Shaman King: Yoh’s Big Quest Maxes Out Naruto’s Greatest Weapon

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Shaman King (2021), now streaming on Netflix.

In Shaman King (2021), as Yoh Asakura discovers that his ability to channel ghosts makes him a Chosen One who can change the world for the better, he comes across a plethora of allies and enemies. This redefines the way Yoh views the world, as he feels inspired and responsible for, but also wary of, the trouble out there. As Season 1 unfolds, though, while Yoh proves to be formidable in battle, he maxes out Naruto's greatest weapon on his quest to succeed in the Shaman Fight tournament.

This is Naruto's ability to convince opponents to turn over a new leaf. The redemption power is known in pop culture and the meme-world as "talk-no-jutsu," with Naruto deploying it on many enemies such as Pain and the Akatsuki, Sasuke and Obito Uchiha, to name a few. Simply put, they all magically become better people after Naruto convinces them to use their powers for good.

Yoh first does this when he fights Tao Ren, inspiring Ren to improve as a rival. Ren and his spirit, Bason, are shocked that Yoh and his ghost, Amidamaru, are friends, and Ren starts to bond with Bason as the series progresses. This fills an emotional gap in his heart, and while he remains competitive, he gains a bestie in Bason and later gravitates toward Yoh's kindness -- so much so that Ren wants to stop his family's empire, who are obsessed with greed, death and destruction.

Ironically, when Ren's sister, Jun, comes to fight, the same thing happens. Yoh breaks Pyron Lee, her zombie, out of enslavement but prevents the soldier from attacking Jun in revenge. Yoh believes they could be better as partners, and this inspires Jun and Pyron to believe in Yoh, try to get Ren to be better and also to oppose their clan.

It doesn't stop there, as the misfit, Ryu, later bonds with the sadistic spirit, Tokagero, and comes for blood, only for Yoh to inspire them to join his mission. Both Ryu and Tokagero have sordid pasts, but they quickly forget their sins and believe in Yoh as a leader, pushing his fellowship as something the world needs. Even Horohoro, the snowboarder, does the same because he believes Yoh is going to make the world a better place.

Now, while all this is heartwarming, it does takes away from the gravity of the fights. We need to see rivals for Yoh, people who really test him, adding drama and conflict to the show. That pops up with Hao later on, but seeing as they're long-lost twins, it may well be that Yoh will redeem his darker half, too.

Hopefully, Season 2 improves on this because even Ren's dad, Tao En, eventually comes around, impressed with how Yoh's crew backed his kids against his tyranny. We admire Yoh for saving such souls, but ultimately, we need competition and the stakes to be higher, giving us something a lot more unpredictable and a lot less annoying.

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