Shaman King

shaman king screenshot

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

On a dark, stormy night in 1985, Yoh Asakura and his twin brother, Hao, were born. But Hao was not as he seemed; he was an evil, ancient shaman who reincarnated himself, choosing to be reborn on that fateful night. And just when he was about to be destroyed by his own grandfather, who knew of his evil before birth, Hao fled with the Spirit of Fire, far away from his family.

He left behind his twin brother, Yoh, who was destined to become the Shaman King. And Hao vowed that if Yoh succeeded in becoming king, that he would return and defeat Yoh, taking his power and his title.

That was then, and this is now. And now, Hao is in hiding, waiting for the right moment to strike. And 13-year-old Yoh, the hope of the world, is a seemingly normal boy who does his schoolwork, hangs out with his new friend, Manta, and mostly keeps to himself.

But what most do not see is that Yoh is training every day, joining forces with warriors in the spirit realm as he learns just what it will take to become the Shaman king.

Netflix and Manga Continue

Netflix seems to have an endless number of TV shows aimed at teenagers, with new content coming out on a regular basis. And one of those new series’ is the Shaman King.

Based on the popular Japanese manga series of the same name, Shaman King is all about likable middle-schooler Yoh as he learns about himself and his true destiny through daily challenges.

He’s the kind of guy who most would like, and even admire: He defends the defenseless, stands up to bullies, quick to listen and even quicker to understand. And in my book, those are all big positives.

Unfortunately, the show doesn’t just focus on this one character and his likeable traits. What it does spend time on is the spiritual components that often make up a manga series. Yoh, as well as others, are shamans. That means, in this story, that they can tie the physical and spiritual worlds together. They can also integrate their spirits with those who have died. In other words, they allow possession to take place, and in fact need to do so for otherworldly power. They also talk to the dead and interact with them, and other spirits, in the material world. Obviously, these are huge issues. And this worldview, paired with some surprisingly heavy language, questionable outfits, choppy violence and overall heaviness puts this TV-14 series in a category that parents will want to carefully inspect before waving the green flag.

Episode Reviews

Aug. 9, 2021: “The Boy Who Dances with Ghosts.”

Hao Asakura escapes with a spirit after his birth, while Yoh is called the hope of the universe and future Shaman King. Years later, when he’s 13, Yoh meets a friend named Manta and introduces him to the spirit world.

Spiritual material plagues this episode. Viewers learn that a shaman can speak and interact with the dead, as well as allow themselves to be possessed with the spirit of those who have passed. There’s talk about those spirits that “didn’t make it into heaven,” conversations about murder and massacre, and some hand-to-hand combat that takes place between teens and adults. One flashback sees two orphans, starving, sitting next to a skeleton.

Words like “d–mit,” “idiot,” “b–tard,” and “h—” are heard a few times each. A few guys sport open shirts and a girl wears a short skirt.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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