“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it...”
In a nutshell
Our world is not as simple as it might seem; many souls of dead people are crawling in it every day. Some of them are nice even in their afterlife, being forced to stay in the world of living because of a regret that still bounds them. Among them there are also evil spirits, who even after their death are not going to change their way of living, waiting for an opportunity to possess someone. Not many are able to see these guests that overstayed for way too long. Those who can are called shamans. Of course, when a minority has a power that a majority has never had and simply just cannot comprehend, this causes discrimination and fear of shamans that has remained for many many years. However, even though shamans are discriminated against, every 500 years shamans from all over the world have the right to join a prestigious tournament, where the winner is crowned the Shaman King, who can reshape the world however they want.
The story is very simple, however, it has quite a number of things for the viewer to think of. Indeed, at first glance, there is an easy-going shaman Asakura Yoh. He is a loner, because, well, would not you be afraid of someone like him, if you were to meet such a person? He meets Oyamada Manta, a nerd that can also see dead people and even becomes friends with him, then the two of them meet more and more people, even the future wife of Yoh. Yoh with his friends join the tournament to become the Shaman King and to live life without problems. However, during the tournament he meets a shaman that is completely insane and wants to kill every living human and it might seem that it is just the whole story. Would not you call it just childish? Of course, it is childish. The problem is, it is a mistake of the first anime adaptation of Shaman King that neglected a number of things from the manga. Allow me to explain why Shaman King is not just ‘a battle shounen’ about some shaman, who wants to make new friends.
The main idea of Shaman King is actually very obvious, yet it might be difficult to understand it on your first Shaman King watch. It also explains the reason why the main antagonist of Shaman King wants to kill all people and even some Shamans. And believe me, there is the reason for him to want it. Of course, spoilers are a huge no-no, but one of the reasons has already been mentioned in my review and the other reason is that humans are nothing but an illness, a virus that can only be cured if destroyed completely. With every single year, humans develop new technologies, they are distancing themselves from the nature and spirits, hardly anything useful is created, however, plenty of things are destroyed and can never be brought back again. By the way, about something that cannot be ever returned back to you, think about it, this might help you understand the main antagonist of Shaman King. Anyways, there are still many things to say, but I will leave them for you to discover. In the end, all I wanted to say is that Shaman King (2001) went the wrong way, because it decided to neglect some very important things from the manga, which made Shaman King (2001), I am not afraid of that word, childish. Truth be told, Shaman King is not childish; Shaman King has one of the best stories ever. Take for example the fact that the author takes what different cultures think about spirits and weaves it into the plot and let us be honest here, it is done pretty well. And finally, the main message of the story is that we, people, are afraid of anything new, always discriminating against each other, never ending wars, propaganda that only makes us hate each other more and more. This cycle will never end and this is what the manga of Shaman King tries to imply. Will Shaman King (2021) follow the manga? Time will tell. But if it does, believe me, this will be worth your while.
The new animation looks very cool, because it successfully saves the old feeling of Shaman King (2001). Character designs are really amazing, it feels like the author paid enough attention to each and every of their characters, trying to make them be more appealing for the viewer. Battle scenes are also very spectacular.
Character wise, Shaman King, too, has a number of things to offer. Take for example the fact that Shaman Kings has shamans from all the parts of the world: native Americans, Japanese, Germans, Chinese and many more. Obviously, they all have their reasons to win the tournament: revenge, money, resurrect the loved one, reshape the world and many many more. Asakura Yoh, as the protagonist of Shaman King, looks like a guy that wants to enjoy his life. But if you think more of it, everything is not that easy and the boy has a rather tragic fate. And he is not the only one, there are also many shamans that had it very hard in their lives and are struggling to keep on living. For them, the title of the Shaman King is the only way to keep on going. Long story short, the amazing thing about Shaman King is that it does not focus only on Yoh Asakura, but actually pays enough time for other characters, even supporting characters have more than enough time to shine and this makes Shaman King that amazing: every character has their reason to become the Shaman King; it is not just some random ‘friend making battle shounen,’ it is the anime that shows you the nature of people, something that was done well in the manga and hopefully would be done in Shaman King (2021).
This might be kind of a vague review and, honestly, I would love to touch upon other things, but spoilers are spoilers, so I have no other option but to be as vague as possible. All I can tell you is that Shaman King (2001) and Shaman King (manga) are pretty different. Shaman King (2001) is just a childish anime, Shaman King (manga) is something that I would not call childish. Long story short, if Shaman King (2021) gets the manga ending, I will rate Shaman King (2021) 10/10, if it gets, however, the same ending as in (2001), I will change my overall score to 4/10. Time will tell.
10/10 for now. Will stay like that, if it gets themy manga ending;
4/10 if it gets the same ending as in Shaman King (2001).
All in all, I love Shaman King. Now I am able to see the story of Shaman King differently, I can finally understand that Shaman King is not just some anime about making friends, but actually a story that has a lot of meaning. And when you understand that ‘hidden’ meaning, you will be able to see Shaman King in a different light and perhaps even appreciate it a little bit more.