Shaman King, Ep. 24 Review - The Big Boss Takes Center Stage

Shaman King, Ep. 24 Review - The Big Boss Takes Center Stage


Introduction

As Yoh and his friends all have advanced to the second round, the stakes of the Shaman tournament are even higher. While Yoh managed to quite literally one shot Team Icemen, as the previous episode showed near the end, it would take more than a giant mana sword to take on Hao. While I was sort of disappointed with how the first half of Team Funbari (Yoh's team) vs. Team Icemen went in Ep. 22, Ep. 23 was far better executed.

This time, Hao is up next. With the anime having established him as an impossibly strong character, how will the show depict his prowess?

Episode Summary

This episode adapted Chapters 136 through 139 in the manga. The main events were Yoh and Lyserg's conversation, and the X-Law's (Team X-III) fight against Hao, the main antagonist.

The episode starts right where Ep. 22 left off. Lyserg reveals how he felt guilty leaving Yoh and his friend without telling them. However, Yoh harbored no hard feelings and supported his autonomy. As Yoh is about to leave to get some shuteye, Marco suddenly appears and threatens him for trying to turn Lyserg to the "dark side" (and even slaps Lyserg for conversing with his friend).


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Yoh and Lyserg catch up on what's been going on.


Jeanne interrupts the commotion and scolds Marco for his belligerence. Impressed by Yoh's performance during his match, she offers him to join the X-Laws. Of course, the protagonist declines due to the organization's brutish methods. Interpreting his rejection as an insult to Jeanne, Marco prepares to attack, but Yoh quick draws his sword faster than he can even pull the trigger of his gun. Jeanne tells Marco to stand down and let Yoh go as it is not even a contest.


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Marco threatens to attach Yoh if he dares to leave...

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... though it doesn't matter because Yoh outclasses him.


The matches continue the next day and finally, Hao takes center stage. His opponents, Chris, Cebin, and Meene of the X-Laws (Team X-III), though to Hao, he sees them as fodders for entertainment. After exchanging some "pleasantries", the fight begins and Team X-III charge in with their archangel guardian spirits. Out of curiosity, Hao uses his Oracle Bell to measure their furyoku levels akin to the scouters from Dragonball Z and scoffs at their meager power levels. He sends out his Spirit of Fire and impales Meene, instantly killing her.


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Hao's teammates exit the ring for Hao to go solo.

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Hao kills Meene with the Spirit of Fire's claw.


However, Cebin and Chris are not fazed, and the former executes his counterattack though the end result is the same. Lyserg, who is watching the match with the rest of the X-Laws, mourns Meene and Cebin's death. He flashes back to the night before he was getting slapped by Marco. His "sin"? Feeling conflicted about Chris, Cebin, and Meene sacrificing themselves to Hao in order to learn his secret techniques (particularly his intermediary as Ren pointed out in the previous episode). Team X-III intervened and told Marco that Lyserg's kindness is not a weakness and encouraged Lyserg to stay true to himself.


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Chris, Cebin, and Meene comfort Lyserg in his flashback.


Back to the present, Hao also impales Chris, but he manages to stay alive. To add insult to injury, Hao crashes on the X-Law's parade as he already figured out the organization's little experiment and proceeds to tell them his intermediary: oxygen. Thinking that Hao foolishly got overconfident, Chris uses a grenade to detonate the entire ring (that is encased by a magic barrier) to burn up all the oxygen. The explosion creates a huge spectacle, but when the dust settles, Hao stands alone on the ring completely unharmed.


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Chris about the detonate his grenade to exterminate Hao's intermediary.

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Hao survives the explosion as if nothing happened.


My Thoughts

I have to thank this anime for reminding me why I really dislike Marco. While the 2001 anime heavily diverted from the manga's story, I remember as a kid, I found Marco to be insufferable with his self-righteousness. His physical beatings on Lyserg portrayed in the 2021 adaptation made me see him as even more of a prick than his 2001 counterpart.

Anyways, the fight was nothing flashy, but it actually works out in the anime's favor as it wasn't even a fight to begin with considering Hao's capabilities. I am glad the anime did not pull back its punches on the violent elements. On top of the aforementioned impaling of Meene and Chris, it also showed Cebin's badly burned face when he removed his mask. The episode did not hesitate to show Cebin's face getting crushed underneath the Spirit of Fire's weight before he died. While the Shaman King anime failed to establish the threat level of Faust and Boris from previous episodes, it is a relief that it did not skimp out on the main antagonist of the series.

I also really liked how the beginning of the episode and Lyserg's flashback added to his character and made him more likable. One of my major gripes with the 2001 version was how Lyserg often acted like an asshat and by the time he finally made an about-face, it was too little too late. In contrast, the manga and 2021 anime approach Lyserg's character in a more nuanced way. It was heartwarming to see him and Yoh still being friends despite their differences and his concern for his comrades during his flashback.

The music throughout the episode strongly complemented the scenes, especially when Hao demonstrated his brutality. The use of the organ added to the tension of the match and intimidation of his character.

Unfortunately, the art of throughout the episode was inconsistent. At times, the characters were drawn crooked and out of proportion like Radim's (the emcee) big head. It was particularly bad whenever the character were drawn from a faraway distance. Honestly, it felt rather uncharacteristic of this anime as the anime has been largely consistent with its art and has shown some really compelling shots.

The overall execution was pretty solid. Had the artwork been cleaned up some more, then the episode would've been a home run.

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LateToTheParty
LateToTheParty

Agnostic classical liberal & fiscal conservative who likes anime, JRPGs, and Linux. Follow me on Minds: https://www.minds.com/LateToTheParty Follow me on Pocketnet: https://pocketnet.app/latetotheparty?ref=PPCGPRioSHzkgKZstjCWhwGfWtxYUM2DSb


Late to the Show and Games
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