The manga was published in Shueisha's Monthly Shōnen Jump in Japan until the illustrator Inada became ill. The magazine later ceased publication leaving the future of the manga unknown at this time. VIZ Media publishes the manga in English. The anime was produced by Toei Animation and was aired on TV Tokyo. The anime had 52 episodes and the sequel Beet the Vandel Buster Excellion had 25 episodes. The anime has been licensed in North America by Illumitoon Entertainment, they released one DVD containing 8 episodes with an English dub track, but there is still no word as of this day if there will be any further releases, or if the anime is going to be shown in North America again.
The story takes place in a fantasy world where humans have been suffering from the attacks of the demon-like Vandels. ("Vandel" is a portmanteau of "vampire and "devil".) Humans can fight back by becoming a Vandel Buster, a paid monster and Vandel assassin. The protagonist of the story, Beet, is a young boy who becomes a Vandel Buster to be like his heroes, the Zenon Warriors.
Conception and development
Sanjo and Inada described the partnership as a "50/50 between the know-how from the long years we've been a team, and tackling new difficulties."
The story is set in the "Dark Ages", a term referring to the time since Vandels appeared and started attacking humans. Beet is a boy who dreams of joining the "Zenon Warriors", a group of "Vandel Busters" who are considered to be the strongest on the continent. When the group comes to protect his village from the Vandel, Beltorze, Beet tries to join them but is rejected.
When Beltorze appears, the Zenon Warriors seem to have the upper hand until Beet cheers them on, causing the Vandel to notice his presence. Beltorze attacks Beet, and the Zenon Warriors are forced to break formation to help him. Beltorze uses that moment to attack again, which mortally wounds all of them. Hidden in the smoke, the Zenon Warriors decide to rescue Beet’s life by putting their life force into their “Saiga” and giving them to Beet. When Beet complains and asks them why they are doing this, it is revealed that Zenon is Beet’s brother. The now weaponless Zenon Warriors then emerge from the smoke and continue to attack Beltorze. When Beet regains consciousness, both Beltorze and the Zenon Warriors are gone. Guilt-ridden and sad, he cries and vows to destroy all the Vandels and end the Dark Ages. He then goes on a three-year training expedition.
His childhood friend, Poala, who Beet keeps impressing that she is going to marry him, later joins Beet and they form the “Beet Warriors”. As the story continues more is learned about the fight between the Zenon Warriors and Beltorze and the fantasy world of Beet is expanded on.
The manga series has been on hiatus since September 2006 because of Koji Inada's sickness.
- The fifteen-year-old protagonist of the story, Beet is the leader of his own group of Vandel Busters, called the Beet Warriors. His dream is to end the dark century, and to kill all the vandels so they will stop killing humans. At the beginning of the series, he received five Saiga from the members of the Zenon Warriors, which are his major weapons in fighting vandels. He is strong when fighting monsters and Vandels but is weak when fighting humans.
- Beet's childhood friend, and the second person to join the Beet Warriors. She is an intelligent and wise girl, but often lets her anger (mostly comical by ways of hitting others. Mostly Beet.) towards others get the best of her. Poala is shown to be quite good with fire tengeki, but has trouble controlling its raw power. She is fairly skilled in tengeki. She is also known among Vandel Busters as Beet's future wife.
- Slade is a Vandel Buster and a rival of Beet's whom he has known since his training journey. Like Beet, he is highly skilled in the use of spears, which has been developed by the 120 bouts he and Beet have fought. His main weapon is Wind Tengeki, which makes up his saiga, the Silent Grave. Despite his outward attitude towards Beet, he cares for him, but also believes he is too naive. He is also a friendly rival with Beet and hopefully a new member for the Beet Warriors.
- Milfa is a Broad Buster (BB) who is very upbeat, big fan of the Zenon Warriors and has a dream to either marry Zenon, Beet, or Kissu. She may even become a new addition to the Beet Warriors. She is especially skilled in the Lightning Tengeki, which also makes up her saiga, the Lightbolt Grasper.
- An old friend of Beet. He is a genius and master of tengeki, using his abilities to rival even the strongest busters. He is trying to redeem himself in his eyes and the eyes of Beet for teaming up with a Vandel, and Beet's biggest enemy, Grineede.
- Beet's older brother and leader of the Zenon Warriors. His saiga is the holy Excellion Blade, which was passed onto Beet. Upon meeting Cruss, Beet learns that Zenon used "the power beyond saiga" to handle Beltorze before being sucked into a dimensional rift. His current state and whereabouts are unknown.
- Member of the Zenon Warriors. Laio's fiery saiga is the Burning Lance, which was passed onto Beet. Taught Beet how to fight with the spear. After the encounter with Beltorze, his whereabouts became unknown.
- Member of the Zenon Warriors. Handsome and skilled with the power of water, uses the saiga 'Crown Shield' which he passed onto Beet. He had lost his memory until after the battle with the Vandel Garownewt. Told Beet what he remembered about the fight with Beltorze and helped him sharpen his skills with the Crown Shield saiga.
- Member of the Zenon Warriors. To match his immense size, he wields the Boltic Axe, which was passed onto Beet. After the encounter with Beltorze, his whereabouts became unknown.
- Member of the Zenon Warriors. His saiga is the Cyclone Gunner, which was passed onto Beet. After the encounter with Beltorze, his whereabouts became unknown.
- The Winged Knight
- A buster who saves Beet's life when he encounters Garownewt. He also teaches Beet how to properly wield the saiga within him. His presence is an enigma, yet he seems to know the Zenon Warriors somehow. Many have thought of the idea that he could be Zenon thus the name "The Winged Knight."
- Vandel Busters are often called Busters. To become a Buster, one applies at the Buster "house" to get a brand that indicates their level. Elders have the special ability to scan a buster's eye to prove kills and advance levels. Levels are similar to RPG game level systems in that the more monsters or Vandels one kills, the higher one's level. Levels are represented in roman numeral like characters that represent numbers, with each line representing a level. It should be noted that the buster's level is more a reflection of how much they have done, rather than how strong they are. Elders also give monetary rewards for slaying Vandels and Monsters, allow for the formal formation of groups, and give information. Each "house", in each town, is under the jurisdiction of the Busters Association. (Similar to the vandel hotel)
- Busters can work either individually or in groups. Buster are policed by a group known as the Broad Busters, commonly referred to as BB, and must have at least a minimum level of 40. Busters fight with Divine attack (energy in the forms of Air, Fire, Light, Thunder, and Water), or their own individual Saiga (A magic weapon made of divine energy), the ultimate weapon used to fight evil. Normally, a Buster is not able to produce a Saiga until they have mastered a certain level of divine attack.
- Tengeki (called "Divine Power" in the English manga) is the main weapon that only vandel busters can use. It is described as "the ability to grasp heaven" because no one else besides busters can use it. The ability to use tengeki is activated when one first becomes a buster and receives their buster branding. Tengeki is assorted in five categories: fire, water, wind, lightning, and light. Each element is more powerful than another but weak against another. The order goes water puts out fire, fire "burns" through wind, wind cuts through lightning, and lightning shocks water. Light isn't included in this because light is its own separate element and does not exist in the natural world. Below is a list of each tengeki and a summary of them overall.
- Fire Tengeki: The Divine Power of Fire is characterized by its explosiveness and ability to burn through anything. Common attacks are fireballs, long bursts of flame, and focusing the flame into various shapes. Fire can also be focused through weapons to extend the user's reach of where the flame hits. The highest level of attack, called "burst end," focuses and compresses the fire tengeki into a ball that causes an enormous explosion when hit against something. Divine Fire is the best style for close range attackers, and it is the most commonly seen style among busters. Examples of Fire Saiga are Beet and Laio's Burning Lance and Jiiku's Blaster Edge. Most Fire Saigas are regular weapons that focus fire around the weapon, increasing the damage it can cause.
- Wind Tengeki: The Divine Power of Wind is characterized by two things: its ability to cut and slice through vandels, and its ability to blow away monsters. Common attacks are creating blades of air focused to various degrees, which can slice through objects. Another common attack is to create tornadoes and hurricanes, which can blow opponents away. Wind Tengeki can also be focused through a weapon, either increasing its cutting ability or extending its reach. A high level attack, called Linear Gust, focuses Wind Tengeki to a great degree and the tengeki pushes through a monster's body, piercing it and exploding from within its body. Divine Wind can also be focused by skilled users around the body, which results in a shield of wind all around the user. A high level defense technique is to focus the Wind in the normal way of a shield, but is focused so that when a vandel comes within reach of the shield, the air will slice up the vandel. Wind is mainly used in mid to long range attacks, but it can also be used at close range. Wind Saigas are commonly shown to compress air for attacks, like Alside's Saiga Cyclone Gunner, which uses compressed balls of air for ammo. A close range example would be Slade's Saiga Silent Gaive. Silent Gaive is a spear compressed to the limits, so it can cut through virtually any vandel. Wind is the second most common element seen.
- Water Tengeki: The Divine Power of Water is very flexible and flowing. The most common attack for Divine Water is to focus the water into ice, and fire it at opponents, which leaves them frozen. Afterwards, they can be smashed into smaller pieces. Ice is also commonly focused into different shapes, like knives or needles, which are thrown at the opponent. A very high level attack associated with this is to focus the water in the air above the monster into needles, which can drop on the opponent. Another common attack is to focus and compress water into various shapes (most commonly seen is a stream of water) and fire it at opponents. This will either push the opponent back, or if focused enough, grind through the opponent. A high level attack, developed by Kissu, is called Frozen Wave of Divine Blue, which is a highly compressed arrow of ice tengeki. When it hits an opponent, it goes right through them, freezing them completely and destroying them in the process. Less commonly seen techniques, only associated with water, are healing powers. By focusing the water tengeki on a wound, highly skilled users can heal injuries. An example of a Water Saiga is Cruss's and Beet's Saiga Crown Shield. This shield is called "strongest shield in the world," and it deserves that reputation. It can block many powerful attacks, and like water, it flows from offense to defense. If the user needs to attack (which is not very often, considering that it is a shield saiga), it can transform into a ball with a very very long chain attached to it, which can pound vandels into the dirt. Beet used this technique to kill the Phantom Beltorze. Another side technique associated with the crown shield is that it can cure poison by using water tengeki to push poison out of the body. Because of these techniques, water can be used for close range and long range attacks. However, it is mainly used for midrange attacks. Divine Water is the 4th most commonly seen tengeki.
- Lightning Tengeki: The Divine Power of Thunder is characterized by its supersonic speed, repulsion/attraction of the electromagnetic force, eye blinding brightness and unpredictable movement. Common attacks include focusing lighting in the hand and throwing it like a ball, or conducting it through a weapon to increase its damage. Skilled users can focus their lighting tengeki in the air, causing lighting to hit opponents. A unique defensive technique shown by Milfia is to conducting lighting on yourself, super charging your body. This createa a rather nasty shock when anyone touches you, be it friend or foe. This technique is dangerous for those who are not very skilled, because if one messes their control of lighting it could go throw your body and stop your heart. Like other elemental saiga, lighting saiga have more than one side to them. For example, Beet's and Bluezam's Boltic Axe appears to be just a giant golden axe, but there is more to the saiga than that. The axe is easily capabale of cutting through bedrock, which makes it handy for killing vandals. When Beet swings the axe, he is capable of letting out a condensed form of lighting tengeki that can cut through hard boulder. However, its greatest ability lies in the axe itself. When Beet's life is in mortal peril, a seal in the axe opens up, and begins to suck anything and everything in the area into the void, acting as a black hole. This technique is so powerful, it drove off three seven star vandels from the area in seconds. Another example of a lighting saiga is Milfia's Lightbolt Grasper. Basically a giant pair of pinchers, this saiga is able to grasp enemies and hold them down, making it easier for teammates to attack. In extreme situations, Lightingbolt Grasper is able to clamp onto enemies and drive stakes from the saiga into the ground. Then, Milfia fires off an incredibly condensed ball of electricity, which can be controlled to move vandels hundreds of feet into the sky.
- The Vandels are creatures that have a demonic appearance and whose sole purpose seems to be terrorizing humanity. Vandels have a base called the vandel hotel located at the end of the world. The dark house of sorcery is responsible for creating Monsters for the Vandels who order them as well as giving money and marble shaped “Stars” for killing humans and destroying towns. They also provide fortress construction for Vandels, luxuries, etc. The Vandels pay for monsters that they order and other things through dark currency (Humans use MG coins).
- Vandels can use dark attacks to attack. Like Divine attacks, they can come in several forms: fire, water, wind, lightning, and sorcery. Vandels control the dark power with their horns, which is the hardest part of the vandel's body. If the horn of a powerful vandel is severed, the uncontrolled dark power will accumulate inside his body. The moment the vandel dies, it cause an explosion that is five times as powerful as a first-class dark attack.
- Vandels start out with one “Star” and like levels, more work is required to gain one Star if the Vandel already has several. Supposedly, the first Vandel to obtain eight Stars will become the new leader of the Vandels. The stars shatter when a Vandel is killed.
- Each Vandel's body is different, granting them all manner of unique abilities; weapon generation, monster storage, and being able to regrow an entire body from a golf ball sized "core" just to name a few. There is also much more variation in the first class dark attacks then in their divine counter part. Rozzgoat's version of Inferno looks like a giant centipede of fire with one eye but another Vandel's Inferno would look completely different.
- "The Eyes of Darkness" are the gods and creators of the Vandels. Outside of Shagi and some of the other workers at the vandel hotel, their existence appears to be unknown.
- Encyclopedia of Monsters
- All the monsters a Vandel can order are listed in this encyclopedia. It is also divided into sections like trees, caves, bogs, etc. The stronger the monster the more expensive it is. Low level monsters are like animals in both intelligence and appearance. They do not take instruction. They just obey instinct. Higher level monster are much smarter and/or stronger but do not reproduce naturally. They must either develop from weaker monsters, or be purchased.
- In the past, Vandels could make their own monsters. Grineed, "The Clever Honcho of Deep Green" rediscovered the lost knowledge of creating monsters so that he no longer had to buy them from the Vandel Hotel. He died before passing on his knowledge.
- Monsters can be "special ordered". This means that they have abilities beyond what is normal for that kind of monster. An example is Dangol, a protector bug with human speech and intelligence, who served Grineed as a personal assistant and punching bag/stress release device. Another is Hazan, Beltorze's Hound Knight, who was created in response to a demand for "a strong monster who will not be a burden."
- There are two basic philosophies on monsters. Some Vandels like to buy large numbers of cheap monsters while others prefer a small number of powerful monsters.
- Saiga are the trademark weapons of Vandel Busters. They are created from a Vandel buster's divine force, and are generally gained in levels 30 and up. A Saiga is a Vandel Buster's soul, and is best wielded by the owner or another who wields said Saiga with the whole of their soul. A Vandel Buster's Saiga can be transferred to another Vandel Buster, or even a normal human to save their life. Upon it being transferred, that person can wield the Saiga at their own will, regardless of their prior training as a Vandel Buster, or lack thereof. Each Vandel Buster can only have one Saiga from their soul, unless the Saiga of another Vandel Buster is transferred to him or her. The Saiga reflects the owner's fighting style, abilities, and overall soul. It also seems to represent the imagination and cleverness of the user. For example, in episode, a seemingly dumb man used a divine fire saiga in the shape of a sword, which doesn't have any unique properties besides a regular fire saiga. On the other hand, Slade's saiga represents his cleverness by making it invisible and being incredibly thin. Saiga can have several different forms, which can allow a Vandel Buster to fight in many different situations. For example, Cruss' Saiga Crown Shield is a shield, which can turn into a flail-like weapon for offense. Another example is Alside's Saiga Cyclone Gunner, which can change into different forms: a regular gun, a sniper mode, and a blade for close combat.
- The five saiga of the Zenon Warriors are:
- The axe "Boltic Axe", the saiga of Bluezam,
- The shield "Crown Shield", the saiga of Cruss
- The sword "Excellion Blade", the saiga of Zenon,
- The spear "Burning Lance", the saiga of Laio
- The gun "Cyclone Gunner" the saiga of Alside
- Gifford, Kevin. "Beet The Vandel Buster". (January 2007) Newtype USA. Volume 6, Number 1, page 154.
- Official Japanese homepage for Beet the Vandel Buster
- Official English homepage for Beet The Vandel Buster
- Toei Beet the Vandel Buster homepage
- TV Tokyo Beet the Vandel Buster homepage 2005)
- Beet the Vandel Buster for PlayStation 2
- Review of Beet the Vandel Buster: The Sacrifice the first Beet the Vandel Buster DVD.
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