Zatch Bell!, known in Japan as Konjiki no Gash!! (金色のガッシュ!! Konjiki no Gasshu!!?, lit. Golden Gash!!) is a shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Raiku. It was published in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday.. The series follows Kiyo Takamine and his Mamodo (魔物 Mamono?, lit. "demon") partner Zatch Bell as they try to win the tournament of Mamodo battles in order to make Zatch the king of the Mamodo world.
The manga was later adapted into a 150 episode anime TV series titled Konjiki no Gash Bell!! (金色のガッシュベル!! Konjiki no Gasshu Beru!!?, lit. Golden Gash Bell!!) by Toei Animation. The anime was directed by Tetsuji Nakamura. Konjiki no Gash Bell premiered on Fuji TV on April 6, 2003 and ran until March 23, 2006. The anime ranked 64th of the Top 100 anime in 2005 according to a web poll conducted by TV Asahi. In 2003, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen title of the year.
In addition to an array of licensed merchandise, the series also spawned a series of video games for the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2 and GameCube, and in the US and Japan a collectible card game was released by Bandai.
One hundred Mamodo (魔物 Mamono?, lit. "demon") go to Earth every 1,000 years to battle to be the king of the Mamodo world. Each Mamodo needs a human partner in order to use his or her spell book, a book that seals the powers of the Mamodo. When read aloud, the spells are cast by the Mamodo producing many effects. If the spell book is burned, the Mamodo is forced to return to the Mamodo world, and they lose all claim to the position of the Mamodo king. While the spells in each book typically are different for each Mamodo, there are Mamodo that share spells, like Zatch Bell and his evil twin brother, Zeno Bell. The human and their Mamodo gain these spells through experience and hard work. The last Mamodo standing without their book burnt is the new Mamodo king.
The story follows Kiyo Takamine, a 14-year old boy in junior high school. His father, Seitaro Takamine, discovers an unconscious child named Zatch Bell while in a forest in England who then sends Zatch to live with Kiyo. Unlike the other Mamodo, Zatch lost his memory of the Mamodo world. Kiyo learns about the spell book when he reads a spell causing Zatch to fire lightning from his mouth (the spell is mentioned in the first episode). As Kiyo and Zatch begin to encounter different Mamodos and learn more about the Mamodo battles, they discover that there are those who do not wish to fight and there are those who fight for the wrong reasons. After meeting a Mamodo named Kolulu and seeing how this kind Mamodo was forced to fight due to the power of her spells, Zatch decides to become a kind king in order to stop the battle from ever happening again. As the story progresses, Zatch and Kiyo meet other Mamodos that share similar views to them and become allies.
As the number of Mamodos decreases, Zatch and his allies encounter a Mamodo called Zofis who takes control of several Mamodos who were sealed in stone from the previous battle to decide the king. After the battle against Zofis, the whole world is put in danger as a giant Mamodo named Faudo who is brought to life by a Mamodo named Riou, however, Faudo is then taken over by a Mamodo that looks like Zatch, which turns out is Zatch's twin brother Zeno. Finally, when the number of Mamodos have decreased to ten, an evil and powerful Mamodo named Clear Note appears.
After many sacrifices, Clear Note is defeated leaving Zatch and Brago the remaining Mamodos. After Kiyo's graduation ceremony, Zatch and Brago battle and Zatch is crowned the Mamodo King. Three weeks later, a letter is sent from the Mamodos to their human partners. Zatch's letter reveals that all is well in the Mamodo world.
After Raiku's series in the Shōnen Sunday Super ended, Raiku looked at his old drafts he created in the past for an idea for his next series. One of his ideals was a mercenary who uses a giant sword to defeat enemies. After playing with that idea for three months, Raiku decided to abandon it and go with another idea. His next idea was a story where a middle school student finds in an old toy and with the help the of a noble knight, combats evil and after taking this up with his agent, he was advised to use a cuter character to fight and thus, Zatch was created. After Raiku worked on the idea for a few months, it was published. Raiku said that he intended to create a "passionate story about a heartwarming friendship" and that he used the concept as a "base" while adding the mamodo, book, and spell concepts. He was inspired by a western magic story that he read to create Zatch's red spell book. The reason Zatch uses lightning spells because his name had the word "Raiku" means "lightning" in Japanese. He mentions he created Folgore with the words "Invincible Italian Man" as a base.
While writing volume five and six which takes place in England, Raiku went to England on a research trip.
Written and drawn by Makoto Raiku, Konjiki no Gash! premiered in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine in January, 2001. On December 2005, the series was put on hiatus due to the author injuring his hand. The series resumed its serialization on issue #11 of Weekly Shōnen Sunday on February 2006. The series finished its serialization on December 26, 2008 with 323 installments. The manga spanned a total of 323 individual chapters and 33 Tankōbon volumes. The series is licensed for an English language release by Viz Media. The first volume of the series was released on August 2, 2005. As of June 9, 2009, Viz has released 25 volumes of the series and has discontinued the series.
The episodes of the Zatch Bell! anime series were directed by Tetsuji Nakamura and Yukio Kaizawa and produced by Toei Animation. The episodes were aired on Fuji Television between April 6, 2003 to March 26, 2006 and spanned 150 episodes. Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Zatch Bell! anime from Toei Studio on August 4, 2005. Subsequently, Viz Media contracted Studiopolis to create the English adaptation of the anime, has licensed its individual Zatch Bell! merchandising rights to several different companies.
The English adaptation of the Zatch Bell! anime premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami on March 5, 2005 to January 20, 2007 with seventy-seven episodes aired. Canada's YTV began airing Zatch Bell! in September 2005 and ended on December 6, 2008 with episode 104. The series was released in fifty-one DVD compilations by Shogakukan between November 19, 2003 and March 7, 2007 in Japan. As of July 2009, Thirteen DVD compilations of the English adaption of the anime have been released by Viz Media between November 8, 2005 and December 4, 2007.
The series spawned two films. The first film, "Gekijou Ban Konjiki no Gash Bell!! 101 Banme no Mamono" (劇場版 金色のガッシュベル！！ 「１０１番目の魔物」?, lit. "Movie Golden Gash Bell!! Unlisted demon #101"), was released in Japanese theaters on August 7, 2004 and released on DVD on December 15, 2004. The movie tells the story of a mamodo named Wiseman who steals a mysterious white spell book in order to participate in the Mamodo battles in order to become the Mamodo King. Realizing his evil intentions if he becomes King, Kiyo, Zatch, and their comrades begun their battle against Wiseman.
The second film, "Gekijou Ban Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Mecabarukan no raishuu" (劇場版 金色のガッシュベル！！ 「メカバルカンの来襲」?, lit. "Movie Golden Gash Bell!! Attack of the Mechavulcan"), was released in Japanese theaters on August 6, 2005 and on DVD on January 2, 2006. The movie tells the story of Dr. M2 who travels from the future mamodo world to the human world with his army of mechanical Vulcan 300 look-alikes.
The Konjiki no Gash Bell soundtracks were composed by Kow Otani. The first Original Soundtrack was released in Japan on August 27, 2003 which contained 25 tracks. The second Original Soundtrack was released on January 7, 2004 and also contained 25 tracks. The third and last Original Soundtrack of the anime was released on March 24, 2006 and contained 28 tracks. The first movie Original Soundtrack titled Gekijôban Konjiki no Gash Bell!! 101-banme no mamono Original Sound Track was released on September 26, 2004 and contained 36 tracks. The second movie Original Soundtrack titled Gekijôban Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Mecha-Vulcan Strikes Back Original Sound Track was released on August 3, 2006 and contained 27 tracks. Konjiki no Gash Bell-Collection of Golden Songs was released on March 24, 2004. It contained the most popular character songs from the first season of the anime. Collection of Golden Songs 2 was released on February 23, 2005 which contained character songs from the second season of the anime. Collection of Golden Songs 3 was released on February 22, 2006 and contained character songs from the third season of the anime. Other CDs including character singles, character song series and character song duet series were released during the period the anime ran.
Mania.com's Jarred Pine's review of the first volume said that the art style was odd yet crude. He also mentioned the art style and explosive action scenes with moments of humor save the series from being recycled material.
Anime News Network's Zac Bertschy review of the anime adaption described it as "...mind-numbingly over-the-top, so enthusiastically bizarre, that it's difficult to not get sucked into its strange little world" but criticized how it was like a "battle your way to the top while learning important lessons about teamwork and courage" anime. He commented how the "sheer exuberance and energy" saves the show from being a bland anime and how it would be the perfect show for kids. IGN's review of the series was mostly negative. IGN's Jason Van Horn criticized the animation, plot, and dubbed voice acting. IGN's JKB stated the books are more interesting than the animation.
The Konjiki no Gash Bell!! anime ranked twentieth in animage's anime popularity poll in 2005.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell - Profile". Viz Media. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Konjiki no Gash Bell!! episode list". Toei Animation. Archived from the original on July 14, 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
- ↑ "TV Asahi Top 100 Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Bandai's 'Zatch Bell! TCG'". icv2.com. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Script error
- ↑ "Origins, Creator Q & A". Viz Media. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Zatch Bell on Hiatus". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ [ Gash Bell resumes Serialization]
- ↑ "Konjiki no Gash Resumes Serialization". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell Manga Ends After 7 Years, 323 Installments". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 "Viz Media to releases Manga & Anime Series for Zatch Bell!". Viz Media. Archived from the original on August 19, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell! Vol. 1". Viz Media. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell! Vol. 25". Viz Media. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
- ↑ "Konjiki no Gash Bell!! staff list". Toei Animation. Archived from the original on July 14, 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Studiopolis". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell Apparel License Granted". icv2.com. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ "Mattel Plans Full Zatch Bell Line". icv2.com. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ "Viz Media to releases Manga & Anime Series for Zatch Bell!". Viz Media. Archived from the original on August 19, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Zatch Bell!, Vol. 1: The Lightning Boy From Another World (2005)". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell! - Vol. 13". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
- ↑ "Trailers!". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Pine, Jarred (August 11, 2005). "Zatch Bell (aka: Konjiki no Gash!!) Vol. #01". Mania.com. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
- ↑ Bertschy, Zac. "Zatch Bell - DVD 1 review". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
- ↑ Horn, Jason Van (January 8, 2007). "Anime Worth Your Time". IGN. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- ↑ "Zatch Bell Vol. 1 & 2 Review". IGN. September 8, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
- ↑ "トップ ＞ 第28回アニメグランプリ ［2006年6月号］（現在位置）". Animage. June 2006. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- Shonen Sunday Konjiki no Gash Bell!! website
- Toei Konjiki no Gash Bell!! website
- Fuji TV “Konjiki no Gash Bell!! website