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Ryunosuke Umemiya (梅宮 竜之介 Umemiya Ryūnosuke), usually called "Wooden Sword" Ryu (木刀の 竜 Bokutō no Ryū), is a fictional character in the anime and manga Shaman King. In the English anime, his name is Rio. A direct translation of his nickname reads "Dragon of the Wooden Sword". He was born on December 24, 1980. He is a Capricorn and has the blood type O. His appearance may be based on the members of the band Leningrad Cowboys, must notably his hair and shoes.[1]


He usually wears exaggerated 1970s fashion: white suits and dark shirts with oversized collars, cuffs and lapels, plus pointy shoes. His battle outfit consists of a vest-styled shirt that exposes his stomach and pants that occasionally puff out above the ankles. His crowning glory is a foot-long pompadour, which keeps getting lopped off by Yoh Asakura and others. Ryu's nickname comes from the fact he carries a wooden sword, or bokutō. In the English anime, he has a Hispanic accent.


Ryu in the beginning of Shaman King is a gang leader who is always on the lookout for the Best Place (The Happy Place in the English manga and The Sacred Hang in the English anime; His gang is known as the Dead Enders in the English anime).

In the manga, he is seen to first have a grudge against Yoh for slicing his hair off (this is a running gag throughout the first part of the series) and then discovers that Yoh has a fiancee, after trying to 'woo' Anna Kyoyama.[2] He goes off to his gang's new 'Best Place' which is the run down Funbari Bowl, where he breaks down and believes the 'Headphones Kid', is ruining his life.[3] He gets possessed by Tokagero who offers him a chance for revenge and kill Yoh.[4] At the same time, Tokagero is wanting revenge on Amidamaru. The possessed Ryu breaks into the museum, and steals Harusame, at the same time kidnapping Manta.[5]

He confronts Yoh and Amidamaru, and orders Amidamaru to integrate with his master so they can fight.[6] He tricks Amidamaru into attacking Harusame and fights back with a technique called Tokage Kenpo (Lizard Style).[7] Tokagero mocks Amidamaru saying that the same blade that was supposed to save him will take his life instead this time. After remembering how much Harusame was important, Amidamaru breaks Harusame and Tokagero is surprised.[8] Yoh says that Tokagero had already lost, because of Amidamaru's long life commitment to his friend Mosuke. He tells him that he should rest in peace and move on.[9] Tokagero refuses and says he'll die and Amidamaru with him. Ryu's gang then attack him, and say that they don't want Ryu to become a scumbag, and they'll always be friends with Ryu no matter what happens.[10]

Soon after, Tokagero pulls out a knife and tries to kill Ryu, but the painful stress of two souls in one body makes him unable to control Ryu body, he discover that if he doesn't leave Ryu's body than Ryu will die, but Tokagero pretty comfortable with that.[11] Having no other option, Yoh offers Tokagero to possess him, which he does. After saying it was foolish, Tokagero tries to kill Yoh, but realises that he can't do that and he is lectured again on how important trust is and being alone was painful for him, and after receiving trust from Yoh he doesn't need to take revenge, because he realised that revenge wasn't something he needed in the first place.[12] This ends this struggle, and later Tokagero becomes Ryu's guardian ghost.


The anime generally follows the first part of Ryu and Yoh's first confrontation, but Ryu becomes friends with Yoh after he saves his life from Tao Ren, then repays the debt by taking him to the hospital to treat his injuries. Ryu then later moves into Yoh's home, and starts doing chores for Anna. After seeing Yoh train so hard, Ryu thinks to himself that he isn't worth much to the house, and leaves the place. In the same scene in the abandoned bowling alley, he is possessed by Tokageroh, who offers to help him become a better shaman. The confrontation is the same in the manga, with some scenes toned down and changed a little.

Ryu comes off as being not too bright, and really thinks more about girls and his "'do" than anything else; however, he is quite deep and philosophical and turns out to be a magnificent shaman after awakening his latent abilities. He later gets a spirit ally, Tokagero. Ryu's goal in the English anime is to be Shaman King so he can get a 'First Lady' or 'Shaman Queen' to call his own. In the manga and the Japanese anime, Ryu's goal is simply to support Yoh Asakura in becoming the Shaman King. He also has affection towards young Lyserg Diethel, always looking out for him even after he leaves Yoh's group to join the X-Laws, also having romantic interest in him before finding out that he was a guy. He's also shown interest on Millie from The Lily Five.

In the sequel manga Funbari no Uta, he accompanies Hana Asakura (the son of Yoh and Anna) to look for the legendary warriors.

Weapons & Techniques

Ryu is always seen carrying a wooden sword with him. After becoming a shaman, he uses this as his primary weapon while fighting alongside Tokagero. He gains the power to use Oversoul with training from Yohmei and Mikihisa, also learning a power called Yamata no Orochi. Later, Ryu achieves Giant Oversoul, called Yamata no Orochi Go and Armor Oversoul, called Sashimi Bouchou Susanorou (Sashimi Cleaver Susano'ou). He gets a new bokuto carved from the god wood Shin-Boku in Volume 12 and demonstrates this while fighting Boris Tepes Dracula. It is named Ame no Murakumo.

So far Ryu has shown only two moves. These attacks are a powerful sword slash named Hell Dragon, Crimson Lizard which cleaves the opponent in half and Ultra Sabaki a more powerful version of the previous more in which he slashes his opponent in half vertically then proceeds to slash then several times horizontally all in the blink of an eye thus leaving them in pieces.

In the Manga, Ryu exhibits a "Big Thumb" oversoul, somehow magically calling a trucker named Billy to give the group a ride in the American midwest. In the Anime, the oversoul is used often, and Billy and Ryu develop a relationship of "Road Brothers". Billy remarks that Ryu resembles the "Legendary Hitchhiker" from local legend.


  1. Shaman King manga; Volume 1; page 202.
  2. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; pages 20 & 21.
  3. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 24.
  4. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 29.
  5. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; pages 40 & 45
  6. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 58 & 59.
  7. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; pages 63 & 64.
  8. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 87 & 89.
  9. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 91 & 92.
  10. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; pages 100-102.
  11. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 112.
  12. Shaman King manga; Volume 3; page 140.

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