There’s plenty of flesh to greenlight a season 2, but let’s hope it’s far better now that the characters are bedded in.
This review of the Netflix anime series Shaman King (2021) season 1 does not contain spoilers.
Shouldering itself as a remake of the original series, Shaman King has all the storytelling and high energy to be addictive. Thrusting the viewers into a world of shamans that can use powerful spiritual beings for good and evil. The first season presents a question; who will be the next Shaman King? A question that is propped by a rather laid-back, yet evidently skilled lead character.
The lead character, Yoh Asakura, dons headphones and acts as if embracing a spirit for good intentions is run of the mill. The series spends a significant contribution to this character, prepping him to be the acclaimed and next Shaman King. Heck, he even has a fiance ready to be his Queen; there’s a lot of trust placed on the young man, which translates to the audience.
However, once Shaman King pauses on parading Yoh, the world develops beyond the initial lead character, introducing a “good versus evil” narrative, and an all-encompassing 500-year-old tournament to determine the next king. The anime series gets a little shrouded, with a toxic amount of exposition and shunting in newer characters as quickly as possible. It becomes thematic; each episode representing a different character as the tournament looms. It never quite finds a decent balance — flitting between a development story for Yoh to expanding this universe as quickly as possible. With sights on season 2, it was not deemed necessary to weigh so much on the audience’s shoulders.
But, on a positive note, at least it isn’t like the series Record of Ragnarok that made each episode into one long exhaustive battle, recognizing zero stories and it essentially becoming a video game format. While there are pros and cons for both series, they would benefit from taking tips from each other. One needs more depth, while the other needs less. Of course, it’s not uncommon for anime series to cover themselves in long dialogue and exposition, but the ones that serve the best stories tend to have a “less is more” approach. Shaman King needs to let the plot breathe so the audience can enjoy it.
This is by no means a rejection; there’s plenty of flesh to greenlight a season 2, but let’s hope it’s far better now that the characters are bedded in.
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