The battle to become Shaman King drives protagonist Yoh Asakura in the eponymous series, and it's naturally assumed that he's the best guy to claim the title. But, while the show spends the majority of its time following his rise and growth, there's actually another candidate who might have been better suited to claiming the crown. Anna Kyoyama, Yoh's fiancée (and later wife) stands out against her fellow shonen heroines as one who is always ready for a fight, with a supernatural set of skills that more than back up her talk.
Throughout the series, she spends most of her time training Yoh, determined as she is to be the wife of the Shaman King, but what would have happened if that single-minded drive had been focused on the competition itself? Taking a closer look at Anna’s abilities, it's clear that she might have had a real shot at winning.
As an Itako trained by Kino Asakura, Yoh's grandmother, Anna’s main weapon of choice are her 1080 beads, a tool she uses to summon the strength of spirits, near or far. This tool in particular was forged from the corpse of Oh-Oni, a powerful, dark spirit that plagued her throughout childhood as a result of the constant barrage of negative thoughts from the minds of surrounding people. Anna's ability to read minds is actually a clear indicator of her power, as the only other Shaman in the series capable of doing so is the overwhelmingly powerful series antagonist, Hao.
Anna is also able to use the Okyo Chant, an incantation that, if used properly, banishes spirits to Heaven or Hell. However, in order to take full effect, the user must both understand the chant and the intention behind the words. Anna makes effective use of the chant a number of times, but the might of the ability to instantly send a spirit -- a Shaman's literal lifeline in battle -- to the great beyond really can't be overstated.
Inarguably one of Anna's most powerful abilities is her ability to reflect curses back to the user who cast it. This handy defensive skill would work well in any fight but proved especially useful against Hao when Anna used it to injure him -- making her one of the only people alive even capable of doing so.
A similarly powerful ability of Anna's is her ability to nullify Mana-based attacks. Mana is the inherent spiritual power individuals are born with and can learn to harness as they train their body and soul. Mana powers nearly every attack any Shaman could launch or any active skill they might use. But, as a high-level Itako, Anna’s nullification technique negates any attacks that draw their strength from Mana, forcing opponents to have to get creative in their counterattacks. But Shamans' overreliance on spiritual energy will instantly take most out of the fight.
Beyond those -- admittedly broken -- abilities, Anna also has the Gouma Choubuku. Used to seal Hao’s Shikigami spirits, this ability allows Anna to exert control over the enemy’s allies and harness their power for her own use. After taking Hao's Shikigami, Anna then proceeded to use them as her own Guardian Spirits, adding their considerable strength to her arsenal.
On the more physical end, Anna's "Phantom Left" hand slap is feared by enemies and friends alike, coming out of nowhere and always leaving a mark. While this move is generally played for laughs, it's surprisingly symbolic of Anna’s open invitation of battle to anyone who comes at her the wrong way. All that’s necessary to start a fight is a handful of abilities, regardless of their power, but to win a fight you need to accept that you must impose your will over that of another’s. For many protagonists, the motivation to do so comes from their ideals, but Anna’s cold demeanor and proclivity towards violence makes her a natural born fighter that needs little soul-searching to win victory in the fights she encounters.