Beet the Vandel Buster is a Japanese manga series written by Riku Sanjo and illustrated by Koji Inada. It 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.
The manga was published in Shueisha’s Monthly Shōnen Jump in Japan from 2002 until September 2006, when Inada became ill. On December 17, 2015, it was reported that the manga will resume in the Spring 2016 issue of Jump SQ.Crown. The manga ran in Jump SQ. Crown until October 2016 and it is currently published in Jump SQ.Rise.
Viz Media published the first twelve volumes in English. An anime adaption was produced by Toei Animation and Dentsu and aired on TV Tokyo. It ran for 52 episodes, followed by a sequel, Beet the Vandel Buster: Excellion, which ran for 25 episodes. The anime was licensed in North America by Illumitoon Entertainment, who only released one DVD containing 4 episodes with an English dub track.
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 had been on hiatus since September 2006 because of Koji Inada’s sickness. It went off hiatus and starting published again in spring 2016 but went on hiatus again later that year.
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.”
As of April 4, 2018, the first 13 volumes of the manga had 4 million copies in print.