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|Shaman King character|
|First appearance||Manga Chapter 1
'Shaman King' Episode 1
|Voiced by||Yūko Satō (Japanese)
Sebastian Arcelus (English)
|Relatives||Anna Kyōyama (wife)
Hao Asakura (twin brother)
Hana Asakura (Son)
|Current Rank & Furyoku||Seirei-class Shaman
|Team Affiliation||Funbari Onsen|
|Spirit Allies||Amidamaru, seirei-class samurai spirit (presently)
Matamune, seirei-class cat spirit (previously)
Spirit of Earth
|Shamanic Mediums||"Harusame" (katana)
"Futsu-no-Mitama no Tsurugi" sword antiquity
Yoh[a] Asakura (麻倉 葉 Asakura Yō ) is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Shaman King created by Hiroyuki Takei. Yoh is the protagonist of Shaman King and is a shaman with a lazy demeanor who is accompanied by a six hundred year old samurai ghost, Amidamaru. His Japanese voice actress is Yūko Satō, and his English dub voice is provided by Sebastian Arcelus.
Yoh is the protagonist of Shaman King and he is the second primary character introduced into the series after Manta Oyamada. While Yoh possesses an overly laid-back personality and lazy demeanor, he is noted as being a perceptive individual who is generally able to remain cool under pressure. His most distinctive trait is a pair of orange headphones and a necklace with three bear claws, both which he wears almost constantly; his usual attire consists of his school uniform with his shirt unbuttoned along with a pair of sandals. He is the latest descendant and heir to the Asakura family, a prestigious family of shaman whose lineage dates back to the Heian era.
Yoh is first appears in Reincarnation 01, where he meets Manta at a local cemetery and their mutual ability to see ghosts is revealed. When they meet again, Yoh is introduced as a transfer student to Manta's school, Shinra Private Academy, having moved to Tokyo from Izumo. When Manta is badly beaten by local delinquents led by "Wooden Sword" Ryu, Yoh reveals himself to be a shaman and comes to Manta's defence with the help of a six hundred year old samurai ghost, Amidamaru. Yoh and Manta soon become best friends and have numerous adventures involving local ghosts until Yoh reveals his actual purpose in coming to Tokyo: he has come to train for the Shaman Fight, an event that occurs once every 500 years, where shaman from all over the world will battle to become the Shaman King and gain the power to change the world. In order to ensure he trains properly, Yoh is soon joined by his fiancée Anna Kyoyama, an itako from Aomori, who drives Yoh relentlessly and brutally so that he may stand up to the powerful opponents he will have to contend with in order to become Shaman King.
Despite Yoh's claims that he wishes to become Shaman King merely to live an easy life, his primary motivation is the promise he made to Anna when they first met and he saved her life after her powers, fueled by her deep-seated hatred of humanity and the resulting loneliness she felt, nearly destroyed her. Because Yoh's own loneliness in childhood, resulting from being regarded as an outcast by his peers for being a shaman, he deeply treasures his friends and will not hesitate to do anything to protect them.
Yoh was born May 12, 1985, as the younger of a pair of identical twin brothers to Keiko Asakura and Mikihisa Maki. Before Yoh's birth, it had been predicted that the family's progenitor, Hao Asakura, would reincarnate himself for the second time as one of Keiko's children and attempt to become Shaman King. Yoh's grandfather Yohmei made the difficult decision to kill both children upon birth, though a moment of hesitation resulted in Hao's escape. The circumstances allowed the Asakuras to spare Yoh and Yohmei raised his grandson with the hope that he would be able to defeat Hao once and for all, thwarting Hao's plans to create a shaman only world. Yoh does not become aware of his connection to Hao until years later, when he has entered the Shaman Fight and encounters Hao as an enemy.
In 1995, Yoh's grandmother Kino suggested that Yoh be engaged to her apprentice, Anna Kyoyama. Accompanied by the spirit Matamune, Yoh went to Aomori and fell in love with Anna at first sight. However, her unchecked ability to read minds resulted in Anna closing her heart off and developing a hatred of humanity, which manifested as powerful demons. Matamune, who had once been the original Hao's greatest friend, used his power to help Yoh save Anna; Anna began to open her heart again out of the love she had developed for Yoh and Yoh resolved to become strong enough to summon Matamune again in material form. The incident would resonate deeply with Yoh, who recognized Matamune as his first spirit ally.
Five years later, Yoh goes to Tokyo, where he meets Manta and becomes partners with Amidamaru, a 600 year old samurai ghost who becomes Yoh's guardian ghost. Upon entering the Shaman Fight, he meets a number of shaman who would become his friends and allies. Upon the second round of the Shaman Fight, Yoh becomes the leader of "Team Funbari Onsen", which includes "Wooden Sword" Ryu and Faust VIII as his teammates. When Yoh learns of his connection to Hao and learns more about his past and personality, Yoh becomes determined not only to stop Hao from realizing his plan to create a shaman only world, but also the considerably more difficult task of saving Hao by defeating the darkness in Hao's heart.
Abilities and Techniques
As the heir to the Asakura family, Yoh descends from a long line of shaman founded by Hao Asakura. The Asakura family itself is well known as the foremost family of shaman in Japan. As the twin brother of Hao's latest incarnation, Yoh possesses the smaller half of Hao's original power, resulting in Hao's unusual interest in Yoh's strength and repeated statements that he needs Yoh to help him. Their connection is also the reason why Yoh is believed to possess the potential to defeat Hao, who has been extremely formidable due to his own shamanic powers and from reincarnating twice since his original life. In particular, Yoh possesses a rare potential seen in few members of the family. However, because of his general laziness, Yoh's abilities are relatively unrefined and he is lacking in knowledge of more sophisticated techniques at the beginning of the series when he first arrives in Tokyo and meets Manta.
Through Anna's highly disciplined training, Yoh's power gradually increases and he develops rapidly from first hand experience from combat. Notably, Yoh is able to develop a powerful Oversoul, despite only learning the technique after encountering Patch Officiant Silva, and through the mastery of the Ultra Senji Ryakketsu, a tome listing the techniques developed by Hao in his original life. Though the level of his furyoku, the quantified level of his shamanic power, at the conclusion of the series is not the highest, Yoh's own flexibility and insight in battle still make him dangerous against more powerful opponents, allowing him to match both Horohoro and Tao Ren when he must fight them at the same time.
As a shaman, Yoh does not adhere to a particular style of shamanism like other members of his family. His primary medium in combat is the Harusame, a katana forged by Mosuke, a swordsmith who had been Amidamaru's best friend. Yoh later gains a powerful secondary medium, the Futsunomitama, a stone sword antiquity that has been a treasure of the Asakura family for many generations. His guardian spirit throughout the Shaman Fight is Amidamaru, whose own abilities as a samurai provide Yoh with extensive combat experience while his 600 year existence as a spirit allows him to become a powerful seirei class spirit.
Because of his lack of adherence to any creed regarding the nature of good or evil, he is also recognized by Lady Sati, the leader of the neutral faction Gandhara in the Shaman Fight, as the Elemental Warrior for the Spirit of Earth, one of the Patch Tribe's Five Elemental Spirits, and one of the shaman she believes as having the necessary resolve to defeat Hao.
- Leaf Sprites - Power Strike (小鬼ストライク Ko-Oni Strike ): One of the Asakura clan's onmyôji magic. The technique allows an onmyôji can summon shikigami (familiar spirits) from leaves or bits of paper to do their bidding. They are most useful, from anything from household chores to assassinations. Though Yoh never truly mastered Shikigami technique, he displays the capacity to use it at age 10, under tutelage of his grandfather, Yohmei Asakura. At best, he could only invoke three Shikigami from the leaves. Overall, however, this is a minuscule technique compared to Yoh's more advanced shamanic abilities.
- O-kyo (御経 Okyō ): A sutra taught to Yoh by Anna, it is a Buddhist exorcism chant of the Sankiraimon, or the Three Refuges sends any spirit with knowledge of Buddhism who hears it to the hereafter. However, as it is a written-language media, the sutra mainly works on spirit whom identify with the culture of eastern shamanism. Yoh eventually discovers its weakness during his entry exam against Silva, almost sending Amidamaru to heaven in the process. This was omitted in the English dub.
- Spirit Integration (憑依合体 Hyōi Gattai ) ("Spirit Unity"): A shamanic technique that enables a shaman to integrate spirits into their body, forming a "unity" of both between the shaman's spirit and that of the ghost. Entering a special trance which enables them to synchronize their spirit with that of the ghost, the ghost is able to possess the shaman's body and interact with the physical world. Once integrated, the shaman takes on the knowledge and wisdom of the ghost as well as their personality. Though it is unknown when Yoh learned this technique.
- Over Soul (オーバーソウル): Initially, Yoh learns how to create his Over Soul indirectly during his battle with the Shaman Fight officiant, Silva. By integrating Amidamaru's spirit with that of his sword, Harusame, Yoh is able to form an Over Soul, allowing him to materialize Amidamaru's essence as a weapon. Yoh subsequently form a more powerful Over Soul using two mediums, by integrating the Over Soul formed with Amidmaru and the Harusame into the heirloom antiquity, the Futsunomitama Sword. The shamanic technique quickly becomes Yoh's quintessential mode of shamanic combat and his most versatile tool.
Through creative use of his existing ability, Yoh is able to alter the Over Soul of Amidamaru for battle, creating formations such as the defensive Amidamaru Shield (阿弥陀丸シールド+), which makes use of the Over Soul's armor for protection. As the Over Soul evolved, the Amidamaru Shield was incorporated in this way, eliminating the need to alter its shape for protection. In the anime, Yoh manipulates his Over Soul to create an Over Soul Missile, which induces an explosive thrust of his Over Soul to launch himself at his target. He makes use of this method during his final battle with Hao in the anime.
In the manga, Yoh's two most powerful Over Souls derive from his ability to form a double medium. Yoh's Spirit of Sword (スピリット・オブ・シド Suporitto obu Sodo ) Over Soul creates an enormous katana, which he can instantly visualize as a result of Anna's training and was inspired by Matamune's own Ogre Slayer Over Soul; however, the technique requires a great deal of furyoku to maintain. Yoh later develops his White Swan (スピリット・オブ・ソード以降: 白鳥 Byakkou ) armour Over Soul, which allows him to utilize his furyoku more efficiently by wielding the Harusame in his right hand to attack while wielding the Futsunomitama in his left hand for defence.
- Amida-Style: Shockwave Buddha-Giri (阿弥陀流 真空仏陀切り Amida-ryū: Shinkuu Buddha-giri ) ("Vacuous Buddha-Slash"): Amidamaru's signature technique developed when he was still alive. Its principal use is to strike at adversaries outside of his sword's range. Essentially, it breaks the air with a slash and forces out a powerful shockwave at the adversary. Through constant "Spirit Integration" Yoh learns this technique, albeit through muscle memory. With the introduction of the Over Soul, this technique has been somewhat modified, instead expanding the Over Soul over a distance, rather than a shockwave slash. The name of this technique was changed to "Celestial Slash" in the English dub of the anime.
- Amida-Style: Halo Blade (阿弥陀流 後光刃 Amida-ryū: Gokōjin ): A technique developed by Amidamaru, the Halo Blade is a dual-sword battō-jutsu technique executed from his unique and legendary fighting stance, called Tathagata. During execution, both swords are unsheathed at incredible speed at dead-range of the adversary, unleashing a strike with enough power to bust an adversary to shreds. Since then this technique has been modified for use in Over Soul mode; instead using the magical power of the Over Soul to cut the enemy to pieces in one swift sword-draw.
- Amida-Style: Grand Halo Blade (阿弥陀流 大後光刃 Amidaryū: Dai Gokōjin ): An advanced form of the normal Halo Blade. Using the normal, Over Soul Halo Blade as a base, and powered by Amidamaru's newly acquired seirei-class powers, this high-level technique focuses furyoku and destroys anything with a decisive strike of cutting furyoku waves using Yoh's Over Soul "Spirit of Sword".
- Ultra Senji Ryakketsu - Shamanic Oracle (超占事略決 - 巫門遁甲 Chō Senji Ryakketsu - Fumon Tonkou ): One of many spells Yoh learned from the contents of the Ultra Senji Ryakketsu that Anna brings to him from his grandfather Yohmei. Using this spell enables one to read the flow of furyoku and determine its course. Mastery of the technique allows Yoh to dodge most furyoku induced attacks.
- Ultra Senji Ryakketsu - Crescent Moon Purification (超占事略決 - 三日月ノ祓 Chō Senji Ryakketsu - Mikazuki no Harae ): An exorcising technique left to Yoh by Matamune, it is used to vanquish the Oni that Anna created. While extremely powerful, the use of spirit integration and the Over Soul required for the technique depletes Matamune's reserve of furyoku, preventing him from returning to physical form and departing the living world.
- Amida-Style: Na-Avidya (阿弥陀流 無無明亦無 Amida-ryū: Mu-Mu-Myō-Yaku-Mu ) ("Amida-Style: The Absence of Ignorance"): Yoh's most powerful technique, which he develops when he is sent to hell and is forced to fight his ancestor, Yohken Asakura. The technique itself is rooted in the power of purification, which dissolves a person's spiritual power into nothing. The technique employs Amidamaru (in Byakkou OS mode) to generate shamanic forces that polarizes the furyoku of another shaman, thus neutralizing it. Yoh is the only shaman known to employ the power of purification in an offensive manner.
In Funbari no Uta, a series of short stories written by Hiroyuki Takei and set six or seven years after the conclusion of Shaman King, it is revealed that Yoh and Anna have a son named Hana. The child wields Yoh's Futsunomitama Sword and travels around with Ryu Umemiya in search of the Five Elemental Warriors. An older Yoh and Anna do not appear until the conclusion of the short series, apparently on their way to Funbari Hill, as they have been travelling around the world in order to resolve various conflicts. In their absence, Hana was raised by Tamao Tamamura with no awareness of who his actual parents are, though Tamao intends to tell him when his parents return at last.
Yoh and Anna 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 and this manga also revealed Yoh become a father when he was 16 year old.
Yoh appears as a playable character for the Nintendo DS titles, Jump Superstars and Jump Ultimate Stars. He also appears as a main character in the various video games based on the Shaman King series.
He has been featured various times in the Animage's Anime Grand Prix polls, ranking as one of the most popular male anime characters. Merchandise based on Yoh have been released, including action figures, key chains, and plush toys.
Justin Freeman from Anime News Network qualify Yoh as "easy-going" person. He criticized the fact that "Yoh is a vessel for his ephemeral allies, but in reality they up end being a vessel for him, to the benefit of no one." Writing for Mania Entertainment, Eduardo Chavez commented that Yoh is "such a laid back casual character", and that "Yoh's attitude to not go beyond his own abilities might be a little lazy" but he thinks that is "a smart approach to conserve mental and physical strength." Chris Beverdige also from Mania.com said Yoh is "very much a laid back slacker." Active Anime's Holly Ellingwood praised the Yoh's "much more idealistic and noble [position] than that of his rivals."
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- "Shaman King to Return in New Short Manga in November (Updated)". Anime News Network. September 24, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
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- Freeman, Justin (December 5, 2004). "Shaman King G.novel 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
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