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Umemiya Ryunosuke (梅宮 竜之介 Umemiya Ryūnosuke), usually called "Wooden Sword" Ryu (木刀の竜 Bokutō no Ryū), is a fictional character in the manga and anime series of Shaman King. He is a former gang leader that became a shaman and was a part of Team "Funbari Onsen" during the Shaman Fights. After the tournament, Ryu was made the head chef of the Funbari Onsen.
Ryu is a very muscular man with a unique appearance. He usually wears an exaggerated 70's white 3 piece suit with a purple shirt that has oversized collars and cuffs, while wearing a pair of white pointy shoes. He has an exaggerated goatee and sideburns that both end in a spike. While using his initial Over Soul, his collar would grow larger, more rugged, and spiked.
While in battle Ryu wears a pair of black slacks with a purple belt and a black waistcoat with lapels and a purple lining. The waistcoat has a high cut revealing his midriff. It was purchased by the Asakura Family and was made by the best tailor of the best tailor's shop in Funbari ga Oka. The design goes with Asakura Yoh's second battle outfit, but Ryu's shamanic powers, chivalry, and his sultry and filthy look make him unique. He only wears this suit when he is taking a battle serious.
His crowning glory is a foot-long pompadour, which keeps getting cut off by Asakura Yoh and many others. His hairstyle would eventually be changed to a boomerang styled shape, but Ryu combed it back to its pompadour shape, when he faced Boris Tepes Dracula, and it would eventually grow back to its original size. It would seem that the shape of his hair is affected by his emotions, and will fall down and lose it's shaping when he is extremely sad or shocked.
During his first few appearances, Ryu acted like a typical delinquent who had no respect for anyone besides just only himself. However, once the series progresses it is seen that he is a very passionate and emotional person who deeply cares for his friends and is ready to sacrifice anything, even himself, for them. Ryu's most commendable trait is probably his sense of loyalty, which once lead him to take an attack for Yoh that completely froze him, only to prove that his passion was burning so much that it melted the ice. At one point, he even cried when talking about his gratitude for Anna`s harsh training.
All of his life Ryu has been searching for a "Best Place". A passion shared by his gang and at the beginning of the series, the group would constantly be found looking for their very own best place. His reason for joining Yoh in the Shaman Fights is to find his best place, which he later believes is the world Yoh will create when he becomes Shaman King.
He also has a thing for women but does not know anything about them. He is constantly turned down by them and even attacked because of it as seen when he tried to hit on Tamamura Tamao, which prompted Conchi to strike him in the crotch.
Abilities and Powers
Ryu is a very capable streetfighter using kickboxing, regular boxing, and anything around him to fight his opponents. He is also a very skilled cook, especially when it comes to sushi. He later applies the knife skills he learned from cooking to his personal sword fighting style.
Ryu has always seen carrying a bokutō (木刀 , lit. "wooden sword") with him and he is quite capable of using it, even cleaving a gravestone in two with one hit. After becoming a shaman, he gets a new bokuto carved from a sacred tree (神木 shinboku, lit. "god wood"), while training at the Izumo Mountains and demonstrates his newfound skills with it while fighting Boris Tepes Dracula. It is named "Ame no Murakumo".
- See More: Tokageroh
Ryu initially met Tokageroh in an abandoned Bowling Alley in the lady's restroom where Tokageroh possessed him and used his body to get his revenge on Amidamaru, but Tokageroh eventually left on his own after a short fight with Asakura Yoh. While waiting to be trained by Asakura Yohmei, Ryu met Tokageroh again who now had no purpose in life and decided to become Ryu's Guardian Ghost. Ryu would later gain the power to use a Over Soul with the training from Asakura Yohmei, also learning a technique called Yamata no Orochi that he would later learn to harness, thanks to the training from Anna. Before the second round of the Shaman Fights he would then create a giant Over Soul, called "Yamata no Orochi Go" and later an Armor Over Soul, called 'O.S. "Sashimi Bōchō Susanorō".
Ryu also creates a "Big Thumb" Over Soul, somehow randomly calling a trucker named Billy Anderson to give the group a ride in America.
Originating from Tokyo, Japan, and born on December 24, 1980. Little is known about Ryu's early life but he may have been born in the wrong "time".
He first met and befriended Blue Chateau when they attended the same high school. At some point during a summer festival, Ryu saved Space Shot from an unknown gang. Later on in life, he met Muscle Punch and Apache. Muscle Punch proclaims that before they met Ryu, they had no place in culture nor purpose, but it was thanks to Ryu that they then found their own purpose. The four of them eventually became loyal friends to each other, and it was then they started their own gang.
However, their main problem was that they were homeless and constantly traveled around, trying to find their "Best Place", a place where they could rest.
Meeting with Tokageroh
As Ryu is seen in the beginning as a gang leader who is always on the lookout for the Best Place.
Ryu and his gang started out as minor antagonists. They recently tried to make the Tokyo cemetery their current residence. Ryu at first was unknowingly standing on the tombstone of the infamous samurai, Amidamaru. At the time, Ryu had no belief in superstitions, and as shown of arrogance destroyed the deceased samurai's tombstone with his wooden sword. He stated that ghosts could not hurt them, but then caught Oyamada Manta having been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Believing him to be the one to be trespassing in his "best place", he and his gang decided to beat him up to teach him a lesson.
The next day, Asakura Yoh came to the same cemetery where the gang was hanging out, and with the help of Amidamaru, whose grave was recently desecrated, defeated Ryu and drove the gang out.
After trying to "woo" Kyōyama Anna, Ryu goes off to his gang's new "Best Place" which is the abandoned Funbari Bowling alley, where he busted out and cries and believes Yoh was ruining his life. He gets possessed by Tokageroh who offers him a chance for revenge. At the same time, however, Tokageroh wanted revenge on Amidamaru. The possessed Ryu breaks into the museum, and steals Harusame and then kidnapps Manta.
Ryu confronts Yoh and Amidamaru, and orders Amidamaru to integrate with his master so they can fight. He tricks Amidamaru into attacking Harusame and fights back with a new technique called Tokage Kenpo (Lizard Style). After remembering how much Harusame was important. Amidamaru still breaks Harusame, and Tokageroh is left shocked. Yoh says that Tokageroh had already lost, because of Amidamaru's long-life commitment to his best friend Mosuke. He tells him that he should rest in peace and move on. Tokageroh refuses and says he will die and Amidamaru with him. Ryu's gang then attack him and say that they do not want Ryu to become a scumbag, and they will always be friends with Ryu no matter what happens.
Soon after, Tokageroh pulls out a knife and tries to kill Ryu, but the painful stress of two souls in one body makes him unable to control Ryu's body. However, he discovers that if he does not leave Ryu's body, then Ryu will soon die, but Tokageroh felt pretty comfortable with that. Having no other option, however, Yoh offers Tokageroh to take his body, which he does.
Shaman Fights in Tokyo
After Manta wanted to see Yoh, he forgot his money and eventually bumped into Ryu, who in turn drove to Izumo. There they met with Tamamura Tamao who at first saw them as enemies, because of a misread prophecy.
Staying in Izumo he convinces Yoh's grandfather, Asakura Yohmei to train him so that he can become a shaman and enter the Shaman Fight. It is unknown Ryu's time in the first round or how he received his Oracle Bell, but he did win two matches and went to the opening ceremony.
Later on, he ended up at a Shinto shrine after his two fights. When the BoZ Brothers attacked he complained that they woke him up and easily defeated them and later he revealed he was a shaman. When Tao Ren was captured, Ryu went to China to help out freeing Ren him. He entered the Tao Family household and was immediately taken down by Tao Yúan's Gohukuseitai. Horohoro took them to safety and defeated one. Ryu stood back up and defeated another. When Yoh left to find Ren, Horohoro and Ryu stayed behind to finish off the last three bodyguards. They managed to defeat two of the three bodyguards and moved on to the third but both were beaten by Shamon and was about to be beaten, if Lee Pyron had not arrived in time to save them.
When Yúan finally showed up, every one of them attacked at once but nothing worked. Ren, however, realized that the big bulking person in front of them was merely an Over Soul and Yúan revealed his real appearance and told his story. After putting all his strength into one final attack he lost to his son. After a meal and a chat with the rest of the Tao Family, Ryu and the others went back to Japan.
Travel through America
Ryu got on the Patch Jumbo and was dumped on route 66 with Yoh and the rest of the crew. There was no town nearby so he used the Over Soul "Big Thumb", basically making it appear he has a giant hitchhiker's thumb and manages to get picked up by an American named Billy Anderson. They went to a town and found Lilirara and found out about the Patch Tribe's Hao. He met Lyserg Diethel and allowed him into the group. He went on to fight Boris Tepes Dracula near the Mesa Verdede and defeated him. Before Ryu fainted, he said to Boris that those who choose the path of destruction achieve nothing. The X-Laws killed Boris after all Ryu did. He entered the Patch village later.
Shaman Fights Second Round
Ryu entered the Patch village with a power increase. When Ryu awakens he starts to scream out for Lyserg. Anna showed up and would trained Yoh, Ryu, and Johann Faust VIII giving them new techniques. Yoh, Ryu, and Faust, now known as Team "Funbari Onsen" were paired against the Icemen team in the second round. When the match started the Icemen started with Faust but was beaten back by a gigantic Over Soul. The Icemen moved on to Ryu. Ryu used a throw get Pino Graham off balance. Ryu then made Tokageroh evolve into a Seirei class spirit and pulled out the Yamata no Orochi Over Soul and beat back the Icemen. Yoh finished the fight with the Spirit of Sword and won the fight for Funbari Onsen.
Invading the Plants
After being transported to the Continent of Mu by the Patch Tribe, Team "Funbari Onsen", Team "The Ren" and Team "X-I" decided to forfeit the tournament saying that none of them was able to face Hao. Luchist and Opacho both agreed to this, thus making Hao the next Shaman King by forfeit.
The three remaining teams watched him walk into the plants led by Lip and Rap, the Ten Patch Priests and Goldva.
When invading the Plants he was deeply concerned that he was too weak to fight the Patch Officiants, however, once he met Namari at the first plant, that was the desert, he quickly announced that he would take him out, seeing as Ren and Horohoro were unable to use their powers, and revealed his Amour Over Soul- "Sashimi Cleaver Susanorō", surprising Ren and Horohoro. Yoh reveals that Ryu had intended to use the technique in their battle, but since he lost his arms, he was unable to do so and wishes Ryu good luck. Namari agrees that Ryu shall be his opponent and sends his guardian ghost Red Rope to attack him. Ryu remarks that he doesn't blame Namari for not remembering him, but cites that he is unable to forget it and proceeds to stab Red Rope before slicing it into several pieces. Namari notes the Ryu is good but tells him that destroying his Over Soul once will not be enough and produces another one. Ryu agrees, saying that his intention was not to slice up the snake but to defeat Namari, before going to attack Namari's Over Soul. However, as Ryu travels closer, Namari reveals it to be a mirage, appearing suddenly behind Ryu and attacking him. Ryu reveals his knowledge of Namari's strategy, as the latter only attacked from a distance and wouldn't reveal it until the opponent jumped into his reach. Ryu voices his disappointment in "such a cheap trap" but that he was glad that Namari finally revealed it. He admits that he does not know if he could compete with it but consents with having let everyone know. Namari springs a surprise attack on Ryu but Ryu blocks it with great agility, surprising Namari, who realizes that Ryu had expected a trap since the beginning. Still, being at a disadvantage since his cleaver is unable to attack as he was blocking, Namari kills Ryu, leaving him unconscious until Faust revives him.
Ryu later questions Yoh about the latter's decision in reviving him, knowing well that Faust had a little bit of Furyoku left, but Yoh points out that the reason was that Ryu was reliable. Ryu insists that that was impossible but Yoh firmly tells him not to think about it anymore, as "What's done is done", adding that otherwise, Ryu's heart will lose to the constantly changing circumstances.
As the group finally arrives at the 10th and final Outer Space Plant, they realize that there is no oxygen and no gravity and begin to wonder how they are supposed to fight in there. At first, Lyserg suggests that they all protect themselves with their own personal O.S. but Ryu suddenly interrupts and suggests that they all use the heads of his O.S. "Yamato No Orochi" so that the rest can fight at full strength. As Ren questions the responsibility he would suddenly shoulder, Ryu says that he wants to be useful too as they are currently "his best place". Yoh finally agrees with Ryu and warns him not to die.
When they enter the Plant, they are initially panicked by Rutherfor's alien appearance, and she uses her O.S. "Grey Saucer" to manipulate gravity, slamming Ryu's O.S. into the wall. She then squeezes the snakeheads together and presses them against the floor. Before she can fully crush them, Yoh nullifies her attack and her O.S. However, their fight is interrupted by Hao's awakening as Shaman King.
Funbari no Uta
According to Ichihara Ryuji, Ryu and Tamamura Tamao eventually became legendary thugs for uniting all the gangs of Nishitōkyō with Ryu as their leader. Six years after the tournament, Ryu has trained and become a licensed itamae and works as chef for Funbari Onsen. He also accompanies Asakura Hana to look for the Five Elemental Warriors, which amongst others have brought him in jail, and forced him to travel through China in a small rowboat. Ryu now has a full beard and his hair has grown somewhat longer and no longer wears his exaggerated 1970s suit. Instead, he wears a white muscle shirt, a pair of purple pants and a pair of sunglasses.
As the warriors slowly arrive at the train station he calmly watches their antics and is not even shocked when Ren arrives in a horse-drawn carriage. While waiting for Yoh and Anna at the restaurant together with Hana and the other four warriors, he receives a call from them, telling that they are delayed and to meet them at the riverside instead, much to the anger of Ren. He later prepares the feast at the Onsen when everyone returns.
The 2001 anime series generally follows the first part of Ryu and Yoh's first confrontation, but Ryu would later becomes a loyal friend with Yoh after he saves his life from Tao Ren instead of later on, after Tokageroh would possessed him, then repays the debt by taking him to a local hospital to treat his injuries. as Ryu then moves into Yoh's home and starts doing a few of the chores for Anna. After seeing Yoh would train so hard, as Ryu thinks to himself that he isn't worth much to the house and would leave. It is then in the abandoned bowling alley, that he is possessed by Tokageroh, who offers to help him become a better shaman instead of just possessing him.
Ryu comes off as being not too bright and thinks more about girls and his hair, however, he is quite deep and thoughtful. In the English version of the 2001 anime series, he has a heavy Hispanic accent and instead of supporting Yoh, his goal is to get a "First Lady" or a "Shaman Queen" to call for his very own. His habit of smoking is completely omitted from the 2001 anime series.
- A direct translation of his nickname reads "Dragon of the Wooden Sword".
- A running gag in the first part of the Shaman King series is that he constantly gets his pompadour "amputated".
- Another running gag in the seriesis that whenever Ryu is attracted to someone, his hair becomes heartshaped and on one occasion, Ryu's hair would changed to a heart-shaped hair permanently until it was amputated again.
- His hobby is best place hunting.
- His favorite food is American hotdog.
- In the Japanese 2001 anime series, Ryu had his own theme music called Best Place! (メラ最高!,"Mera Saiko!").
- Shaman King Manga - Kang Zeng Bang Volume 9 Extras
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 120
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 270; Page 7
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 102; Page 18-19
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 276; Page 8-9
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 295
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 296
- Shaman King Manga - Funbari no Uta Chapter 2
- Shaman King Manga - Chapter 300
- Shaman King Manga - Official Fan Book: Mankin Book, Page 40
- Shaman King - Melody Of Spirits OST #2
- Bokken - A Wikipedia article about Ryunosuke's weapon he carries along with.
- Itamae - A Wikipedia article about the type of chef that Ryunosuke became.