Hao Asakura (麻倉葉王 Asakura Hao, also written as ハオ Hao), known as Zeke Asakura in the English anime, is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Shaman King. His seiyu is Minami Takayama, and his voice actor is Sebastian Arcelus.
Hao Asakura is the main antagonist and the ancestor, twin brother and previous incarnation of Yoh Asakura, the main protagonist. The original Asakura Hao from 500 years ago was re-incarnated in the two of them.
A powerful shaman of the Asakura clan, he strived to become Shaman King one thousand years prior to the start of the story. He had mastered all the arts and techniques of Onmyoudou, including the ability to see the future, use reishi (soul sight), command powerful spirits and allow and control the circumstances of reincarnation.
Hao had the Reishi (a form of telepathy that allows the user to see the hearts of others), but he could not control the limit of the power. Because he lived in a time of war, disease, and famine (the Heian period), he attempted to help others with his powers. However, he began to see the darker side of human nature as he discovered through his reishi that those he helped were jealous and afraid of his power, and convinced them that he was evil.
His heart became consumed with hatred for humanity and began to plot the destruction of humanity by becoming Shaman King. He believes that by doing so, the planet and other animals that humans abused would be saved. In this time, he also allowed people to worship him as god, and appears to have developed a superiority complex, regarding all other beings as his inferiors; a belief made more dangerous by his ability to back up this claim.
Hao is by far the most powerful and talented shaman who has ever lived. In his original life, he was already the strongest shaman of his day, but since learning the ways of reincarnation, he has become a truly powerful being, his strength many hundreds—perhaps many thousands—of times greater than his nearest rivals. Both the Shaman Council and his descendant's—in both the Asakura family and Silva's tribe—fear him greatly. They have sought to bar him from the Shaman tournament, but know this is impossible, in part because he distracts the brutal rival Shaman faction the X-Laws, but mainly because if they tried to stop him, they know they would have no way of winning. Being the strongest shaman, Hao has a furyoku of 1,250,000.
In some chapters in the series, the relationship between Anna and Hao, he seemed to have feelings for her apparently because he was amused by her strong powers, personality and beauty. It has been said that Anna was his type once. Although Hao states that Anna is the only person he trusts,(chapter 250), and he was serious of telling her she will be his bride.
He chose to be reborn 500 years later, in time for the next Shaman Fight. His new incarnation was as one of the Patch, the clan that organizes the Shaman Fight. During this time, he obtained the Spirit of Fire, the honor and symbol of the Patch tribe. With his new ghost, Hao conquered many enemies with ease, including the five Seminoa warriors sent to stop him. He once again projected his idea of a shaman world, but was rejected by the shamans he was trying to promote. Though he was ultimately killed once more, by Asakura Yohken with the assistance of Matamune (his former loyal companion) using the Futsu no Mitama (the Antiquity in the English anime), a sword of spirits, and the Senhachijuu (only in the anime), a set of 1080 prayer beads containing powerful spirits of the Asakura family. In the manga, the 1080 beads were not used as they were created from the spirits that formed the demon that Anna summoned, and so clearly the 1080 had not existed back then. Hao came very close to winning the shaman tournament, and was able to demonstrate the capacity of his power, becoming very infamous to shamans world wide. Despite the fact he died before becoming Shaman King, he achieved his goal of capturing the legendary Spirit of Fire for use as his guardian spirit in his next life.
At one point, he also shows great interest in Ren, asking him to join his team. Ren refuses, and Hao does not bring up the subject again until the final battle in the anime. He states that Ren's temper is suitable for his power, "as expected of someone I once had my eyes on."
Hao constantly keeps an eye on Yoh or sends his men or women to do his bidding in an effort to make Yoh stronger so that when he and Yoh "become one", Hao won't be pulled back by Yoh's weakness. The reason for this is that Yoh is actually Hao's reincarnation- part of Hao's original soul was reincarnated as Yoh, so Hao wants to merge their souls eventually so he can become whole again, and much more powerful.
Near the end of the series, there are some differences that should be noted: In the Japanese version of the anime, Hao is disgusted with Yoh due to his "Everything will work out" attitude. In addition, he says that he has more than enough power ever since the Spirit of Fire consumed Shamash, so he no longer needs Yoh. However, he still consumes Yoh's soul because he considers him an eyesore. In the English dub, Hao says that Yoh's true purpose is to join forces with him so that they can take the Great Spirits (King of Spirits in the English dub), and since Yoh refuses, he consumes his soul, but not before hinting that he would've spared Yoh had he just "fulfilled his destiny".
As he is being born into his second incarnation, Yohmei Asakura attempts to assassinate him, but hesitates at the last moment. The moment of hesitation is enough as the Spirit of Fire appears and takes Hao away forcefully. In the fight that ensues, Mikihisa Asakura, Yoh and Hao's father, is permanently disfigured, and has to wear a mask at all times. While the Asakuras had failed to prevent Hao from attempting to becoming Shaman King, the birth of Yoh brought hope that Hao would finally be defeated. After this time Hao also recruits a number of powerful shaman and each forms divisional groups ending with the word -gumi. These groups include:
Hao Asakura, Luchist Lasso, and Opacho
Marion Phauna, Maltida Matisse, and Kanna Bismarch
Peyote Diaz, and "Yoneda Zen and Sugimoto Ryou", otherwise known as Boz (Or in the dubbed series, the flying zen brothers)
Han Zang Ching, Big Guy Bill, and Mohammad Tabharish
Boris Tepes Dracula, Yamada Kouji, and Blocken Maiya
Hao is Yoh's identical twin, who is a small part of Hao, and he has regained a body with the powerful blood of the Asakura lineage. The relationship between Yoh and Hao is not unlike that of Eriol Hiiragizawa and Fujitaka Kinomoto (see Cardcaptor Sakura), in that only one of the two characters inherits all of the power and memories of their past lives.
His guardian spirit is the Spirit of Fire. However, because of the Spirit's journey back from hell, it lost much of its power, which it regained by consuming other souls. By the time of the Shaman Fight, the Spirit of Fire is only very slightly less powerful than 500 years before, which is visible in the scene where Hao destroys the Seminoa warriors.
In the anime, Hao forcefully subjects the Great Spirits to his will, gaining unimaginable power in the process. The Spirit of Fire morphs and its new form easily defeats all of Yoh's group in a single attack. Yoh, who had just broke out of his prison and nearly beat Hao a moment ago, was now easily defeated by Hao, now practically unstoppable. However, eventually every single shaman in the world donates their furyoku, or what is left of it, to Yoh, and he achieves an ultimate oversoul that uses furyoku to recreate a body for both the Spirit and the Shaman. Hao and Yoh continue to struggle, until finally Hao is defeated by the combined power of the world, and the holy land of the stars disintegrates around the shamans.
However in the manga, Hao does eventually become Shaman King and it is during this period that he loses the Spirit of Fire (obtained by Lyserg) for the ultimate power, the great spirit itself. Though Yoh and his team were on the path to stopping him while he slept to merge with the great spirit, the manga abruptly ended due to its cancellation from Shonen Jump and no definite ending was released, but its assumed Yoh defeated him. With the return of the series in Japan in 2008 (two reprinted volumes scheduled for release each month, totalling up to the re-release of 27 condensed volumes with new coverart), the definite ending between the decisive battle will be revealed.
Hao's original abilities of a Taijitu master from his first life gives him full control over the elements and divination powers. He is not only able to manipulate the five elements of nature, fire, earth, wood, metal, and water materially, but also spiritually as shown when he converts the spirit of fire into the spirit of water. Even without the spirit of fire, Hao possesses great elemental and divination abilities and can easily bend oni and demigods to his will. However with the addition of the Spirit of Fire, one can only assume that he can greatly amplify the circular properties of his art by using the spirit of fire as a power source. However, the spirit of fire uses mostly physical attacks, and on occasion its fire attributes. Since Hao is fond of the element fire, he is rarely seen using his taijitu arts in both the manga and the anime. Nevertheless, the combination that his Onmyōdō abilities and the Spirit of Fire forms definitely gives him an oversoul second in power only to one with the great spirit.
This is the ability to read the hearts of others. Whilst in some ways a useful ability, it is incredibly hard to control, with the end result that Hao was constantly inundated with the thoughts of those surrounding him. As a result, his contempt for the human race grew until he sought to create a world of only shamans.
Taizanfukun is the ancient Chinese name for the King of Hell, who judges the dead and decides their fate. It is through this technique that Hao was able to be reborn 500 years later as one of the Patch, and then again 500 years later.
An attack similar to that of Yoh's Shinkuu Buddha Giri (Celestial Slash).
Hao's form of armor oversoul, it is first shown in chapter 233 when he used it to defend himself from a laser shot by a X-Law satellite. Like other armor oversouls, the power of Kurobina is immense as shown when Hao personally destroyed a fleet of battle ships sent from Manta's father. In this form, Hao is able to hover and fly in the air while also being able to fire immense blasts using the shuttle packs on his back.