|Shaman King character|
|First appearance||Manga Chapter 9
'Shaman King' Episode 4
|Voiced by||Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese)
Tara Jayne (English)
|Relatives||Yoh Asakura (husband)
Hana Asakura (son)
Anna Kyōyama (恐山 アンナ Kyōyama Anna?) is a fictional character created by manga author Hiroyuki Takei. She appears in Shaman King as a primary character, while an alternate character with the same name and similar appearance appears in Butsu Zone, and Itako no Anna, a one-shot manga series which focuses on Anna. Takei notes in an interview, that she is like his own personal mascot or good luck charm, because Anna appears (albeit usually in cameos) in so many of his works.
Her voice actress in the original Japanese Shaman King anime is Megumi Hayashibara and is Tara Jayne in the English anime. In some Japanese products and in Shaman King: Master of Spirits, her name is spelled Anna Kyohyama.
In Shaman King, Anna is the fiancée and later wife of Yoh Asakura, and is an itako (spirit medium in the English dub) - a traditional Japanese shaman. Her specialty is channeling, and she can summon a spirit from anywhere, even from heaven where normal shamans can't reach. She is depicted as a relatively thin girl with shoulder-length blonde hair who wears a short black dress, traditional sandals, and prayer beads she uses as an itako. Anna frequently wears a red scarf tied around her head, though she occasionally wears the scarf around her neck. In addition to the prayer beads she wears around her neck, she wields another set of beads called 1080 which she uses to fight strong spirits and shamans. Anna attends Shinra Private Academy along with Yoh and Manta and her favourite singer in the manga, Ringo Awaya, is a reference to Japanese singer and guitarist Shiina Ringo.
Anna's first appearance in the manga occurs after Yoh narrowly defeats Tao Ren. From there after, she starts her "special training" program to help Yoh become Shaman King; she is unrelentingly brutal with his training to the extent that Yoh refers to the regimen as torture instead. Aggressive and decisive, Anna is a pragmatic person who, to most, appears cold and harsh. However, she has shown that 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. She holds a deep gratitude for Yoh for saving her life, thus she believes it is her responsibility as Yoh's wife to train him hard so he can achieve his dream of becoming Shaman King in spite of her claim it is so he can realize her dream of living a comfortable life.
As a shaman, Anna possesses tremendous spiritual ability and mastery of shamanic techniques; her impressive strength allowed her to seal in Hao Asakura's shikigami guardians - Zenki and Kouki - and take control of them as her spirit allies. She shows little fear of Hao, whom she detests, and does not hesitate to successfully slap him. In response, Hao expresses interest in her, possibly because she resembles Asano-Ha, the mother of his original incarnation 1000 years ago, and because of the extent of her power.
Despite how badly she seems to treat him, Anna unquestionably loves Yoh and explicitly admits to it. Because she is certain of her assessment of his abilities, she rarely loses her composure when he is in danger unless something completely unexpected arises, such as when she believes Yoh was about to killed while being possessed by Tokagero. She can be extremely possessive of Yoh, beating him up once when she thought that the Oracle Bell he brought home was a woman's pager. Yoh is constantly intimidated by Anna, seemingly fearing her wrath even more than Hao, though his own feelings for her are expressed in how the promise he made to her to become Shaman King is the greatest motivation he has to continue fighting. Despite her harsh demeanor and strong will, she is actually gentle and kind to those she cares about.
Anna was abandoned as a young girl because her parents became afraid of her strong shamanic powers, which included the ability to see into other people's minds without willing to. Left on Mount Osore, she was found by Yoh's grandmother, Kino Asakura, who took Anna as an apprentice and gave her the surname Kyōyama (恐山), an alternate reading of the characters for Mount Osore (恐山 Osorezan?). Recognizing Anna's inherent potential, Yoh's grandparents decided that she would be a suitable bride for Yoh.
Before meeting Yoh, Anna's mind reading power known as reishi (soul sight) was one that she could not fully control. She could not help but pick up the negative emotions of others every time she was around other people; because of this, she began to hate others, and this hatred would involuntarily manifest itself as an Oni (demonic ogres, akin to boogeyman in Western cultures). Thus she tried to avoid going out as much as possible, usually confining herself to her room.
Anna and Yoh meet when they are ten years old in 1995 at Mt. Osore, shortly after Yoh and Matamune arrive in Aomori to visit Kino. Yoh is attacked by an oni, unaware that it came from Anna, who cryptically warns Yoh to stay aware from her. However, Yoh persists in trying to get to know Anna and eventually learns that Anna's negative emotions create the oni, who are beyond her control. Matamune, as one of the Asakura family's most powerful spirits, was chosen to accompany Yoh to save Anna from herself because her powers closely resembled those of Matamune's former master, Hao Asakura.
Yoh's positive influence on Anna allows her to gradually open her heart and she accepts his invitation to accompany him to a temple on New Year's Eve. However, the selfish desires of the tremendous amount of people present overwhelm Anna, who summons a powerful oni that begins absorbing other oni nearby. The Oh-Oni created gains the ability to speak and kidnaps Anna to take her to Mount Osore to absorb the lurking spirits there. Matamune sacrifices his physical form to give Yoh the power to defeat the Oh-Oni and save Anna, whose heart opens enough to admit that while she will never forget her deep-seated resentment towards humans and the world, she has begun to love Yoh. Yoh and Anna are able to destroy the Oh-Oni, whose body is forged by Kino to become the 1080 beads.
Because Yoh freed her from the darkness that haunted her each day, she grows to love him and resolves to become stronger so not to feel the same pain in the past and to repay him for everything he sacrificed for her.
Abilities and Techniques
Itako are traditionally blind women, though many were actually trained to behave like itako because in the past blind women were unable to do anything else with their lives. However, Anna's powers are genuine and she is fully sighted; her ability to master the arts of the itako is a testament of her strength. Because the Asakura family is notable for its spiritual prowess, only those with the strongest spiritual abilities marry into the family. As a result, Anna, because of her unusually strong itako powers, is one of the selected few who may become a member of the family through marriage.
- Invocation (口寄せ Kuchiyose?): The primary ability of an itako, kuchiyose is the ability to summon a spirit anytime and anywhere, given that Anna knows a little information about who she is summoning. Anna is particularly skilled with the art and is capable of summoning spirits back from Heaven.
- GoumaChoubuku (降魔調伏?): After finding the technique in the Ultra Senji Ryakketsu, Anna used the technique to gain control over Hao Asakura's shikigami: Zenki and Kouki. She also uses the shikigamis as something like her guardian spirits, and they have great power.
- Reishi (霊視?): The ability Anna was born with, which enables her to read the hearts and minds of others. Hao is unable to read Anna's mind, it is believed this is because they share the same power. Hao explains that the root of the ability is loneliness; initially, Anna could not do anything more than read her parent's expressions, but the lonelier her heart grew, the stronger her ability to read minds became and she began to close her heart to others. She states in chapter 202 that she no longer has this ability.
Anna is also physically very strong, seen to be capable of shattering rocks when battling with Hao in chapter 249, something that most people do not suspect from her appearance. She has demonstrated several times that she is not afraid to use her fists to subdue anyone, making her "right hand slap" and "phantom left hand slap (幻の左)" (or "Legendary Left") somewhat infamous among Yoh's group of friends, especially Manta and Tamao.
The origins of the 1080 beads are different in the manga and anime. In the manga, the 1080 beads were forged from the corpse of the Oh-Oni that was released during the New Year's Fesitival on the night that Yoh and Anna met, while in the anime, it was forged by Yohken Asakura, containing the spirits of all 1080 members of the Asakura clan.
Anna appears in Takei's short story Funbari no Uta; she has a son named Hana Asakura and she is married to Yoh. The short story takes place 6 years after the conclusion of the Shaman King manga, implying that she became pregnant soon after or before the final Shaman Fight. While Anna does not appear directly in Shaman King: Flowers, either she or the Anna who appears in Butsu Zone or Itako no Anna is responsible for training Silva's daughter, who was named after Anna and possesses a strong resemblance to her mentor.
The character that Anna is based on also stars in a one-shot comic called Itako no Anna, which focuses mainly on her character and appears in Takei's other short work, Butsu Zone, as an ally to the main characters. Though the character is an itako in both works and possesses a similar appearance and background, the Anna Kyoyama who appears in Itako no Anna and Butsu Zone has a cheerful and enthusiastic personality compared to the aggressive and intimidating Anna in Shaman King. She wields the sword Harusame (which would reappear in Shaman King as a primary medium for Amidamaru) and expresses an interest in travelling to find her birth parents. It is suggested that Anna I, an itako who trained under the Asakura family and moved to Los Angeles, is likely the Anna who appeared in Butsu Zone. She is mentioned as having succeeded in the business and regularly sent information obtained on the Patch Tribe to the Asakuras, which aided Anna Kyoyama and her companions in locating the Patch Village. Anna I is responsible for training Anna III, the daughter of Patch Officiant Silva, who also has a strong resemblance to the prototype for Anna.
Anna and Yoh also appear in flash back of manga Shaman King Flowers, sequel from Shaman King series which took place six or seven years after Funbari no Uta with Hana Asakura, Yoh and Anna's son as the main character.
Anna appears as a playable character for the Nintendo DS titles, Jump Superstars and Jump Ultimate Stars and is the main playable character in the second mission of the Shaman King world where she fights Dio Brando and Freeza.
She has been featured various times in the Animage's Anime Grand Prix polls, ranking as one of the most popular female characters. Merchandise based on Anna have been released, including action figures, key chains, and items for cosplay.
- Shonen Jump (magazine), 2005
SJ: Anna seems to be a very important character for you, since she appeared in her own one-shot manga before Shaman King, and also in Butsu Zone. Can you tell us about the history of her character?
Takei: Please think of her as my signature character...
- Shaman King, volume 19, chapter 164
- Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volume 27, chapter 270
- Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volume 27 extras, Shaman File 346
- Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volume 10 extras, Shaman File 123
- Mentalite guidebook, Shaman King - Flowers one-shot
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