‘Shaman King: Flowers’ Recap (Episodes 1-12): Did Hana Return From Asura’s Hell?

The proper implementation of the concept of legacy is a challenging affair in Shounen manga, as is seen in some of the immensely popular titles like Naruto and Dragonball Z. Most often, the weight of the fan favorite iconic characters burdens their legacy immensely, thereby hindering their growth as individual characters. Thankfully, that’s not the case in Shaman King: Flowers, a spin-off and sequel to the original Shaman King created by Hiroyuki Takei, that focuses on the future of the series by charting the journey of Hana Asakura, the son of legendary shaman duo Yoh Asakura and Anna Kyoyama. The series relies on the world-building established in the original series but doesn’t let go of the sense of individuality it has managed to create for itself. 


The first twelve episodes of Shaman King: Flowers mainly work as an introduction to Hana’s world, bringing in new characters—legacies of past legends—and expanding the lore of the Shaman King universe at the same time. There is a nostalgic sense of old-school Shounen anime like Bleach or Inuyasha, which has been preserved in Shaman King: Flowers something that is kind of rare in contemporary spectacle-heavy Shounen titles.

Spoilers Ahead


Who are the new Shamans? 

The beginning of Shaman King: Flowers takes viewers back to the end of the original series, when the legendary Onmyoji Hao Asakura became the Shaman King—practically the god of the world—and decided to wipe out humanity to get rid of the squabbling, hateful, exploitative species altogether. However, Hao’s twin brother, Yoh Asakura, with the help of Anna and five elemental-powered overlords among many other shamans, was able to reach out to Hao’s humanity, and he decided to give mankind another chance, asking the shamans to try to change them for the better. 

Years later, the futile attempt to change the world is ongoing, and both Yoh and Anna are engaged in such peacekeeping missions across the world. Their thirteen-year-old son, Hana Asakura, an impatient, callous, reckless, yet talented young shaman, lives in Funabari Onsen under the care of Tamao and Ryu. Yoh’s trusted spirit companion, the former dreaded samurai Amidamaru, now accompanies Hana. In order to keep Hana’s shamanic heritage a secret, Tamao forbids him from using his abilities, much to his dismay. It is revealed that Hana shares an estranged relationship with his father, Yoh, who presumably went missing along with Anna while participating in peacekeeping missions across the globe. 


Things take a bitter turn when members of a separate, formerly cut-off faction of Hao Asakura’s lineage start targeting Hana to take revenge for their millennia-long suffering. The siblings Yohane and Luca Asakura attack Hana on multiple occasions, and as Luca’s attack proves too much for the inexperienced shaman to handle, help arrives in the form of Alumi Niumbirch, daughter of the mighty shaman of the Patch tribe, Silva. Although Alumi appears as a total stranger to Hana, she remarks that she had a history with him, which he has been made to forget. Tamao tracks the disgraced Asakura family head, Yohkyo, and threatens him to force a momentary truce. 

Yohane and Hana gradually become good friends, with their respective spirit guards, Daikyou the lone shinobi and Amidamaru the dreaded samurai, becoming somewhat of a frenemy as well. However, as Luca breaks the truce, manages to steal Amidamaru, and decides to keep attacking Hana until he is on the verge of death, Yohane realizes that his sister is being controlled, and his suspicion is confirmed as, after being confronted, Luca captures his spirit ally as well. In his near-death state, Hana unleashes a number of demons and ultimately a frightening Yami-Oni, which easily thwarts Luca’s Over Soul relic and gets her out of mind control. Alumi arrives just in time to stop the ruckus and shares that during his infancy, Hana and his parents were killed while escaping from a perilous war zone. As their souls were transported to the Great Spirit, the dwelling place of Hao Asakura, the trio returned to their lives. Hao had imbued Hana with this demon-calling ability back then to keep him protected throughout his life, the reasons for which remain unknown. After things settle down a bit, Hana once again gets entangled in a conflict with another strong shaman, Gakko, and his spirit ally, Namaha. As the inner demons take control of Hana, he enters a malevolent, armored Soul Over state, and the fight is once again broken by Alumi in the nick of time. 


What Is Flower Maize Conflict?

Gakko introduces himself as a member of Team Hao in the upcoming Flower Maize conflict and pronounces Hana as the leader of the team, much to the confusion of the amateur shaman. Alumi explains that in the G8 summit – a gathering of eight gods or previous Shaman Kings, Hao’s reign as present Shaman King has caused dissatisfaction among some, and as a mode of settling things among them, a prolonged fighting tournament known as Flower Maize Conflict has been announced. Given the fact that the gods cannot engage in battles among themselves directly, as it will cause the world to get destroyed in the process, they choose proxy shamans to fight for them. In this case, Hana, Gakko, Yohane, and Alumi are part of Hao’s team, and it is possible that he imbued Hana with his powers during his infancy to make him a strong shaman for the upcoming conflict against the former Shaman King, YVS, the god who created capitalism and desires to destroy Hao. As Hao desires to end humanity due to their self-destructive tendencies, it opposes YVS’ plan of global control through monetary manipulation; hence, he wishes to see the present Shaman King gone. 

On the other hand, a deranged, cruel sociopath named Kamogawa Yohsuke (who is not even a shaman) turns out to be Team YVS’ leader, who was orchestrating events like Amidamaru’s abduction and Luca’s mind control, among other things. Through random flashbacks, it is also revealed that it was Kamogawa who erased Hana’s memories of the past events in the first place. We also learn that the entitled sadist has made a scrupulous deal with YVS to ensure access to infinite amounts of money, which he uses to obtain extremely powerful ability cards from YVS, which makes him almost invincible, despite him not even being a shaman in the first place. 


Did Hana return to his world from Asura’s hell?

Later, Tao Men, the seven-year-old son of two legendary shamans, Tao Ren and Iron Maiden Jeanne, arrives in Tokyo to join Team Hao, but due to his egotistical nature, he gets into a vicious conflict with the team members. As he battles Hana, the latter’s Yami-Oni form is unleashed once again, which overpowers Tao Men but overwhelms Hana to such an extent that he dies and once again gets transported to Hao in Great Spirit. 

A furious Hana berates Hao for his present predicament with the demon summoning technique and seeks to return to his world, but the charismatic god presents a new proposition to him by giving him a chance to battle with the younger (same age as him) version of his father, Yoh Asakura, as a means of testing him. Initially taken aback a bit, Hana starts battling Yoh, only to be easily bested by him, and Yoh remarks that despite his strength and talent, Hana lacks something vital that hinders the growth of his soul. Yoh refuses to provide an answer as to what it is, as Hana needs to learn it for himself, and in order for that to happen, Hao sends him to Asura’s hell. In Hana’s case, it is a purgatory where souls forever locked in warfare suffer for eternity, and he must find the answer to escape from it. 


Inside Asura’s Hell, Hana is taken to a south-Pacific island where a World War II Japanese fighter pilot, Sakurai Sakutaro, has been marooned. Hana gradually learns more about Sakurai’s past and his relationship with a café maid whom he had promised to return to, and Sakurai struggles to come to terms with the fact that he has passed away and his soul is trapped in this hell. Kamogawa arrives in the same location using his YVS totem as well, as he has learned that in Amidamaru’s absence, Hao wants Sakurai to become Hana’s spirit ally; therefore, he wants to learn what is so special about this unassuming fighter pilot. On the other hand, in physical reality, Black Maiden, the killer of Iron Maiden Jeanne, confronts Tao Men in a battle and severely injures him. Later, the Muntzer siblings arrive to pacify the situation, revealing themselves (despite being members of the Asakura clan) and Black Maiden to be part of team YVS and warning Team Hao to retreat. Tamao’s timely intervention alarms Team YVS, and she remarks about taking decisions after Hana’s return from Hell. 

Hana faces Kamogawa on the island and gets beaten badly, as he is no match for his purchased abilities. However, Sakurai shows his vicious killer instinct by killing Kamogawa despite getting fatally wounded himself. As there is no death in the Great Spirit, Sakurai is doomed to die time and time again anyway, and Kamogawa gets transported to a past timeline, the same as Hana. During the second World War, Sakurai was part of an elite suicide squad, and due to his vicious kill streak, he was known as Death Zero to his enemies. As Hana is taken to that period, during a mission with Sakurai, he witnesses Sakurai indiscriminately butchering every member of the enemy forces, even the defenseless ones, which shocks him immensely. Hana’s protest results in him getting shot dead as well, and this time he gets transported to Sakurai’s fallen comrades. As he discusses his reason for such behavior, Hana learns a lesson about the futility of war. Sakurai hates all those participants in the war, including himself, who became prepared to sacrifice their lives for the warmongers, abandoning promises they could never keep.


Unwittingly having lied to the girl about his return, Sakurai is unable to forgive himself, and therefore he sees himself in everyone who willingly takes part in the warfare. Hana finally realizes that Sakurai’s love for his close ones acted as a drive, something he had lacked for so long as his individualistic mindset had kept him in a delusional state. Always engaged in conflicts, Hana didn’t appreciate the people close to him; his major mistake which was hindering his potential for so long. With this realization dawning on Hana and his soul getting strong enough to transform him into a better shaman, the season ends abruptly. With a strong motivation fueling him, Hana is now ready to lead Team Hao, and in the upcoming season, the conflict with YVS will reach a new height as a result. Hopefully, we will get to see five elemental warrior legends, along with Yoh and Anna, in their current states as well, as the stakes are higher than ever. 

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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