Shaman King (2021) has been slated for a 52-week run, meaning that we’re getting a full year’s worth of the anticipated reboot to the early-2000s Shounen adventure! At this point, we are only seven weeks into Shaman King (2021)’s journey, so the story hasn’t yet kicked into its highest gear, but we are getting a very healthy helping of old-school Shounen goodness with this series! The series has just about kicked off its version of the age-old Shounen tradition—the tournament arc! With the appearances of the stars Ragoh and Keito, the Shaman Fight begins!
The Shaman Fight is an event that takes place every 500 years, when the paths of the Stars of Destruction, Ragoh and Keito, signal the beginning of a new tournament to determine who is the most suitable candidate of becoming the Shaman King, the conduit between the mortal world and the Great Spirit, or Soul King. The Shaman Fight is officiated by the Patch Tribe, who have been ordained with such a responsibility by the Great Spirit and aim to let everything go according to the will of this primordial entity.
When Asakura Yoh sees the Stars of Destruction cross paths, he is immediately met by Silva of the Patch Tribe, who is an official officiator of the Shaman Fight. The assignment is simple: Yoh must inflict damage upon Silva using any method at his disposal. Should he succeed, then he becomes an official tournament contestant, and someone with an actual chance to become the Shaman King! Yoh and Amidamaru struggle intensely with the battle against Silva, who is armed with four different Over Souls tied to four different objects called Mediums. This fight becomes Shaman King (2021)’s official reveal of the series’ resident power: furyoku.
To have an Over Soul within a Medium, a Shaman must use their furyoku to forcefully combine the spirit they want to use with an object that most closely reflects the main ability they are using it for. To illustrate, Asakura Yoh can perform an Over Soul if he combines Amidamaru with the object that would best bring out Amidamaru’s ability—Amidamaru’s katana, Harusame. When Yoh finally realises this, he commits everything to a final blow together with Amidamaru and resigns himself to fate, whatever it decides. He passes out briefly after clashing with Silva, and while it initially seemed like Yoh missed the only chance he’d ever get to participate in the Shaman Fight, Silva reveals that the young Shaman did in fact manage to have an attack connect against him.
In addition to Yoh making it into the tournament bracket by the skin of his teeth, the end of the fifth episode of Shaman King (2021) shows us a morbid scene. Tao Ren, a Shaman of Chinese origin, had his own Shaman Fight entrance examination; however, given the Tao Clan’s way of doing things, Ren makes quick work of the officiator testing him. He even goes as far as killing him, to Silva’s dismay; however, Silva’s elders in the Patch Tribe tell him that even something as grotesque as the murder of a Shaman Fight judge can be the will of the Great Spirit.
Beaming with pride for his Ainu heritage, Horohoro is an intense, energetic Shaman whose abilities stem from his connection to his culture. The Ainu were an intensely spiritual people who believed in spirits known as “Kamuy”. Horohoro boasts a Koropokkur guardian spirit, which he uses in Over Soul, combining his guardian spirit with his prized snowboard which is capable of levitation and flight. He runs into Yoh, and challenges him to a fight, staking his ambition of becoming Shaman King in the process. Horohoro is passionate because he intends to become Shaman King and save the habitat of the Koropokkur, a mythological spirit from Ainu folklore.
Like any other battle shounen, Shaman King (2021) is raising the stakes after the introductory arc by throwing a tournament into the mix. While we are yet to meet most of the other characters who will most likely participate in the tournament, we have been presented with a dichotomy in the form of the rivalry growing between Tao Ren and Asakura Yoh, as well as their clashing ideals. How the series will develop this and the looming Shaman Fight we’ll have to wait and see, but as people delving into this universe for the first time, it’s slowly becoming recognizable as a Shounen and bringing us further into its world. What do you think of the looming tournament arc in Shaman King (2021)? Drop a comment below and tell us what you think!