As the old adage goes: “We all need someone to lean on when our dad’s trying to kill us.” 😌
This episode is brought to you by daddy issues. Again. But Tao Ren’s situation is nothing like Manta’s patriarch problems. This time, it’s really life or death.
Episode 11 promptly picks up from where we left off last week with Ren about to face his father’s great Jiang Si army. Because, and in case you haven’t heard, our three-glasses-of-milk-a-day boy here has had a change of heart since the deadlock duel with Yoh. And the road to becoming a better human being starts with whooping daddy’s ass. Well, at least for Ren, although it’s easier said than done.
Tao En (voiced by Hideaki Tezuka), the patriarch of the Tao family, tries to coax his son into coming back to the “right side” so as to not befall the same fate as his sister Jun. But we all know Ren’s head is the hardest thing on the planet so needless to say, he won’t yield…which is why he now needs the help of his new friends because he can’t defeat En alone.
For much of the season we’ve seen Ren portrayed as this cold, ruthless shaman and he still is, make no mistake about that. But he’s gradually improving as Yoh’s off-putting optimism rubs off on him and as he befriends the other shamans in his group as seen in last week’s episode. It’s the good kind of character development and the show did a good job in building up Ren’s story arc. And it’s one of the more well-written ones if you ask me.
We also get to see more of our resident cool guy Horohoro and—finally—Ryu with Tokagerou in action as they face the Five-Curse Squad, En’s elite group of Jiang Si. It would have been more thrilling had there been more fighting in this scene, but maybe they’re saving it for next week. It also just feels like the show’s giving us too much without actually following up on it as the case for Ryu and his recently acquired shaman powers. I mean, good for him, but how about we process that first so we can enjoy the action? But this is Ren’s episode after all.
Also, is it just me or is the animation better this time? In the last few minutes, especially, Yoh and Ren look sharper, the lines are bolder, more defined. Since we are already more than ten episodes in, it’s safe to say that the overall animation has been average at best with a few semi-amazing moments here and there. It’s probably one of the reasons why some of the episodes aren’t that memorable because nothing stands out visually. Hopefully, it can only get better.
Lastly, we have to address the budding bromance between Yoh and Ren. This episode is also brought to you by the Friends We Made Along the Way. But seriously, their dynamic is quite interesting to watch—you have Yoh and his blind optimism whereas Ren is all grounded reality. And we get to witness how these two plays out on the same side next week! Darn you, cliffhangers.
Overall, it was a solid if mild episode. What did you think? Leave a comment down below!
Shaman King airs Thursdays at 17:55 JST.
Official Anime Website: shamanking-project.com
Official Anime Twitter: @SHAMANKING_PR