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Film Friday- Zatch Bell!

Film Friday- Zatch Bell!

Zatch Bell!, also known in Japan as Golden Gash!, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Raiku. It was published in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The series follows mamodo Zatch Bell and his human partner Kiyo Takamine, as they try to win a tournament of Mamodo battles in order to make the former the king of the Mamodo world.

The manga was later adapted into a 150 episode anime television series titled Golden Gash Bell!! by Toei Animation. Konjiki no Gash Bell premiered on Fuji TV on April 6, 2003, and ran until March 26, 2006. In addition to an array of licensed merchandise, the series also spawned a series of video games and two animated films.

The Zatch Bell! manga has over 22 million copies in circulation. In 2003, it won the 48th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen category.

Anime

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. The North American English dub has been edited and localized for young children aged 6 to 10 years in America. Viz Media has licensed its individual Zatch Bell! merchandising rights to several different companies, including a new toy line made by Mattel and a collectible card game released by Bandai in the United States and Japan.

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. Thirteen DVD compilations of the English adaption of the anime have been released by Viz Media between November 8, 2005, and December 4, 2007. All the Viz Media home releases of Zatch Bell show only the North American edited English dub episodes and they are rated A for All Ages. New Video released a DVD box set, “Zatch Bell!: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2“, on December 3, 2013, that included the first 100 episodes of the North American edited English dub. On June 22, 2017, Starz announced that they would be offering episodes of the series for their Video on Demand service starting July 1, 2017.

All the international dubs of the anime outside of Japan are adapted from the North American edited English TV dub and are aimed mostly at young children between 6 to 10 years in those countries.

Films

The series spawned two films. The first film, “Gekijou Ban Konjiki no Gash Bell!! 101 Banme no Mamono”, 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”, 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.

Both films were released exclusively in Japan until March 27, 2018, when Discotek Media brought both movies to Blu-ray in North America. The titles were localized to Zatch Bell!: 101st Devil and Zatch Bell!: Attack of Mechavulcan, and contained the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. Each movie also received an individual DVD release on April 24.

Protagonists

Kiyo Takamine and Zatch Bell

Kiyo Takamine, known in the original version as Kiyomaro Takamine and his Mamodo partner Zatch Bell, known in the original version as Gash Bell, are the main protagonists of the series. Kiyo is a genius 14-year-old junior high school student with an IQ of over 180. His classmates eventually shunned him due to his high intelligence causing him to develop an introverted and apathetic demeanor to the point where he skips school on a regular basis. One day, Zatch, an overly cheerful amnesic boy, is sent by Kiyo’s father to live with Kiyo. Zatch’s personality slowly influences Kiyo causing him to become more outgoing and friendly and allowing him to befriend many people during the course of the series. Zatch’s past is slowly unraveled and reveals he is the son of the current Mamodo King and sealed within Zatch is a power known as Bao. Also brought to light is the fact that Zatch’s twin brother, Zeno Bell, was the one who erased Zatch’s memory in order to make him suffer. In battle, Zatch’s spells revolve around lightning. His most powerful spell, Bao, allows him to create a huge electrical dragon.

Megumi Oumi and Tia 

Megumi Oumi  and her Mamodo partner Tia, known as Tio in Japan, are friends and allies of Kiyo Takamine and Zatch Bell. Both Megumi and Tia have expressed romantic interest in Kiyo and Zatch, respectively. Megumi is a famous Japanese teen idol and pop singer who spends most of her time working. Tia is a young girl who believed no one could be trusted in the Mamodo tournament after being attacked by a friend of hers from the Mamodo World. When Kiyo and Zatch save Megumi and Tia from an attack by the same Mamodo, Tia begins to trust others again and allies with Kiyo and Zatch in order to make sure the Mamodo World would be ruled by a kind king. Tia’s spells consist mostly of defensive and regenerative spells which are used to support and heal their allies. Tia’s book is burned while protecting her friends from Clear Note’s spells. She had a crush on Zatch, despite her hobby of abusing him physically. They came in 5th place in the competition.

Parco Folgore and Kanchomé

Parco Folgore and his Mamodo Partner Kanchomé are friends and allies of Kiyo Takamine and Zatch Bell. Folgore is a famous superstar and film hero from Milan, Italy, known for his two hit songs Chichi o Moge! and Muteki Folgore!. Chichi wo Moge! was changed to Hey Hey Let’s Dance all Day by Viz Media and Muteki Folgore to Iron Man Folgore. Although appearing perverted, cowardly, and weak, Folgore is a person with high morale standards and is more insightful than he seems. In the past, Folgore was a short tempered and vicious man who was feared in town due to his ruthless nature. His parents threatened him with a shotgun to leave home out of fear. Folgore later changed his personality after watching a hippopotamus and oxpecker living in mutalism and developed his comedic personality. Kanchomé’s appearance is that of a young boy wearing a blanket sleeper, with large eyes and a duck bill. His personality tends toward childish and abrasive, often crying and whining like an infant. He greatly admires Folgore, believing him to be invincible. Kanchomé’s spells involve transformation and illusions. He later gains the ability to create clones with inhuman strength and a spell that can trap his opponents in an illusionary world giving him full control over their senses. Kanchomé’s book was burned by an attack by Clear Note. The duo came in 7th place overall.

Kafk Sunbeam and Ponygon

Kafk Sunbeam, an engineer from Germany working on projects in Japan. He was introduced much further in the series and was revealed to be the partner of the small horse Mamodo Ponygon, known as Umagon in Japan. Ponygon looks like a small horse but has the personality of a dog, and can only communicate by bleating like a sheep. Because of this, Ponygon is unable to communicate his real name, Schneider, and is given the name Ponygon by Kiyo Takamine. In the Mamodo world, Ponygon hated other Mamodos after watching his father work as a riding animal and isolated himself from others. Zatch Bell eventually befriended Ponygon after they saved Ponygon’s father from a poisonous snake bite. Ponygon’s spells give him armor, increasing his speed and power with each spell. Eventually Ponygon gains the ability to manipulate fire and the ability to fly. During Clear Note’s assault, Sunbeam was forced to burn Ponygon’s book in order to stop his body from breaking down. They came in 4th place in the mamodo fight.

Sherry Belmont and Brago

Sherry Belmont, known in the original version as Sherry Belmondo, comes from an abusive background in a wealthy French family, raised by a mother who only cared about the family name. Sherry attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, but was saved and befriended by a poor girl named Koko, her first and best friend. During the events of the Mamodo battle, Koko became brainwashed by her Mamodo partner Zofis and destroyed the town. Sherry then meets her Mamodo, Brago and teams up with him in order to save Koko. Brago has a rough, antisocial attitude but is kind underneath. Upon saving Koko, Brago threatens Zofis into erasing Koko’s memories of the time she spent with Zofis in an act of mercy. Gratified, Sherry promises Brago she will make him the Mamodo King. After helping Kiyo and Zatch defeat Clear Note, Brago is defeated by Zatch in the final battle to determine the King. Brago’s spells are based on the manipulation of gravity, giving him the ability to increase gravity in a certain area or fire a gravitational well from his hand. Sherry assists in battle with her flail. They came in 2nd place overall.

 

Manga Monday- Zatch Bell!

Manga Monday- Zatch Bell!

Zatch Bell!, also known in Japan as Golden Gash!, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Raiku. It was published in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday. The series follows mamodo Zatch Bell and his human partner Kiyo Takamine, as they try to win a tournament of Mamodo battles in order to make the former the king of the Mamodo world.

The manga was later adapted into a 150 episode anime television series titled Golden Gash Bell!! by Toei Animation. Konjiki no Gash Bell premiered on Fuji TV on April 6, 2003, and ran until March 26, 2006. In addition to an array of licensed merchandise, the series also spawned a series of video games and two animated films.

The Zatch Bell! manga has over 22 million copies in circulation. In 2003, it won the 48th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen category.

Reception

As of June 2008, the manga had over 22 million copies in circulation. In 2003, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen title of the year. The Zatch Bell! anime series ranked twentieth in animage’s anime popularity poll in 2005. The anime ranked 64th of the Top 100 anime in 2005 according to a web poll conducted by TV Asahi.

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.

Common Sense Media describes the story as “isn’t just about violence”. They also say that there is always challenges, adversities, and questions of identity that the characters face especially Zatch and Kiyo. They compliment how the characters often think aloud when talking about their painful experiences or flashbacks. They applaud on how each of the characters problems in the series are not far off on what kids deal with today. They criticized how the battles uses visuals, languages, sound effects, and dramatic effects that often get drawn out and sometimes become hard to watch. Overall, they said with the graphic violence and the internal struggles that the different characters face throughout the series some parents may not find Zatch Bell! appropriate for their children under ten years old.

Manga

Written and drawn by Makoto Raiku, Zatch Bell! premiered in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine on January 10, 2001. In December 2005, the series was put on hiatus due to the author injuring his hand. The series resumed its serialization on issue No. 11 of Weekly Shōnen Sunday in February 2006. The series finished its serialization on December 26, 2007. The manga spanned a total of 323 individual chapters and 33 tankōbon volumes.

The series was licensed for an English language release by Viz Media. The first two volumes of the series were released on August 2, 2005. Viz has discontinued the series after volume 25, released on June 9, 2009.

In March 2011, Makoto Raiku released a one-shot chapter of Zatch Bell to promote the re-release of the manga in a new bunkoban format by Kodansha. Sixteen volumes were published between March 8, 2011, and June 7, 2012.

In July 2018, Raiku began releasing a digital sixteen-volume “Complete Edition” of Zatch Bell through his digital publishing company BIRGDIN BOARD Corp. The re-releases consisted of new cover art drawn by Raiku himself, color pages from the original Weekly Shonen Sunday serialization, and a special bonus chapter in each volume called “Zatch Cafe” that features the characters from that volume’s cover. After successful sales and demand from fans, the Zatch Bell Complete Edition began to be released in kanzenban format through Kraken in July 2019, featuring everything that was contained in the digital release. There are no plans for an international release at this time.

Synopsis

Setting

Mamodo (魔物, Mamono, lit. “demon”) are mystical creatures with supernatural powers from the parallel Mamodo world. Every 1,000 years, one hundred Mamodo are transported to Earth to compete for the kingship of their world. Each Mamodo’s set of spells are sealed away in a spell book that requires a human companion to read aloud in order to cast them. Only one human can read that Mamodo’s book, whereupon he or she becomes its book owner and partner. Spells cast by the Mamodo produce various effects; along with direct attacks and defenses, there are also spells that temporarily enhance the Mamodo’s abilities, such as agility; render the enemy immobile, or even empower an object they carry. Spells in each book are typically different for each Mamodo, but there are others that carry identical spells—an example of this is Zatch Bell and his twin brother, Zeno Bell. The human and their Mamodo usually start out with one spell but unlock more through experience and hard work. Additionally, the spell book responds to the user’s strong emotions, so that a spell may be generated with greater energy and fervor. The object of the Mamodo battle is to eliminate opponents by burning their spell book. A Mamodo whose spell book has been burnt is then forced to return to the Mamodo world and lose all claim to the position as king. The last Mamodo standing without their book destroyed becomes the new Mamodo king for the next thousand years.

Plot

Taking place mostly in modern-day Japan, 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, and sends Zatch to live with Kiyo. Unlike the other Mamodo, Zatch lost his memory of the Mamodo world. Kiyo first learns about the spell book when he reads a spell causing Zatch to fire lightning from his mouth. 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. They meet allies such as Megumi Oumi and Tia in which they specialize in defensive spells such as different types of shields. Kiyo and Zatch meet Folgore and Kanchomé (Canchome) who are both comic relief characters and they only have transformation spells such as Kanchomé being able to turn himself really big. Zatch met Kafk Sunbeam and Umagon earlier in England. Umagon is a Mamodo who specializes in transformation spells that can put armor around his body and increase his speed. Shery (Sherie) Belmont and Brago who was originally Zatch and Kiyo’s rival in the series later becomes their allies and he has gravity type spells.

As the number of Mamodos decreases, Zatch and his allies encounter a Mamodo called Zofis who takes control of several Mamodo who were sealed in stone tablets from the previous battle to decide the king. With Kiyo and Zatch needing more allies, they meet Dr. Riddles and Kido. They helped teach the main allies how to unlock new spells such as Zatch unlocking the sixth spell. Kiyo and Zatch with friends make their way to South America to fight off Zofis and the thousand year Mamodos. Many characters fell and got their book burned. The most notable one was Kido who was sent back to the Mamodo world after fighting Belgium E.O. Ultimately, Sherry and Brago came to help to fight Zofis. Zofis took control of Sherry’s friend Koko who Zofis makes her do evil things such as burning a whole town. Sherry and Brago beat Zofis but not without the help of Kiyo and friends. Sherry gets Koko back to normal and the battle in South America is over. After the battle against Zofis, the whole world is put in danger after a giant Mamodo named Faudo is brought to life by a Mamodo named Riou. Riou was looking for Mamodos that have enough strength to help activate Faudo. So he puts a curse on Li-en and Wonrei who Kiyo and Zatch befriend in the middle of the series. The protagonists make their way to Faudo to try to destroy it and to save their friends. The battle in Faudo was the toughest battle for the characters up to that point in the story. Kiyo almost died against Riou, and many of Zatch’s friends got sent back to the Mamodo world such as Wonrei. Faudo is then taken over by a Mamodo that looks like Zatch, who turns out to be Zatch’s evil twin brother Zeno Bell. Zatch and Zeno have a big fight inside of Faudo. Through Zeno’s flashback, he resented Zatch because their Father King Bell bestowed Zatch the power of Bao, which is Zatch’s strongest spell. Zeno at a young age had to train everyday and always got punished while Zatch lived with another family peacefully. Ultimately, Zeno comprehends that Zatch also suffered too and apologizes for what he has done to Zatch. Zeno gets his book burned and is sent back to the Mamodo world.

Finally, when the number of Mamodos have decreased to ten, an evil and powerful Mamodo named Clear Note appears. With Clear Note’s immense strength the protagonists have to train to fight against Clear Note in the King’s Festival. The King’s Festival is where the final ten Mamodo have to fight to be king. Most notably before the Zatch and Kiyo fought Clear Note, Kanchome got sent back to the Mamodo world when he was ambushed by Clear Note. With Kancome gone before the big fight it Kiyo, Megumi, and Sunbeam vowed to win against Clear Note for Kanchome and Folgore’s sake. Past Mamodos whom Kiyo and Zatch have encountered came to help out. They helped out in a form of spells because Kiyo’s spell book unlocked all of the Mamodo’s spells. Kiyo used Kido’s strongest spell, Wonrei’s strongest spell, and many more spells from their past allies After many sacrifices, Clear Note is defeated leaving Zatch and his ally Brago as the remaining Mamodos. After Kiyo’s graduation ceremony, Zatch and Brago battle and Zatch is crowned the Mamodo King. As a prize for helping Zatch become king, Kiyo is given two options: either getting a wish and forgetting about Zatch, or get nothing but keep his memories of Zatch. He chooses the latter option. Three weeks later, a letter is sent from the Mamodo to their human partners. Zatch’s letter reveals that all is well in the Mamodo world.