Shakugan no Shana Specials
The creators of Shakugan no Shana let loose with some silliness, particularly in having both Hecate and Shana herself appear as diminutive chibi-figures and having other characters lament their lack of screentime in Shakugan no Shana: The Movie
Parody is not my favorite comedic subgenre, but on the other hand, I sometimes enjoy seeing a series' creator employ it in order to take a break from treating his or her characters seriously. J.C. Staff, the studio behind Shakugan no Shana, has a habit of doing this (a series of parodic A Certain Magical Index shorts also exist), and this set of short parodies makes for a generally fun watch for fans of the original, in spite of some tasteless jokes.
The two Shakugan no Shana-Tan shorts, featuring a tiny chibi version of the title character, are the best of the bunch. Taking away a tsundere character's method of retaliation is a pretty good way to mock that archetype, and here Shana can do little besides attempt to tear Yuji's hair out, since she takes to residing on top of his head, while yelling "uruCHAI uruCHAI" (a cutesy mispronunciation of "urusei", which is more or less the Japanese version of "shut up" and a catchphrase of hers). Less entertaining is a similar episode, Itadaki no Hecate-Tan, which features one of the lead Tomogara, the Mamiko Noto-voiced Hecate, in similar form; her personality was never as easy to make fun of and her chibi form is correspondingly less interesting. The last episode, the inexplicably titled Banjo No Carmel San, is half a preview for the series' movie and half an amusing scene of Wilhelmina, Shana's mentor, lamenting her lack of screentime in the movie.
The humor in these shorts is a mixed bag. All of them, in addition to employing SD art for comic purposes, feature a fair amount of wordplay-based humor whose success is mixed; while those familiar with the names of the show's voice actors will get some of the puns, the rest will likely be scratching their heads. Hecate-Tan singelhandedly sinks the overall quality, however, by featuring one completely tasteless scene in which Sydonay, apparently about to kill a tied-up Yuji, instead begins to molest him. Yes, you unfortunately read that last line correctly, and I'm at a complete loss as to what inspired the creators to put something like that in here.
Tastelessness aside, these shorts are a fun diversion if you like the series and aren't really good for much else. I got enough laughs out of them that watching them was worth my time, and in spite of that one revolting scene the sight of Yuji losing his cool over chibi-Shana dropping melon bread crumbs on his head was worth the price of admission in itself.
A (mostly) enjoyable set of parodies meant for fans of the series. Skip otherwise. — Nick Browne
Recommended Audience: Nothing objectionable besides the single scene in which Sydonay is implicitly (but obviously) fondling Yuji's genitals, which by itself takes this that one episode into ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR CHILDREN territory.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital source.
Review Status: Full (4/4)
Shakugan no Shana Specials © 2006 WataruShichiro Takahashi / Noizi Ito / ASCII Media Works / Shana Production Committee
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