|Shaman King - Anime Review|
Shaman King (2001) - Anime Review:
Although 4kids are infamous for the creative butchering of their licenced anime titles I’ve always known one day I would tackle the Sharman King series as I had just seen so much of it on and off on local TV throughout the years.
So to no great surprise to anybody the English dub 4KIDS version was as blundered as I expected it to be…..so I felt it was only proper for me to go and watch some of the original uncut Japanese episodes to make a fair assessment of the series in its intended form
So now, finally having watched both versions (for the most part) the Final verdict is in on Shaman King
And All in all, it is mediocre at best….and no I haven’t read the highly praised Manga version which is apparently a masterpiece…it’s the anime I’m commenting on here people…tha A n I m e keep that in mind :oP
A Boy who can channel spirits of deceased warriors (a Shaman called Yoh) wants to win a fighting competition against other people / Shaman with similar abilities in the legendary Shaman Tournament to ultimately prevent the world from calamity by becoming the Shaman King (Tournament Winner)
And it’s pretty much the same for every other character in this series except the other characters want to win the shaman tournament for their own personal (and predictable) reasons….for example…to be all-powerful or to save some dying spieces or to rule the world or to become the greatest comedian in the world (yes seriously) yada yada yada
So, for a 64 episode series things start off pretty well with the story by introducing the characters and their abilities, generating some angst between the characters and basically to laying down some typical story foundation as all shounen titles should………and for the first 12-15 episodes things go at a reasonably good pace.
Unfortunately upon the start of the actual Shaman tournament at around episode 15 the majority of this series (about 30 episodes) focuses on the characters and their hijinks trying to find the second and primary venue for the shaman tournament ……..which ends up taking an unreasonable amount of episodes….i think they call this filler o something…hmm
By the time the actual tournament resumes and the story gets back on track we are already at the 45 episode mark which is ridiculous imho
I am not totally sure if the pacing / filler issues have anything to do with the original mangaka taking an extended break when writing the adapted manga story….never-the-less it is poorly paced and because it’s so uneventful and filler-ish the story feels like it shouldn’t be taken seriously at all
The series has a more simplified design to it which automatically makes the show look somewhat childish. A lot of the characters have a puppet-body look to them with either rounded or squared off features – this is particularly noticeable with the limbs of the characters.
However, there are a lot of cool and zany looking characters like Rio which are more standout but for the most part I think things look very simplistic and clean……and for this kind of series it’s not really a bad thing, just not very dynamic.
The action scenes are mediocre looking as well with no particularly memorable fights but then again nothing was particularly god-awful either……it just looks sub-par
Ultimately I feel the animation suits the theme of the show and to be honest it is perfectly adequate….just not standout in any memorable way
Since I watched most of this in 4kids outstanding English dub version (urg)it should come to no surprise that I found most of the voice actors EXTREMELY ANNOYING.
Now, saying they were annoying in this case is not the same is saying they were terrible. My problem with the voice acting is 4Kids seem to think most of the voice actors needed to give over-the-top performances to keep the audience’s short attention span in check thus making the characters more memorable – well I can tell you the original Japanese do not play these parts as obnoxiously as the English counterparts and as such I had a tough time enjoying any part of the English dub……….this goes double time for the purposefully bad accents of some characters…truly unbearable yet strangely amusing too.
Lastly, the 4Kids dubbed opening theme is as korny as it gets…..take a read
“Look around you, Look beyond, You could make an unbreakable bond, The world around is not what it seems, Souls revealed beyond your wildest dreams, So many things I never could see, So many choices falling on me Could it be my destiny, To be shaman….SHARMAN KING!”
I’ll admit it was painfully catchy at times but still awfully lame
The characters are a bunch of thrown together odd-balls that ultimately play very well off each other in almost every episode.
To the shows credit the characters are somewhat likeable and comedic but other than that they are extremely predictable and pretty much one dimensional.
To be fair I think the actual antagonist Zeek and side character Anna (The megabitch) were the two standout characters for me in this series because Zeek acted more like a Seinen antagonist who thought things out a bit too well for a shounen series. Then Anna…..the megabitch….urg…….man…I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a bitchy character in an anime series.
Anna is pretty much a hyper-bitch in this series from beginning to end and I found it a little but out of place for this somewhat light-hearted series to have a bitchy character of this magnitude…..I do however hear her bitter personality is actually explained in detail in the Manga but that does me no good here as it seems only natural to see some character development for such an unforgiving character but….nope…no dice……as far as the anime is concerned she’s a bitch and you must deal with it and be happy…..no explanations necessary thank you come again (lol)
Did I enjoy this show…..err….somewhat
I think the one thing this series has in its favour is a good level of comedy between the various characters and that I will admit I did enjoy…..everything else about this show is extremely run-of-the-mill, mediocre and paint by numbers….nothing more
Well the 4Kids version was just terrible. You could easily tell where crucial scenes where just skipped or horribly cut out because of the originals more violent content and as a result this series feels like a forced attempt to make something somewhat interesting into something more tame and child friendly, it’s like reading a newspaper that has big gaping columns missing plastered with smiley faces and bright colours to hide any material deemed inappropriate
When viewing the uncut episodes I can definitely say the series is a lot better and I can clearly see it has a lot more to offer, however, in the mist of the enormous and ever-growing shounen anime tidal wave of titles out there today…..even in its original form……Shaman King just does not stand out as anything special, well at least in regards to the anime version anyway
It’s just meh…..at best
Shaman King: Low Vanilla