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Title: Kung Fu Master
Series: Shaman King #2
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Copy
Yoh survives his battle with Ren but ends up in a coma for 3 days in the hospital. He has flashbacks to when his grandfather was training him and we the audience learn all about The Shaman King. Yoh wakes up and a girl named Anna walks into his room, abuses Manta, claims she is Yoh’s fiance and then states that’ll she be training Yoh over the summer. Fast forward 3 months, school is starting and Yoh and Manta think things have settled down, only to find that Anna has transferred to their class. Those poor guys.
Ryu, ie, Pompadour Man, and his gang of hooligans finally find their happy place, only to have it taken over by Ren. Ren’s big sister Jun shows up and promises him she’ll get him Amidamaru. She sets up a battle between her and her corpse ghost and Yoh and Amidamaru. The Tao’s had a super skilled martial artist killed and Jun has been using him, one Lee Bailong [think Bruce Lee]. Bailong beats the crap out of Yoh and Anna just watches to see if Yoh is strong enough to eventually be the Shaman King. Manta goes and confronts Wooden Sword Ryu, beats the crap out of him with a dictionary and steals his wooden sword. This allow Amidamaru to defeat Bailong.
Unfortunately, an uncontrolled Bailong goes full spirit berserk and starts trying to kill Yoh, even though Yoh just set him free from Jun’s control. Anna, who can control any ghost in existance, calls forth Bailong’s old Master and he integrates with Yoh. Old Master/Yoh have a good chat with Bailong while beating him senseless for being such a stupid student.
Everyone comes to their senses and its all happy smiles and thumps on the shoulder. Bailong wants to perfect his martial art and so goes along with Jun so he can continue to use his body. Yoh learns his limits and realizes he has to get a whole lot better if he hopes to become the Shaman King.
This was a very good blend of humor, kick butt fighting scenes and info dumping. I have to admit, when Yoh was flashbacking to his 4year old self and he asks if Jesus was a Shaman King, I could only picture a “Ninja Jesus” complete with throwing stars and katana.
The introduction of Anna is a good choice, as at this point she’s tougher than Yoh and can make him do the stuff he needs to, unlike Manta. Poor Manta. Anna beats on him like a ragdoll. Yet he shows his devotion to Yoh by getting the wooden sword from Ryu.
Poor Ryu. He has the worlds most awesome pompadour and it just keeps getting cut off. He’s definitely going to be a “punk with a heart of gold” kind of character.
The fight scene with Lee Bailong was just right. That is the nice thing about earlier books in a shonen fighting manga like this, everyone isn’t ridiculously overpowered yet so the battles can’t stretch out for multiple volumes. We also learn a lot about the various types of shamans and that not everybody is going to be like Yoh.
One thing I found very interesting, and I might really be reading too much into it, is that both Anna, as Yoh’s family appointed fiance, and Jun, as Ren’s older sister, don’t want to be the top Shaman themselves. At this point, both of the females are stronger than the male characters but they evince zero interest. I’m going to just say that the simplest explanation fits and let it go at that.
Happy so far with this. Much more enjoyable than Oh My Goddess and I suspect that having a goal for the series, for Yoh to become the Shaman King, helps keep the manga-ka focused.