For those a bit out of the loop, the Shakugan no Shana S OVA is based off of a series of short stories which were stacked into one light novel “volume” and released under the moniker of Shakugan no Shana S back in June of 2006. The stories take place in various periods throughout the novels’ timeline, with the chapters ranging anywhere from in the middle of the story to right before Shana met Yuuji. As such, this OVA is not a true sequel to Shana Second but rather, just as the naming convention and source material suggests, a series of short stories meant to flesh out the characters and plot. That being said, you should not expect any serious plot developments or action in this OVA series, aside from the occasional Yuuji abuse or perhaps an enlightening on a few events. Instead, J.C.Staff has chosen to completely focus on the characters and their relationships with each other, which is not at all a bad thing as for me the number one appeal of the Shana series has always been the relationships between the characters and how their past interactions have shaped the plot up until the point of the Shana Second finale.
Moving on to the episode itself, it kept mostly in line with what the first episode set up, a story focusing completely on character relations. This time around, it’s Yuuji and Wilhelmina that take the spot light. These two are certainly an odd combination, with Wilhelmina’s kuudere-like and strict personality clashing with Yuuji’s usual laid back demeanor. Although, it’s perhaps that oddness that made their time together this episode so entertaining, with Wilhemina’s verbal abuse of Yuuji (in contrast to Shana’s physical abuse) and dominating personality, forcing Yuuji to tag along with her in her “search” to find out what Shana is hiding from her. Of course, her motherly love for Shana can easily be mistaken as hyper possessiveness, with her stalking Shana all around the city and even attempting to interrogate Margery for information on what Shana might be doing behind her back. I’m a bit surprised that Yuuji wasn’t more concerned though, deciding to place his trust in Shana instead of being overly protective like Wilhelmina, even going so far as to attempt to talk some sense into her. Of course, after listening to the reasoning behind her actions, not wanting Shana to experience the same pain that she did, the pain of regret from keeping a secret from others, you can’t help but sympathize with Wilhelmina as she only wishes to be a good motherly figure towards Shana, even if her “methods” are a bit suspect.
In the end, Wilhelmina’s worrying was all for naught, with Shana merely planning a surprise party for her with the help of Kazumi and Makata, baking a Pannenkoek in commemoration of a special day that Wilhelmina mentioned, the day that Shana first arrived at Tendoukyuu. As it turns out, Shana plotted for Wilhelmina and Yuuji to work together in order to get them on better terms with each other, which seems to have worked out somewhat. At the very least, I don’t think Wilhelmina will make anymore attempts on Yuuji’s life. It was nice seeing everything come together, and when all was said and done I came off feeling pretty good about the interactions between Wilhelmina and Yuuji. They certainly have a different dynamic than Yuuji and Shana, but it makes for a compelling watch nonetheless.
“Overture Part 1”
In contrast to the previous episode, rather than a story focused on the interactions between the main cast, we got a story meant to flesh out Shana’s character. It’s a bit funny, I had forgotten just how “scary” Shana was before she met Yuuji, so seeing her do her job as a Flame Haze was a bit creepy. We’re all used to seeing a Shana that flares up in anger with tons of emotion in her eyes when she’s around Yuuji, not this little girl without any feelings or remorse in her eyes at all. Watching her take down a newly turned Torch, Oogami Junko (Itou Kanae), in order to take over her existence just to make her search for a rouge Tomogara easier was very sobering to say the least. It was also the first time that I can recall in the series that we saw how Flame Haze recall the events of the humans’ existence they take a hold of. It goes without saying that the sequences of Shana watching Junko’s memories pass by her in a kind of “flow of time” were very cool and reminded me a bit of the augmented reality sequences experienced by Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain. If nothing else, Shana really did come off feeling like some sort of detective; the shot of her standing next to a police car with her trademark trench coat on didn’t exactly impede that perception either.
This episode also made it abundantly clear that Shana has almost no grasp of the conventional family, overanalyzing and over thinking the problems that Junko’s family was going through and not realizing it was a simple mother-daughter spat over a boy, Hamaguchi Yukio. Watching Shana observe Junko’s mother and eventually come to have a change of heart about how Flame Hazes’ and Torches’ are meant to live was very heart warming, especially coupled with the scene of Shana eating the cake (I’m tempted to say moe~), taking the beads, and remembering Junko’s memories of watching her mother repair said bracelet after she accidentally broke it during an argument. This crowning moment of heart warming only made it all the more tragic that Junko’s life was and very existence was cut short by the runaway Tomogara. Considering that when Shana met Yuuji she was back to thinking Flame Hazes’ and Torchers’ were fated to disappear from existence one day, I’m assuming that the outcome of this “case” won’t be too pleasant either.
Overall, not a whole lot happened in the episode itself, as it was mostly build up for part two of this short story. That being said, it was still insightful to see how Shana was before meeting Yuuji and observing how she carried out her job as a Flame Haze hunting for Tomogara, which we were never really shown in-depth in the first two seasons of the anime. In fact, it’s almost hard to believe that the girl shown in this episode and the one by the end of the second season are the same person. Although of course, even back then she still loved her melon bread.