The Over Soul (Shaman King #4) ★★★☆½ (Manga Monday)

oversoul (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Over Soul
Series: Shaman King #4
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

The Patch Tribe have been the overseers for the Shaman Fight for quite some time. Their connection to the Great Spirit allows them to determine if a Shaman is capable of being part of the Shaman Fight. Silva and 9 other Patch overseers are sent to Japan to test various candidates and weed out the failures before hand.

Silva tests Yoh and all Yoh has to do is touch Silva. However, Silva manifests his spirits through totems and his mana (chi) gives them physical form, thus preventing Yoh from simply flinging Amidamaru at him. The test is to determine if Yoh can actually channel his own mana and what strength as a shaman he has. Yoh figures out how to manifest Amidamaru using his sword and is able to land one blow on Silva. Yoh now has a genuine Patch Pager Oracle, which will tell him who to fight, when to fight and any conditions.

Ren Tao also defeats his overseer, but kills the guy. The overseer was a friend of Silva and Silva can’t figure out why Ren is still allowed to continue in the Shaman Fight even though he has demonstrated he is a little psychopathic killer. The rest of the Overseers basically tell Silva to shut up and do what they say.

Yoh has his first fight against a young shaman named Horohoro, who uses a snowboard as his totem. Horohoro has a dream to make all mankind live in harmony with nature and Yoh almost gives up to allow him to proceed. Thankfully, Anna is there and smacks him around and he gets back on track. But now he has his own dream, of living the easy life, and of making Horohoro’s dream come true. The fight is just beginning when the volume ends.

 

My Thoughts:

I dropped this a half star for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, while harmony with nature has been chatted up before, here it felt like a date. I too have a dream. To pave the entire planet. I wish more people WOULD get out into nature, REAL nature, not the fake stuff you have around cities and suburbs. Then maybe all those people would die and everyone else would realize how terrible nature is and how it should be conquered.

Second, the whole Patch tribe and the Great Spirit schtick. There is a 2 page long talk about how the Great Spirit is the supreme being of the entire universe but that it can’t actually foresee the future, blah, blah, blah. It is a bunch of nonsense (in that it really makes no sense and contradicts itself) and is so amorphous that Takei (the manga-ka) can use it as he wishes. Also, the vibes given off by the Patch Overseers is rather tyrannical.

But if you don’t overanalyze things and just let those things drift on by, this was a lot of fun. Yoh is learning new things and picking up new allies, maybe without even realizing it. His Entourage was already started with Anna, Manta and Ryu but now he has made friends with Silva and I’m pretty sure he and Horohoro become good friends. A King needs allies.

The Patch are obviously going to be involved way more than just as Overseers. The whole thing between Silva and the others over the death of his friend showed clearly that the Patch are just as human as any of the shamans. Thus they have their own agendas and schisms. I suspect corruption and collusion at some point in the narrative to help drive the drama.

I think the most amusing part of this volume was when Horohoro finds out that Anna and Yoh are engaged. He starts feeling inferior because he doesn’t even have a girlfriend. It made me laugh because it is SO how a boy would think.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Advertisements

The Lizard Man (Shaman King #3) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

lizardman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Lizard Man
Series: Shaman King #3
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Wooden Sword Ryu and gang continue to look for their happy place. They find an abandoned bowling alley where Ryu sees Anna and falls in love. When he finds out she is Yoh’s fiance, everything comes crashing down for him as Yoh was the one who cut off Ryu’s pompadour AND broke his sword. This leaves Ryu open to be possessed by a bandit ghost that Amidamaru killed 600 years ago.

After lots of blathering, Yoh lets the ghost, one Tokagero, possess him to see what trust is all about. Tokagero has a change of heart and lets Ryu go. Ryu and gang clean up the inn where Yoh is staying as payment and Ryu’s latent shaman powers are released. Unfortunately, without a spirit OR a trainer, he’s left on his own. He asks the stars for a sign and a comet suddenly appears blazing across the sky.

The comet is one of a pair that herald the start of the fight for the title of Shaman King. We get a shot across the world of various shamans gazing at the comet and the book ends with Ren Tao claiming that he will be the Shaman King no matter what.

 

My Thoughts:

This volume relied almost completely on the Friendship trope in manga. Yoh and Amidamaru are as strong as they are because of their friends and even Ryu has friends to help him out. Once the nasty bad Tokagero realizes just how lonely he was, suddenly he’s alright once someone shows him some friendship. In one sense it was eye-rollingly corny but at the same time you can see the truth behind the trope. Friendships have allowed people throughout history to go beyond themselves and to do things they didn’t think they could. The flipside to that is that no one can hurt you more than a friend can.

Ryu moves up from a bit character to someone with shaman capabilities which means he is now part of The Team. It is fun to watch as people move into Yoh’s orbit without him even trying.

I also have to say that after reading this volume and still enjoying it so much that I’m going to be reading a volume every week and putting out a Manga Monday post each week for at least this month. Just so you know so you can avoid them or pay particular attention, depending on which way your interests lay.

Finally, that cover. That is just plain ridiculous and yet it captures the essence of the story told. Ridiculous AND funny at the same time.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Kung Fu Master (Shaman King #2) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

kungfumaster (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kung Fu Master
Series: Shaman King #2
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 20
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

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.

 

My Thoughts:

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.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

A Shaman in Tokyo (Shaman King #1) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

shamanintokyo (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Shaman in Tokyo
Series: Shaman King #1
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Manta Oyamada, shrimpy little cram school student, has been delayed and if he wants to get home in time to watch his favorite tv show, must take a shortcut through a cemetary in Tokyo. There, he meets a mysterious young man and what appears to be a whole bunch of ghosts.

The next day at cram school, Manta tells everyone what happened to him and nobody believes him.A new student is introduced and his name is Yoh Asakura, he also happens to be the boy Manta saw the night before.Turns out Yoh is a shaman in training and Tokyo is filled with ghosts who can help in that regard.

Manta somehow becomes Yoh’s friend and they confront a group of bullies led by Ryu, king of the punks of Pompadour. Yoh becomes friends with a ghost named Amidamaru, an ancient samurai. They strike up a partnership and Manta starts becoming privvy to the secrets of being a Shaman. Yoh, with the help of Amidamaru, confronts a young man who has lost his boxing teacher, saves a group of kids from a fire and exorcises a vengeful spirit.

Manta is taking a shortcut through the Cemetary AGAIN when he meets an arrogant young man named Ren who controls a chinese warlord named Bason. Ren challenges Yoh and claims he’ll take control of Amidamaru for the Shaman King contest.

Yoh and Amidamaru must become as one to successfully combat the powerhouse that is Ren and Bason.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, after Oh My Goddess and the latest Superman comic I read, I just wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to even read any more manga. I was a bit worried. Thankfully, such worry was needless.

This was the epitome of Shonen manga. With that being the case, the first volume had a lot of setting to do. Who’s the plucky, talented main character? Who’s the comic sidekick? Who’s the badboy who will eventually turn good with a heart of gold? Who’s the villain who is only a leadup? What amazing powers will be revealed? What long term goal is shown that will propel the plot onward for 30+ volumes? Yes, this book has a LOT on its shoulders.

What’s great is that Ren starts talking about how he can integrate 100% with Bason and how he can beat Yoh hands down because Yoh can only integrate at 10% with Amidamaru. You KNOW that suddenly Yoh will begin “practicing” and not only will he integrate at 100% but he’ll suddenly integrate at 200% (!!!!) and then find someone else who will keep him on the upward climb.

One good thing about Shonen Fighting manga is the complete and utter predictability of the plot. While some individual plotlines might surprise me, the overall direction is already pre-determined. That is rather comforting to be honest.

One thing I am prepared for, as it has been shown already, is that Takei is a big environmentalist. Ren goes on and on about how humans are polluting the world and he wants to kill them all when he becomes the Shaman King. Yeah….

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Shaman King #1-6

Shaman King #1-6

Hiroyuki Takei

Manga

 

I really like the story line-a young boy is training to be a shaman and it is the time of the choosing of the new Shaman King[happens every 500 years]. I saw the anime, thought it was definitely Foxboxed[or f*boxed to be honest], but interesting. I like the story so far, but I will never buy it, the layout was pretty crappy. Cheap, scenes cut off at the bottom or sides was what I noticed the most. I’ll keep reading it though.