Shaman King is an original Netflix series based upon the manga series of the same name. The manga is written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei. In 2001, Seiji Mizushima directed a similar anime that was narrated in 64 episodes. The 2021 version is directed by Joji Furuta, who has adapted 35 volumes for the Shaman King reboot. Season 1 capsules the first 13 episodes, and hopefully, the latter part of the story will be covered in the upcoming Seasons.
The anime chronicles the adventures of a teenage boy, Yoh Asakura, who aspires to become Shaman King and hone his shaman skills on his journey towards the ultimate battle, the Shaman Fight.
Who were Shamans?
According to mythology, Shaman were people who put themselves in a state of trance to commune directly with gods, higher spirits, and the dead’s souls. They called on these beings’ power to cure disease, influence politics, and convey messages from the deceased to the living through channeling. In simple words, Shamas could connect the worlds of the living and the dead.
‘Shaman King’ Plot Summary
A prologue scene establishes the drama by depicting the events of the year 1985. An upcoming birth in the Asakura Family threatened the peace of Yohmei Asakura. A nefarious ancient shaman, Hao Asakura, has learned the art to reincarnate himself and thus takes birth in the Asakura Family. Yohmei tries to kill the monster as a baby, but his Spirit of Fire protects Hao. He escapes the family and their attacks but pledges to return to claim his twin brother, Yoh, if he decides to be Shaman King. Yohmei expects Yoh to be their last hope to save the world from his notorious brother.
Thirteen years later, a grown-up Yoh arrives in Tokyo as a transfer student. He aspires to become a Shaman King and is waiting for the ultimate battle to test his mettle. In the meantime, he befriends a timid Oyamada Manta at school. He also finds his oversoul/spirit Ally, a six hundred-year-old Samurai soul of Amidamaru wandering to find a sword (Harusame) forged by his best friend, Mosuke the swordsmith. Through the power of spirit integration, Yoh brings peace to Amidamaru by completing his unfulfilled desires. However, instead of returning to the spirit world, Amidamaru chooses to serve Yoh and help him win the Shaman fight by becoming his spirit ally. The journey begins as new friends and foe join Yoh on his adventures towards his aspirations.
Importance of Shaman King
According to Yoh’s grandfather, Yohmei, a shaman king, can meet the “greatest king of spirit” commonly known as God. Thus, he can convey the wishes of the almighty to the masses to maintain the harmony of the land to prevent the people from blindly following their desires and heading down a path of destruction. Shaman kings have gone down as saviors in the chronicles of humans. In direct words, he becomes the messenger of God and will gain the power to reshape the world.
Yoh’s desire to become a Shaman King begins out of curiosity, and it remains a matter of confusion for Season 1. While his goal remains the same, his motive sways like a pendulum. Initially, he wants to become a Shaman King so that he can chill all day. You’s fiance, Anna Kyoyama, describes his lack of extremity as a basis of Yoh’s freedom of mind. He doesn’t feel responsible, and thus he can do anything.
But during the battle with necromancer Faust, Yoh loses his first battle, and the loss affects his core. He accepts that his carefree attitude was just a defense mechanism to protect himself from overthinking about winning and losing. Still, his heart hurts more than he imagined when he has lost. Maybe, to become a Shaman King is essential to him. If the title goes in the wrong hands, all the people Yoh loves will be in danger. And as we know, with great power comes great responsibility and Yoh is ready to take it.
‘Shaman King’ Season 1: Ending, Explained
Before leaving Tokyo, Yoh and his gang of Shamans helped Tao Ren escape his father, Tao En’s captivity. In the combat, Ren defeated his father, and his feelings of sadness faded a bit. Before leaving Mt.Jiaoshan, Tao En gave his son, a family heirloom, a lighting sword to help him in the ultimate battle. The team was ready to leave Tokyo and their friends/family behind for an uncertain future.
In Episode 13, “And Hao!” Yoh, Ren, and others reached the meeting spot for the Shaman fight. From Yokocha Air Base, they boarded an airplane towards the United States, where the final battle would occur. However, in the middle of the journey, the plane vanished into thin air. The teams had to reach a destination named “Patch Village” in 3 months to qualify for the Shaman Fight.
In the last episode, a member of the Seminoa tribe, Lilirara, blocked their way. She warned them against a demon named Patch that existed in a Shaman fight 500 years ago. The Patch Tribe hosted the Shaman fight five centuries ago, and Lilirara’s tribe participated in it. However, on the journey of Seminoa warriors, Patch killed them. While Seminoa or the souls of the warriors had little idea about Patch’s ambitions, they did remember his last words, “I am the future king. After 180,000 moons, I shall be resurrected.“
Yoh remembered the words which were spoken by a fellow competitor named Hao. After their insistence, Lilirara disclosed the location of Patch Village and directed Yoh and his friends. Still, the mystery around Hao remained the same. In the closing frame, Hao summoned his spirit ally, Spirit of Fire, and killed Lilirara.
Who was Hao Asakura?
Nefarious Hao is Yoh’s twin brother who has learned the art of reincarnation. He desperately wants to become Shaman King and thus reincarnated 500 years ago as a member of the Patch tribe. He stole the tribe’s elemental spirit, a spirit of fire, to win the battle. Still, He was defeated by his descendants, Yohken Asakura.
In 1985 (when the series begins), he retakes birth along with his spirit of fire from Keiko’s womb to participate in the upcoming Shaman Fight and fulfill his zealous desire to become the king of spirits.
At the end of ‘Shaman King’ Season 1, Hao calls himself the future king, suggesting that he already considers himself the Shaman King. With his elemental spirit, he can devour anything on Earth, along with their soul, sending them into oblivion. In his current incarnation, Hao has become invincible. He aspires to take revenge against humans, and the only obstruction in his treacherous scheme is his twin brother Yoh. The upcoming season will orchestrate a final feud between Yoh and Hao. The ultimate Shaman Fight will decide the fate of humanity.
Shaman King is a 2021 Netflix Original Anime Series directed by Joji Furuta. It is based on the manga series of the same name created by Hiroyuki Takei.