Shaman King Flowers Chapter One Review

Shaman King Flowers

By: Hiroyuki Takei

Chapter One – Tsubomi “Bud”

You can tell he is the son of Anna, that scowl could only come from her.

So everything starts at the very place where everything first began back in 1998, the cemetery hill of Nishitokyo. Our young hero Asakura Hana, much like his esteemed, laidback father Yoh, is sitting on a gravestone staring off into the night sky. Unlike Yoh, however, Hana is not there for the view or the company of the deceased that dwell there. No, the poor boy from Shinra Class 2-A is being challenged by thugs from Banshou High, specifically their leader of Class 3-B Ichihara Ryuji, the legendary Ryu no Bokutou…the Second!?!

This sequel would wet himself if Shodai Ryu showed up.

Hiroyuki-sensei emphasized the difference between the parallels of Yoh and Hana’s beginnings. In the First Story of Shaman King, Yoh fought the Original Ryu no Bokutou and his gang at the cemetery hill in order to avenge his soon to be mutual best friend Manta. The Original Ryu had, earlier in that first chapter, destroyed the grave of the long dead samurai Amidamaru and beaten up Manta after finding him in their “best palce”. (Of course, they thought Manta was the person visiting their “best place” every night and Ryu vowed to pummel him, it was Yoh though.) On Yoh’s side was the spirit of Amidamaru who wanted revenge for what Ryu did to his grave, although only working with Yoh for this battle, not intending to stay with the young shaman. (Amidamaru had something else coming to him in the next chapter.) Using the power of Amidamaru by allowing the samurai spirit to possess his body, Yoh single-handedly defeated Ryu’s gang. Here in Flowers, Hana had Amidamaru as his guardian spirit already, no need to convince the samurai to his side, he is at the cemetery to accept a change from Ryu II and his gang hoping they were not going to seriously try to fight him, and he overly enjoys using Amidamaru to fight, as it seems. Of course, he beats them all.

Let us look at Ryu II for a moment. He is obviously trying to make himself looking tougher by taking on the Original Ryu’s moniker and flamboyant hairstyle. No doubt, he has gotten by this way when it comes to normal students and people in his town. However, it is very unlikely he has a clue about the True Ryu’s skills and power he obtained after being defeated by Yoh twice in the First Story (I say twice because even though he had no control of himself in the second battle, it was still a battle). Thus, the thug going up against someone of the same power as the True Bokutou easily dispatches him. Truth be told, a part of me hopes he does not come back into play after this chapter and a part of me wonders how he could come back and show he can live up to the Legendary Ryu name. If he does return later, I request that he at least get better attire.

You see that smile, BEWARE IT NOW! Oh yeah, the big knife too…

Flash forward to Hana coming home. His Primary/Substitute Mother, Tamao, scolds him for using his abilities in a normal fight. Our hero tries to shrug if off by denying such happening, but Tamao sees right through him. She explains the importance for the Asakura Heir to preserve his bloodline for the next Shaman Fight less than 500 years away. In his room, with a similarly disciplined Amidamaru, Hana complains about how long is 500 years and how absurd something so far away matter to what he did in the present and how his punishment of being banned from ghosts makes him being a shaman pointless. Amidamaru tries explaining what Tamao really was feeling, but Hana does not let the fact Amidamaru was punished too get by. Then the Noble Samurai makes a big mistake, he quotes Yoh. End of any attempts to get Hana to understand.

Let us now take a quick digression to Tamao. The former pink-haired shy girl grew up into a scary Inn Manager Lady, and as a certain Lizard-theme bandit mentions in a little later in the chapter, in High School she made a “name” for herself amongst the thugs of Nishitokyo. Specifically, she made herself a Legend because of how violent she became. Makes you wonder what happened to the former timid girl when she got to High School. Any who, the picture above is a good example. Hiroyuki-sensei was wonderful with her expression, a simple closed eyed smile, panned out to a full view of her holding a deadly cooking utensil. Not someone to be messed with. With age, she finally comes to stand at a place closer to the level of Anna, the Tsundere Queen of the Asakura Family.

How the years change things, yet some things never do.

After being shut down by Hana, Amidamaru goes into thought about the past and how Hana acts. We next find him drinking with his former enemy now compatriot Tokageroh the Bandit. Assuring the samurai that Tamao understands Hana, after making a small dig about Amidamaru bringing up the Father-complexed kid’s Dad, we find that the once infamous bandit has settled down in his retirement since the end of the Shaman Fight (he was clearly on the way during the first story because of Ryu). Suggesting the best recourse for Hana is to occasionally let him fight behind the Inn Manager’s back, only to a few moments later have a ghost heart attack when Tamao and Ryu come and sit down at the stall he and Amidamaru were drinking at. Ryu makes a joke about the Malicious God they have because of the world being in chaos from the recent recession. (Asakura Hao is probably in his God Mode behind him giving Ryu ice dagger stares.) The owner of the stall is surprised that Tamao closed the Inn early, but demands to know if Ryu was even ready preparing the Inn for the next day. They get into a fight off screen; apparently, Yasu has a thing for Tamao and Ryu being Ryu is trying to make sure nothing happens to Tamao while she is at Yasu’s stall.

This leads into the proud samurai apologizing for his early actions, yet Tamao says everything is okay. What she really is concerned about is a presence she has her spirits investigating that seems strange and for the veteran spirits to be on alert for. Enter Asakura Luka and Yohane, the antagonistic descendants of the present Shaman King, God, Asakura Hao. Like any good villains, they comment on Hana’s abilities and likely use of Amidamaru, and how they will rid the world of the false history that they are just a branch family and are the real Main family. Yohane (Chapter 2 confirms the guy is Yohane or more accurately Youane. If it has the same kanji for Yoh/You as Asakura Yoh’s kanji, he also shares the common kanji with his ancestor Hao as well as Hana.) then shows off his Oversoul, Tsukuyomi Lance and does the unthinkable, cuts Amidamaru’s gravestone in half cleanly!

Oh no, this guy has an umbrella! Hana is in for a thrashing, Penguin style!

The next day, Hana finds the remains of the gravestone, his chair, and wonders if Ryu II’s gang actually did it in retaliation for the humiliation he brought upon them. Our favorite samurai comments on how polished the cut is, as if a stonecutter had done it. Hana is the heat of the moment says he will investigate every son of every stonecutter around. Yohane then shows up, with an umbrella. He notes Hana’s uniform being from Shinra School, which is where he is going. Hana tries to get Yohane to leave saying he is busy with something then remembers what Tamao said, ghosts are banned. Thinking his Substitute Mom might actually kill him if someone found out he was a Shaman, Hana tries makeup the excuse he was talking to himself.  Yohane comments on the interesting spirit ball in Hana’s hands then shows off his own, Boro Daikyoh the gloomy vagabond swordsman (Again, Chapter 2 verifies this to mean he is a ronin). Hana is taken aback at first, but as Yohane challenges him to see which spirit is the stronger, the young hero is a little bit glad as he readies his weapon for the oncoming battle. His boring Life was at its end, and the beginning of his adventure was commencing. He then asks for the name of his opponent. Of course, next month chapter answers the umbrella swordsman’s name is Yohane. The end then shows Tamao spirits reporting their finding about the strange presence and one important fact, the long thought dead Branch family is out to kill Hana.

Classic Duel stance panel, my bets are on the umbrella swordsman though.

Conclusion: 9.9/10

A very good start to the new series, as much as I liked the one shot for Flowers, this really did a good job of expressing the tension Hana was having from the fact that his Father took part as a shaman in the Shaman Fight, which he never would be able to do in his lifetime and how much responsibility to the next generations leading up to the one in the next Shaman Fight was being placed on his shoulders as a shaman. In addition, the introduction of a clear rival for Hana felt better than Tao Men’s appearance in the oneshot. Speaking of the love child of Tao Ren and Maiden Jeanne, I really cannot wait for the second-generation rivalry of the Asakura and Tao to start. Although Yohane appears to have a spear Oversoul, so where does that leave Men when he gets his Oversoul?

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