Title: Shaman King vol 1 - A Shaman in Tokyo (of 32)
UK Distributor: VIZ Media
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Suggested Retail Price (SRP): $7.95
Number of Pages: 199
Reviewed: 9th May 2004
Reviewer: Tom (Webmaster)
Part of the excellent weekly Shonen Jump, Shaman King
is one of the lesser known titles of the most popular publication but should not
be easily overlooked as it offers just as much entertainment as its fellow
Yoh Asakura is a Shaman who comes to Tokyo to approve his abilities in
communicating with the spirits, which only Shamans and good-hearted people can
see. Because of this he spends most of his time hanging around the
cemetery, which the unsuspecting Manta Oyamanda decides to take a shortcut
through one night. This leads to Manta witnessing Yoh channelling spirits
in order to kick out punks who have taken over the cemetery. Yoh and Manta
become unlikely friends who help end a samurai spiritís suffering and in return
the samurai becomes Yohís fighting companion.
Unlike most action manga which explain the plot well after the start, Shaman
Kingís opening chapter is a good mix of great action and a well-explained
plot which does not leave the reader confused. Unfortunately the plot is
explained a little too much as it is told from the point of view of the
sceptical Manta who always explains exactly what shamatic ability Yoh is using,
often more then once. Although it is understandable that Manta has not
witnessed such magical feats before, but he explains the definition of a shaman
about seven times in the opening chapters alone. From then on he becomes
one of those characters that just does nothing other then telling the hero not
to put himself in danger, but the hero does anyway and is victorious.
The gripe with Manta is bearable though and if you can see past it you will no
doubt find Shaman King entertaining. Unlike itís fellow Shonen Jump
companion Yu-Gi-Oh! It does not show signs of repetitiveness due to the
closing chapters which are an action-packed confrontation with the evil rival
shaman Ren. Although this story does bear similarities to Pokťmon (Ren:
you treat ghosts as friends? Ha ha ha! Ghosts are tools!) this it
thankfully not lingered upon too much to detract to make you think that you are
reading a different manga.
Other then a few gripes Shaman King is good straightforward fun that
never takes itself too seriously. Think Dragonball mixed with
Yu-Gi-Oh! and you will come up with the kind of manga Shaman King is.
Easy to understand, great action, a wide variety of fighting companions and a
Best Bit: When Ren performs Basonís Vorpal
Dance for the first time.
Worst Bit: When it is explained what a shaman
is for the twenty-eighth time.