tek's rating: ½

Zatch Bell!, Fuji TV
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Caution: Spoilers!

There's this brilliant 14-year-old boy named Kiyo Takamine, who doesn't really like to go to school or socialize with anyone. His archaeologist father sends him a young boy named Zatch Bell (or Gash Bell in the original Japanese version), who he found in a rain forest in England (along with a spellbook), to try to get Kiyo back on the right track. Also, Kiyo has a friend named Suzy, who obviously likes him more than he likes her... she is kinda flaky, silly and immature; a total squash-brain, as she says herself. Eventually Kiyo makes more friends who know nothing about all the mamodo stuff, they just think Zatch is a little boy and Ponygon (who I'll mention later)... well, they have some arguments about just what he is.... I should probably also mention that there's a really scary human girl named Naomi who frequently terrorizes Zatch.

Zatch seems to have amnesia, so at first he doesn't know what his spellbook is for, nor that he himself is really a mamodo, which is a kind of demon from another world. Every 1000 years, one hundred mamodo (which come in many different shapes and sizes) descend to Earth, and they each need to team up with a human partner (to read spells from books, thus unleashing the mamodo's various powers; each mamodo has different powers), to fight to become king of the mamodo world. (This kinda reminds me of Shaman King, though I like this show a lot better.) Obviously, Kiyo will be Zatch's partner. Even after learning all this, Zatch still doesn't remember anything about the mamodo world, or what he used to be like, there.

Anyway, most mamodo who Zatch and Kiyo go up against, they defeat (burning a spellbook returns the mamodo to the mamodo world). However, there are a few recurring teams they'll have to fight on more than one occasion. The main one of these teams seems to be Brago and his human partner, Sherry Bellmont. There are also a few teams Kiyo and Zatch befriend, though eventually I suppose they'll have to fight them, too. They include a pop star named Megumi Oumi and her mamodo, Tia; a really annoying yet apparently popular Italian matinee idol/singer named Parco Folgore and his equally annoying mamodo Kanchomé; and maybe a few other teams. At one point they battled a mamodo girl named Kolulu, who wanted to become a benevolent king. After defeating her, Zatch promised her that he himself would become a benevolent king, and put an end to mamodo battles in the future. Zatch also befriends a weird mamodo that looks kind of like a small horse, and can't talk. Kiyo names him Ponygon; Ponygon is often frustrated that he can't get anyone to understand that his real name is Schneider. Ponygon seems to like everyone except Kiyo. He'll spend quite awhile trying to find someone to read his spellbook.

There's also a mamodo named Zeno who's like Zatch's evil twin or something, who turns out to have caused Zatch's amnesia before Kiyo's father found Zatch. His partner's name is Dufort. Uh, there was a mamodo named Wonrei, who learned kung-fu from his human partner Li-en. The two of them fall in love. They also befriended Zatch and Kiyo. At one point Zatch and Kiyo fought a mamodo named Rops, whose book was later burned by Zeno and Dufort. However, even after Rops returned to the mamodo world, his human partner Apollo would later give some assistance to Zatch, Kiyo, and their allies... There's also an evil mamodo named Zofis, who can control minds, which he does to his human partner Koko, who used to be a friend of Sherry.

And there's a mamodo named Kido, whose partner Dr. Riddles is kind of like a magician or something I guess. He claims to know everything, and he wants to gather a team of mamodo, including Zatch and Kiyo, Tia and Megumi, Kanchomé and Folgore, Wonrei and Li-en, to fight a mamodo named Milordo-Z, who himself controls a whole team of mamodo and their partners. One of the mamodo who works for Milordo-Z is a girl named Penny, who loved Zatch back in the mamodo world, and is furious that he doesn't remember her now. There are also a bunch of mamodo who had been turned to stone 1000 years ago during the previous battle for mamodo king, and they've now been revived by Milordo-Z to fight for him. Though a few of them might end up helping Zatch and Kiyo. Eventually, Kido's book is burned, so he returns to the mamodo world, though Dr. Riddles continues to help his allies. Also, in the midst of the various battles, a man named Kafk Sunbeam shows up, who turns out to be Ponygon's human partner, so they join the fight against Milordo-Z and his army of mamodo.... There will also be a revelation about Milordo-Z's true identity, which makes Sherry and Brago eager to fight him, though they have no interest in working with Zatch, Kiyo, and their allies against this common enemy....

Welp, that's about all I can say for now, but it's strange and funny show, as well as interesting. And stuff. I look forward to seeing the whole series and probably saying more about it later. ...While I originally watched the show on Cartoon Network, they stopped airing it at episode 77 in January 2007. A few months later, it started from the beginning online at Toonami Jetstream, and finally, in late August 2008, it caught up to where it left off. However, the Jetstream website was shut down before the series could fully air (I forget exactly how many episodes it got through, but there are probably at least 50 I still haven't seen).


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