Reborn!, known in Japan as Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Amano. The manga is about a young boy, Tsunayoshi Sawada, who discovers that he is next in line to become boss of the Vongola family, a powerful Mafia organization. The Vongolas’ most powerful hitman, a gun-toting infant named Reborn, is sent to teach Tsuna how to be a boss.
The manga’s chapters were serialized in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump from May 2004 to November 2012 and have been published in forty-two tankōbon volumes. An anime adaptation of the series by Artland aired on TV Tokyo from October 7, 2006, to September 25, 2010. Viz Media licensed the manga and the streaming rights for the television series for an English-language release. Discotek Media licensed the home video rights for the television series for subbed-only releases. A number of video games, light novels, and other products were also created based on the series.
Reborn! is one of the best-selling Weekly Shōnen Jump manga, with several volumes top sellers in Japan. Reviewers praised its humor, storylines, fights and the infant characters’ design. However, they said it grew more violent after volume eight, becoming a typical shōnen series.
Reborn!‘s prototypes, by Akira Amano, appeared in seinen magazines until a one-shot was published on November 17, 2003 in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from May 24, 2004 to November 12, 2012, and individual chapters were published in collected volumes by Shueisha from October 4, 2004 to March 4, 2013. The series is licensed in North America and the United Kingdom by Viz Media, who published the manga under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint. The first volume was published October 3, 2006, and Viz’ last volume—the sixteenth—was published July 6, 2010. Reborn! is licensed in Brazil by Panini Comics, in France by Glénat, in Germany by Tokyopop, in Singapore by Chuang Yi, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini and in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing.
A spin-off manga titled Vongola GP Kuru! created by Toshinori Takayama was serialized in Shueisha’s Saikyō Jump from December 2010 to November 2012. It was compiled into three volumes released in 2012 on June 4, September 4 and December 4 respectively.
A book, Katekyō Hitman Reborn! Official Character Book Vongola 77, was published on October 4, 2007, in Japan. Based on the manga, it covers 77 incidents since Reborn joined the Sawada household. The book profiles major characters, with brief side stories not appearing in the manga and color posters by Akira Amano. Katekyō Hitman Reborn! Sōshūhen: Vongola Family, a book focusing on Tsuna, Reborn and Tsuna’s Guardians was released on October 30, 2009. On April 2, 2010 an artbook, Reborn Colore!, was published.
Five Reborn! light novels by Hideaki Koyasu and illustrated by Akira Amano, originally serialized in Jump Square, were published by Shueisha. In the first, Hidden Bullet 1: Mukuro’s Illusions, published on March 12, 2007, Mukuro Rokudo takes over Kokuyo High. The second, Hidden Bullet 2: X-Fiamma, published on February 5, 2008, recaps the mystery of Xanxus. A third, Hidden Bullet 3: Millefiore Panic, published on July 3, 2009, focuses on the Millefiore and Vongola families. The fourth and fifth novels were published on April 30, 2010 and May 2, 2011, respectively.
The Reborn! manga is popular in Japan and, according to Mainichi Shimbun, has one of the greatest number of cosplayers in the country. In 2007 it was the tenth-bestselling series in Weekly Shōnen Jump, with a total of seven million copies sold; in 2008, its sales increased to 15 million copies. Reborn! was among Japan’s top-selling series for several years. In 2008 the manga sold 3.3 million copies, the country’s fourth-bestselling series. In 2009 it was the sixth-bestselling series in Japan, with sales of 3,694,323 copies. In 2010 Reborn! was the eighth-bestselling series, with sales of 3,479,219 copies. The manga was the 24th-bestselling series in 2012, with sales of 1,844,824 copies. Overall, it has sold over 30 million copies. Reborn!‘s second light novel was the third-bestseller in Japan in 2008, with sales of 106,229 copies. The anime’s DVDs are also popular, sometimes making the Japanese Animation DVD Rankings.
Reborn! has been reviewed a number of times. According to Carlo Santos of Anime News Network, although the manga’s first volume had a weak plot and its art was “downright messy and crowded” there was “volatile chemistry” between Tsuna and Reborn. Popcultureshock.com said that the series was aimed at girls because of the number of male characters, and cited its good combination of artwork and humor. A. E. Sparrow of IGN liked its lampooning of the “Mafia concept” and the manga’s artwork, saying the “cartoonish characters exist alongside chiseled, well-sculpted figures”. The series’ change in tone evoked a variety of responses; in a ninth-volume review Sparrow said the series “is quickly becoming a great shōnen read in no small part due to this current storyline”, noting its evolution since Tsuna began to grow up and the fights became more violent. According to Comicbookbin.com, although the fights were well-done and the series was still funny, volume eight of the manga was too violent and ordinary readers might find it strange. Ben Leary of Mania Entertainment was lukewarm about the series’ darker tone since the eighth volume. Praising the fights and the handling of the tournament between the Vongola and the Varia, he missed the series’ comedy and hoped it would return after the tournament.
In Reborn! a boy, Tsunayoshi “Tsuna” Sawada, is chosen to become the tenth boss of the Vongola Family, as he is the great-great-great-great grandson of the first Vongola boss—who moved to Japan from Italy. Timoteo, the Vongola IX—the current head of the family—, sends Reborn, an infant hitman from Italy, to train the reluctant Tsuna. Reborn’s chief teaching method is the “Dying Will Bullet” (死ぬ気弾, Shinukidan), which causes a person to be “reborn” with a stronger self to execute his dying wish. The clumsy, underachieving Tsuna becomes stronger, more confident and willing, making him a suitable Vongola family boss despite his continued reluctance. He makes several friends, including his love interest Kyoko Sasagawa.
Tsuna gets out of many scrapes on his way to becoming the Vongola boss, fighting escaped Mafia convicts posing as Kokuyo Junior High School students. The Varia, the Vongola assassin squad, want their boss, Xanxus, to be the Vongola boss and initiate a competition with Tsuna. To defeat the Varia, Reborn recruits Tsuna’s schoolmates as Vongola guardians: Hayato Gokudera, an explosives expert who wants to be Tsuna’s right-hand man; Takeshi Yamamoto, an athlete who likes baseball and cluelessly thinks of the Mafia as a game; Ryohei Sasagawa, captain of the school boxing club and Kyoko’s older brother, and head prefect Kyoya Hibari. Lambo, a weak infant hitman who wants to kill Reborn; and Chrome Dokuro, a girl with links to the criminal Mukuro Rokudo, also join them.
After defeating the Varia, Tsuna and his friends are transported to the future to face the Millefiore family, who are killing the Vongolas. They discover that the Arcobaleno, the seven strongest infants, are dead except for Lal Mirch. When Tsuna and the Vongola guardians fight the Millefiore, they learn that Shoichi Irie, a comrade of Tsuna’s future self, sent them to the future because the future Tsuna said they were the only ones able to defeat Millefiore leader Byakuran. Byakuran, who has obtained knowledge from parallel worlds, wants to obtain all the Mafia rings to become omniscient.
Tsuna and his group defeat Byakuran and return to the present, where they learn that he is to be installed as Vongola X. The ceremony is disrupted by the Shimon Family, who have sworn revenge on the Vongola founding father for allegedly betraying the first Shimon boss. Tsuna confronts the Shimon Family on a secluded island; the Vindice, a group of former Arcobaleno who protect the laws of the mafia, are involved in the fight and imprison the losers. After several battles it is learned that Daemon Spade, an illusionist, and first Vongola generation guardian, was manipulating Shimon, using the conflict to control Mukuro Rokudo and remake the Vongolas in his image. The combined strength of Tsuna and Shimon’s leader, Enma Kozato, defeats him.
After Tsuna reconciles with Shimon, Reborn and the other Arcobaleno compete among themselves to remove their curse. Each Arcobaleno chooses a representative to fight for them and the winner will be able to undo the curse. The Vindice enter the competition, informing Reborn and Tsuna that the tournament is a front for the selection of a new Arcobaleno; the previous Arcobaleno die or become Vindice. Tsuna joins the remaining teams to defeat Bermuda, a former Arcobaleno, and the Vindice. On the final day of the Representative Battle of the Rainbow, Tsuna defeats Bermuda and his team. Checker Face, who inflicted the Arcobaleno Curse of the Rainbow, reveals his true identity as Kawahira, administrator of the humankind’s ultimate power, Tri-ni-set. Finding another way to keep the Tri-ni-set safe, Kawahira agrees to entrust it to future generations and remove the curse.
After the Arcobaleno battle, Tsuna refuses to become the tenth head of the Vongola Family and Reborn leaves. A week after his departure, Tsuna realizes that he is still his no-good self; nothing has changed. Reborn returns to train Tsuna as Neo-Vongola Primo, similar to Vongola Decimo; Tsuna remembers that he now has friends he can rely on and has been changed by his experiences, thanks to his tutor and partner Reborn.