Shakugan No Shana (Shana of the Burning Eyes), based on the light novels written by Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrated by Noizi Ito, tells the story of the encounter between a normal high school student and a flame haze from the Crimson Realm. Yuji Sakai, a seemingly normal high school boy quickly finds himself in the middle of a fight between the Flame Haze, whom he later names Shana and one of her enemies. During this fight, many humans are caught in the middle and are killed. When the fight is over, Shana creates mock-lives for these people in order to soften the blow to the human world, Yuji should have been one of these people with the mock-lives. But Yuji remembers what happened, when no one else does, and can see the flames inside of people. As these flames fade, so does the person and eventually will be forgotten by everyone they used to know. Yuji finds out that not only is he dead, and living off of a manufactured flame, but his body also contains a treasure that Shana’s enemies would kill for. And all of this is information is contained in the first two episodes!
Yuji decides that he wants to know what is happening and sticks to Shana’s side. At the same time Shana needs to protect the treasure that is inside Yuji. This ends up forming an unlikely friendship, which will bring out some great things from both characters all though they may not know it at first. The interactions between the two characters is in-depth and drives the storyline. Although there are outside forces working, which creates situations for the two characters, there relationship ends up being in the middle of all their decisions. You can’t go wrong with a good relationship story.
On top of the good relationship, there is great action and creative character designs. Shana herself has two personas, the normal one and the fighter. Both are beautiful, with her fighter being like fire itself. The action sequences are full of energy and have variety to help make the show interesting. The character designs are the same way, full of energy and variety. The characters from the Crimson Realm are particularly this way. They can be strange, such as floating doll heads or so normal looking they are scary.
To go along with these other good points, the show is animated beautifully. The colors are rich and vibrant, particularly on the Blu-ray. When Shana transforms into her fighter, she shines and sparkles across the screen. The backgrounds are detailed and seem to be given just as much love as the characters. Not many animation shortcuts are apparent. It is a beautiful show to watch.
The FUNimation Blu-ray/DVD combo release contains all twenty-four episodes of the first season as well as a few extras. The extra features include 1-8 of “Naze Noni Shana”, “Shakagan No Shana-tan” 1 and 2, two textless openings and three textless closeings, as well as trailers for other FUNimation releases.