Shaman King

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Shaman King
Cover of the first tankōbon released by Shueisha on December 3, 1998.
(Shāman Kingu)
Genre Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Comedy
Written by Hiroyuki Takei
Published by Shueisha
English publisher Australia New Zealand Madman EntertainmentCanada United States Viz Media
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine Canada United States Shonen Jump
Original run 1998 – 2004
Volumes 32 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Seiji Mizushima
Studio Xebec
Licensed by Australia New Zealand Madman Entertainment
Canada United States 4Kids Entertainment (Former)
Network Animax, TV Tokyo
English network Australia Network Ten
Canada YTV
United Kingdom Fox Kids, JetixUnited States FoxBox, 4Kids TV
Original run July 4, 2001 – September 25, 2002
Episodes 64 (List of episodes)
  1. The Documents of the Shaman Fight
  2. (Yūjō no Katachi) The Form that Friendship Takes
  3. (Ai no Katachi) The Form that Love Takes
  4. The Form that Sadness Takes (Tribute for Asakura Hao)
Anime and Manga Portal

Shaman King (シャーマンキング Shāman Kingu?) is 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 Shaman King in the Shaman tournament. Hiroyuki Takei chose shamanism as the main theme as he wanted to choose a topic that has never been done before.

The manga was originally serialized in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1998 and 2004. The series consists of 285 chapters collected in 32 tankōbon volumes. Viz Media licensed the manga for English-language publication in North America and published chapters of Shaman King in its Shonen Jump from March 2003 to August 2007. The manga has been adapted into an animated television series produced by Xebec and co-produced by TV Tokyo. The television series originally aired on Japan’s TV Tokyo network from July 4, 2001 to September 25, 2002. It was later licensed in North America by Viz Media in 2003, where it aired on Fox Box. 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.

In Japan, the Eyeshield 21 manga has been popular, selling over 22 million volumes as of 2007. The manga and anime have been featured, at various time, in Top Ten of their respective media. The Shaman King anime has been watched by a large number of television viewers in Japan. Publications for manga, anime and others have commented on Shaman King manga and had positive comments on the series.



Manta Oyamada, a shrimpy, studious, yet cowardly, 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 Chocolove battle Hao with the five legendary spirits: the Spirit of Earth, the Spirit of Thunder, the Spirit of Rain, the 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.


Before start to work in Shaman King, Takei was one assistant of Nobuhiro Watsuki‘s Rurouni Kenshin,[1] and he said while he was working exchangeded ideas amongst the other assistant.[2] When he worked with Watsuki, he primarily did his work as manga assistant and only work in his own works during the days off.[2] He stated he was influenced by street art from hip-hop and rap culture,[2] and this can be seen in the manga artwork.[3]

He chose shamanism as the principal topic of series because he “wanted to choose a topic that has never been done before”.[4] He stated his “own personality”, and “beliefs have been incorporated into it”.[2] He also commented he has interest in the subject, and “choosing shamanism as the subject of this story seemed like a natural extension of that.”[4] For the title he said used “shaman”, a english word, because “the nuance is really great” and due the fact “is no word in Japanese that accurately carries the meaning of the word “shaman.”[2]

The stories were created by him after the characters, because he thinks the “stories are born because of the existence of the characters”. In other hand, for him “the most important thing [to create a character] is to have originality”.[2] The engagement between Yoh and Anna reflects quite a bit of his own personal experience. Asked “how do shamans of pacifistic religions ever win the Shaman Fight?” he answered that the Shaman Fight is fought using the “Strength of the Soul”.[2] For drawing, he used inks and calligraphy nib type pens. When illustrating, he used Copic brand color markers.[2]

After five years of the finish of the series, when the Shaman King Kanzen-Ban was finished he said “after making the readers waiting so much for this, the last thing I wanted to do was to dissapoint them”. He also stated the thought the ending as a “huge resposability.[5] This edition also served to make “corrections and adjustments” and for Takei it’s was do something from “scracth”.[6]



The chapters of Shaman King were written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei, and were published in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1998 to 2004.[7] The 285 chapter series was collected into 32 tankōbon volumes, the first of which was released on December 3, 1998, and volume 32 on January 5, 2005.[8][9] 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.[7]

During the 2009 Jump Festa, Shueisha announced a kanzenban reprint of the entire series. Called Shaman King Kanzen-Ban, or Perfect Edition, this release reprinted the entire series in 27 volumes, concluding with the never-before-published “true ending” to the series. A total of sixteen new chapters produced for this edition expanded the number of chapters in the series to 300. The new series finale was also posted on the official Kanzen-Ban website in addition to print editions.[10] It also added two chapters showing the fight between Marco and Luchist Lasso which was skipped in the original publication.[11] The first volume was released on March 4, 2008, and volume 27 was published on April 3, 2009.[12][13] Shaman King has also been published as part of the Shueisha Jump Remix series of magazine-style books. Sixteen volumes were released between April 1 and October 28, 2011.[14][15]

On November 2011, Shueisha announced the serialization of a sequel, Shaman King: Flowers (シャーマンキング Flowers Shāman Kingu Furawāzu?), to start in their magazine Jump Kai in April 2012. It will focus on Hana Asakura’s development as a Shaman.[16] On November 2011, a one-shot manga was released named Shaman King: Zero in Jump Kai, with four other one-shots released monthly until the beginning of Shaman King: Flowers.[17] The first tankōbon of Shaman King: Flowers was released on August 10, 2012 and is currently on the second volume, that was released on December 10, 2012.[18][19] Shaman King: Zero was released on a single volume on May 10, 2012.[20]

Viz Media licensed the series for an English-language release in North America, with chapters initially being serialized in the American Shonen Jump. It started in issue 3 in 2003, but stopped serialization in the September 2007 issue.[21][22] Volume 1 was released on September 3, 2003 and volume 32 was released to conclude the series on January 4, 2011.[23][16]

Funbari no Uta

Main article: Funbari no Uta

Funbari no Uta (ふんばりの詩 Funbari Poem?) is a spinoff to Shaman King which lasted for five chapters and is set seven years after the end of the manga series. It features Hana Asakura and his journey with Ryu to find the Five Elemental Warriors for a reunion before the opening of the Funbari Hot Springs Inn. All five chapters were 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.[24] The sixty-four episodes were aired between July 4, 2001, and September 25, 2002, on TV Tokyo in Japan. 4Kids Entertainment obtained the rights to the Shaman King anime where it premiered on 4Kids network Foxbox on August 30, 2003.[25] 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.[26][27] The DVDs were later collected and released in three box sets between August 27, 2008, and December 25, 2008.[28][29] As of September 2009, two DVD compilations of the English adaptation have been released by Funimation Entertainment in an uncut form.[30][31] After delays in the release schedule, it was reported in 2005 that the DVDs would be delayed indefinitely.[32]


The music for the Shaman King anime adaptation was composed by Masafumi Mima.[24] 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 Collection, and contains 16 tracks, including the first opening and ending themes in their original television lengths.[33] Shaman King: Original Soundtrack followed on June 26, 2002, with an additional 20 tracks and the second opening theme “Northern Lights”.[34] Six character song CDs were released on March 24, 2004, sung by the voice actors as their respective characters.[35][36] Three drama CDs have been produced for the series as well, featuring the original voice actors from the series.[37][38][39]

Trading card game

A collectible card games based on the Shaman King series was produced by Tomy in Japan and released in the U.S by Upper Deck in 2005.[40] Upper Deck originally planned a mass market release of the game for January 2005,[41] 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 be released to other retailers.[42] 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.[43]

Video games

Twelve games based on the Shaman King series have been released to date, the first being Shaman King Tyoh Senji Ryakketu Funbari Hen on December 21, 2001. No games that were developed in Japan have been released outside of that region, however Konami and 4kids Entertainment developed a series of games that were only released in North America and Europe.[44][45]

Other merchandise

Two light novels with the story by Hideki Mitsui and art by Hiroyuki Takei was released on December 25, 2001 and August 23, 2002.[46][47] A fanbook titled Shaman King Official Fan Book – Mankin Book (シャーマンキング公式ファンブック「マンキンブック」 Shaman Kingu Kōshiki Fan Bukku – Mankin Bukku?) was released on April 30, 2004.[48] Two guidebooks was released. The first that is based on the original series and is entitled Shaman King Character Book – Manjien (シャーマンキングキャラクターズブック「万辞苑」 Shaman Kingu Kyarakutāzu Bukku – Majien?) was released on June 4, 2002.[49] The other called Shaman King Kazenban Final Official Guide Book Mantarite (シャーマンキング完全版 最終公式ガイドブック マンタリテ Shaman Kingu Kazenban Saishū Kōshiki Gaidobukku Mantarite?), for the kanzenban version of the series, was released exactly seven years later.[50] In Japan, various other kind of merchandise like key chains,[51] action figures,[52] clothing[53] and other toys.[54][55]


The original manga series of thirty-two volumes have sold over 22 million copies in Japan as of 2007.[56] The new Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volumes have been ranked in listings of top manga in Japan,[57] and volumes of the series have been ranked in listings of top manga in the U.S.[58][59] In 2008, it was twenty fourth on ICv2 Insider’s Guide: Top 25 Manga Properties of 2008 based on sales for the entire year of 2008.[60] The anime adaptation has also been featured several times in the Japanese TV ranking,[61][62] with the last one having a rating of 9.5.[63] In 2005, Japanese television network TV Asahi conducted a “Top 100” online web poll and the Shaman King anime adaptation placed forthy-seventh.[64] In Japan, were sold 165 million cards from the Shaman King trading card game.[42]

Justin Freeman from 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.”[65] However, as the series progressed, it gained more positive reviews as gave a later volume a B rating with the reviewer Eduardo Chavez saying that Shaman King is “one of those titles that can hit all the right buttons one volume and the next chapter it could be a complete bore”.[1] Writing for Anime News Network, John Jakala commented that was strucked with the “unique visual style” and noted “the characters are drawn in ‘graffiti-style’ art.”[3] Active Anime described Shaman King as a “vibrant action” with “imaginative plot twists and a creative world of the shaman fighters, Shaman King is a unique and stylish shōnen series.” The reviewer Holly Ellingwood also praised the world of Shaman King, “the concept of the oversouls, the differing styles of the shaman fighters” alogn with the “dinamic” art style and the “appealing characters designs overall”.[66] School Library Journals Cathleen Baxter said that Shaman King has “nonstop action” with “typical shōnen characters and battle styles” the storyline is “easy to follow and will hold the reader’s interest.”[67] The last volume “may leave some readers feeling cheated” said Leroy Douresseaux from Comic Book Bin.[68]


  1. ^ a b Chavez, Eduardo (October 14, 2005). “Shaman King Vol. #07”. Mania. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h “Interview with Hiroyuki Takei”. Tripod. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Jakala, John (February 13, 2003). “Shonen Jump 3 – Review”. Anime News Network. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Aoki, Deb. “Interview: Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei – Page 4”. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
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  29. ^ “シャーマンキング DVD-BOX -哀しみのかたちBOX-“ (in Japanease). Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  30. ^ “Shaman King – A Boy Who Dances With Ghosts (Vol. 1) (2003)”. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  31. ^ “Shaman King 2: Perfect Possession (Unct)”. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  32. ^ “Shaman King DVDs Delayed Indefinitely”. Anime Nation. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  33. ^ “Shaman King Vocal on Parade!!” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  34. ^ “Shaman King: Melody of the Spirits” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  35. ^ “「S.F.O.V」I” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  36. ^ “「S.F.O.V」VI” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  37. ^ “Shaman King Image Album” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  38. ^ “Shaman King: Drama & Character Song Album Osorezan Revoir – Prologue to Shaman” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  39. ^ “Shaman King “Osore-zan Au revoir”” (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  40. ^ “Upper Deck to Release Shaman King CCG”. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  41. ^ “Upper Deck Plans Aggressive CCG Schedule”. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  42. ^ a b “Shaman King TCG Exclusive to Blockbuster”. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  43. ^ “Interview with Upper Deck’s Cory Jones–Part 1r”. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  44. ^ “Shaman King to GBA”. IGN. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  45. ^ “4Kids Licenses Shaman King to Konami”. Anime News Network. December 18, 2003. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  46. ^ “シャーマンキング” (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
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  49. ^ “シャーマンキングキャラクターズブック『万辞苑』” (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
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  53. ^ “コスプレ衣装 シャーマンキング ホロホロ 女性Sサイズ” (in Japanese). Amazon. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
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  65. ^ Freeman, Justin (December 5, 2004). “Shaman King G.novel 1”. Anime News Network. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
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