Oct 3, 2020
In our upcoming episode, we will be discussing Bone Collection. Not to spoil the episode but we don’t like it. It’s a shame because the concept of supernatural entities teaming up with powerful spiritualists reminded me a lot of Shaman King, a manga that was very important to me as a kid. I first discovered it in the initial American run of Shonen Jump when I was 13 and immediately fell in love.
Shaman King follows Yoh Asakura, a hilariously easygoing kid who doesn’t explicitly smoke weed but acts as he does. Yoh is a Shaman, a mystic whose purpose is to help wayward ghosts satisfy their desires so that they can move on to the next world. He does this by allowing them to possess him, giving them the ability to interact with the real world using his body as a medium. Of course, since this is a shonen manga, Yoh primarily teams up with a legendary samurai named Amidamaru. This gives him incredible fighting abilities so that he can participate in the Shaman Fight, a worldwide tournament to decide the Shaman King (title drop), a ruler with immense power over the future of the planet.
Shaman King is an immediately enjoyable manga with a lot of fun fight scenes and great characters. The manga mixes a ton of different mythologies together in order to best represent the Fight as a worldwide phenomenon, and it’s pretty effective. The art is angular, dynamic, and expressive, and it’s hard not to like perennially chill Yoh and the equally fun supporting cast.
The Shaman King anime does have a dub but it was done by, ugh, 4Kids. It isn’t as bad as their One Piece dub where they gave the characters bizarre voices and had to censor out blood and guns in essentially every episode but it still isn’t good. They did their standard fair of making every other line a terrible joke and changing most Non-English names into easily pronounceable American ones, and they’re very silly. Manta becomes Morty, Hao becomes Zeke, and Horohoro becomes Trey Boarder (???). Plus 4Kids always changed the musical score and turned it into the same generic cheesy orchestral music that they used in all of their shows. Just go with the subs on this one.
Update: Oh silly me how could I forget to mention the earth shattering news: Shaman King is getting a new anime adaptation to be released in 2021! I can only hope it gets the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Hunter X Hunter treatment and becomes the best version of Shaman King out there.
Shaman King was written and drawn by Hiroyuki Takei and is 35 volumes. You can read it for free with an Amazon Prime subscription at ComiXology. The new Shaman King anime adaptation is scheduled to be released in April of 2021 and is being made by BRIDGE.