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Shakugan no Shana: Season II, Pt. 1 Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 300 Mins.
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 18, 2012
  • List Price: $69.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

In this fantastic, action-filled second season of Shakugan no Shana, the series strikes a great balance between typical high school comedy and fantasy themes. As it picks up with a bit of déja vù from Season 1 — a rather good ploy by the writers to offer an interesting twist and a reminder of where we left off — the “Midnight Lost Child” Yuji and the Flame Haze Shana are engrossed in a battle with a Denizen from the demon realm who can thrust them into a dreamworld and make them relive events that they’ve already experienced. From there, season 2 takes a different turn, exploring further the basis of the relationship between Yuji, Shana, and also Kazumi, when a new arrival at school, Konoe, who happens to look just like Hecate from Bal Masque, shows up and takes an instant liking to Yuji. Yuji acts as the caretaker to the simple-minded Konoe at the behest of the teacher. This instantly stirs jealously from both Shana and Kazumi, both of whom have been harboring a secret crush on the clueless Yuji. Meanwhile, even as he continues his physical training sessions, Yuji’s abilities begin to grow and become superhuman, he garners the strength of a Flame Haze and the ability to lay down an unrestricted seal, but the color of his flames are a spark that may jeopardize the tentative relationship with Flame Haze Margery Daw. It’s a much more enjoyable, fun, and interesting season of Shakugan no Shana this time out, mixing up the supernatural with the everyday of comedy and teen romance.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

There’s really no improvement in video quality in Season 2 on Blu-ray over Season 1, and all of the issues with this up-scaled 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement remain. There’s a lot of noticeable noise and banding in the color fills, the details are rather soft while colors look washed out. Motion artifacts exist, but stairstepping is still limited, thankfully.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This time out we get a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) English dub in addition to the original Japanese language track in lossless Dolby TrueHD 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit). The English translation is pretty far removed from the literal Japanese subtitles, but for those who want the full home theatre experience, it provides a reasonably rich amount of entertainment, with a nicely extended low end and good use of the surround channels for ambience and some discrete effects. The Japanese 2.0 is still my preferred track, however, despite its more closed in sound. It has more upfront sounding dialogue, but is good for the material at hand in its dynamics and use of the stereo imagery.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

One commentary and a small collection of fun, chibi-styled OVA’s accompany Shakugan no Shana on disc for this set, along with promo materials for the series.

The supplements:

  • Episode 1 Commentary
  • Naze Nani Shana II (1.33:1; SD; 00:17:07):
    • “Why: What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box: Mare”
    • “Why: What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box: Keepers”
    • “Why: What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box: Outlaws”
    • “Why: What? Shana! Ask Anything Question Box: Silver”
  • Shakugan no Shana II DVD Commercials (1.33:1; DVD; 00:00:48)
  • Shakugan no Shana II Promo Videos (1.78:1; SD; 00:04:27)
  • Shakugan no Shana-tan Begins (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:59)
  • Shakgugan no Shana-tan & Yoshida – Fumina Konoe Strikes Back (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:05)
  • Textless Opening Song “Joint”
  • Textless Closing Song “triangle”
  • US Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Funimation Trailers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

An even more interesting blend of high school romance and sci-fi action, plus further character development all make for an even more interesting series in this second season of Shakugan no Shana. Unfortunately, the second season looks just as underwhelming on Blu-ray as the first.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Shakagun no Shana: Season II, Pt. 1 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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[amazon-product]B008D1RCQ8[/amazon-product]

Purchase Shakagun no Shana: Season II, Pt. 1 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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