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Film Friday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Film Friday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted into two anime television series, two animated films—all animated by Bones studio—and light novels. Funimation dubbed the television series, films and video games. The series has generated original video animations, video games, supplementary books, a collectible card game, and a variety of action figures and other merchandise. A live action film based on the series was also released in 2017. In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted the most popular anime of all time in Japan. At the American Anime Awards in February 2007, it was eligible for eight awards, nominated for six, and won five. Reviewers from several media conglomerations had positive comments on the series, particularly for its character development, action scenes, symbolism and philosophical references.

Themes

The series explores social problems, including discrimination, scientific advancement, political greed, brotherhood, family, and war. Scar’s backstory and his hatred of the state military references the Ainu people, who had their land taken by other people. This includes the consequences of guerrilla warfare and the amount of violent soldiers a military can have. Some of the people who took the Ainus’ land were originally Ainu; this irony is referenced in Scar’s use of alchemy to kill alchemists even though it was forbidden in his own religion. The Elrics being orphans and adopted by Pinako Rockbell reflects Arakawa’s beliefs about the ways society should treat orphans. The characters’ dedication to their occupations reference the need to work for food. The series also explores the concept of equivalent exchange; to obtain something new, one must pay with something of equal value. This is applied by alchemists when creating new materials and is also a philosophical belief the Elric brothers follow.

Plot

Edward and Alphonse Elric live in the rural town of Resembool with their mother Trisha, their father Van Hohenheim having left without a reason. Edward since bore a grudge against their father as he and Alphonse showed a talent for alchemy before Trisha died of the plague. After finishing their alchemy training under Izumi Curtis, the brothers attempt to bring their mother back with alchemy. But the transmutation backfires and in law with equivalent exchange, Edward lost his left leg while Alphonse was dragged into the Gate of Truth. Edward sacrifices his right arm to retrieve Alphonse’s soul, binding it to a suit of armor with a blood seal. Edward is invited by Roy Mustang to become a State Alchemist to research a way to restore Alphonse’s body, passing his exams while given the title of Fullmetal Alchemist back on his prosthetic automail limbs and use of metal in his alchemy. The Elrics spent the next three years searching for the mythical Philosopher’s Stone to achieve their goals. One such lead resulted in them exposing a corrupt religious leader in the city of Liore while unaware of events occurring behind the scenes by the mysterious Homunculi.

Following their time with the State Alchemist Shou Tucker, which taught them a horrific lesson, the Elric brothers had a near-death experience from encountering an Ishbalan serial killer labeled as Scar who targets State Alchemists for his people’s genocide in the Ishbalan civil war. After returning to Resembool to have Edward’s limbs repaired by their childhood friend and mechanic, Winry Rockbell, the Elrics meet the guilt-ridden former State Alchemist Dr. Marcoh who provided them with clues to learn that a Philosopher’s Stone is created from human souls. After the Homunculi hindered them by destroying the hidden laboratory, the brothers are joined by Winry as they attempt to find an alternate means to restore themselves. At the same time, Mustang’s friend Maes Hughes continued the Elrics’ research and ends up murdered by a disguised Envy when he learned of the Homunculi’s plan.

After their defeat at the hands of Scar, the Elric Brothers decide to visit their teacher Izumi Curtis in the city of Dublith, hoping that she might be able to train them in higher forms of alchemy. which backfires when she discovers their failed attempt at Human Transmutation. Izumi tells the Elrics how she committed human transmutation on her stillborn child, following which she expels them as her apprentices, though following a determined argument, she allows them to stay with her for extra training. following which Alphonse is captured by the rogue homunculus Greed, who then ends up being captured by Amestris’ president King Bradley, who is revealed to be the homunculus Wrath. When Greed refuses to rejoin his fellow Homunculi, Greed is consequently melted down by and reabsorbed within the Homunculi’s creator, Father.

After running into the Xingese prince Lin Yao, who is also after a Philosopher’s Stone to cement his position as heir to his country’s throne, the Elrics and Winry return to Central City where they learn of Hughes’s death with Lieutenant Maria Ross framed for the murder. Mustang fakes Maria’s death and smuggles her out of the country with Lin’s help so he can focus on the Homunculi. The events that follow result in the death of Lust, revealing that a Philosopher’s Stone forms a Homunculus’s core along with an upcoming event the Homunculi are working towards. Meanwhile, Scar forms a small band with the Xingese princess May Chang, who also seeks the stone, and a former military officer named Yoki whom the Elrics exposed as a corrupt official.

Following an attempt to capture Gluttony using Lin’s sensory skills, the Homunculus end up accidentally swallowing Edward, Lin, and Envy into his void-like stomach, with the two humans learning the Homunculi orchestrated Ametris’s history over the centuries. Gluttony takes Alphonse to meet Father as the others manage to escape from Gluttony’s stomach, meeting Father who considered killing Lin for not being one of the human sacrifice like the Elrics. But Father instead makes Lin the vessel of a new incarnation of Greed with the Elrics attempting to escape upon seeing Scar. Edward has Envy admit to having caused the Ishbalan civil war. Soon after, with Winry used against them as a hostage, the Elrics are allowed to continue their quest as long as they no longer oppose Father. Mustang receives a similar threat with his subordinates scattered to the other military branches. At the same time, finding Dr. Marcoh held captive, Scar spirited him out of Central as Scar’s group head north.

The Elrics eventually reach Fort Briggs under the command of General Olivier Armstrong, revealing what they know following the discovery of an underground tunnel beneath Briggs made by the Homunculus Sloth. The brothers soon learn from Hughes’s research that Father created Amestris to amass a large enough population to create a massive Philosopher’s Stone. Forced to work with Solf J. Kimblee, a murderous former State Alchemist and willing ally of the Homunculi in tracking down Scar, the Elrics make their move to save Winry and split up with Kimblee’s chimera subordinates joining them. As Edward is joined by Lin and Greed, who regained his former self’s memories, Alphonse encounters Honenheim in Liore. Honenheim reveals he was made an immortal when Father, once simply known as Homunculus, arranged the fall of Xeres four centuries ago to create his body while giving half of the sacrificed souls to him. Honenheim also explains he left his family to stop Father from sacrificing the Amestrisan people to achieve godhood by absorbing the being beyond the Gate of Truth on the Promised Day.

The Promised Day arrives and Father prepares to initiate his plan using an eclipse and capture the human sacrifices to trigger the transmutation, the protagonists having assembled days prior and orchestrate an all-out attack on Central with Sloth, Envy, and Wrath killed in the process while Gluttony was devoured by Pride. But despite the opposition, Father manages to activate the nationwide transmutation once the Elrics, Izumi, Hohenheim are gathered along with Mustang after being forced by Pride to perform Human Transmutation. But Hohenheim and Scar activate countermeasures to save the Amestrians, causing Father to become unstable from housing the absorbed superior being within him without the souls needed to subdue it. Father is confronted above ground where the protagonists battle him to wear down his Philosopher’s Stone while he attempts to replenish himself, Edward managing to defeat the gravely weakened Pride before joining the fray.

Alphonse, whose armor is all but destroyed, sacrifices his soul to restore Edward’s right arm while Greed leaves Lin’s body and sacrifices himself to weaken Father’s body enough for Edward to destroy Father’s Philosopher’s Stone. This causes Father to implode out of reality while dragged into the Gate of Truth from which he was created. Edward sacrifices his ability to perform alchemy to retrieve a fully restored Alphonse, Lin receiving a Philosopher’s Stone while promising May to be a just ruler. Hohenheim takes his leave and visits Trisha’s grave where he dies with a smile on his face. The Elrics return home months later, still motivated by those they failed to save in learning new forms of alchemy to prevent repeated tragedies. This leads to the Elrics leaving Ametris two years later to learn about other cultures and their knowledge, with Alphonse leaving for Xing in the east while Edward heads westward. The epilogue finishes with a family photo of Alphonse, May, Edward, Winry, and Ed’s and Winry’s son and daughter.

Other Tuesday- Character Special: Fullmetal Alchemist

Other Tuesday- Character Special: Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elric 

Edward “Ed” Elric, the “Fullmetal Alchemist”, is the youngest State Alchemist in history, joining the program at the age of 12. He and his younger brother, Alphonse, scour the world in search of the Philosopher’s Stone, in the hopes of restoring their bodies. Edward lost his left leg in a futile attempt to revive his mother, Trisha, using Alchemy, and lost his right arm in exchange for attaching Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Edward now employs the use of metal prosthetics, known as automail, as replacement limbs. However, as attempting to resurrect a human opens a portal called the Gate of Truth to allow the committer/s to see the Truth , Edward gained great knowledge of the universe as well as the powerful ability to perform transmutations without transmutation circles. Edward is smart, brave and even bold, but also has a prideful tendency to be harsh and arrogant. He harbors a sharp sensitivity to his short height; a recurring gag in both manga and the anime series is for Edward to overly react to people who call him short.

Alphonse Elric 

Alphonse “Al” Elric, is Edward’s younger brother. Together, both of them scour the country in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in the hopes of restoring their bodies. Unlike Ed, who lost one of his legs in the failed attempt to revive the brothers’ mother, Al lost his entire body. At the last moment, and at the cost of one of his arms, Ed sealed Al’s soul in a giant suit of armor, making Al almost invulnerable.

Winry Rockbell 

Winry Rockbell, a childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse Elric, lives in Resembool with her grandmother, Pinako Rockbell, who raised her after the death of her parents during the Ishbal War. Her parents were killed by Scar in a blind rage. Winry is a practicing and gifted automail mechanic, following in her grandmother’s footsteps, continually designing and maintaining Edward Elric’s automail prosthetics. Winry is often used as an unwitting hostage by the homunculi to ensure the Elrics’ subservience to the State. A running gag in the series is that she will violently attack Edward whenever he upsets her in some way, usually whenever he breaks his automail in combat. She and Edward get married in the concluding moments of the manga. In the first anime, her parents were executed by a younger Roy Mustang under Military order.

Roy Mustang 

Colonel Roy Mustang, the “Flame Alchemist”, is a State Alchemist and Edward’s direct superior. He is promoted to Brigadier General at the end of the series and is a General in the epilogue. He aims towards becoming the next Führer of Amestris, heavily relying on the support of his loyal subordinates to propel him along that path. Mustang would find this path interrupted by the murder of his best friend and confidant, Maes Hughes, afterward, beginning an almost behind-the-scenes investigation into finding the true culprit.

Riza Hawkeye 

First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye is Roy Mustang’s most trusted and dearest subordinate. She often carries out many of the tasks he is too lazy to do, acts as his personal assistant, and protects him from danger. She holds a strong sense of admiration for him, even willing to put her own life at risk; Roy returns this, and occasionally refers to her as “My Queen”, his chess code name for her. She also doubles as his voice of reason, keeping cool in heated situations, and scolding him when he allows his emotions to get in the way. Riza and Roy seem to share a close relationship as she identifies him as her most precious person. Riza specializes in firearms, particularly sniper rifles, and can hit nearly any target with lethal accuracy. In the series, she adopts a dog named Black Hayate from Kain Fuery that she raises with stern discipline; when Hayate urinates indoors, she fires a number of warning rounds at the wall around the dog to reinforce that doing so is against established protocol.

In the form of a tattoo on her back, Riza bears the final notes to her father’s work on Flame Alchemy, and his legacy as an alchemist and Mustang’s teacher. After seeing what Mustang was capable of during the Ishbal War with such ability, Riza begs Roy to burn the tattoo, fearing the damage future flame alchemists could cause. Riza is reassigned as King Bradley’s personal assistant to be used as a hostage when Mustang learns the homunculi control the State. When she discovers that King Bradley’s adopted son, Selim, is a homunculus as well, she sends her discovery to Mustang in code as soon as she can. She eventually defects from the military to help Mustang overthrow King Bradley. Arakawa received various questions regarding the future of her relationship with Mustang and commented that, while Hawkeye stays with Mustang, a marriage would still be possible despite military regulations.

Manga Monday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Manga Monday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It was serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine between August 2001 and June 2010; the publisher later collected the individual chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist is styled after the European Industrial Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the philosopher’s stoneto restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy.

The manga was published and localized in English by Viz Media in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australasia, and Chuang Yi in Singapore. Yen Press also has the rights for the digital release of the volumes in North America due to the series being a Square Enix title. The manga has sold over 70 million volumes worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series. The English release of the manga’s first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005.

Manga

Written and drawn by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist was serialized in Square Enix’s monthly manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Its first installment was published in the magazine’s August 2001 issue on July 12, 2001; publication continued until the series concluded in June 2010 with the 108th installment. A side-story to the series was published in the October 2010 issue of Monthly Shōnen Gangan on September 11, 2010. In the July 2011 issue of the same magazine, the prototype version of the manga was published. Square Enix compiled the chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on January 22, 2002, and the last on November 22, 2010. A few chapters have been re-released in Japan in two “Extra number” magazines and Fullmetal Alchemist, The First Attack, which features the first nine chapters of the manga and other side stories. On July 22, 2011, Square Enix started republishing the series in kanzenban format.

Viz Media localized the tankōbon volumes in English in North America between May 3, 2005, and December 20, 2011. On June 7, 2011, Viz started publishing the series in omnibus format, featuring three volumes in one. Yen Press has the rights for the digital release of the volumes in North America since 2014 and on December 12, 2016 has released the series on the ComiXology website. Other English localizations were done by Madman Entertainment for Australasia and Chuang Yi in Singapore. The series has been also localized in Polish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Korean.

Light novels

Square Enix has published a series of six Fullmetal Alchemist Japanese light novels, written by Makoto Inoue. The novels were licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media in North America, with translations by Alexander O. Smith and illustrations—including covers and frontispieces—by Arakawa. The novels are spin-offs of the manga series and follow the Elric brothers on their continued quest for the philosopher’s stone. The first novel, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand, was animated as the episodes eleven and twelve of the first anime series. The fourth novel contains an extra story about the military called “Roy’s Holiday”. Novelizations of the PlayStation 2 games Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken AngelCurse of the Crimson Elixir, and The Girl Who Succeeds God have also been written, the first by Makoto Inoue and the rest by Jun Eishima.

Manga reception

Along with Yakitate!! Japan, the series won the forty-ninth Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen in 2004. It won the public voting for Eagle Award’s “Favourite Manga” in 2010 and 2011. The manga also received the Seiun Award for best science fiction comic in 2011.

In a survey from Oricon in 2009, Fullmetal Alchemist ranked ninth as the manga that fans wanted to be turned into a live-action film. The series is also popular with amateur writers who produce dōjinshi (fan fiction) that borrows characters from the series. In the Japanese market Super Comic City, there have been over 1,100 dōjinshi based on Fullmetal Alchemist, some of which focused on romantic interactions between Edward Elric and Roy Mustang. Anime News Network said the series had the same impact in Comiket 2004 as several female fans were seen there writing dōjinshi

Setting

Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in an alternate history, in the fictional country of Amestris. In this world, alchemy is one of the most-practiced sciences; Alchemists who work for the government are known as State Alchemists and are automatically given the rank of Major in the military. Alchemists have the ability, with the help of patterns called Transmutation Circles, to create almost anything they desire. However, when they do so, they must provide something of equal value in accordance with the Law of Equivalent Exchange. The only things Alchemists are forbidden from transmuting are humans and gold. There has never been a successful human transmutation; those who attempt it lose a part of their body and the result is a horrific inhuman mass. Attemptees are confronted by Truth, a pantheistic and semi-cerebral God-like being who tauntingly regulates all alchemy use and whose nigh-featureless appearance is relative to the person to whom Truth is conversing with; the series’ antagonist, Father, and some other characters, claim and believe that Truth is a personal God who punishes the arrogant, a belief that Edward denies, citing a flaw in Father’s interpretation of Truth’s works.

Attemptees of Human Transmutation are also thrown into the Gate of Truth, where they receive an overwhelming dose of information, but also allowing them to transmute without a circle. All living things possess their own Gate of Truth, and per the Gaea hypothesis heavenly bodies like planets also have their own Gates of Truth. It is possible to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange (to an extent) using a Philosopher’s Stone, a red, enigmatic substance. Philosopher’s Stones can be used to create Homunculi, artificial humans of proud nature. Homunculi have numerous superhuman abilities unique among each other and look down upon all humanity. With the exception of one, they do not age and can only be killed via the destruction of their Philosopher’s Stones.

There are several cities throughout Amestris. The main setting is the capital of Central City, along with other military cities such as the northern city of Briggs. Towns featured include Resembool, the rural hometown of the Elrics; Liore, a city tricked into following a cult; Rush Valley, a town that specializes in automail manufacturing; and Ishbal, a conservative-religion region that rejects alchemy and was destroyed in the Ishbalan Civil War instigated after a soldier shot an Ishbalan child. Outside of Amestris, there are few named countries, and none are seen in the main story. The main foreign country is Xing. Heavily reminiscent of China, Xing has a complex system of clans and emperors, as opposed to Amestris’s government-controlled election of a Führer. It also has its own system of alchemy, called Alkahestry, which is more medical and can be bi-located using kunai; in turn, it is implied that all countries have different forms of alchemy.

Film Friday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Film Friday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

An anime adaptation by Studio Deen began airing in Japan on July 5, 2010. Also, a second season called Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – Demon Capital  began airing in Japan on July 3, 2011. The anime episodes have been streamed on Viz Media’s anime streaming site, Viz Anime, since July 2010, while the first manga volume was released February 2011.  A Drama CD was released in December 2009.

The anime series, produced by Studio Deen, premiered on July 5, 2010 and is licensed for North America by Viz Media under the name Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. New episodes, subtitled in English, are made available for streaming on their website several hours after they air in Japan. The opening themes are Fast Forward and Sunshine performed by Monkey Majik and the ending themes are Sparky☆Start and Symphonic Dream performed by Katate Size (Aya Hirano, Yui Horie and Ai Maeda). The anime is slated to be released on eight DVDs. The second season, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – Demon Capital, premiered in Japan on July 3, 2011 and was made available for streaming with English subtitles the next day. The season follows Rikuo as he trains for his upcoming battle with Hagoromo Gitsune.

The English dub of the series was posted for streaming on Viz Media’s online network, Neon Alley, which starting on October 2, 2012.

Main characters

Rikuo Nura  
Rikuo is the third and current head of the Nura Clan. He is the son of Rihan and Wakana Nura, and grandson of Nurarihyon. Although he appears to be an average 13-year-old, he is 1/4 yōkai, and is destined to take over the title of Master of all yōkai from his grandfather, though the main conflict for the first portion of the series lies in his rejection of the idea.
As a child, Rikuo respected and looked up to yōkai, playing pranks on members of the Nura house and often declaring he would become more yōkai-like and take over as the Third Head. However, after a discussion at school, he came to realize the evil nature of yōkai deeds and decided to set himself firmly on the path of living a strictly human life. Since then, he has attempted to become more like a normal human by doing all sorts of good deeds. Even though he appreciates all that his yōkai underlings do for him, he is nevertheless desperate to prevent his school friends from learning of his connection to yōkai. Despite this, in times of impending danger, his yōkai blood awakens and he changes into his yōkai form. He is later able to transform at will, provided that it is nighttime or he is in the dark and reverts to normal in sunlight (specifically, since he only has one fourth of yōkai blood in him, he can only keep his yōkai form for six hours – one fourth of a day). After being tested by Gyuki, Rikuo he decides to accept the position of the Third Head and save both humans and yōkai.
In contrast to his yōkai form, which is confident, strong and inspires “Fear” among his allies, leading many of them to join him, the human Rikuo is seemingly weak but very clever. He is easily able to manipulate one of the council members into isolating himself during a meeting and rationalize against the dissolving of the Gyuki Clan. Though originally he had no recollection of changing to his yōkai form, by the time he faced Gyuki, he admitted to pretending to have no recollection to distance himself from the world of yōkai. Later, he is shown interacting and communicating with his yōkai form. Together they plan to form a Hyakki Yakō of their own. He decides to leave the human side of things to his human form and handle the yōkai-side of things as his yōkai self.
After losing to his grandfather, he is taken to the yōkai village of Tono to train. There, he learns how to use his Fear against other yōkai. He departs for Kyoto to face Hagoromo Gitsune in order to save Yura and avenge his father. After losing to Tsuchigumo, he undergoes three days of training with Gyuki. It is during this training that he first learns how to use the technique of Matoi with Zen. Finally having accepted that he is both human and yōkai, Rikuo becomes even more powerful.
Rikuo’s primary weapon is the spirit blade Nenekirimaru, which was designed to only harm yōkai. However, the blade broke when he tried to hurt Abe no Seimei. Rikuo has since asked a member of the Keikain House to create a more powerful blade for him and it is currently being forged. For the time being, Rikuo uses the tree branch he used to defeat both of Kidomaru’s yōkai bodyguards when they attacked him at the Tono Village.
Tsurara Oikawa 
Tsurara is a Yuki Onna who is Rikuo’s trusted attendant and part of Rikuo’s new “Hyakki Yakō” who follows him to school disguised as Tsurara Oikawa. She is affectionate towards Rikuo and is jealous when other girls pay him attention. Other members of the Nura household believe the situation would become worse if Tsurara were to see what other females did to Rikuo. She is overprotective of Rikuo when he is his “day” or human form and expresses great concern for his well being, which is the reason why she is always around him at school (which causes misunderstandings and concern on Kana’s part). She also acts as a cook and, though her food is delicious, most of the time it is chilled or cold. Prior to Rikuo awakening for the first time, she was “easy pickings” for his pranks. She also admires Rikuo’s yōkai form because she finds him very reliable and magnificent. Tsurara is the daughter of Setsura, who was attracted to Nurarihyon in his prime; Tsurara seems to have inherited her mother’s trait for falling for the Supreme Commanders of the Nura Clan. She is oblivious to the fact Shima has a crush on her.
She also has a fear of Yura as she is an onmyōji and a rivalry with Kana (going so far as to nearly freeze her). However she protects Kana as her death would sadden Rikuo. Tsurara is confident that she’ll eventually win Rikuo’s heart since they both have yōkai lifespans. She goes to Kyoto to protect the Investigation group along with Aotabo. Later, she rejoins Rikuo but is kidnapped by Tsuchigumo. She is later freed by Rikuo and performs Matoi with him, becoming the second of his subordinates to do so. After the defeat of Hagoromo Gitsune, and Abe no Seimei’s departure from Kyoto, Tsurara returns to the Nura house. When Rikuo becomes the new head of the Nura Clan, Tsurara is “promoted” into the elite class of the family, becoming one of the clan’s new subcommanders under Rikuo. As a result of her new position, she is given command over one of the clan’s territories (which was under her mother’s supervision) and is currently working to build up her own “clan” and gain subordinates in order to strength Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakō. The Tsurara Clan currently consists of 20 demons that appear from bowls for shaved ice and the yōkai who served under her mother.
In an omake where her mother demands that she take the lips of the third heir, she is stuck with Rikuo in a confined space after an accident in the storage room and is apparently almost kissed by him before being interrupted by Aotabo barging in to rescue them. Tsurara is left thinking there is hope for a chance of Rikuo loving her.
Yura Keikain 
An onmyōji of the Keikain House who specializes in shikigami, she can control four of them at the same time which impresses even Nurarihyon. She was trained by Akifusa and raised to see yōkai as evil, and seeks to complete her training by defeating Nurarihyon and then inheriting the household. When her brother reveals Rikuo to be a yōkai and Nurarihyon’s grandson, she says she can accept it if it’s him. She has returned to Kyoto to deal with Hagoromo Gitsune and has currently retreated to the Keikain main house.
She fights against yōkai using shikigami; Rokuson the deer, Bukyoku the samurai, Tanro the white wolf and Rentei the koi fish, which she merges with it to form a holy-water cannon. Recently she has also added Kyomon, the elephant, to her arsenal. She is also the only member of the Keikain house who can summon and use “Hagun” to increase her own powers, and is the first since Hidemoto to be able to do so. It is because of this ability that Yura has been designated as the heir and future head of Keikain House. This also implies that after she dies, Yura will become part of Hagun, like Hidemoto did.
Kana Ienaga 
Kana is Rikuo’s childhood friend and neighbor. She first appears in the original Nurarihyon no Mago One-Shot as Yura Usami and says she hates things relating to yōkai and spirit mediums. Kana appears to be somewhat a magnet for drawing in yokai as they usually come after her. She is hinted to have some affection for Rikuo, as she gets jealous on seeing Rikuo and Tsurara together. Rikuo made a promise to help her if she is ever in need. After being kidnapped by a yōkai on her 13th birthday, she was saved by “Night” Rikuo and was taken to a yōkai party. The next morning Kana asked Rikuo if he was friends with his yōkai form and blushed when Rikuo asked why. It is evident that she has fallen for “Night” Rikuo to the point that she blushes whenever she thinks of him. However, it is also hinted that she is starting to like Rikuo as she is much concerned and distracted when Tsurara is close to him. After learning that Rikuo and his yōkai form are one and the same entity, Kana’s affections are no longer divided.

Manga Monday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Manga Monday- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, known in Japan as Nurarihyon’s Grandson, is a manga series written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi. The series was first published in Shueisha as a oneshot in 2007. The manga has been continuously serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2008 and has been collected into 25 tankōbon volumes as of December 2012. Viz Media acquired the licensing rights for a North American release of the manga and anime adaptations.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi and has been serialized in the manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since March 2008. As of December 4, 2012, the series has been collected into 24 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha, with the first being released on August 4, 2008. In the thirtieth issue (2012) of Weekly Shōnen Jump, it was announced that the manga would be leaving the magazine for the conclusion to its final story arc which will run in the seasonally published Jump NEXT! Starting on August 11, 2012 the first of three chapters will be published with a 64-page chapter, and will continue in October and December. The manga was licensed for an English language release by Viz Media who publishes the series chapter wise in its manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha since the magazine’s launch on January 30, 2012, and in bound volumes since February 1, 2011. As of February 5, 2013, 13 English-language volumes have been released. The first tankobon was translated by localization company AltJapan Co., Ltd.

The covers of each volume make a continuing picture of all the characters.

Plot

Rikuo Nura is 3/4 human and 1/4 yōkai, in which he has a human form in the day but transforms into his yōkai form at night. He lives in a house full of yōkai along with his yōkai grandfather. Trying to escape his fate, he does good deeds in order to avoid becoming a yōkai, despite his grandfather’s wish that Rikuo succeed him as the Third Head of the Nura Clan. Rikuo is different because he helps humans. He eventually comes to terms with his yōkai blood and decides to take up the position of the Third Head of the Nura Clan. Multiple factions aim to stop him or usurp his position, and he must gather friends and allies, a new Hyakki Yakō under his banner of “Fear”.

Storyline

Gyuki’s Test Arc
The Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol travels to Mt. Nejireme at the invitation of a supposed yōkai specialist. However, the invitation turns out to have been a trap by the head of the Gyuki Clan. Separated, the members of the Kiyojuji Paranormal Patrol must deal with yōkai of the Gyuki Clan and Rikuo ultimately faces Gyuki himself. Rikuo learns that Gyuki set up the trap because he didn’t want the Nura Clan, which he greatly cherishes, to suffer under the influence of a weak leader.The two clash and Gyuki is overwhelmed by Rikuo’s night form. Afterward, Rikuo decides to take up the mantle of Nurarihyon and officially become the next Nura Clan head.
Shikoku Arc
When one of the board members of the Nura Clan is attacked and killed, and Nurarihyon subsequently disappears without notice, the Nura Clan is thrown into chaos. Trying to keep them together, Rikuo encounters a rival faction from the Shikoku area who intend to take over the Nura Clan’s territory. Their leader, Tamazuki, is ruthless and willing to sacrifice his subordinates to further his own goals. Rikuo and his Hyakki Yakō battle with Tamazuki and his Hachijuuhakki Yakō (consisting of 88 demons, instead of the 100 of a Hyakki Yakō) and emerge victorious.However, Rikuo decides to spare Tamazuki after the battle at the request of his father – who Nurarihyon had gone to visit. Tamazuki is spared under the condition that he build a memorial in honor of the subordinates who died by his hand.
Past Arc
The story of Rikuo’s grandparents Nurarihyon and Yohime, the creation of the spirit blade Nenekirimaru and the battle against Hagoromo Gitsune 400 years ago.
Tono Arc
When Haguromo Gitsune resurfaces in Kyoto, Rikuo is determined to fight her and take revenge for his father’s death – as well as rescue Yura, who has gone to aid the rest of the Keikain family in protecting Kyoto. However, as he is still too inexperienced and weak, his grandfather asks the head of the yōkai Tono Village to take in and train Rikuo. After an encounter with one of the Kyoto Yokai, Rikuo comes to realize what sort of power the yōkai Nurarihyon possesses and, having grown stronger, leaves along with several Tono Yokai to return to the Nura House and prepare for the assault on Kyoto.
Kyoto Arc
Rikuo, along with the vast majority of the Nura Clan and several yōkai from Tono, invade Kyoto. Nearly all of the onmyoji barriers around the city have been destroyed by Kyoto Yokai, and the Keikain House itself struggles to fight against Hagoromo Gitsune’s forces. They ultimately join forces with Rikuo’s Hyakki Yakō to replace the fallen barriers and stop Hagoromo Gitsune from giving birth to a new evil.
Hundred Tales Clan Arc
After the battle with Hagoromo Gitsune’s forces and the resurrected Abe no Seimei, also known as Nue, Rikuo and the Nura Clan are challenged by the remnants of the Hundred Tales Clan and its executives. The clan was once led by a human named Sanmoto Gorozaemon who grew in power by spreading stories about yōkai and in turn created them. The group was destroyed by Rihan and the Nura Clan 350 years ago. Now, the clan is encroaching on the Nura Clan’s territory and working to revive Sanmoto’s main body, which resides in hell.
Gokadoin House Arc
Following the battle with Sanmoto Gorozaemon and his Hundred Tales Clan, it was revealed that the onmyoji sect known as the Gokadoin House is composed of Abe no Seimei’s descendants who used Seimei’s forbidden research on immortality to prolong their lives. When the Gokadoin house starts mobilizing to “purify” the land of yōkai and humans, Rikuo starts to establish an alliance between the various yokai clans throughout Japan.

Film Friday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

Film Friday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

The series received an anime adaptation by Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and TMS Entertainment. The anime resulted in animated feature films, original video animations, video games, audio disc releases and live action episodes. In 2009, a television special titled Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan was aired featuring characters from Lupin III.

Funimation licensed the anime series for North American broadcast in 2003 under the name Case Closed with the characters given Americanized names. The anime premiered on Cartoon Network as part of their Adult Swim programming block but was discontinued due to low ratings. In March 2013, Funimation began streaming their licensed episodes of Case Closed; Crunchyroll simulcast them in 2014. Funimation also localized the first six Case Closed films, while Discotek Media localized the Lupin III crossover special and its film sequel. Meanwhile, the manga was localized by Viz Media, who used Funimation’s changed title and character names.

Anime

The anime version of Case Closed is produced by Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and TMS Entertainment. Over 800 episodes have aired in Japan since the anime’s premiere on January 8, 1996, making it the fifteenth longest anime series to date. Initially, Shogakukan collected and released the episodes on VHS video cassettes between June 1996, and October 2006. Four hundred and twenty-six episodes were released on VHS until Shogakukan abandoned the format and switched over to DVDs, starting over from the first episode. For the fifteenth anniversary of the anime series, the series was made available for video on demand. Case Closed was later broadcast in North America on NHK’s cable network TV Japan. Crunchyroll began simulcasting the series in October 2014.

In 2003, the first 104 episodes were licensed by Funimation for distribution in North America, under the title Case Closed because of legal considerations. The Case Closed anime has also been released in other languages such as French, German and Italian. Case Closed debuted on Cartoon Network as part of their Adult Swim programming block on May 24, 2004; no more than 50 episodes were licensed from Funimation due to low ratings. The Canadian channel YTV picked up the Case Closed series and broadcast 22 episodes between April 7, 2006, and September 2, 2006, before taking it off the air. Funimation made the series available with the launch of the Funimation Channel in November 2005; it was temporary available on Colours TV during its syndication with the Funimation Channel. A separate English adaptation of the series by Animax Asia premiered in the Philippines on January 18, 2006, under the name Detective Conan. Because Animax were unable to obtain further TV broadcast rights, their version comprised only 52 episodes. The series continued with reruns until August 7, 2006, when it was removed from the station. The California based channel UTB aired Detective Conan with English subtitles from 2011 until 2014, until episode 421.

Funimation also released DVDs of their dubbed series beginning August 24, 2004. Initially, the releases were done in single DVDs and future episodes were released in seasonal boxes; 130 episodes have been released in total. The seasonal boxes were later re-released in redesigned boxes called Viridian edition. Funimation began streaming Case Closed episodes in March 2013. Hanabee Entertainment licensed the series for distribution in Australia.

In January 2016, 52 episodes of the anime appeared on Netflix, initially under its original title Detective Conan before changing to its English moniker Case Closed. The episodes are listed as “season one”, although in reality they are episodes #748 to #799. The episodes are only available in Japanese, but are subtitled. The availability is likely part of Netflix’s efforts to expand its anime catalog.

Films

Twenty-one feature films based on the Case Closed series have been released. They are animated by TMS Entertainment and produced by Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation, Nippon Television, ShoPro, and Toho. The first seven were directed by Kenji Kodama, films 8–15 were directed by Yasuichiro Yamamoto, and films 16 and onwards have been directed by Kobun Shizuno. The films have been released in April of each year, starting in 1997 with the first film, Case Closed: The Time Bombed Skyscraper. The twenty first film, Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter was released on April 15, 2017. The second film and onwards were the top twenty grossing anime films in Japan. The revenue earned from the films funded Toho’s other film projects. Each film was adapted into two film comics which were released in the fourth quarter of the same year. Funimation released English dubbed versions of the first six films on Region 1 DVDs between October 3, 2006, and February 16, 2010.

Original video animations

Two original video animations series were produced by TMS Entertainment, Nippon Television, and Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation. The OVA series Shōnen Sunday Original Animation are yearly mail order episodes available to subscribers of Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The first Shōnen Sunday Original Animation was available in Weekly Shōnen Sundays 26th issue in 2000, with eleven OVAs released as of 2011. The first nine episodes of the OVA series were later encapsulated into four DVD volumes titled Secret Files and were released between March 24, 2006, and April 9, 2010. The second OVA series, entitled Magic File, consists of yearly direct-to-DVD releases. The first Magic File was released on April 11, 2007, and contained four episodes from the anime series. The subsequent Magic File OVAs contained an original plot with background ties related to their respective Case Closed theatrical films, beginning with the twelfth film Detective Conan: Full Score of Fear.

Television special

A two-hour television special titled Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan was produced by TMS Entertainment, Nippon Television, and Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and aired on March 27, 2009. It was first announced in the 9th issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday in 2009. The plot follows Kudo as he investigates the death of the Queen of Vespania while Arsène Lupin III from the Lupin III series attempts to steal the Queen’s crown. The special earned a household record rating of 19.5 in Japan. VAP released the special on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on July 24, 2009. The special is followed by Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan: The Movie which takes place after the television special.

Video games

Case Closeds expansion into the video games industry followed behind its foray into animation. On December 27, 1996, Detective Conan: Chika Yuuenchi Satsujin Jiken was released for the Game Boy. Since then, 20 games have been released with Detective Conan: Kako Kara no Zensōkyoku Prelude set for Spring of 2012 for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable. Currently, the majority of the games have only been released in Japan, though Nobilis has localized Case Closed: The Mirapolis Investigation for the PAL region. All dedicated Detective Conan games released for the Game Boy, Sony’s consoles, the WonderSwan, and the Nintendo DS have been developed by Bandai. Banpresto developed the Case Closed titles on the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance while Marvelous Entertainment developed Case Closed: The Mirapolis Investigation.

Audio CDs

Katsuo Ono composed and arranged the music in the Case Closed animation; his works have been released on several CDs. Two image albums, comprising several songs sung by Japanese voice actors of the characters in the animation, were also released. Several theme music were performed by pop musicians such as B’z, Zard, and Garnet Crow. The first four theme music were released by Universal Music Group and all releases thereafter were by Being Inc.

Live action drama

Four live action drama TV specials and a TV series were created by Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and TMS entertainment based off the series. The first two specials aired in 2006 and 2007 featuring Shun Oguri portraying the teenage Jimmy Kudo and Tomoka Kurokawa as Rachel Moore. The third and fourth TV specials aired in 2011 and 2012 featuring Junpei Mizobata as Jimmy and Shioli Kutsuna as Rachel. The cast used for those TV specials were used for the television series which aired between July 7, 2011 and September 29, 2011.

Manga Monday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

Manga Monday- Detective Conan aka Case Closed

Case Closed (US title), also known worldwide as Detective Conan, is an ongoing Japanese detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. It was serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday on January 19, 1994, and has been collected into 94 tankōbon volumes as of December 18, 2017. Due to legal considerations with the name Detective Conan, the English language release was renamed to Case Closed. The story follows an amateur detective who was transformed into a child while investigating a mysterious organization, and solves a multitude of cases while impersonating his friend’s father and other characters.

The tankōbon volumes of the manga have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best-selling manga series. In 2001, the manga was awarded the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category. The anime adaptation has been well received and ranked in the top twenty in Animages polls between 1996 and 2001. In the Japanese anime television ranking, Case Closed episodes ranked in the top six on a weekly basis. Both the manga and the anime have had positive response from critics for their plot and cases.

Case Closed was conceived in 1994, during the rise of mystery genre manga due to the publishing of the series The Kindaichi Case Files; the first chapter appeared in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday on January 19. Aoyama cites the stories of Arsène Lupin, Sherlock Holmes and the samurai films by Akira Kurosawa as influences on his work. When scripting each chapter, he ensures the dialogue remains simple and spends an average of four hours for each new case and twelve for more complicated ones. Each case spans several chapters (except for a handful of shorter cases that only span one), and is resolved at the end where characters explain the details of their solutions in simple terms; a database consisting of all the cases from the manga was launched in 2007.

Case Closed became the 22nd longest running manga series with over 1000 chapters released in Japan. The individual chapters are collected into tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan; the first volume was released on June 18, 1994. Gosho Aoyama’s assistants have also written an anthology series of Case Closed which are released irregularly.

Viz Media announced its acquisition of the series for North America on June 1, 2004. Following Funimation’s localization, Viz released the series as Case Closed and took their character names to keep consistency between the two mediums. Viz Media released the first volume in September 2004 and began releasing digital editions in 2013. Gollancz licensed and distributed 15 of Viz Media’s volumes in the United Kingdom before ceasing publication of manga. (Viz Media has since re-released them.) In 2014 Shogakukan Asia began their own English localization of the series for Singapore as Detective Conan. The manga has also been localized in other regions such as China, France, Germany and Indonesia. Localizations in Scandinavia ceased one by one, Finland being the last in 2013, when the publisher shut down the entire manga division.

Plot

Jimmy Kudo (Japanese: Shinichi Kudo) is a high school detective who sometimes works with the police to solve cases. During an investigation, he is attacked by members of a crime syndicate known as the Black Organization. They force him to ingest an experimental poison, but instead of killing him, the poison transforms him into a child. Adopting the pseudonym Conan Edogawa and keeping his true identity a secret, Kudo lives with his childhood friend Rachel Moore (Ran Mouri) and her father Richard (Kogoro Mouri), who is a private detective. Throughout the series, he tags along on Richard’s cases, but when he is able to solve one, he uses a tranquilizer needle to put Richard to sleep, and impersonates his voice using a voice changer to reveal the solution to the case. He also enrolls in a local elementary school where he makes friends with a group of classmates who form their own Junior Detective club (Detective Boys). While he continues to dig deeper into the Black Organization, he frequently interacts with a variety of characters, including his professor friend Dr. Agasa, Ran’s friend Serena (Sonoko), a fellow teenage detective Harley Hartwell (Heiji Hattori), various police detectives from different regions, and the Kaito Kid.

Kudo later encounters an elementary school transfer student, Anita Hailey (Ai Haibara), who reveals herself to be the creator of the poison that made him small. She too had ingested the poison, but she is no longer affiliated with the Black Organization. She soon joins the Junior Detectives. During a rare encounter with the Black Organization, Conan helps the FBI plant a CIA agent, Kir, inside the Black Organization as a spy.

In 2007, Aoyama hinted he had an ending planned out but does not intend to end the series yet.

 

Film Friday- The Irregular at Magic High School

Film Friday- The Irregular at Magic High School

The year 2013, an anime adaptation by Madhouse was announced and was broadcast between April and September 2014. The Irregular at Magic High School franchise had been localized for English by two companies: The light novels and one of the manga adaptations are licensed by Yen Press while Aniplex of America licensed the anime series. The anime series was simulcasted on four networks, and was later made available on Netflix.

Plot

The series is set in a world with an alternate history, where magic exists and has been polished through modern technology. However, the ability to use magic is determined by genetics, limiting the amount of magicians in existence. Following the Third World War, the world’s superpowers shifted to these four nations: The United States of North America (USNA), New Soviet Union, the Great Asian Alliance, and Japan. In Japan, the magic community is informally governed by the ten master clans in lieu of the government. Due to the limited amount of magicians, they are treated as commodity and are forced to enter magic related schools and professions. Nine magic high schools exist in Japan; they each specialize in different aspects of magic and are simply referred to by their numbers.

The story follows Tatsuya Shiba, a bodyguard to his sister Miyuki Shiba who is also a candidate to succeed the master clan, Yotsuba. They enroll into First High School which segregates its students based on their magical abilities. Miyuki is enlisted as a first course student and is viewed as one of the best students, while Tatsuya is in the second course and considered to be magically inept. However, Tatsuya’s technical knowledge, combat abilities, and unique magic techniques causes people to view him as an irregular to the school’s standardized rankings.

Anime

An anime adaptation of the light novel was announced during the Dengeki Bunko Fall Festival on October 6, 2013. It is directed by Manabu Ono and animated by Madhouse. It premiered on Tokyo Metropolitan Television, Gunma TV, and Tochigi TV on April 6, 2014; nine other networks and three streaming services broadcast the series afterwards. The final episode premiered on September 28. The individual episodes were later encapsulated into ten DVD and Blu-ray volumes released between July 2014 and April 2015.

In March 2014, Aniplex of America announced its acquisition for streaming rights to the anime series; much later they unveiled their plans to release the series into three Blu-ray volumes which segregate the episodes by story arcs. Four networks simulcasted the series with English subtitles: these include Aniplex Channel, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Daisuki. In June 2014, the Australasia distributor, Hanabee Entertainment, announced its licensing of the series for streaming and home media release. Months later, Netflix made the series available on their network. Animax Asia also began broadcasting the series in July 2015.

Three related media to the anime were created. The first is a super deformed short series titled Get to Know Magic Studies! by Aniplex. These shorts were uploaded on Aniplex’s YouTube channel, and was later English subtitled and uploaded on Aniplex of America’s channel. An internet radio show titled The Irregular at Magic High School Web Radio Full Bloom! Bloom Broadcasting Committee, premiered on March 23, 2014 and is hosted by Sora Amamiya and Yuiko Tatsumi, the voice actresses for Honoka Mitsui and Shizuku Kitayama respectively; the radio show episodes was later made available for purchase on CD. The third is a radio drama DVD which was released in December 2014 and is based on the light novel’s Recollection Arc.

An anime film called The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie: The Girl Who Calls the Stars was revealed in the 19th light novel volume which was released in March 2016. The film is scripted by the series creator, Tsutomu Satō, and premiered in Japan on June 17, 2017.

Manga Monday- The Irregular at Magic High School

Manga Monday- The Irregular at Magic High School

The Irregular at Magic High School, known in Japanese as Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei, is a Japanese web novel series by Tsutomu Satō. It was published on Shōsetsuka ni Narō, an internet web novel website, between October 2008 and March 2011. Satō reached a deal with Dengeki Bunko and began releasing his work in a light novel format beginning July 2011. In 2013, each story arc received a manga adaptation with varying manga artists and publishers.

The Irregular at Magic High School was adapted into a manga series with storyboards by Fumino Hayashi and illustrations by Tsutomu Satō; it was serialized between GFantasys January 2012 and October 2013 issues. Square Enix collected the individual chapters into four tankōbon volumes and released them between September 2012 and December 2013. After the conclusion of the first manga adaptation, it was immediately followed up with two more adaptations beginning in GFantasys November 2013 issue; the two adaptations were based on the light novel’s Nine Schools Competition Arc and Yokohama Disturbance Arc story arcs. The Nine Schools Competition Arc is illustrated by Tsuna Kitaumi and is currently ongoing. It was collected into four tankōbon volumes released between April 2014 and October 2015. Meanwhile, the Yokohama Disturbance Arc is illustrated by Gin Amau and ended in the October 2015 issue. It was collected into five tankōbon volumes released between April 2014 to November 2015. A manga adaptation subtitled and based on the Recollection Arc was serialized between Dengeki Daiohs April 2014 and September 2015 issue. It is illustrated by Waki Ikawa and was collected into three tankōbon volumes under the Dengeki Comics Next imprint. In the final chapter of the Yokohama Arc, Amau announced he will adapt the Visitor Arc, the next part of the story. Yuzuki N Dash will launch a new manga in Dengeki Daioh focusing on the President Election Arc on April 27, 2018.

The Honor Student at Magic High School

A spin-off manga titled The Honor Student at Magic High School  by Yu Mori premiered in Dengeki Daiohs June 2012 issue. It is currently ongoing, and was collected into seven tankōbon volumes under the Dengeki Comics Next imprint. Yen Press licensed the series’ tankōbon volumes for a North American release; the first volume is localized in November 2015

The story takes place in an alternate history where magic exists and is polished through modern technology. It follows Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba, siblings who enroll into First High magic high school. While keeping their connections to the infamous Yotsuba clan secret, they attempt to live their daily life in peace where Tatsuya is shunned for his apparent ineptness and Miyuki is validated for her magical abilities.

The series has been well received. The light novels appeared on Sugoi Japan’s 2015 polls and since 2011, is one of the top selling series in Japan with 5.3 million copies sold as of 2014. In addition, its manga and anime adaptations also appeared on top selling charts. English reviewers had mixed to negative reception towards the anime adaptation. The complex technicality of magic within the series was received warmly but the exposition was criticized for being heavy, unclear, and poorly executed.

Film Friday- Shaman King

Film Friday- Shaman King

An animated television series was co-produced by TV Tokyo, NAS, and Xebec, which aired on Japan’s TV Tokyo network from 2001 to 2002. The manga has also been reprinted in a kanzenban edition, and has spawned video games, a trading card game, and many types of Shaman King-related merchandise.

The anime series was licensed in North America by 4Kids Entertainment in 2003, and aired on Fox Box. Exclusive video games were released by 4Kids Entertainment in North America and Europe.

The episodes of the Shaman King anime series are directed by Seiji Mizushima and co-produced by TV Tokyo, NAS, and Xebec. At an early stage of anime production, Takei himself helped the anime’s staff. However, he soon left the staff due to his time limitations as he was working in the manga. The 64 episodes were aired between July 4, 2001, and September 25, 2002, on TV Tokyo in Japan. 4Kids Entertainment obtained the rights to broadcast the Shaman King anime in the United States, where it premiered on Fox Box on September 6, 2003.

The episodes were collected into 16 DVD compilations by King Records in Japan and released between October 30, 2001, and January 22, 2003. The DVDs were later collected and released in three box sets between August 27, 2008, and December 25, 2008. Five DVD compilations of the English adaptation have been released by Funimation Entertainment between October 19, 2004 and March 29, 2005 in an uncut form.

At Otakon 2015, former Madhouse president and current MAPPA president, Masao Maruyama, expressed his desire to work on a reboot of Shaman King. In February 2017, while answering a fan’s question, Takei revealed on his official Twitter that he received an offer for an anime remake of Shaman King, but he had to turn it down because they were not able to use the first anime’s voice actors and soundtrack music.

Main characters

Yoh Asakura

is the main protagonist of Shaman King. An easy-going young man with the ability to see ghosts, he quickly becomes friends with Manta and reveals that he is training to eventually become the Shaman King. Though he is too lazy to train properly, he is motivated by a promise he made to his fiancée, Anna Kyoyama, to give her an easy life once he becomes Shaman King. While he remarks that he wants to become Shaman King in order to live a carefree and easy life, those closest to Yoh know that he wants to create a world where no one has to suffer from loneliness like Yoh did as a child because he was a shaman and nobody understood or accepted him.

Unexpectedly, he is not only the latest descendent of the Asakura family, a family famed for their spiritual powers, but also the twin brother of Hao Asakura, who is a reincarnation of the immensely powerful founder of the Asakura family and the primary antagonist of the series. As a result, Yoh is the Asakura family’s greatest hope of finally defeating Hao at last and saving the world from impending destruction. During the Shaman Fight, Yoh is the leader of Team Funbari Hot Springs. In the manga, when it becomes apparent that current known methods of training will not allow any shaman to defeat Hao, Yoh is sent to hell to train, an honour given to him by Lady Sati, and is granted the power of purification. He becomes one of the Five Elemental Warriors and gains the Spirit of Earth.

Anna Kyōyama

is Yoh Asakura’s fiancėe and a powerful itako (a spirit medium in English anime), with the ability to summon and channel spirits even from heaven. She is unrelentingly brutal with Yoh’s training in order to ensure he wins the Shaman Tournament and becomes Shaman King. Anna attends Shinra Private Academy along with Yoh and Manta. She has previously appeared in Hiroyuki Takei’s other works, including Butsu Zone and Itako no Anna, and is notably the mascot for the Aomori Prefecture’s police force.

After being abandoned by her birth parents due to her abilities, Anna was adopted by Kino Asakura, Yoh’s grandmother who resides in Aomori, as one of her apprentices. Her surname, Kyoyama, was given to her by Kino and is an alternate reading of the characters for Mount Osore, where Anna was found. Though most itako are blind, Anna is fully sighted and extremely powerful; her considerable spiritual strength allows her to seal Hao’s guardian spirits Zenki and Kouki and take control of them. Her powers originally included the ability to read minds, which caused her to create powerful demons from negative emotions, until she was saved by Yoh and Matamune and the ability was sealed. Out of deep gratitude for how he saved her life, she believes that it is her responsibility to train him hard so that he can achieve his dream of becoming Shaman King. Despite how badly she seems to treat Yoh, she openly admits that she loves him, expressing jealousy when she thinks he is interested in other girls and breaking down only when she believes that Yoh is truly in danger in contrast to her unflinching confidence in him under other dangerous situations.

Her strong will and blunt personality often inspires fear in her close friends, particularly Yoh. She is one of the few who does not openly express fear to Hao, who is intrigued by her attitude and acknowledges her strength and how she reminds him of his mother, Asanoha Douji. However, she genuinely cares for those important to her, especially Yoh, and merely is dedicated to be “the ultimate Shaman Queen” and wife to Yoh, the first real friend that she ever had in her life.

Manta Oyamada

known as Mortimer “Morty” Manta in the English anime and Mortimer “Morty” Oyamada in the video games, is Yoh’s best friend and the first human to try and understand Yoh without any discrimination. An intelligent and thoughtful boy who carries a book with him every day, he attends Shinra Private Academy with Yoh and Anna. He is physically very short, a fact that he is extremely sensitive about, and has been mistaken as a Koropokuru, a shy nature spirit from northern Japan. Though he is not a shaman and unable to use his spiritual powers like Yoh and Anna, he is capable of seeing spirits and faithfully stands by Yoh. Throughout the series, Manta acts as the primary narrator of the events in Shaman King.

In the manga and original Japanese anime, his family owns the Oyamada Electronics Company, and therefore is very rich. His parents disapprove of Manta’s friendship with Yoh while his younger sister, Mannoko, seems to enjoy making fun of Manta. He has a strained relationship with his family, who plays little role in the story and, following their initial appearance, they are never seen again in the manga until a brief appearance by Mansumi toward the end of the series, where the Oyamada president leads several battle ships to destroy and capture Shamans. In the manga and Japanese anime, Manta has an assistant, Tamurazaki, though he is mostly Mansumi’s lapdog and winds up gunning down at least one of Hao’s followers. While he is unable to help Yoh to become stronger as a shaman, Manta uses what advantages he has to support his friend, such as his incredible wealth to help Anna reach the United States to bring the Ultra Senji Ryakketsu to Yoh after he has left to find the Patch Village.

In the anime, during the Shaman Tournament, Manta becomes a shaman with Mosuke, Amidamaru’s best friend who forged Harusame, as his Guardian Spirit. His relationship with Mosuke soon parallels Yoh’s own relationship with Amidamaru, as well as their existing relationships with their best friends. Because Manta is untrained as a shaman, he is unable to maintain spirit form from losing furyoku quickly and generally communicates with Mosuke through his laptop. During the final battle against Hao, Manta is able to use his laptop to form a hammer-shaped Oversoul to knock out Hao’s shikigami and force his friends to calm down long enough to regroup and defeat Hao. In the manga, Manta is generally an observer throughout the Shaman Fight and often questions his presence in a battle that he cannot directly contribute to. At the conclusion of the series, he appears at the head of the Soul Train to save Yoh and his friends from falling into oblivion, expressing happiness and relief that he could finally help Yoh. Several years later, he attends college in America, studying ways to combine shamanism with business, and brings presents for his friends at their reunion at Funbari Onsen.

Hao Asakura

is the main antagonist of Shaman King, currently the second reincarnation of his original self and the twin brother of Yoh. He is the most powerful participant in the Shaman Tournament, with Furyoku at 1,250,000, an extremely high level compared with the other characters’ Furyoku levels in Shaman King. While he exhibits ruthlessness towards his opponents, he acts surprisingly easy-going and affable, similar to Yoh’s personality.

Originally, one thousand years ago, Hao was the founder of the Asakura family and a powerful Onmyōji priest who possessed incredible spiritual powers, including the ability to sense the thoughts and desires of those around him. Regarded as a master of the Wu Xing pentagram, he was able to control the five elements that give form to creation. However, his compassionate heart was overcome by his deep-seated desire to avenge his mother’s death and his growing hatred of humans because of their selfish natures. Failing to win his first Shaman King tournament because of the combined efforts of the Asakura family to stop him, Hao was able to reincarnate with full awareness of his past life in time to participate in the next tournament and again for the current tournament.

In his second life five hundred years later, Hao was reincarnated as a member of the Patch tribe, who would be an ancestor to Silva, and massacred the Seminoa tribe. After successfully taking control of the Spirit of Fire, an elemental spirit that embodies the essence of one of the five elements of nature, he attempted to become Shaman King again. Despite possessing such advantages, he was defeated by Yohken Asakura, one of his descendants, and the spirit Matamune, who reluctantly put aside his love and loyalty for Hao for the sake of saving the world.

In his most recent reincarnation, Hao chose to reincarnate as a member of the Asakura family, as a pair of identical twins, splitting his soul between himself and Yoh, as the children of Keiko Asakura. In hopes of at least stopping Hao until the next Shaman Fight, Keiko’s father, Yohmei, and her husband Mikihisa, decided to kill both children. However, following his rebirth, Hao escaped from the Asakura family with the help of the Spirit of Fire, while badly burning Mikihisa and sparing his twin brother with the promise to reclaim him some day. In the months leading up to the tournament Hao began to kill prospective competition while gathering an entourage to assist him in winning the current Shaman King tournament.

Hana Asakura

is the son of Yoh Asakura and Anna Kyoyama. He was first introduced in the Shaman King sidestory “Funbari no Uta” as an infant travelling alongside Ryu to find The Five Elemental Warriors, story which is concluded in the finale of Shaman King. In the sequel Shaman King Flowers a teenage Hana acts as the leading character. He is depicted as a Shaman having Yoh’s spirit guardian, Amidamaru, alongside him using him with the Futsu-no-Mitama no Tsurugi weapon to create two Oversouls, O.S. “Oni Kabuto” and O.S. “Oni Kabuto Though”. He lives Tamao Tamamura’s care while his parents are absent. Hana is bored with his life and finds the appearance of his fiancé Alumi Niumbirch and his proclaimed enemies Yohane and Luka Asakura as a way to kill his boredom. Hana also possesses several Oni sealed inside him that will be summoned when he is in danger in order to protect him. They were placed by his uncle, Hao Asakura, when he was a baby.