Light Novels: Shakugan no Shana (Shana of the Burning Eyes)

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 2, 2008 in Comic Books |

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Most people know about anime and manga, but a new wave of Japanese popular culture is just starting to hit the United States: the light novel. The light novel (literally “raito noberu” or “ranobe” for short) is similar to a young adult novel in the United States, but it also has a little twist: manga-style illustrations are littered throughout the books. So now that you know what light novels are, here’s one of our Ten Light Novels That You Need To Know:

Shakugan no Shana (Shana of the Burning Eyes)

Imagine that one day, you’re walking home from school, when suddenly the world around you stops. As you watch in horror, the people around you don’t move while they are burned with a strange blue flame. Then a strange monster comes and starts to eat the flames, only to be slaughtered mercilessly by a young girl with flaming red hair and a sword.


You might be a little taken aback, right? So is Yuji Sakai, the lead of the Shana series. The girl informs him that he isn’t the real Yuji Sakai, who is already dead. He is a “torch,” a temporary replacement being that should fade from existence and from peoples’ memories before too long.

Yuji befriends the girl, who he names Shana (after her sword), and together they learn that he isn’t a normal “torch” at all. Shana decides that she needs to protect Yuji, while Yuji decides to join her in her fight for balance between two very powerful groups of supernatural beings. And if the two come to be rather affectionate, well, that’s all the better for the readers!

Shakugan no Shana is currently 18 volumes long, written by Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrated by Noizi Ito (who also illustrates the Haruhi Suzumiya novels), and is being released in English by VIZ Media. A manga adaptation has been running since 2005, and a second manga began in September 2007. A movie was released in Japan in April 2007, between the two seasons of anime that have also aired. Like Zero no Tsukaima, Shana‘s anime has a bit of a roadblock in the west: it was licensed by Geneon, who is not currently releasing anything in the US.

Gia Manry is a Portland, OR-based professional writer specializing in pop culture/entertainment writing. Read up on more of her work at giapet.net or hire her at GiaManry.com.

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