Last week, I reviewed the 5th episode of Shaman King. While the Yoh vs. Silva fight wasn't impressive animation-wise, the funny humor definitely carried the show and hearing 2001 adaptation's OP was a huge nostalgia trip. I noted that the 6th episode would be the anime's first true test as this week's episode will feature the most intense fight yet. So, how did studio Bridge execute Ep. 6?
The 6th episode adapted Chapter 32 - 38 of the manga.
The episode immediately picks up from the previous episode's cliffhanger. The Patch Tribe officials including Silva meet up to check on Chrom, who was killed by Ren. Silva wants to disqualify Ren, but the other officials rebut with the fact that it is the Great Spirit's decision, not his, and call Silva out on his bias.
Silva distraught over Chrom's death.
Dismayed, Silva asks the Great Spirit why must there be deaths if it is all-knowing. Goldva, the Chief, interjects with the statement that all-knowing does not mean being a prophet hence why the Shaman King tournament is held. The chief mentions how Yoh was able to figure out Over Soul by himself as an example of how unpredictable things can be.
Goldva teaching Silva what the Great Spirit is and isn't.
The episode cuts to a funny scene of Anna accusing Yoh of two-timing her after she finds Silva's hair on his clothes and Manta going over the rules.
And then, we reach the main course, Yoh vs. Horohoro. Horohoro, an Ainu tribesman, makes a dramatic entrance with his snowboard and introduces his spirit, Kororo, a Koropokkuru. After Horohoro hilariously mistakes Manta as another Koropokguru, he and Yoh begin their fight. However, Yoh asks him why he wants to become the Shaman King. Horohoro replies that he wants to restore the Koropokguru ecosystem as human development has put them in danger of going extinct.
Horohoro snowboarding down a skyscraper.
Horohoro and his spirit, Kororo.
Horohoro freaking out because he thinks Manta is also a Koropokguru spirit.
Yoh finds Horohoro's goal to be very noble and let's him be Shaman King before Anna hits him with her inn-hostess punch to remind him of his own goal. Then, Yoh has an epiphany of granting Horohoro's wish along with his own when he wins the tournament.
Kororo launching an ice-based attack while integrated into Horohoro's snowboard.
Anna punching Yoh in the face.
The two shamans resume their fight and Horohoro goes all out with his avalanche attack. However, Yoh manages to survive the onslaught and wins the fight as his opponent ran out of furyoku. The next day, the two of them celebrated together at the inn before Pilika, Horohoro's younger sister, crashes the party and drags him off to train him.
Yoh easily neutralizing Horohoro's icicle attacks.
Yoh and Horohoro celebrating post-match.
Pilika dragging her brother away.
The episode ends with Kalim, another Patch Tribe official, telling Silva to have Yoh forfeit his next fight before it cuts to an ominous shaman in a graveyard.
Yoh's next opponent.
I think studio Bridge structured this episode very well. The opening scene was a great way to establish the hard challenges Yoh will have to face. The episode does not dwell too long on the intermediary content before it cuts to the main fight.
The animation of Yoh vs. Horohoro was serviceable. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazeballs either. The drawings remain very clean as demonstrated by the above shot of Horohoro snowboarding down a skyscraper. The furyoku effects look good and I like how the 2021 remake contrasts Yoh's orange furyoku with Horohoro's white furyoku. In the original 2001 anime, Yoh's spirit energy was light blue which looked the same.
Just like the last episode, the humor here was very funny and well-timed. It was pretty hilarious seeing Horohoro mistake Manta as a Koropokguru because of his small stature. I also laughed when Yoh was easily moved to tears by Horohoro's goal before Anna punched him in the face.
What was also pretty funny were Amidamaru's various faces under Over Soul. It also shows Bridge's fine attention to small details which adds more character to the anime.
The many faces of Amidamaru (Over Soul mode).
While the episode is funny, it also knows when to be serious. As the fight progressed, the episode does a great job showing Yoh's growth as a shaman. Even though hyoui gattai is useless against Over Soul, because Yoh has intensely trained with Amidamaru under hyoui gattai for so long, he has gained the spirit's fighting instincts and muscle memory. It even surprised the normally strict and unimpressed Anna. Overall, I like how the anime portrays hyoui gattai as a stepping stone.
Animation isn't exactly cheap, so other aspects such as character development, music, voice acting, and artstyle will need to carry the show. You're not going to mistake Shaman King (2021) as an Ufotable production, but Bridge has executed very well on the fundamentals. I eagerly wait for the next shaman fight.