The first episode of the Shakugan no Shana S OVA certainly underwhelmed with its predictable storyline which went nowhere of any particular note, so despite not being a huge fan of the franchise I was at least hoping for something with a little more substance from its second instalment.
Well, so much for that hope... This particular episode sees Shana behaving rather oddly - Coming home late from school, avoiding Yuji and not really talking to Wilhemina much at all. Of course, this soon arouses the suspicions of Carmel, and with nobody else to turn to she looks to Yuji to help her track down what Shana is up to and why.
I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that a large part of the reason for Shana's behaviour is to surprise Wilhemina with a party of sorts, as she knows that a date that is important to her is coming up even though she knows not what that date represents. However, as an off-shoot of this, Alastor also sees an opportunity to remove any tension and distrust between Carmel and Yuji, and thus uses the whole operation to give them a little time to work together and bond - A plan which sees to work pretty well, in all honesty.
However, such successes don't exactly hide the fact that this episode was largely as dull as dishwater - As per the first episode of this OVA, the base premise of the surprise party was blatantly obvious from the very first minute, and to be honest this isn't the kind of franchise that works particularly well when it's dealing with dull everyday stuff and clichéd old plot concepts. Sure, there were a couple of amusing moments, but they certainly weren't anywhere near enough to make up for what feels like a wasted half an hour, particularly when you consider the obvious potential that is always inherent in Shakugan no Shana and its premise. Perhaps the hardcore fans will lap it up, but for me this was another huge disappointment.