Hao Asakura

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Hao Asakura
Shaman King character
Voiced by Minami Takayama (Japanese)
Sebastian Arcelus (English)
Profile
Gender Male
Relatives Asanoha Douji (Mother)
Yohken Asakura (descendant)
Yoh Asakura (twin brother, descendant, reincarnation)
Anna Kyoyama (sister-in-law)
Silva (descendant)
Keiko Asakura (mother, descendant)
Mikihisa Asakura (father)
Yohmei Asakura (grandfather, descendant)
Kino Asakura (grandmother)
Hana Asakura (nephew, descendant)
Redseb Munzer Asakura (adoptive brother)
Seyram Munzer Asakura (adoptive sister)
Information
Current Rank & Furyoku Kami-class Shaman
1250000
Team Affiliation Star Group
Teammates Opacho
Luchist Lasso
Spirit Allies Ohachiyo
Zenki and Kouki
Matamune
Spirit of Fire
Great Spirit (Current)
Shamanic Medium Air

Hao Asakura (麻倉 葉王 (ハオ) Asakura Hao?), known as Zeke Asakura in the English anime, is the main antagonist in the manga and anime series Shaman King, created by Hiroyuki Takei. He is voiced by Minami Takayama in the Japanese version and Sebastian Arcelus in the English adaption.

Overview[edit]

In Shaman King, Hao initially appears as one of many unnamed observers to Yoh Asakura and Tao Ren's match for the final qualifying spot for the Shaman Fight[1] and resides by the Matagawa River in Tokyo with the Spirit of Fire.[2] In his first formal appearance in Reincarnation 78, he is introduced as Hao (ハオ?), a powerful shaman who Yoh notes has an uncanny resemblance to both himself and the Patch Officiant Silva. Accompanied by a number of followers, Hao declares his intention to create a shaman-only world and expresses an immediate interest in Yoh as someone who Hao will need in the future. Hao continues to observe Yoh and his development throughout the series for the intention of eventually claiming Yoh's soul as part of his own. Hao also develops an interest in Anna Kyoyama after realizing she had the power to defeat the shikigami familiars he created and because of her strong resemblance to Asanoha Douji, his mother in his original incarnation.

During the second round of the Shaman Fight, Yoh and his friends gradually learn that a number of shaman hold personal vendettas against Hao for how he has hurt them in the past. They also learn that he was somehow involved in the Shaman Fights from 1000 years ago and 500 years ago. It is eventually disclosed that Hao was once the founder of the Asakura family and had gained great prominence as a diviner for the Imperial Court; however, he eventually developed deep hatred for humanity as a whole and attempted to become Shaman King to destroy them. The Asakura family was able to defeat him, though Hao's mastery of esoteric onmyouji arts allowed him to be reborn 500 years later as a Patch Priest and then in the present when his efforts to become Shaman King failed a second time. When the present Hao's surname is announced to be "Asakura" during the Shaman Tournament, Yoh initially tells his friends that Hao is his distant ancestor, though he later reveals that during Hao's second reincarnation, Hao was reborn as Yoh's twin brother, thus explaining their resemblance.

In present Shaman Fight, Hao is soon established as the most powerful participant with 1,250,000 furyoku at his disposal and the powerful Spirit of Fire as his guardian ghost. In addition, he is able to read minds, allowing him to anticipate the actions of his opponents beforehand. In addition to his resemblance to Yoh, Hao exhibits a surprisingly easy-going affable attitude, similar to Yoh's personality.

However, he has deep contempt for ordinary humans and is extremely ruthless towards his opponents. Though he has gathered a number of loyal followers, he actually trusts very few people, expressing his inner thoughts only occasionally to his teammates Opacho and Luchist Lasso. Out of hatred for humanity, he espouses the belief that the destruction of humanity will allow the planet and other animals that humans abused to be saved. Because of his overwhelming power, he has allowed people to worship him as god and appears to have developed a superiority complex, regarding all other beings as his inferiors, a belief made more dangerous by his ability to back up this claim. His most distinctive motif is a star design he wears upon his clothing and he is usually seen wearing a long cloak over his trousers.

However, in spite of Hao's disdain for humanity and overwhelming power, Yoh expresses the belief the way to defeat Hao is not through a confrontation of power and the destruction of his soul, but through the heart.[3]

History[edit]

Originally, Hao was a child named "Asaha Douji (麻葉童子?)" from the Heian era. Both he and his mother, Asanoha Douji (麻ノ葉 童子?), had the ability to see ghosts. However, Asanoha was killed by a corrupt and fraudalent priest, Densen-Hoshi, when she was accused of being a kitsune fox demon and Asaha was labelled a demon child. Asaha was eventually found by a friendly demon spirit, Ohachiyo (乙破千代?), who nicknamed the child "Mappa Douji (麻葉 童子?) based on an alternate reading of Asaha's name. Ohachiyo cared for and taught Asaha many things and attempted to quell the child's desire for vengeance and his hatred of humanity. However, when the same priest attempted to kill Asaha as a scapegoat for recent troubles in the community, Ohachiyo allowed Asaha to create an Over Soul with him so they could defeat the priest. The combination allowed Asaha to read the priest's mind and kill him, but exhausting his own furyoku caused Ohachiyo's spirit to fuse with Asaha's, permanently leaving Asaha with the reishi sight, the ability to read minds.[4]

Asaha's shamanic abilities were eventually recognized and he became an onmyouji priest, renaming himself "Hao Asakura (麻倉葉王 Asakura Hao?)", and founding the Asakura clan. The family rose to prominence and Hao became a diviner for the Imperial Court. During this time, he found a sickly stray cat with heightened spiritual powers; the cat became Matamune, who Hao regarded as his only true friend and would bequeath a portion of his furyoku to the cat to maintain his physical presence in the world after he died. Regarded as a master of the Wu Xing pentagram, Hao 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.

Five hundred years later, Hao was reincarnated as a member of the Patch tribe and massacred the Seminoa tribe when they refused to accept his vision of a shaman-only world. 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 Matamune, who reluctantly put aside his love and loyalty for Hao for the sake of saving the world. Though the Patch Tribe intended to kill the wife and child Hao had left behind, they realized that they were missing a priest because of Hao's death. The wife and child were spared to continue the lineage of Patch Priests and one of Hao's descendants in his Patch incarnation became the Patch Officiant Silva.

In his most recent reincarnation, Hao chose to reincarnate as a member of the Asakura family, as a pair of identical twins to be born to Keiko Asakura, splitting his soul between himself and Yoh. 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. After escaping from the Asakura family, Hao was raised by Blocken Meyer. When Hao was five years old, he began travelling the world and accumulating loyal followers while simultaneously leaving a wake of destruction in areas of conflict and killing those who would not join him while survivors would eventually gather together to seek revenge in the Shaman Fight. 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.

When it becomes apparent that Hao cannot be defeated in a direct confrontation, Yoh and his allies elect to allow Hao to become Shaman King uncontested and begin an alternate plan to eliminate Hao as he sleeps to merge with the Great Spirit. Yoh and his friends are unable to reach Hao before he awakens, after which he annihilates everyone within the proximity of the continent of Mu, where the final round of the Shaman Fight had been taking place. Within the Great Spirit, Hao is confronted with the souls of nearly everyone he has ever encountered who have come to save him from his loneliness and he begins to doubt his own heart. After finally reuniting with the spirit of his mother after 1000 years, she reprimands his behavior and encourages him to love and have faith in humanity. No longer blinded by hatred, he accepts the promise of Yoh and his friends to try and change the world for the better and tells them that he would watch over them and see what would happen.

Abilities and Techniques[edit]

In Hao's original incarnation, he had been a powerful onmyouji priest in the Asakura clan and had mastered all the arts and techniques of Onmyoudou, including the divinatory arts, creation of demons, and the ability to manipulate all five elements of the pentagram, allowing him to bargain with the Taizun Fukun, the god of Hell, in order to control his reincarnation. His power had been so considerable that even the ogre demons he tamed as shikigami familiars remain loyal and powerful even 1000 years later and Matamune, whose physical existence relied on Hao's furyoku, was able to maintain his form for ten centuries. Many of Hao's techniques were recorded in the Ultra Senji Ryakketsu (超占事略決 Chō Senji Ryakketsu?), a tome sealed within a hidden shrine at the Asakura's ancestral home in Izumo.

Because shaman become more powerful after dying and being resurrected, Hao has become exponentially more powerful with each reincarnation as he retains all the awareness of himself over the past 1000 years his spirit has existed. By the time of the current tournament, he possesses furyoku level of 1,250,000.

Upon gaining the Spirit of Fire as his guardian ghost in his first reincarnation, its power was reduced considerably since its trip from Hell in order for Hao to bargain with Taizun Fukun to be reincarnated a second time as a descendant of the Asakura family. In order for the Spirit of Fire to regain its former strength, Hao feeds the spirit the souls of shaman he has defeated.

  • Onmyōdō (陰陽道?): Hao's original abilities of an onmyouji priest from his first life gives him full control over the elements and divination powers. He is not only able to manipulate the five elements of nature, fire, earth, wind, metal, and water materially, but also shamanically as shown when he converts the Spirit of Fire's essence into water. Even without the Spirit of Fire, Hao possesses great elemental and divination abilities and can easily bend oni and demigods to his will.
  • Reishi (霊視?): The ability of read the hearts of others. Though it is a useful ability, Hao was unable to control the ability and was constantly inundated with the thoughts of those surrounding him. Though he initially used it to help humans suffering, he began to see the darker side of human nature as he discovered through his reishi that those he helped were jealous and afraid of his power, and convinced them that he was evil. He eventually became filled with contempt for humanity and sought to create a world of only shamans. According to Hao, the ability derives from a strong sense of loneliness.[5] He retains the ability in each of his incarnations until he is confronted by all the souls he has ever encountered; soon afterward, Anna makes him realize that he is unable to read minds because he is no longer lonely as a result of meeting Yoh, who had the same effect on her.[6]
  • Taizan Fukun no Sai (泰山府君祭?): Derived from the "Taizan Fukun", the ancient Chinese name for the King of Hell who judges the dead and decides their fate. The technique requires the shaman to have mastered all five elements of the pentagram and they must defeat the 75 lords of Hell in order to reach Taizan Fukun to bargain with him. Through this technique, Hao was able to be reborn 500 years later as one of the Patch, and then again 500 years later.
  • Ring of Fire (リング・オブ・ファイアー Ringu obu Faiaa?): An attack similar to that of Yoh's Shockwave Buddha Giri (Celestial Slash).
  • O.S. Raven (黒雛 Kurobina?): Hao's armor oversoul, it is first shown in chapter 233 when he used it to defend himself from a laser shot by a X-Law satellite. Like other armor oversouls, the power of Kurobina is immense as shown when Hao personally destroyed a fleet of battle ships sent from Manta Oyamada's father. In this form, Hao is able to hover and fly in the air while also being able to fire immense blasts using the shuttle packs on his back.

Other Appearances[edit]

In Hao's appearance in the Shaman King anime series, it is stated that his incarnation as a Patch member was defeated by an unnamed member of the Asakura family and his spirit ally using the Futsunomitama Sword and the 1080 beads containing the powerful spirits of the Asakura family. Toward the conclusion of the series, he is confronted by the X-Laws, a paramilitary organization of shaman led by Iron Maiden Jeanne, who make a disastrous attempt to defeat him by opening the Gate of Babylon. Hao subsequently comes to regard the Shaman Fight as a waste of time and elects to seize the Great Spirit by force using the power of the Spirit of Fire, which has become sufficiently powerful after consuming Jeanne's spirit Shamash. Yoh attempts to defeat him before he can succeed, but is overwhelmed and his soul is consumed after Hao expresses disgust with Yoh's attitude that "everything will work out". Yoh's friends arrive and try to defeat Hao using a binding spell that defeated him 500 years prior with the spirits of the Asakura ancestors contained the 1080 beads wielded by Anna. Hao's defeat comes when Yoh's soul breaks free before being fully consumed and Yoh uses the combined power of all the shamans in the tournament and the Great Spirit to boost Amidamaru's power and destroy Hao.

Hao does not appear in Funbari no Uta, the short story series written by Takei that takes place seven years after Shaman King, though he appears in Shaman King - Hana's Epoch, which focuses on Hana Asakura, the son of Yoh and Anna, during Hana's teenage years. Hana, frustrated with how he is unable to exercise his abilities as a shaman like his father had, encounters Hao, now existing as the Shaman King. After Hana recognizes him as "Uncle Hao", Hao announces to Hana that he will soon meet his future bride, Anna III, the daughter of Silva and an itako disciple of Anna I.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shaman King manga, volume 7, chapter 61
  2. ^ Shaman King manga, volume 8, chapter 68
  3. ^ Shaman King manga, volume 27, chapter 238
  4. ^ Shaman King manga, Mappa Douji side story
  5. ^ Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang volume 27, chapter 270
  6. ^ Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang, volume 27, chapter 299
  7. ^ Shaman King, Mentalite guidebook, Bonus story - Hana's Epoch