Last week, I praised Episode 4 for its good pacing and emphasis on the emotional elements. I liked how it effectively tried to show the audience a different side of Ryu and how he was not some delinquent thug, but someone who just wanted a place to belong.
In this episode, I felt that the anime once again did a solid job expanding on the characters of Yoh and Anna.
The episode covered chapters 25 - 31 from the manga.
Ryu joined Yoh and Anna's house as their cook to repay them for saving him from Tokageroh's possession. It was also revealed that he can see spirits of which Anna possessed him with Mosuke's spirit to repair Harusame. When they observed Yoh's training, Ryu tried to imitate him, but failed as he had not yet learned how the basic of being a shaman.
Yoh and Amidamaru training.
Ryu and Manta had a friendly chat down a street. Envious of Yoh's abilities, Ryu randomly shouted to the stars to grant him power which was followed by a shooting star named Ragoh. Unlike the typical shooting star, Ragoh symbolizes destruction and passes by every 500 years. In order to prevent the calamity and save humanity, a tournament is held to find the strongest shaman worthy of being the Shaman King.
Ryu and Manta observing Ragoh passing through the sky.
The next day, Yoh complained to Manta about Anna's harsh training when a random street vendor tried to sell him his native trinkets. When Yoh and Manta left, however, the episode revealed the street vendor to be a shaman who is interested in Yoh's abilities.
Yoh and Amidamaru went to the graveyard to relax, but the latter was glum because as a spirit, he cannot get stronger. He expressed to Yoh that he might be a hindrance because of this, but Yoh was not worried about that. Yoh shared to Amidamaru his philosophy of not worrying about what he cannot control and focusing on the present. That was when the street vendor appeared again.
Amidamaru sharing his worries with Yoh.
The street vendor revealed himself to be Silva, a member of the Patch Tribe who act as a observing and examining body to facilitate the shaman tournament. He challenged Yoh to a test. If Yoh could hit him at least once, he would be able to advance to the next round. Yoh accepted the challenged and engaged in combat under hyoui gattai, but Silva easily fended off his attacks with an unknown power.
Silva and his animal spirits about to test Yoh and Amidamaru.
Meanwhile, Anna was mad at Yoh for not being home yet. Manta confronted her about her Spartan treatment of Yoh. It was here where Anna opened up about why she genuinely loves Yoh. She dislikes people who are gungho about "saving the world", but then cowardly bail when things go awry. In contrast, she finds Yoh's goal of having an easy-going life endearing and loves him for staying true to his philosophy.
Anna telling Manta why she loves Yoh in Ch. 30.
Back at the graveyard, Yoh continued to struggle to land a single hit on Silva. The examiner revealed to Yoh that this was a test of intellect, of thinking outside the box. This led to Yoh doing a bunch of hilarious things like yeeting Amidamaru's spirit ball and nearly sending his spirit to the afterlife.
Yoh yeeting Amidamaru in his spirit ball form.
Yoh nearly sending Amidamaru to the afterlife.
However, Yoh managed to deduce that Silva's animal spirits were emanating from objects associated to their species like the feather, turtle shell, and bones. As a result, he had Amidamaru possess Harusame, achieving oversoul for the very first time.
Yoh achieving oversoul for the very first time.
Silva congratulated Yoh on his achievement, so he upped the ante with his totem pole cannon and challenged him to a life-or-death situation. Yoh welcomed the challenge and spent all of this furyoku (spirit power) to take on a point blank cannon blast. He successfully neutralized the blast and get a single hit on Silva, passing the trial.
Silva challenging Yoh with his totem pole cannon blast.
Yoh successfully neutralizing the cannon blast and landing a single hit on Silva.
The episode concluded with Silva giving Yoh the Oracle Bell, which would notify him of upcoming shaman fights for the tournament, and Ren also passing his test albeit by killing his examiner.
This episode definitely shone the brightest with Yoh, Anna, and its comedy. That said, I was a little disappointed with how the anime sped through Ryu's gradual progression towards becoming a shaman.
The way the episode sequenced Yoh's conversation with Amidamaru followed by Anna's conversation with Manta a few minutes later was very effective character development. While they were technically two separate conversations, Yoh's "go with the flow" philosophy that he shared with Amidamaru is the reason why Anna loves him. Compared to the 2001 adaptation where she was nothing more than a strict disciplinarian, I find the remake to be a lot better at portraying Anna's character.
I also had a good laugh from Yoh's attempts at passing Silva's trial. The part where he nearly sent Amidamaru to the after life by chanting a sutra was pretty damn funny.
However, the biggest highlight of the episode was when the anime played the original OP, "Oversoul", from the 2001 adaptation when Yoh took on Silva's totem cannon blast. As someone who watched the 2001 anime, including the Japanese version, I got nostalgic when the remake actually referenced the old track.
As for the fight, while Yoh vs. Silva was not the most impressive animation-wise, the stillshots have remained high quality and consistent. However, this is something that the anime will need to change for future episodes, namely the very next one. As fights become more dynamic, the anime needs to up the animation in order to reflect that. In the manga, Yoh vs. Horohoro is pretty intense and this will be the anime's first test. I hope it will not disappoint me.