Zatch Bell! is a Japanese anime series based on the manga series, Konjiki no Gash!!, written and illustrated by Makoto Raiku. The manga was adapted into a 150 episode anime TV series titled Konjiki no Gash Bell!! by Toei Animation. The series follows Kiyo Takamine and his Mamodo partner Zatch Bell as they try to win the tournament of Mamodo battles in order to make Zatch the king of the Mamodo world. The anime was directed by Tetsuji Nakamura. Konjiki no Gash Bell!! premiered on Fuji TV on April 6, 2003 and ran until March 23, 2006.
Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Zatch Bell! anime from Toei Studio and contracted Studiopolis to create the English adaptation of the anime. The English adaptation of the Zatch Bell! anime premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on March 5, 2005 and ran until January 20, 2007, with only 77 of the 150 episodes aired.
One hundred Mamodo go to Earth every 1,000 years to battle to be the king of the Mamodo world. Each Mamodo needs a human partner in order to use his or her spell book, a book that seals the powers of the Mamodo. When read aloud, the spells are cast by the Mamodo producing many effects. If the spell book is burned, the Mamodo is forced to return to the Mamodo world, and they lose all claim to the position of the Mamodo king. While the spells in each book typically are different for each Mamodo, there are Mamodo that share spells, like Zatch Bell and his evil twin brother, Zeno Bell. The human and their Mamodo gain these spells through experience and hard work. The last Mamodo standing without their book burnt is the new Mamodo king.
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 learns about the spell book when he reads a spell causing Zatch to fire lightning from his mouth (the spell is mentioned in the first episode). 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.
Kiyo Takamine is a genius 14-year-old junior high school student with an IQ of over 180. His intelligence makes him a target for teasing and harassment causing him to develop an introverted and apathetic demeanor to the point where he skips school on a regular basis. However, his entire lifestyle changes when Zatch Bell arrives in his life. Due to Zatch's influence, Kiyo becomes more outgoing and eventually becomes popular in his class. Kiyo has a bad temper and is easily irritated, often venting his frustrations on Zatch or his ditzy classmate Suzy Mizuno.
Zatch is an overly cheerful boy who possesses a strong sense of justice, but is clueless about most of the world around him and often gets in trouble when not being supervised by someone. Kiyo makes Zatch a toy named Volcun 300 which he refers to as a friend. Zatch's favorite food is Yellowtail, which he prefers to eat whole. When Zatch arrived to the Human world, he lived in a forest until the day Zeno attacked him and removed his memory of the Mamodo world. Kiyo's father finds him and sends him to Kiyo. During the progress of the series, it is revealed Zatch is empowered with the power of Bao, a powerful dragon created by Zatch's father during the last Mamodo battle. Due to the danger of Bao and Zatch's father's declining health, he transferred Bao into Zatch in order to prevent it from escaping and wreaking havoc in the Mamodo world.
Megumi Oumi & Tia
Megumi and her Mamodo partner Tia 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. She had a crush on Zatch for much of the series, despite her hobby of abusing him physically.
Parco Folgore & Kanchome
Parco and his Mamodo Partner Kanchome are friends and allies of Kiyo Takamine and Zatch Bell. Folgore is a superstar and film hero from Milan, Italy, known for his two hit songs Chichi o Moge! (lit. Grope the Breasts!) and Muteki Folgore! (lit. Invincible 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.
Kanchome'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. Kanchome'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.
Kafk Sunbeam & Ponygon
Kafk, an engineer from Germany working on projects in Japan, was introduced much further in the series and was revealed to be the partner of the small horse Mamodo Ponygon. 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.
Sherry Belmont & Brago
Sherry 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. 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.
- Jason Spisak - Kiyo Takamine
- Debi Derryberry - Zatch Bell
- Kate Higgins - Megumi Oumi
- Melissa Fahn - Tia
- Dave Wittenberg - Parco Folgore, Ponygon
- Richard Steven Horvitz - Kanchomé (episode 11-48)
- Jeff Nimoy - Kanchomé (episode 49-150)
- Henry Dittman - Kafk Sunbeam
- Saffron Henderson - Sherry Belmont
- Wally Wingert - Brago
The series premiered in Japan on Fuji TV on April 6, 2003 and ran until March 23, 2006.
The English adaptation of the Zatch Bell! anime premiered in the United States on Cartoon Network's Toonami on March 5, 2005 and ended on January 20, 2007 with seventy-seven episodes aired. It also aired outside of Toonami on Cartoon Network’s late Friday night/Early Saturday Morning late night prime block in 2005,
Canada's YTV began airing Zatch Bell! in September 2005 and ended on December 6, 2008 with 104 episodes aired.