Strange creatures from another dimension, the Guze no Tomogara, appear out of nowhere, sucking away the life energy of ordinary people and leaving behind only Torches, illusions of their victims’ former existences. The Flame Haze, supernatural hunters with extraordinary powers, roam the cities to hunt the life-leechers. Into this epic struggle comes Sakai Yuuji, an ordinary high school boy, who is attacked by one of the Guze no Tomogara but rescued by one of the Flame Haze, a small girl. It is only then that Yuuji finds out that he has already died and only exists as a Torch…
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Entertaining action; great music; neat seiyuu-chemistry
Lows: Merely a retelling of the TV series; production quality lacking; cookie-cutter plot and characters
A word of caution at first: If you’ve already seen the Shakugan no Shana TV series, there’s absolutely no need for you to watch this movie or even read this review. Really, you’re just wasting your time. Shoo. These are not the ‘droids you’re looking for move along.
To everybody who’s still here, the quick and dirty: The Shakugan no Shana movie is, in many respects, a major disappointment. That’s not to say that the production wasn’t entertaining to watch or even flawed to a greater extent, it is just that it’s always disappointing to see a good chance at making more of an idea that hasn’t been quite handled right before.
If you expect good action and engrossing cinematography from a movie, you probably won’t be disappointed. Shakugan no Shana has plenty of both, plus one spectacular soundtrack by Otani Ko, best known for breathing musical life into the groundbreaking PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus. There’s also a certain chemistry between the seiyuu in the movie that has been sadly lacking in the TV series, and movies based on series are not usually known for improving on those details.
Then again, these are the only details that were improved. Essentially, the Shakugan no Shana movie is nothing but a retelling of the first TV series – no surprises, no changes in the plot, nothing to justify watching it at all if you could watch the series instead. It’s a little more concise and, necessarily, a little less engrossing than it used to be, and it’s sad to see that not even the production quality is much above that of the TV series. Admittedly, Shakugan no Shana already looked rather good on the small screen, but that level of detail is simply lacking when going for a cinematic release.
And put bluntly: even the original series wasn’t very original in terms of plot and character. A glorified Magical Girl story, told from the perspective from an outsider – been there, done that, and none of the characters are more than archetypes of the roles they are playing in the story. There are better ways of spending your time, even if you haven’t seen the TV series before. All in all, Shakugan no Shana is the essence of mediocrity, condensed into an hour and a half of shallow entertainment.