is both an anime series and a manga series by Hiroyuki Takei. The manga ended prematurely in Japan with 32 volumes in total. The anime concluded its run with a total of 64 episodes.
The Shaman King series started in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in Japan, eventually leading to the creation of an anime series, which was directed by Seiji Mizushima, co-produced by TV Tokyo, Nihon Ad Systems and Xebec and aired on TV Tokyo. This is a Shōnen anime. In North America, the manga was initially printed in Viz Media's Shonen Jump, but stopped as of the September 2007 issue, choosing instead to release one volume every two months.
A shaman is someone who connects this world and the spirit world. In Shaman King, shamans team up with ghosts and spirits to achieve their goals. The greatest dreams of a shaman is to become the Shaman King, who is able to contact the Great Spirit (the spirit that every soul will eventually go back to) in order to be the savior of the world. Various magical and religious terms are spread through out the story but they merge into something explainable by the time the main plot arrives.
The series spans 285 manga chapters and 32 volumes, and ended with a short "extra story", known as the Funbari no Uta. Many fans of the series abbreviate its name to "Mankin".
The Shaman King trading card game is available in Japan and North America.
Manta Oyamada, a studious yet shrimpy middle-school student from Tokyo, attempted a shortcut one night through the graveyard to get home after a late night of cram school. While traveling through it, he encounters Yoh Asakura and his "companions": a graveyard filled with ghosts. Yoh reveals himself to be a shaman, a medium between the worlds of the living and the dead. As a shaman, Yoh also demonstrates his ability to possess himself with ghosts to assist him where needed, particularly becoming fond of a former samurai known as Amidamaru. Over the first few chapters, Yoh and Manta become best friends while Yoh uses his shamanic abilities to help them out through various normal tasks.
Yoh soon encounters Tao Ren, a Chinese shaman who uses his own ghost on a quest to destroy humanity as well as prepare for an upcoming Shaman Tournament to be held in Tokyo. Anna Kyoyama, Yoh's fiancée, soon enters the picture and prescribes a brutal training regimen, in order to prepare Yoh for the tournament. The tournament is held once every 500 years and is a battle between competing shaman to choose a winner, who will be known as the Shaman King. This winner will gain the ability to reshape the world as he or she chooses, to make his or her dream come true. Thus begins the plot that will lead Yoh on a journey that will lead him to many friends and adventures.
Through a series of events and also through participation in the Shaman Tournament, Yoh meets and befriends numerous characters and changes their lives through friendship and authentic concern, which seems to be a pervasive theme throughout the series. He also must face his ultimate destiny, connected to one of the most powerful participants in the Shaman Fight who desires to win the tournament and use his prize to annihilate all of humanity for destroying the world, leaving only a world of shamans such as himself.
The story of Shaman King originally ends in a controversial, incomplete manner: in the midst of a gauntlet fighting against the guardians of Shaman Fight winner Hao Asakura, Yoh and his squad are forced to stop what they were doing and instead "take a break", allowing them to sleep to prepare for the final battle with Hao. The original final page is viewed as Manta's dream, which features Hao as a princess with Yoh and his friends on their way to rescue "her". The reason for that is because Anna was speaking to Manta as if Hao was the person in need of rescue. The page contains the words "Owari" ("The End") and next to that, in front of Horohoro's sword, is a mandarin orange, also called "mikan" which is can also mean "incomplete" in Japanese. This is followed up by another chapter which advances the plot slightly, but still does not complete the story.
The side story Funbari no Uta
, which lasts for five chapters, is set six years after the end of the manga series features Hana Asakura and his journey with his uncle Ryu to gather up the 5 elemental warriors: Horo Horo, Tao Ren, Lyserg Diethel, Chocolove McDaniel, and Yoh Asakura. While nearly all main characters are present, Manta Oyamada
does not appear. At the very end, two figures can be seen: a woman in a cloak (who is Anna) and a man with long hair who can be either Yoh or Hao. Takei later revealed that the man walking with Anna was neither Yoh nor Hao, but a fusion of the two.
A side story known as Mappa-Douji was also released, which shows Hao's childhood in his original life. It shows his situation after his mother was burned to death by humans and his first spirit friend from his childhood and how he gets his mind reading ability and advanced shamanic abilities like Oversoul.
Another side titled Relax was released, which showed Hao gathering followers for the tournament years before it started.
Re-release and conclusion
At Jump Festa 2008
, a flier handed out at the event announced that in a Kanzenban
reprint of the entire series. The Japanese publisher Shueisha has officially announced that Shaman King would return in March 2008 as Shaman King Kanzen-Ban, or Perfect Edition. This release will reprint the entire series in 27 volumes complete with new clear image overlays on the covers while concluding with the never-before-published "true ending." The first six volumes of the manga have been released in Japan and is now being released every two months with the final volume expected to be released in Spring of 2009.
U.S. manga edits
VIZ Media began editing the lips of Chocolove
, an African-American
character. The lips are reduced in size to avoid a Blackface
The language in reprints of early volumes was revised to remove profanity.
The Shaman King anime was licensed in 2001 by 4Kids Entertainment for American television broadcasting and aired in its entirety, beginning in September 2003 on the Fox Box (which would later become 4Kids TV), and concluding in September 2005. The English dub also airs on YTV in Canada. Shaman King currently airs in the United Kingdom on Jetix UK at 11:30am-12:30am GMT every day. Oddly, while the English dub of Shaman King is being aired in many countries across the globe, it has not been aired in The United States since the final episode aired on September 3rd, 2005. It is currently unknown if or when 4Kids will air or distribute Shaman King in the U.S. again.
The anime of Shaman King starts off with the same sequence of events as the manga for roughly half of the series and then gradually deviates into its own plot. Horohoro is introduced prematurely (Yoh meets him before they fight in the preliminary rounds) and Hao's first appearance is much later (In the manga, he can be seen hidden among other contestants). As is the usual case for anime based on manga, the anime series is much more toned down. Many of the characters that die in the manga are kept alive in the anime. The anime shows these characters recovering from their injuries (or not sustaining any at all) and eventually agreeing with Yoh and his friends ideologically. The anime does show Yoh and Hao's final battle and implies that all of the friends that Yoh has made on his journey (most of these are the characters that have died in the manga) donated their spiritual energy to help him win. However, it is still unclear whether Hao was defeated once and for all or where his soul has gone.
4Kids did the English adaptation to the Shaman King anime. Unlike most of the 4Kids dub adaptations such as those of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magical Doremi, and Mew Mew Power, which have their country settings changed from Japan to America, the setting of the country in the 4Kids dub is still in Japan. However, Shaman King was still partially Americanized, and a lot of Japanese characters are digitally changed to English or airbrushed out and replaced with meaningless symbols. Even Chinese characters are digitally erased out. But unlike other 4Kids' adaptations, aspects of Japanese and Chinese culture are kept, such as foods and symbols.
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Original Japanese Title
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TV specials and shorts
Throughout the broadcast of Shaman King, many shorts (usually referred to as Shaman King omake
and TV specials) were made on special days of the year related to spirits and the like. The omake were short stories that were made for humorous effect. Apparently, all of the omake fit into the story before the Shaman Fight 2nd round. Documents of the Shaman Fight was shown with a New Year's omake as well. The TV Specials were aired after specific points of the story as well as on holidays. The specials were never dubbed in English.
TV special titles
- Documents of the Shaman Fight (Premiered 1/31/00)
- The Form That Friendship Takes
- The Form That Love Takes
- The Form That Sadness Takes (Tribute for Hao Asakura)
Most characters' names are in Western order, with the given name before the family name. The names of the Taos and other Chinese characters are in Chinese order, with the family name before the given name. The English anime name is to the right of the Japanese name. The English manga uses the Japanese names for the most part.
Note: "Humans" here is used for both characters that are average humans (not able to see ghosts) and those that are shamans (able to see ghosts). The series sometimes makes a distinction between the two..
- The main character of the story. He is easy-going, laid back, and carefree, which causes him to have an open mind and makes him relax in extreme situations. "No one knows what will happen in the future. There is no sense in worrying in something you do not and cannot control, so why bother?" This famous line of his is his philosophy in life, which always shines through in his personality. Yoh's only goal is to live an easy life, and he believes that when he becomes Shaman King, he will achieve that goal. According to Anna, his fiancée, his free-thinking and laid-back nature makes him think "outside the box" which makes him a perfect candidate for Shaman King. His guardian ghost is a powerful samurai by the name of Amidamaru. Yoh came into existence when the soul of Hao Asakura split into two in his second reincarnation. Yoh is part of the Team Funbari Onsen, together with Ryo and Faust. (Team Asakura in the English anime). Yoh was an immensely powerful shaman in his past life, Asakura Hao. Part of Hao's soul was reincarnated as Yoh, while the other half as the present-day Hao.
- Both Yoh's ancestor and twin, Hao closely resembles Yoh but desires to destroy humanity. In his first life, he was the greatest shaman of the Asakura clan. But after mastering the five elements to become the ultimate shaman, he came to believe that every single non-shaman must be killed, since 'ordinary humans' were "out of touch" with nature and were destroying it. He intended to eliminate humans from the earth, but he was assassinated by his clansmen. However, because he mastered the five elements, Hao defied death and was reincarnated as a member of Silva's tribe five centuries later. Hao stole the Patch Tribe's Spirit of Fire and attempted to become Shaman King, only to be killed again by his descendant and former spirit, Asakura Yohken (麻倉葉賢 Asakura Yōken) and Matamune (マタムネ Matamune). Now, 500 years later, Hao is in his second reincarnation. However, when he was reincarnated this time, his soul somehow split, forming twins, and one part became Yoh, therefore, making both of them the reincarnations of the original Asakura Hao. Hao controls a host of shamans who either are loyal to him because they share his views on humanity or out of personal gain. His followers call him 'Hao-sama'. His group of three, Hao, Opacho, and Luchist, in the Fight is called the 'Hoshigumi'.
- Friend and fiancée of Yoh Asakura and an itako, a traditional shaman from Aomori, Japan (she is called a "spirit medium" in the English anime). Anna is Yoh's personal trainer (in Yoh's opinion, his slavedriver, due to the intense training) and will stop at nothing to become a part of the glory when Yoh becomes Shaman King of the Shaman World, although she does indeed hold great affection for Yoh. She later obtains the necklace of 1,080 beads and mastery over Hao's Shikigami, Zenki and Kouki. Anna also appears in two of Takei's other works, Butsu Zone and the one-shot Itako no Anna. Anna is also said to be the reincarnation of the original Asakura Hao's mother from 1,000 years ago. At a certain time, Asakura Hao held some interest on her, but it did not last long.
- An intelligent but worrisome teen who always carries a "dictionary/encyclopedia/compendium of all human knowledge", and has a sixth sense, meaning he can see supernatural beings, even though he is not a Shaman. He is very expressive and a bit panicky. His rather abnormal height has gotten him into trouble numerous times, once having been mistaken for one of the shy nature spirits, and being cut open and used as a hostage of sorts during Yoh Asakura's match with Faust VIII. In the anime, during the exorcism of Amidamaru, he actually becomes a Shaman and is able to merge with a spirit. His weapon is a hammer and his unofficial guardian ghost is Mosuke, the best friend of Amidamaru who forged his sword, the Harusame. After that episode in the anime, Manta is able to junction spirits to his laptop. He narrates the story in the manga and anime, allowing readers and watchers to understand the plot more efficiently. He is referred to as "Morty" (short for Mortimer) in the English anime. (Hiroyuki Takei mentioned Manta's character was modelled after Japanese pop singer T.M.Revolution in an interview published in the March 2004 English language issue of Shonen Jump.).
For a more complete list, see:List of Characters in Shaman King
- Samurai that died during the Muromachi period 600 years ago - now is Yoh's ghost companion. He is very powerful and wise but quite taciturn and extremely devoted to "Lord Yoh" ("Yō-dono" in Japanese). He was greatly known around the town of Funbari, where he had died 600 years prior after killing several hundred other samurai soldiers during a battle. He is the original handler of the legendary sword named "Harusame", meaning "Spring Rain", a sword forged by his best friend, Mosuke, who also appeared in the anime/manga as a spirit. This very same sword was reproduced as a "spirit sword" and used by Asakura Yoh during the Shaman Fight. The original was kept in a museum. His name is based on the Buddha Amitabha, the principal figure in the Pure Land Buddhist sect.
- Hao's spirit guardian, formerly was the sacred symbol of the Patch Tribe until Patch Hao took it for his own 500 years ago. The spirit's flames served as Hao's way of killing off shamans who failed him or those who refused to rally for his cause. The Spirit of Fire can increase its own power by eating spiritually-enhanced humans and other spirits. As seen in the Anime, it can change its form to any one element according to the 5 elements found in the unity star.
- "Furyoku" is a term used to determine the measure of sixth sense a person possesses. This can be increased by having a near-death experience such as when Yoh went into the dark cave to train. More Furyoku means more control over one's spirit and more powerful forms of oversoul. With this power, a shaman can produce an over soul. In the English manga, it is "Mana".Manjien (万辞苑 Manjien) / Mantannian Dictionary (English manga only)
- The "Mantannian Dictionary" is a "Dictionary/ Encyclopedia/ Compendium of all human knowledge" that Manta frequently consults to find information on people, cultures, and other subjects. The book's Japanese name blends "Manta" with the "Kōjien" (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary. In the English anime, the book is either not given a name or it is called a "ghost story book" or "book about shamans" that Morty carries around.Sacred Souls ('Seirei-class' in English Manga)
- The classification for spirits who have existed for 500 years or more and whose souls have shed their physical attachment to achieve their purest form. Sacred--or 'higher'--spirits are more appropriately ghosts who have ascended beyond their ego, enabling them to assume any form or shape freely. After this "ascending", the spirit does not have to become stronger since this is the highest form of power. Only the shaman has to train and grow stronger.