Shaman King (シャーマンキング Shāman Kingu?) was a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei. Shaman King follows the adventures of Yoh Asakura as he attempts to hone his shaman skills to become the Shaman King in the Shaman tournament.
Shaman King was serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1998 and 2004 and has been collected in thirty-two tankōbon volumes. Since its publication, Shaman King has spawned a substantial media franchise. The manga has been adapted into an animated television series produced by Xebec and co-produced by TV Tokyo. The series has also spawned numerous video games, a trading card game as well as many types of Shaman King-related merchandise. During the Jump Festa 2008, Shueisha announced a kanzenban reprint of the entire series. The series is called Shaman King Kanzen-Ban, or Perfect Edition.
4Kids Entertainment obtained foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Shaman King anime on May 15, 2003. Fox Box began airing Shaman King in the United States on August 30, 2003. Viz Media licensed the manga for English-language publication in the United States and Canada and has released thirty-one volumes as of November 2010 as well as published chapters of Shaman King in its Shonen Jump magazine since March 2003.
Manta Oyamada, a shrimpy, studious middle-school student from Tokyo, attempts a shortcut one night through the graveyard to get home after a late night of cram school. While travelling 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 world of the living and the world of the dead. Yoh also demonstrates Shamans' ability to unite with ghosts to achieve a shared goal. Quickly after meeting one another, Yoh and Manta become best friends while Yoh uses his shamanic abilities to help them out through various tasks.
The Shaman Fight is a battle held once every 500 years between competing shamans to choose a winner who will become the highly sought-after "Shaman King", one who is able to contact the Great Spirit (the spirit that every soul will eventually go back to). The winner gains the ability to reshape the world in any way they want. Anna Kyoyama, Yoh's fiancée, soon enters the picture and prescribes a brutal training regimen, in order to prepare Yoh for the tournament. Thus begins the plot that will lead Yoh on a journey that will lead him to befriend Ryu, Tao Ren, Horohoro, Faust VIII, Lyserg Diethel, and Joco.
During the Shaman Fight, Yoh encounters Hao Asakura, a strong shaman who wishes to eradicate humans and create a world for shamans. At the end of the shaman battles where the remaining teams consist of Yoh and his friends, the X-Laws, and Hao's team, the remaining teams decide to forfeit the tournament crowning Hao the title of Shaman King. As Hao is led away, they decide to attack Hao during the time he is merging with the great spirit which is in a coma. To do so, Yoh and his friends must defeat The Patch Tribe members who are obliged to serve under the new Shaman King.
Once defeating the ten Patch members, Hao is awakened as the Shaman King. He defeats Yoh and all his friends and absorbs their souls. Inside the Great Spirit, Yoh, Ren, Horohoro, Lyserg, and Joco battle Hao with the five legendary spirits; The Spirit of Earth, the Spirit of Thunder, the Spirit of Rain, Spirit of Fire and the Spirit of Wind. When associates of Yoh and his friends begin appearing in the Great Spirit, it is revealed the Great Spirit granted Hao's wish so someone may bring back his mother's spirit. With Anna's help, Hao's mother is brought to the Great Spirit. Hao's mother tells him he must forgive the Humans for murdering her in order to be saved. Hao decides to postpone his plan to eradicate humans and to observe how Yoh and his friends will change the world.
Seven years later, Hana Asakura awaits at a station for the five legendary warriors and his parents, Yoh and Anna.
The chapters of Shaman King were written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei. They were published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1998 to 2004. The 285 chapters were collected into 32 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. The first volume was released on December 3, 1998, and volume 32 on January 5, 2005. Only 31 volumes were released once the publication ended, and the release of volume 32 (meant to be published on December 3, 2004) was delayed. Shueisha reported they would only publish volume 32 if they receive evidence of demand from approximately 50,000 people.
During the Jump Festa 2008, Shueisha announced a kanzenban reprint of the entire series. The series is called Shaman King Kanzen-Ban, or Perfect Edition. This release reprinted the entire series in 27 volumes complete with new clear image overlays on the covers while concluding with the never-before-published "true ending." There are a total of sixteen new chapters which expanded the chapters' numbers to 300. The new finale was also posted on the official Kanzen-Ban website as well as being in print. It also added two chapters showing the fight between Marco and Luchist Lasso which was skipped in the original publication. The first volume was released on March 3, 2008, and volume 27 was published on April 3, 2009.
Viz Media licensed the series for an English-language release in North America, with chapters initially being serialized in the Shonen Jump. It started in the issue 3 from 2003, but stopped as of the September 2007 issue. Viz is also publishing the volumes from the manga first at irregular date and now every two months. Volume 1 was released on September 3, 2003 and as of September 9, 2009[update], 24 volumes have been published by Viz. In the US release, VIZ Media began editing the lips of Joco, an African-American character. The lips are reduced in size to avoid a Blackface stereotype. The language in reprints of early volumes was revised to remove profanity.
Funbari no Uta
Funbari no Uta (ふんばりの詩 The Song/poem of Funbari?) is a spinoff to Shaman King which lasts for five chapters and is set seven years after the end of the manga series. It 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. All five chapter are to be included in volume 32 of the U.S release.
The episodes of the Shaman King anime series are directed by Seiji Mizushima and produced by Xebec. The episodes were aired between July 4, 2001 and September 25, 2002 on TV Tokyo in Japan and spanned sixty-four episodes. 4Kids Entertainment obtained the rights to the Shaman King anime where it premiered on 4Kids network Foxbox on August 30, 2003. The final episode aired on September 3, 2005.
The episodes were collected into sixteen DVD compilations by King Records in Japan and released between October 30, 2001 and January 22, 2003. The DVDs were later collected and released in three box sets between August 27, 2008 and December 25, 2008. As of September 2009, two DVD compilations of the English adaption have been released by Funimation Entertainment released in an uncut form. After delays in the release schedule it was reported in 2005 that the DVD's would be delayed indefinitely.
Two CD soundtracks have been released for the Shaman King anime series. The first soundtrack released was on March 27, 2002 as Shaman King Vocal on Parade, and contains 16 tracks, including the first opening and ending themes in their original television lengths. Shaman King: Melody of the Spirits followed on June 26, 2002 with an additional 20 tracks and the second opening theme Northern lights.
Six character song CDs were released on March 24, 2004 sung by the voice actors as their reprected characters. Three drama CDs have been produced for the series as well, featuring the original voice actors from the series.
Trading card game
A collectible card games (CCG) based on the Shaman King series was produced by Tomy in Japan and released in the U.S by Upper Deck in 2005. Upper Deck originally planned a mass market release of the game for January 2005, however it was later announced that Blockbuster Video would have exclusive rights to sell the game from January 28 to February 15, after which it would released to other retailers. In an interview with Upper Deck's Director of Brand and New Product Development Cory Jones stated that it was due to the television show's underperformance and later cancellation which led to the trading card game being canceled.
Twelve games based on the Shaman King series have been released to date, the first was Shaman King Tyoh Senji Ryakketu Funbari Hen on December 21, 2001. No game's that were developed in Japan have been released outside of that region, however Konami and 4kids Entertainment developed a series of game that were only released in North America and Europe.
Script error The new Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volumes have been ranked in listings of top manga in Japan, as well as volumes of the series beening ranked in listings of top manga in the U.S. In 2008 it was twenty four on ICv2 Insider's Guide: Top 25 Manga Properties of 2008 based sales for the entire year of 2008.
Anime News Network criticized the first volume for relying too heavily on the spirits, stating "It's Takei's misguided focus on them that places the series on the wrong path in the first place." However as the series processed it gained more positive reviews as Mania.com gave a future volume a B rating. Manga Life praises the manga for its characters, commenting that "You have to care about the characters to want to keep following them through every fight. And so far, Shaman King has a great cast of characters to care about."
- Shonen Jump's Shaman King - The official site for the Shaman King English manga.
- Official Shaman King Kanzen-Ban website (Japanese)
- Official anime website (Japanese)
- Upper Deck Shaman King TCG website
- Shaman King (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Shaman King (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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