her neck, which she calls Alastor, tells him that if he were human, that severe wound would have been instant death. The girl gets up close and puts him back together again. She then raises her arm and restores everything around her, including all of the people. Yuuji notices that everyone has returned, including Hirai Yukari. But when he tries to call to her, she doesn’t answer and just keeps walking on with lifeless eyes. He can see a flame inside her, and then notices that he can now see flames in almost everyone. Yuuji chases down the red-haired girl, whose hair is now black, in order to get an explanation. She tells him that he is not human, and that inside his body and others, there are lights. This torch is a placemarker that signifies that these people will eventually disappear from this world. This also means that Yuuji, who also has a torch, is already dead.
OP: 「緋色の空」 by 川田まみ
ED: 「夜明け生まれ来る少女」 by 高橋洋子
I love the OP! It reminds me a lot of KOTOKO’s music, and understandably so because Kawada Mami is also from I’ve. Very fast paced, very much an I’ve-style song. The ED is done by Takahashi Yoko, whose voice I remember most recently from the OP to KonoMini. It’s starts out slow, but then really gets into a technoish beat. I haven’t listened to it that much though, since I’ve been playing the OP over and over.
Shakugan no Shana is quite intriguing, though frankly, very confusing. The episode starts out by doing a bit of a fast forward, showing you several scenes from the middle of the episode, then backtracks to the beginning of the day. My first thought was that they’re moving way to fast, but then it seemed to settle down. Unfortunately, that early episode preview made the actual fight seem almost redundant (almost). The good things is that there’s a lot more to it than just the two minutes that you see in the beginning.
Of course, there are also a slew of villains, mysterious people, and objects that aren’t explained at all. I don’t know what’s with Alastor (the pendant), who Shana is working for, why she’s fighting the monsters, why Yuuji has a torch inside of him, etc. I guess it’s a way to keep the viewers tuned in, but I had hoped they would do more exposition. Or maybe I’m complaining for nothing and they’ll cover it all next episode.
The music is as good as (or better than) it was in the prelude, even feeling epic at times. And JC Staff does a wonderful job on the animation, though I admit that I was spoiled by the prelude and had been hoping for that much quality. I guess that’s the difference between a TV broadcast and a DVD.
I am tentatively going to keep up with this series, depending on how the next few episodes turn out. But then again, the OP alone should keep me coming back.