Shakugan no Shana: The Movie is interesting in that it is not a follow-up to the series in any way, nor does it fit seamlessly into the existing narrative of the series. If anything, it could be viewed as a summation of the events depicted in the first story arc in which Shana and Yuji battle Friagne and Marianne. And whilst that may seem an unnecessary thing to produce, the movie actually does many things differently than the series did, and that’s because it in fact serves, as I understand it, as a more faithful adaptation of the first volume of Yashihiro Takahashi’s original light novels. In this, Shakugan no Shana: The Movie becomes an indispensable addition to any Shana fan’s collection, although it can also serve as an ideal entry point for an uninitiated viewer hoping to get a feel for the series before committing to the long haul.
That said, I won’t waste time summarizing the plot. After all, Amber hit all the main points in her earlier review of season one. What I will point out, however, are the major differences between the movie’s presentation of the first arc and the series’ depiction of these same events, that those on the fence about purchasing the upcoming FUNimation release might make a more informed decision. To begin with, the storyline moves along far more quickly, condensing what was six episodes of material in the series into 85 minutes. The love triangle between Yuji, Shana, and Yoshida is seeded far earlier here as Yoshida is integrated into the movie’s narrative more fully than she had been in the series. This is not to say that she actually does anything in the movie, because she really doesn’t. In fact, she doesn’t even appear at all in the third act. Lamis is entirely absent. The final confrontation with Friagne is a hell of a lot more impressive. And certain major plot points that aren’t revealed until far later in the series crop up here without serving any real purpose in most cases. So it’s admittedly a bit of a mixed bag. But ultimately, I highly recommend it. The more Shana,the better, I say!
Shakugan no Shana: The Movie arrives on the North American home video market on January 22, 2013 in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from FUNimation Entertainment. Notably, the release features the 85-minute director’s cut of the film, which ran a mere 65 minutes in its original theatrical exhibition. The Blu-ray looks fantastic, and is, in many ways superior to the company’s first season release, which suffered from some seriously ugly visuals at times, presumably due to the condition of the elements FUNimation received from Geneon. The pristine transfer here presents the first story arc the way you it should be, changed though it may be narratively in the movie; in that, FUNimation’s release of The Movie makes a terrific complement to their first season Blu-ray release. Special features on the release include the theatrical version of the Shakugan no Shana-tan parody series, a special edition of Why? What? Shana! that reviews major series elements for the uninitiated, a promo video, commercials, and trailers.