Show Talk: Shaman King (2021)

Shaman King was one of my favorite series growing up and was really excited to hear it was getting reboot in 2021. The new animated series was picked up by Netflix and was released early this month and even though Season 1 (which has 13 episodes) is available, I wanted to give my impression after watching the first 4 episodes. I’ll do my best to keep it spoiler free though talking about a series that is 20 plus years old may make it a bit hard, but I will mainly focus, or try to, focus on the quality of the show and not get into the story bits for now. So, let’s talk a bit about the history of the series and what it is about.

For those who don’t know, Shaman King was created by Hiroyuki Takei and was first published in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1998 until 2004 with first run of animated series was in 2001 and released in the U.S. in 2003. Shaman King follows a young shaman, a being able to talk and interact with spirits, named Yoh Asakura as he trains for and takes part of a tournament to become the Shaman King, someone who will have the power to change the world. This was very interesting as shamans are something that was part of multiple cultures across the world and the show did a decent job of showcasing that. That was a very brief background on the series, but how does the new series hold up.

So far, it looks and sounds good. Animation wise it looks good, haven’t had too many crazy fight scenes yet, but it is still early. The English voice acting has been good, I feel the voices matches the characters very well and have great deliveries. Which leads us to the storytelling and I’m a bit conflicted on it. For me, the pacing of the episodes just doesn’t feel right. I feel that there are details missing or misplaced so the flow of the episode feels off. For example, in the one episode I watch the group went to an event but it wasn’t revealed until after it, the reason they went was because they were sent tickets for it by a mysterious person. Also, it just cut over to them at the event with no other build up, so I thought it was them just taking a break and instead it was a setup for introducing a new conflict. I feel part of this is due is trying to add a certain amount of world building into a single episode rather than expand it across a couple of episodes. I’m hoping once the tournament starts things will be smoothed out but probably not likely.  

That is what I think of the show so far. I do plan on finishing season 1 and give my opinion on that. Supposedly this will have 4 seasons so it will be interesting to see what they plan to accomplish this season. And with that, thank you for taking the time to read this and until next time; Stay Safe, Be Kind and Game On!

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