Monday, November 15, 2010

Shaman King, Volume 30 by Hiroyuki Takei

The Shaman Fight is over and Hao has won, but another Shaman Fight is scheduled on a far away and mythical island. Yoh's team relaxes in the hot springs, and as Yoh enjoys himself, he reflects on the amazing events of the last few days. And then Hao shows up and offers to tell them the answers to a few questions they are having. But first he talks about the events on the West Beach of the Island, and how those who showed up there must not be allowed to interfere with the battle on the lost Continent of Mu.

The others act like he is crazy, but that is where the next part of the contest will be held. Also, that now, Yoh's team also represents the five elemental spirits. Yoh is metal, Lyserg fire, Joco Air, Tao Ren Lightning, and Horohoro Water. But Hao wants Yoh to help him clean up the bodies and to hold back a fleet of human warships that are seeking the information on Mu for themselves. And Manta Oyamada's father, Mansumi, is in charge of the fleet. Therefore, Hao says, because Yoh brought Manta to the Shaman Fight, Yoh is responsible for the problem and must fix it.

Manta is horrified. He hasn't spent much time talking about his family because he absolutely loathes them. He wants to try and talk to his father's butler and try to defuse the situation, but Anna forestalls them. She, in turn, has partly been responsible for this situation as well. Manta's father's butler planted a bug in Manta's luggage. She knew it was there but didn't do anything about it because she wanted Yoh to have one more fight before the final fight- one more chance to learn and grow stronger. You see, while Manta's father is a non-shaman, he has brought shamans with him, including Hans Lihite, the X-Blades Armorer, and he has brought his armory with him.

Anna has made it so that no one can talk about it and no one can back down. And fighting humans is harder than fighting Shamans. Humans are worse than shamans because they never asked for it. Fighting them will make Yoh and his team harder. So both Yoh and Hao's teams meet on the beach to turn back the assault. They have only two hours before the sub will leave for Mu, with or without them. The healers of the teams stand ready to heal wounds and resurrect the dead. With so many combatants coming, this will be a kind of battle for them as well. Hao promises to try and kill as few people as possible.

He takes out much of the attacking force, and when Hans Lihite tries to kill him, Hao breaks his oversoul, killing Lihite. Teruko, a Voodoo Witch, attempts to kill Hao with a death curse, but he turns it back on her, killing her. Without having killed Mansumi Oyamada or his military advisor, he tells Yoh he is done and leaves the rest to him. Afterwards, he goes to speak with Anna. Anna tells Anahol that it would be suicide for Yoh and his allies to fight Hao. He is too powerful for them as a Shaman, but they have a power he does not in that they are following their paths. Yoh and his allies have also come to the conclusion that Hao's power is a sad power, as it arises from death, torture and pain. It's as sad for him as for those who face him. Hao also didn't destroy Manta's father because even he hesitates to deprive someone of a parent.

In Mu, the others decline to fight Hao, leading to him being declared winner of the Shaman Fight and led to the Great Spirit to be joined to it. But the others have another option. The Great King sleeps, and if they can fight their way to him first, there is a chance that the world can be saved from Hao's wanting to destroy it all. They must fight their way past the ten Patch tribe members to reach the Great Spirit first. But the Patch Tribe are all powerful Shamans and must be overcome if the Shaman teams want to win. Can they overcome both the Patch and then Hao before time runs out?

Okay, with only thirty two volumes in the series, we are coming down to the end. It's do or die time, and I feel a big clue has been planted with Hao's admission that he doesn't like depriving someone of a parent. Is it because something of the same happened to him? It was certainly enough to make him want to destroy the rest of the world because of it. He may have inadvertently given Anna the information that will be enough to defeat him. But even if he is defeated, who will be the final winner of the Shaman Fight?

At this point, so much battling has gone on that it is pointless to speculate. We as readers hope it is Yoh, but he seems destined to be one of the Five Elementals instead, along with Joco, Horohoro, Tao Ren and Lyserg. And I can't imagine Big Sword Ryu winning if one of the others doesn't. I can only wait and see.

Events in this book seem curiously unfinished. We don't see what happens to Manta's father, the battle abruptly cuts out after Hao leaves and the other characters don't talk about what happened, which seems rather strange after all that has gone on so far. But I do recommend this volume and I have decided I will read the last two, come what may. So Recommended, as the final fights near.

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