For those of us who are unfamiliar with the title, Shaman King was originally a manga series that received an anime adaptation twenty years ago in 2001. We are now celebrating twenty years since the first Shaman King anime with a reboot – a retelling of the same story with a brand-new look and feel. We watched episode 1 and have a few things to say about this return of an old title, especially in this age of reboots and commemorations. So, let’s get to it and talk about the deal with Shaman King (2021)! While we are aware of the title’s predecessor, we have gone the route of diving into this new installment of Shaman King with fresh eyes – our Honey’s Writer has only read the very first chapter of the original manga!
An Old-School Shounen
One of the best things about Shaman King (2021)’s first episode is that it has a similar feel to early 2000s Shounen anime with its pacing, mood, and characters. It felt like a quintessential call to adventure and had much of the forward-facing, positive energy of Shounen back then. It feels somewhat like a title geared more towards younger people; however, the appeal of that is the nostalgia of watching such a show, especially the reboot of a title that aired when we were all much younger. We have the standard “power of friendship” trope, humour, but also an interesting take on a well-known concept. The supernatural element of this show will be its greatest asset, for sure.
The fact that it’s reminiscent of older shows is a testament to its possible brilliance as a reboot of one such early 2000s Shounen – it’s just too early to tell how good a reboot it will be. The battle scenes in this show are extra hype and it's exciting to see what kind of journey this will be at the end of it. With 52 episodes scheduled, having Shaman King to look forward to every week for a year will bring back memories of being a child and catching DBZ, Pokémon, or Yu-Gi-Oh! on television.
Awesome Art Direction
Shaman King (2021) looks like a contemporary version of its predecessor, so it maintains the overall visual aesthetic that it had back in 2001, at least when it comes to the characters. The designs are so unique and with vibrant, flowing animation from this decade, it is gorgeous to look at, and this was just the first episode. Contemporary anime has developed a sense of same-face in recent times and it’s beautiful to see a show stand out based on character designs alone.
Is it much too soon to be excited about what Shaman King (2021) is going to bring? Perhaps. However, the first episode was promising and fans of Shounen anime are going to have a blast watching this story unfold. Fans of the original anime will enjoy seeing it revamped for today’s audience, and those who have never experienced any part of the Shaman King franchise will get to see a part of anime history that they may have missed in their childhoods. In this age of reboots and revivals, Shaman King (2021) stands to be a worthwhile ride and we are very excited to see where it all leads. What did you think of the first episode of Shaman King (2021)? Drop a comment below and tell us your thoughts!