Welcome to; Boys into men! – Shonen Week. I know it is kind of near the end of the week. Though who says you can’t start a theme week on a Thursday and have it run till the next Thursday? No one, that’s who! This is just kind of a spear of the moment kind of thing and I was looking on my book shelf for some theme ideas. There was a couple shonen titles I wanted to talk about (and by shonen I just mean ran in a boys magazine in Japan) so thought heck with it, I will just do a theme week.
Shaman King is probably the first true-blue shonen series I ever got into. I missed the boat on Dragon Ball and Z mostly because we did not have satellite for a really long time. There was G Gundam but that was just the TV series and as far as I know the show came first there. So Shaman King was first shonen anime and also shonen manga I ever read, volume 4 was the first manga I ever bought. I really, really liked the show and it caused me to seek out things like the manga for the first time leading me down the nerd path I lead today. Shaman King volume 4 is responsible for me having over 700 volumes of manga, all of this silly knowledge about Japanese cartoons and comics, and by extension making me want to create comics for a living. I will always thank Shaman King for that.
I think that Shaman King kind of shaped what I like in my shonen series. A cool hero that slowly gains a group of friends over time and faces all the odds no matter what. That kind of stuff really pushes all of my buttons. I think that might be one of the reasons I like FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so much. I love the antagonist that becomes a good friend thing, I love the villein is much, much more powerful then the hero situation, and I love it when there is a good mix of comedy in with all the seriousness. Maybe a lot of series have pressed my buttons but Shaman King built the button machine.
All of that aside, Is Shaman King actually any good? I think, yes, it is a very,very good young boys series. I think kids 8-14 would love shaman king. Actually I am of the opinion that it is one of the best shonen manga for kids. So at what it is trying to be; a boys comic book, it does very well. Would the series as a whole do anything for adults though? Hm, that is a much harder question. I think that if you like a lot of shonen things you would probably get something out of it, but it is very typical shonen fair. I think if you are an adult and you have an intrest in Shaman king in anyway the best bet would be to go for the manga over the anime adaptation. The manga takes a few more risks especially near the end and after the artist finds his own style a couple of volumes in the art becomes very creative and striking. If you are not really into shonen stuff, then I don’t really know what to tell you, you probably would not like this at all because this is totally shonen and neo-shonen at that. But if you don’t like shonen at least sometimes where is your heart!?
Shaman King actually ties in quite well with what tomorrows post will be. Ghosts and such.