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Manga: Zatch Bell!
aka: Konjiki No Gash Bell
a.k.a. Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, or Konjiki no Gash!!

A manga created by Makoto Raiku. This series is a very unusual take on the Mon genre, in that the "mons" of this series are for the most part, super powered children with a human "owner". One hundred demon children (mamono in the original Japanese, called "mamodo" in the English release) are sent to earth to do battle with each other to find out who will be the next generation's King of Demons. The catch is that they can only use their demon powers if they find a human to read spells out of their book. If their book is burned, they're banished back to the demon world and are out of the contest.

The show specifically features the adventures of the arrogant Japanese junior high school student, Kiyomaro Takamine (shortened to "Kiyo" in the English release), and his hyperactive mamono partner, Gash Bell (renamed "Zatch"). Together they decide to try to make Gash the Demon King, so he can rule over the demon world with kindness.

The series ran for 33 volumes and was adapted into a 150 episode anime.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Ponygon's real name is Schneider... not that any of the other characters can understand him when he tries to articulate that. Funnily enough, In Animal Land, where the human characters can presumably understand him, he is called Ponygon, and he's fine with it so it may be his actual name in that manga.
  • Actual Pacifist: Elle Chivas and Momon. Not a single attack spell in their arsenal. This doesn't mean a thing when they get serious however (though they still don't actually damage enemies, they are very good at distracting them and dodging their attacks.
  • Affably Evil: Mind controlled Koko is usually always smiling while being terribly cruel.
  • And That's Terrible: The heroes commonly invoke this trope. "That's unforgivable!" is a common expression.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Zatch's golden spellbook contains the strongest spells of most mamodo in the fight, for Kiyo to use freely. This is used to defeat Clear Note at the end of the manga.
    • Another example comes from The first Movie, with the 101st book. Used by Wiseman in a ploy to get himself in the battle for king, it STEALS spells from other books and uses them as its own. Ironically, something like this would have been useful against Clear Note as it was made as a precaution to stop crazed king candidates, but you know how movies and canon work out together. Anyway, his scheme was neutralized when Gash, Tio, Kanchomé, and Umagon were able to unify their powers into one spell, which burned the book.
  • Anime Accent Absence: Folgore. Absent in the English dub.
    • When he and Kiyo first meet, the manga flat out tells us there's no language barrier between them.
      • Well, Kiyo's main allies are all well-educated/well-traveled, and it's not impossible that they'd be able to speak multiple languages, or at least be speaking English some of the time. Also something to remember is that Kiyo himself is a genius so much so that he was able to teach himself how to read the language of the demon world and reprogram a computer enough to make it virtually unhackable in less than an hour, so its not a stretch to say that he knows more than one language.
  • Anyone Can Die: That is, having your book burnt and returning to the mamodo world, which frequently happened even to sympathetic characters.
    • Thanks to the nature of the central conflict, we learn very early on that this is going to happen to EVERY demon child character in the series, except one. Naturally, every demon child is competing to be that one. It's an unusually dark setup when you consider how light-hearted the series usually is.
    • Wonrei and Kido are probably the best examples.
    • And towards the end of the manga once the battle comes down to the final ten, Zatch's friends (who've pretty much been there since the start) begin to get picked off one by one until Zatch, Brago and Clear Note are the only ones left.
  • Anti-Climax: The revelation of Arth's final spell. It had been hinted at for an arc without actually showing up, with Arth finally using it in his battle against Gorm. He casts it, and hundreds upon hundreds of BFS's rain from the sky. You'd think Gorm would be screwed, right? Nope. He promptly pulls out his ultimate spell, which summons as many black holes as Arth has swords, and the black holes suck up the swords like nothing. Arth doesn't last long after this.
    • Arguably Zofis' defeat to the perspective of the main heroes. After recovering from fighting Demolt, they go to where Zofis is...and he's already been defeated and tied up by Sherry and Brago. Averted in the anime, which puts the rest of the characters closer to the action.
  • Anti-Villain : Barring a few exceptions, most demons Zatch and his friends fight are not truly evil, and several express regret for their actions.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Kolulu and Lori are forced to fight Zatch and Kiyo when Kolulu transforms into her brainwashed form, and tries to stop the attack.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "What kind of King do you strive to become?", from Gustav to Bari. This, together with Zatch's own goal of "Becoming a Kind King" make Bari rethink his way of fighting and define his own goal of "Becoming a Strong King".
  • Art Shift: When ever someone is playing the Only Sane Man or the Straight Man they get drawn in a very blocky style. Kiyo will sometimes go entire chapters with this face in front of the astounding weirdness of this series.
  • Attack Reflector: Spells like Rashield and Giga La Seoshi can actually reflect the opponent's attacks.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Kiyo and Dufort. Also Apollo.
    • Notable in that, for (eventually) all three, this is elevated to the level of a literal superpower, "Answer Talker" for Kiyo and Dufort and an unspecified precognitive ability for Apollo.
    • It is implied that Dr Riddles also possesses the Answer Talker ability (as evidenced by the pattern in his eyes, and his ability to pull information out of thin air).
  • Badass Adorable: Most of the smaller mamodo qualify for this. Examples include Zatch, Tia, Kanchome, Ponygon, Laila, Penny, and the list goes on...
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Happens on occasion, and Kiyo pulls off a nice one here
  • Badass Bookworm: Kiyo again.
    • Doctor Riddles and Kido also apply. The first doubles as a Badass Grandpa, the second is a little glasses-wearing demon full of curiosity who can shoot giant-sized rocket punches.
  • Badass Normal: Sherry is more badass than most males, has a cool weapon and generally kicks more ass than more or less every other human in the series.
    • Well, her name is Sherry Belmont. Hell, she even has a whip.
    • Parco Folgore also applies, especially when he protects Goomu and Mir from receiving a major punch from Kanchome after he goes [[Mad With Power with Shin Poruku. He appears so absurdly muscular in this scene that it's possible that Kanchome's mind is working against him here to unconsciously make Folgore look cooler and stronger than he actually is]].
    • Nearly all the recurring book masters apply. As targeting a demon book directly is, perhaps, the most common tactics in this manga and, moreover, villains are generally fine with torching masters alongside with books, all human good guys need to be able to dodge death beams and survive being thrown around by explosions. Besides those mentioned above, worthy of special mention are Dufort and Apollo, whose abilities are precognition in all but name, as well as Gensou, who decided to accept his book because he found human martial artists too boring.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Leo, defeated by Zeno. Subverted in that he badly beats Zatch and Kiyo before he goes. Also somewhat in the Millenium Mamodo arc where Brago and Sherry fight Zofis while the rest of the good guys fight Demolt, who is kept a secret up until the first time we see him.
  • Back from the Dead - In the manga Kiyo after Leo beat the living shit of him while he was preparing the most powerful attack, Zatch in despair resurrected him, accidentally.
  • Barrier Warrior: Tia, and to a lesser extent, Danny.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: The heroes are fighting Zeon's co-dragons in an attempt to stop Faudo, a giant demon who towers over small mountain ranges. Things are not going well they are getting defeated one by one when Umagon desperately starts raising the heat in the area with his flame spells. The villains are confused at first, since there isn't enough heat to burn the Demon's book, which would take him out of the fight, then we get the truth: Umagon isn't trying to burn the demon's book, he is trying to boil the demon's human partner alive.
  • Beam-O-War
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Don't piss off Zatch, you will regret that. Or for that matter Kiyo. You know what; especially Kiyo.
    • Kanchome is cowardly and childish, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T PUSH HIM TO THE EDGE!
    • Rein, despite his intimidating appearance, is easily one of the nicest mamodo. Of course, once his friends and especially his book keeper are threatened, he shows he gives new meaning to the phrase "scary strong".
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Quite a few characters in Zatch Bell are presented (at first) in a comical light, only to show formidable power when the situation becomes serious.
    • Folgore and Kanchome.
    • Dr Riddles and Kiddo.
    • Belgim EO and Dalia.
  • BFG: Cherish's rifle spell,and her Shin Level spell has mini-drones that support fire.
  • BFS: Arth's upper tier Spells,and his Shin Level spell is RAINING BFS's
  • Big Eater: Most of the mamodo LOVE yellowtail fish, and actively search for them, and eat them whole.
  • Big Bad: Each of the three major story arcs have one: Zofis in the Ancient Mamodo arc, Zeno in the Faudo arc, and Clear Note in the King Festival arc.
    • The anime has the Big Bad Duumvirate of Grisor and Dr. Hakase in the Demon Mirror arc, Maestro in the In-between World arc, and Wiseman in The Movie.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens in a lot of the bigger battles, but it hits its peak when Clear looks like he's going to defeat Zatch and Brago, the last two Mamodo on the planet besides himself. Who comes to save them? All of the already defeated Mamodo!
  • Big Good: Dr Riddles, in the Ancient Mamodo Arc, uniting a small band of heroes to oppose Zofis.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Gash becomes the demon king, but has to go back to the mamodo world. Worse, their two worlds will be closed off from each other for another 1000 years, so it's likely that Gash, Kiyomaro, and all the other teams will never see each other again (made worse by the fact that Gash will likely outlive Kiyomaro
    • Somewhat negated due to the fact that Zatch manages to send Kiyo a letter promising that they will meet again., which is confirmed when Zatch is attacked in the Gaiden chapter and unable to use spells without the Kings Wand, and Kiyo appears to save him.
    • However, there is also the fact that Kiyo learns that Suzy and all of his friends were sent to different schools, implying that probably they are never going to see each other again. Not to mention that Zatch is busy being a king, which gives him little time to hang out with his friends.
  • Blood Knight: Bari starts out like this, but eventually gains ambition beyond simply beating people up after his encounter with Gash. Also, Kolulu's second personality (see below).
    • Brago begins as this as well. Plus, a bunch of lesser characters qualify too.
      • After he devours his own spellbook, Demolt is one full stop.
    • It's implied that King Bell was once one and said that Zeno inherited his ruthlessness. This was why Bao was given to Zatch, as the spell's power would have destoryed Zeno.
  • Boring but Practical: Rare profession example. When Kiyomaro's class is asked what they want to do when they grow up, they all give strange responses, but the last one says he wants to be a salaryman. Most of the students chide him for the lack of imagination, but the teacher actually praises him. He then goes on to explain there is nothing wrong with a job like that. He explains that aiming to become a celebrity, athlete or performer are wonderful jobs to dream about. He then goes on to ask them what is there to do after the time in the limelight and the stability of their lifestyle. You can read the whole thing starting here.
  • Bowdlerize: Zatch is given boxers in the English dub while he had nothing under his cloak in the original.
    • He actually does wear boxers under his cloak in the Japanese version of both the anime and manga, but the English version of the first manga chapter ends up showing Gash putting boxers on over ANOTHER pair of boxers. Meanwhile, the dub of the first episode cuts out a scene of Kiyo accidentally getting a close look Zatch's naked crotch before screaming and falling over in shock.
    • Folgore's song about breasts, "Chichi wo Moge". (this was also changed in the US manga, for whatever reason)
    • Everything about Big Boin and her "Boin Chop". Strangely, when Kido and Zatch do it is not censored.
      • Viz tends to do this whenever they have an anime adaptation, so they try to make the edits emulate what happens in the animation. Never mind the fact that one of the characters insults Kiyomaro by calling him "Piyomaru" in the English dub, even though he's called "Kiyo" in that dub.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Because of her pacifistic nature, Kolulu was saddled with a second, MUCH more violent personality that manifested whenever her spells were cast in order to ensure her participation in the battle for kingship. However, she is the only demon who appears to have undergone this treatment, despite there being a few more demons (Rein comes to mind, as well as Momon in his first appearance) who have no interest in fighting, even for the side of good.
    • There's also Koko, who turned sadistic and mean-spirited under the influence of Zofis.
    • During the Faudo arc, Zeno gives his henchmen power through the use of the Godufa spell. It not only makes them more powerful but also makes them eviler and obedient to Zeno (as several of them were planning to betray Leo once he awakened Faudo). Rodeaux is such a baddass that he can withstand this, however.
  • Breath Weapon: There's a subset of Mamodo who have these. For example, Zatch's most basic spell, Zaker, shoots lightning from his mouth.
  • Broken Pedestal: Koko for Sherry....or so it seems.
    • Later subverted with Cherish for Ted, due of the fact that Cherish was being manipulated by Leo, and later by Zeno.
  • Cain and Abel: Zatch and Zeno. In the childhood friend variety, Sherry and Koko.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Played with somewhat: Attacks ARE called, but the people that do the calling AREN'T the ones that perform the attacks. Not to mention that the attacks could not be performed unless they're called.
  • Came Back Strong: Kiyo dies or comes very close to it in Faudo, and when he reawakens his heart power is massively increased and he gained the answer talker ability along with multiple spells.
  • Canon Foreigner: Eido, Shion Hibiki and Nya, Grisor and Dr. Hakase, Maestro, and Wiseman among others.
  • Canon Immigrant: The wind Mamodo, Hyde, who Zatch fought in filler segments at the very beginning of the anime, appears multiple times in the end of the manga.
  • Captain Ersatz: Some of the Majestic Twelve are based on American superheroes; Lightning Eye is clearly based on Cyclops of the X-Men, while Rocket Foot is obviously inspired by the Flash.
  • Cartesian Karma: Tacitly averted with Koko who was sadistically brainwashed, but is later rescued by Sherry and restored back to her original, innocent state. It's a good thing she's not a wanted criminal now or anything and can happily go to college too, especially after (publicly) razing most of her town and kidnapping dozens of people in order to make them do terrible things. It would have to be inferred that her savior Sherry has some pretty good connections.
  • Cast of Snowflakes
  • Catch Phrase: Sunbeam: "Grooooooooooovy!", Victoream: "Very Melon!" and "Very shit!" (only in the original version, of course)
  • Character Development: There are lots, especially for the demons, though Kiyo has the most of all. Special mentions goes for Kanchome, Brago, and last but not least, Zatch.
    • One can track Zatch's growth via his eyes.
    • Significant growth is what lets demons gain new spells.
    • Characterization Marches On: Sure, Kane just grew out of his bully phase, but the sadistic way in which he behaved in the first story is so radically different from how he is for the rest of the series that it really feels like this trope at work.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Done wonderfully with Zatch's memory which Zeno stole from him after nearly killing Zatch in the beginning of the tournament. During the showdown at Faudo some of memories of Zatch leak and gets to Zeno's making him to see how wrong he was about his hate towards Zatch and after his defeat the entire thing gets to him while he's dreaming and definitely makes him regret everything he had done to Zatch.
    • When Sherry first appears, she is wearing the rings that were given to her by Koko on her tenth birthday, which help her to regain her composure during her battle with Zofis.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: If a character fights any of the main characters and doesn't have their book burned, expect them to show up roughly a hundred chapters later and either help out the heroes or work for the villain. Except for Baransha. She's just a douche.
  • Chinese Girl: Li-en
  • Climactic Battle Resurrection: The aforementioned comeback of all the previous mamono in the final battle.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Suzy
  • Cool Old Guy: Jed, Gustav, Doctor Riddles, and a great example, though he's easily forgettable: Alvin, Byonko's partner.
  • Covered with Scars: Bari's look for his last appearance in the manga, courtesy of Elzador, a prodigy of the Dragon Clan
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Several characters qualify, but Byonko practically embodies this trope. He spent nearly 50 chapters playing the role of Butt Monkey, but the instant his spells finally come into play, he starts smacking around one of the strongest demons in the series to great effect. His partner (mentioned two tropes ago) would also qualify.
    • Kanchome. Just Kanchome.
    • And Folgore. Good god, Folgore.
    • You could say this happens with Momon, but he isn't really "hiding" his badassery, he gains it after going through character development. This happens with a lot of the Mamodo, except Purio.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Apollo and Rops vs Zeno and Dufort.
    • Holy crap about anyone who fights Zeno ends up in this.
    • The very first time Zatch and Brago "fought", that being in quotes because they stood no chance against Brago.
    • After Kiyo's return, Zatch vs. Rodeux. And how.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Suprisingly, Folgore. Before he turned into the cheerful and famous Italian pop star, he used to be a violent delinquent in his hometown. His behavior was so frightening that it turned him into a complete outcast and even led to his own parents getting afraid of him and threatening him at gunpoint to leave town.
    • The Professor Riddles
    • Though we don't get much information, Mir's heavily scarred back and intense submissiveness to a stronger power have some seriously unfortunate implications regarding the nature of her servitude to Clear Note. It's actually so bad she has no qualms with attempting to kill Elly with Goomu's Diaborosu Za Randamito, when she is all of six or seven years old and has a serious medical condition. She is also implied to have had connections with the mafia in the past.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Brago.
    • Brago could be considered pretty borderline evil in the past, when he first met Sherry. At least somewhere between a Jerk Ass and sociopath without much heroics. He gets better.
  • Darkest Hour: Happens a number of time in the series, and in pretty much every case The Big Damn heroes arrive right when everything looks like it's gone to shit, or/and a character learns a new spell that is exactly what they need to save all their asses.
  • Death Glare: A sign that you have truly pissed off a protagonist. Zatch, Brago, Sherry, and especially Kiyo in particular have raised this look to an enemy-halting art-form.
  • Death Is Cheap: Kiyo dies during the fight in Faudo. It takes about 40 chapters for him to start fighting again, and he even gets powered up for the experience. Then again 40 chapters is a rather large cost.
  • Defeat Means Friendship and Heel-Face Turn: Too many instances to count. Zatch is one of those characters who has a way with befriending his enemies.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Kiyo tries this during his fight with Leo, but in a subversion, he is killed.
  • Demon Head: Kiyo. This reached epic heights during his Unstoppable Rage against Rodeux in the manga. AND THE ONLY ONE ABLE TO MAKE ZENO TERRIFIED (At least for a few seconds though). Dufort even broke a sweat. (To see this, go to Say My Name)
  • Determinator: So very many. Includes the ENTIRE main cast, a lot of the side characters, most of the villains, and more than a few one-shot characters. It'd be quicker to list every single person in the story who DIDN'T fall into this category.
    • What interesting is despite this trope, victory not always certain. Though at the very least the characters are left alive to fight another day.
  • Dirty Coward: Zofis
    • Also Grisor from the demon mirror filler arc, though possibly more justified since he lacked the strength to actually fight back when cornered.
  • The Ditz: Suzy. Just to give an example, when she was a kid, she was trying to lead a lost little girl home, only to be distracted by a kitten trapped in a box floating in the river. The two of them ended up several miles away from where they wanted to go.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A cook, who was one of the people kidnapped by Steng and Baltro spent an entire chapter being treated like crap. Then he helps Zatch and Kiyo find weakpoints to Baltro, and distracts Steng by repeatedly throwing rocks at his head to help Zatch and Kiyo defeat him.
    • In the magic mirror filler arc of the anime, Shion. She literally gets kicked again for her efforts, but still succeeded in what she set out to do.
  • The Dragon: Demolt to Zofis. Almost literally, since he has a rather draconian appearance and is outright stated to be stronger than Zofis.
    • Rodeaux and Jedun are Co-Dragons to Zeno, with Rodeaux being the one the heroes have a beef with and Jedun the physically strongest henchman. Zarchim was Dragon to Leo, but was busted down to a mere Elite Mook upon Zeno's takeover. Gorm is Dragon to Clear Note and indeed his only subordinate, presumably due to few Mamodo falling in line to his way of thinking.
  • Electric Torture: By Zeno on Cherish to make her obey him.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Faudo, and Clear's final form. Clear has connections to some very odd powers that are almost completely unexplained.
  • Elemental Powers: Most mamodo get an elemental power, sometimes two.
  • Enfante Terrible: Vino, Clear Note's book-keeper.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The teacher's wife, who's called "Wife" until chapter 177, when her name is revealed to be Sanae.
  • Evil Laugh: Quite a few characters have this, major and minor villains alike.
    • In the English dub, Zeno/Zeon has an evil version of Zatch's Signature Laugh (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!).
    • Zofis has a high-pitched evil cackle in the English dub.
      • While Zofis is monologuing to Koko in his base: "I can already see them writhing in agony." Long pause. "Hahahahahahahahahaha!"
  • Evil Twin: Zeno, though he goes through a Heel-Face Turn
  • Excited Show Title!
  • Face-Heel Turn: Wonrei temporarily, when Li-en is threatened with death.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: used bizarrely inconsistently in the dub, probably because Zatch Bell is barely a cash cow at all compared to VIZ's other big franchises.
  • Family Honor: Leo's motivation to become king.
  • Fan Disservice: Zatch running around naked.
    • Or it could be Fanservice, depending on if you like that kind of thing.
  • Fear of Thunder: Cherish. Being tortured and almost getting reduced to a crisp will make you get enough trauma so even the lightest of shocks will make you shiver in tears.
  • Finishing Move: Bao Zakeruga, a giant dragon made of lightning. Most mamodo have ultimate spells, many of those taking the form of some sort of god or animal.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Everyone who tasted Kiyo and friends's absurdly spicy curry.
  • Foreshadowing: The Faudo arc establishes two things that become extremely significant in the final arc.
    • First, the true nature of Bao Zakeruga establishes that spells can have their own sentience and can influence their masters. Clear Note is increasingly controlled by his strongest spell, and is eventually outright possessed by it.
    • Second, Cherish's fight with Zeno shows that the spirits of mamodo can materialize and influence the human world when the souls of the children she looked out for helped her overcome her Fear of Thunder. Zatch's golden book applies this principle to the other king candidates to gain an edge against Clear Note.
  • For Massive Damage: Shin level spells. They are so powerful that using them more often than not hurts the mamodo.
  • Four Is Death: Out of all of the Mamodo that Zofis revived from a thousand years ago, the last four are the most powerful.
    • Also, Zatch's fourth spell is Bao Zakeruga, which is a major plot point in the series.
  • Freudian Excuse: Why does Zeno hate Zatch? He believed that Zatch was the favorite child, since he received the power of Bao, and Zeno had to go through Training from Hell.
  • Gag Boobs: Big BoinLady Susan IS this trope. And to lesser extend, Wife and Miss Wriggle.
  • Genki Girl: Suzy.
  • Gentle Giant: Shin. His first appearance includes not only helping Zatch get off the swing sets he's trapped on, he helps and old lady cross the street, sorts the recycling bin, and is nursing an injured bird back to health. Unfortunately, being the gentle giant, his past involves the gigantic kid being bullied back in elementary school, and his mother's dying wish was for him to be able to stick up for himself. Naturally, the poor guy has to have a douchebag mamodo who uses his reverence for his mother to try and get him to do things like attack a school. He's a little bit of The Woobie as well.
    • Rein both subverts this trope and plays it straight at the same time. He used to be a complete savage in the past, and in the present he's got an intimidating and sometimes downright scary appearance, and he's also very powerful when battling. However, he's also very friendly, kind, gentle, and doesn't even want to fight if he doesn't have to.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lori's backstory involving neglecting parents is... interesting. The way she feels adopting Kolulu is the only way to fill the hole in her heart is shockingly similar to some teen pregnancy stories, if you replace adopting Kolulu with giving birth.
    • Suzy's oranges that have faces on them have sometimes cracked open, and the blast of orange juice looks like somebody's head just opened.
      • A good deal of stuff Suzy does with her fruits count, actually.
    • Folgore's shirt - How did that get past the Radar, even IF he's male.
  • Gonk: Naomi and the teacher's wife.
  • Good Bad Translation: The Mad Scientist in the Mamodo Mirror filler arc was named Professor Fusaichi Ichiro in the original version, and was usually referred to as simply "Professor", or "Hakase." The US dubbers apparently mistook "Hakase" for the character's name, so he's called Dr. Hakase in the dub. So essentially, he's named "Doctor Professor."
  • The Good King: Subverted with Zatch's father, the current Mamodo King. While far from being a petty and dangerous tyrant, he makes a terrible father, because despite loving his sons, he sends one of them off to live with an abusive caretaker, and is very abusive himself with Zeon who only asked him questions about Zatch and Bao Zakeruga, only receive a lightning bolt as punishment and putting him through long painful agonizing training, which only led to Zeon's resentmen of Zatch. Not only that, but he also endorses for any warrior to be completely ruthless in battle and taking advantage of others, which Zeon and many enemy Mamodo adopt throughout the tournament, and seems to have no problem with forcing those like Kolulu who don't want to fight against their wills by implanting them with alternate personalities. All of this is likely intentional since Kiyo tells Zatch that it doesn't matter anymore what kind of king his father was as long as he wins and surpasses him in becoming a truly benevolent king.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Danny, Wonrei and Ted fights mostly with their own hands. All done in an awesome way.
  • Gosh Hornet: Zatch helps Kiyo and his classmate during a bug hunt... by dropping a beehive on them. Running quickly ensues.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Kafk Sunbeam's catchphrases invoke Gratuitous English.
    • Folgore gives us the occasional Italian in both original and dub.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted, Zeno achieved his power through rigorous training and is one of the most powerful demons. Just to sum up he beat the living shit of Leo, even after his Dangerous Forbidden Technique which was supposed to increase his power by ten times. Funnily enough, Leo worked really hard to please his family by releasing Faudo and winning the battle, and he fails at this so he's a great example of this trope.
  • Harmless Villain: Grisor from the first anime filler arc is initially one of the biggest weaklings ever and only gets by through his Mad Scientist bookkeeper's knowledge and machinations. Until he finally recieves the power of that magic mirror they were after.
  • Healing Shiv: Tia's Saifojio spell
  • Heel-Face Turn: Byonko, Penny, and Goomu. They didn't last long. Rodeaux turns against his master, and some consider this a Heel Face Turn but he was likely just doing it because he wanted to, and would likely have still killed the good guys in a second if he had the opportunity and the power.
    • Koko also gets one at the end of the Ancient Mamodo arc, though that's more because of her Laser-Guided Amnesia that sets her back to how she was before Zofis gave her a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Heel Realization: Zeno during his battle with Zatch in the manga.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Not the death kind, but moreover letting the books burn to save someone. Gets especially frequent during the Clear Note arc.
    • In the manga, when Zatch fought with Leo, Kiyo lets all of Leo's spells hit him and actually dies trying to ensure Leo's defeat to save Japan while protecting Zatch's book. His last thought is for Zatch to become king with his new partner.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Once Kanchome ascended to Reality Warper (inside his, his partner's, and his enemies' minds at least), you just knew he wasn't going to last much longer.
  • How Much More Can He Take: In all 323 chapters of the manga you can count in your fingers the battles that aren't this.
    • Special mention goes out to Folgore who keeps getting up whenever Kyanchome sings the Iron Fologore Song
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Dr. Riddles finds out the hard way, Belgim E.O CAN get out of his chair
  • Idol Singer: Megumi Oumi and Parco Folgore, who have an Image Song duet.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Lori's partner Kolulu gets her book burned due to being Brainwashed and Crazy, and gives Zatch the idea of becoming a kind king, whereas he and Kiyo were simply fighting for their right to stay together before. Whenever Zatch reaffirms his purpose, a brief flashback to that scene is likely not far behind (in the anime, at least).
  • Image Song: The duets were to be expected, and some of the side characters get their share.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Purio. While he isn't completely useless in battle (see Not-So-Harmless Villain below), he's still regarded as a nuisance by most other demons and makes it to the final ten by sheer dumb luck.
  • Instant Armor: Lots of spells do this. Their weight is never commented on, so the spells probably increase strength as well.
  • Interspecies Romance: Between Wonrei and his bookkeeper, Li-en. But Wonlei resembles an adult human closely enough for it to be OK.
    • Obviously, the relationship doesn't last, as eventually Wonrei's book is burnt.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Kiyo suffered from this at the beginning. He gets better.
  • Insufferable Genius: Played with - Kiyo starts out despising his intellectual inferiors (read: everybody) and the feeling's mutual. On the other hand, his unpopularity actually seems to bother him a lot and it might be a chicken-and-the-egg situation because they were jealous.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: The entire mamodo battle becomes this for some of the more peaceful mamodo. Certain mamodo who are unlikely to want to use their spells at all are given evil alternate personalities that love fighting.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Parco Folgore, a Handsome Lech pop star who spends most of his time chasing after bambinas. Oh, and he's also really devoted to his patheticaly underpowered demon partner, Kanchome.
    • Also Kiyo, who doesn't appear to have any redeeming qualities when we first see him and still has some real jerkass moments.
    • Naomi could count as well. Even if she tortures Zatch whenever they meet, there are still instances where she not as bad as she seems (i.e. Saving Zatch on one occasion and cleaning the playground when it's left a mess.) Also in the bonus comic in volume 33 it's revealed she's in love with Zatch.
  • Jive Turkey: Kafk Sunbeam is positively groovy, bruv.
  • Kangaroo Court: Referenced by name in the episode where Zatch is sick.
  • Karma Houdini: Nearly every villain either changes sides or gets their comeuppance eventually, with the notable exception of Roberto Vile, Zofis's Evil Genius, who runs away in terror upon his demon being defeated and the heroes decide not to pursue him for some reason. One could say he already recieved his comeuppance, but given what he was planning to do with the moon stone's power if Zofis became king, it's strange that they didn't send him to jail.
  • Keet: Just look at that image and say that doesn't 100% apply to Zatch.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Arth, who employs iaijutsu for bonus points.
  • Large Ham: Victoream. From his uber-serious voice (courtesy of the king of all scenery-chewing in anime) to his constant showboating to a song-and-dance number about how much he enjoyed eating a melon, he's tremendously entertaining and a little hard to take seriously until he starts shooting huge, V-shaped lasers at you. Folgore and Keith are also examples.
    • Just about every character could qualify for this to some degree, given the series' tendency towards Melodrama.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Zeno steals all of Zatch's memories shortly before Zatch is found by Kiyo's father. While Zatch regains his limited memories of Earth when he revisits the spot where they were stolen, the rest of them have to be returned by Zeno after the latter's redemption.
    • Koko receives this after Zofis's defeat.
  • Light Is Not Good: Zeno, ** Clear Note (and then some. The dude's spellbook is see-through).
  • Little Miss Badass: Nearly every female demon kid.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Elly, Arth's human partner.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality
  • Mad Scientist: The anime had one as the Big Bad of a filler arc. Strangely enough, he actually got Killed Off for Real in the end.
    • Another one was the villain in the second movie.
  • Magikarp Power: Kanchome. Oh so much.
  • Magnetic Hero: Zatch starts out as a loner in the mamodo battle, but he quickly makes friends out of strangers and former bullies.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Zatch. A lot. Could be considered innocent, humorous, Fan Disservice.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Zofis and Leo.
  • Market-Based Title: The show and titular character were renamed "Zatch" as Viz thought "Gash" was too similar to a slang term for female genitalia. Or a gaping wound.
  • Martial Pacifist: Wonrei.
  • Meaningful Name: Apollo has the ability to know things before they happen, he can fortell them. The greek god apollo was God of the Sun (Apollo's family crest) and Divination.
  • Melodrama: One of the defining traits of the series. May result in Tearjerker or Narm, or possibly both, depending on the viewer.
  • Mind Control: How Zofis got Koko to be his partner. He can also changed her heart, forcing her to act as though More Than Mind Control is in effect, partially to sap Sherry's magical power, partially because he likes to break human hearts.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Used more often as a Facefault than to actually show that someone is mind controlled, although Koko also has these eyes. Clear Note's also has these when we first see him, presumably because he is extremely sure of himself and has barely had a hard time in the entire mamodo battle. When he gets serious, they disappear and never return.
  • Mind Rape: Zofis' speciality, which he uses to force the Ancient Mamodo (most notably, Laila) to serve him without question.
  • Mirror Boss: A non-Videogame example. When Zatch fights Zeno, being from the same family, they possess the Lighning element and some same spells, and their book owners Kiyo and Dufort both have the Answer-Talker ability, but both Zeno and Dufort have a nasty advantage against them due to years of intense training. In any Zatch Bell video game Zeno is pretty much a recolored and revoiced Zatch.
  • More Dakka: The Ganzu-type spells involve firing gatling-gun-like pojectiles of the user's element.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Most Common Superpower: Now, either Big Boing's tremendous breasts are a parody of this trend in American comics, or it's just because she's Foreign Fanservice and meant to be stereotypically American.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Big Boing inverts this while dancing for Kiyo by demanding that he look at her chest while she dances. "Please look at the boin!"
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Thunder Emperor Zeno
  • Never Say "Die": Justified; demons who lose the battle are returned to the demon world instead of killed. It is implied that they can die in certain circumstances, but since this is an idealistic show, that never happens.
    • Late Manga Spoilers: Somewhat subverted later in the manga, when it's revealed that the entire population of the demon world, including those who were sent back in the battle essentially are dead. They've been reduced to a spirit form until the winner is crowned, upon which the king can choose to either revive whoever they'd like, or instead remove them from existence.
  • Not So Harmless Villains: Purio and Zoboron turned out to be a genuine threat when working in tandem, despite being seriously goofy no matter how you look at it.
    • This happens with Purio and Rodeux much later, though Rodeux is more than threatening on his own.
    • Ironically, when you take a look at Purio's spells, you realize just how much potential he had. His spells mainly consist of ways to incapacitate the opponent, namely slippery liquid, sticky liquid, paralyzing liquid, a potent itching powder, a very tough net, and a smokescreen they used for quick escapes. His single offensive attacks? He spits freaking acid! With that set of powers, he could have easily been a front runner in the battle, but the immaturity and goofyness of both him and his book owner cause them to be a weak team on their lonesome.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Folgore. Yeah, don't think anyone saw that coming.
  • Oh, Crap: Demolt. Here's the rest of him.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Clear Note, who tells straight up that his only goal is to eliminate demons, and even compares himself to the atomic bomb during his introductory fight.
  • One-Winged Angel: Clear Note's final form.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Sherry in relation to Zofis.
  • Only Sane Man: Oh, Kiyo!
  • Panty Shot: Happens with multiple characters, first with Suzy during the very first use of Zaker (and other times in anime episodes with Eido and Hyde). Penny's underwear have a picture of Zatch on them and are shown for comedic/creepy effect. Tia's are shown multiple times during the Faudo arc, always as a result of Momon's actions, and Tia's anger at this leads to the discovery of the Chaajiru Saifodon spell.
    • Also has happened a few times with Naomi.
  • Personality Powers: Spells are intimately tied to Character Development, so it was fairly obvious; brash and outgoing Zatch has lightning, Small Name, Big Ego wannabe Kanchome has illusion powers, and so on. Taken to an extreme with pervert Momon, who has a moveset entirely based on skirt-flipping and running away. There's also Tia, who gets mostly healing and defensive spells, which is her true nature. However, she also has a spell that makes it quite clear that pressing her Berserk Button is a VERY BAD IDEA.
  • Pet the Dog: Surprisingly Rodeux, of all people, when he met Cheeta.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Suzy, and to a lesser extent, Folgore and Kanchome.
  • Plucky Girl: Shion Hibiki becomes this by the end of the Demon Mirror arc.
  • Power of Friendship: In spades, going above and beyond usual Mon fare. Desire to help/protect/save their friends serves as the main motivation for most of the good guys (except for one or two pairs that implied or just about outright stated to have romantic relationships) and inevitably gives them Heroic Willpower to go on. The Golden Book power seems to be given to Zatch because the other mamodo all agree to help him, which is in essence an example of this trope.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: "Tio" is not a girl's name in most non-japanese languages.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Wonrei's spell Ganzu Boren.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Brago gives a really badass one to Zofis, explaining how at the end Zofis is simply a miserable coward who runs from those he fears.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Or at least getting your book burned.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Brago and Zatch rather obviously. Also, subtler (and less important), Karudio and Ponygon.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Purio for Lupa's dead son and Kido for Dr Riddle's dead grandson.
  • Running Gag: It's a lie.
    • Eventually followed by a Tear Jerker of a subversion.
    • Anything to do with Chichi wo moge/Groping Breasts.
  • Say My Name: ZEEEOOOOOOOON...!
  • Signature Laugh: Zatch has a very distinctive laughing pattern in the English adaptation. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha." Zeon/Zeno has a menacing variation of Zatch's laugh.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Naomi, the little girl who always picks on Zatch. It's so bad that when Raidou playing an electronic game in an omake chapter, Zatch's strongest spell, Bao Zakeruga, had NO EFFECT on her.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Cherish. It's shown towards the end that if she had stayed in the tournament longer, her Shin-level spell would have been an even bigger gun.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Victoreem. Oh, sure, he's strong, and everything, but no amount of ability could possibly back up that ego.
    • There's also Kanchome. And Keith. And Mars. And Fein. And Eshros. And... hell, anyone Zatch fought in the first episodes.
    • Robnos takes if pretty far, too, constantly insisting that he has the upper hand and even calling himself invincible.
  • Smug Snake: Zofis is a textbook example of one.
  • Spell Book: Mamodo owners use these in order for their mamodo to use spells.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Seriously... It's hard to find a character that doesn't suffer from this.
    • Kiyomaro (Kiyo), Gash (Zatch), Zeon (Zeno), Dufaux (Dufort), Tio (Tia), Shiori (Lori), Koruru (Kolulu), Ropes (Rops), Wonlei (Wonrei), Zophise (Zofis), Kid (Kido), Patie (Penny), Kafka (Kafk), Umagon (Ponygon), Suzume (Suzy), Rooper (Lupa), Jeed (Jido), Earth (Arth), Papipurio (Purio).
    • Some spells suffers from this too. Zakeru (Zaker).
    • Even the name of the race. Mamodo (Mamono).
  • Split Personality: Kolulu. And possibly other demons in the fight.
    • Played with in how Zofis created one for Koko, but once that personality took hold, Koko never shifted between the two until she was completely unbrainwashed.
  • Spoiled Brat: Purio again. His partner Lupa gives him what he wants because he's the Replacement Goldfish for her dead son.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Penny.
  • The Starscream: Pretty much all of the demons working to unlock Faudo under Leo , and later, Zeno. Rodeux is the only one who sticks around long enough to mutiny, though.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shion Hibiki from the Mamodo Mirror arc.
  • The Stoic: Laila.
    • Not So Stoic: She starts to show emotions After Zatch convinces her that she can trust him and in his friends, and when her partner Albert shows that he deeply cares about her, even when mind controlled.
  • Straight Man: Kiyo, Brago.
  • Straw Nihilist: Zeno's book owner, Dufort.
  • Super Mode: Zatch's Rauzaruk spell increases his physical abilities.
  • Super Strength: Most of the mamodo in the battle are gifted with this.
  • There Can Be Only One: Only one gets to be king. Cooperation is gained through promises of power, admiration, or making sure that the only people in the finals are the ones that share your vision.
  • Tomato Surprise: Zeno's relationship to Zatch is kept hidden until near the end of the third story arc.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sherry was pretty badass to begin with, but she was still human (which showed on long journeys with Brago when she got tired and occasionally passed out from exhaustion). But right around the time Zofis's castle was being attacked, she started displaying very impressive abilities, such as dodging high-level attacks on her own. So it's more like she already had levels in Badass and then took a few more.
    • There's also Folgore and Kanchome, who take steady steps towards Badass status in the course of the story. A highlight are the chapters focused on them, where Kanchome stands to protect a little girl from a Bowser-sized dragon demon. The thing is, he's pissing himself with fear, and is very aware he's asking for an asskicking, but he simply is determined in protecting that girl and "making her smile again". You gotta admit that's a pretty big change from the full-coward and selfish Kanchome he was in his first appearances.
    • The First Spell... ZAKERU drove Rodeux in a Villainous BSOD.
    • About everyone who's still alive to deal with Clear Note went on Training from Hell which lead them to this.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: A favorite mamodo meal is yellowtail tuna.
  • Tsundere: Tia, Penny.
  • Tykebomb: Zeon/Zeno could be seen as a variation of this.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After having his ass handed to him by Kiyo, Rodeux makes the mistake of berating Kiyo's fallen and incapacitated friends. Kiyo proceeds to hammer Rodeux's defenseless body with spell after spell in a manner that comes uncomfortably close to torture, stopping only to upgrade his Demon Head into progressively more inhuman forms. Amazingly, Rodeux actually survives this.
    • There's also Tia's Chajiru Saifodon spell, which is literally fueled with Unstoppable Rage. The spell is otherwise useless, making it double as Awesome but Impractical.
  • The Unfavorite: Zeno feels he was one turns out he was wrong. Their parents loved them both equally.
  • Verbal Tic: Zatch comes to end almost all his sentences with "na(ru) no da?" (isn't it so?). He also uses the phrase "Unu!" to express approval, which Zeno later reveals to be a symbol of his knowledge of his relationship to the current King.
  • Villain Song - Lots of them.
    • Folgore's Hey, Hey, Let's Dance All Day and Iron Man Folgore songs could be seen as this during his first appearance, when he and Kanchome battle with Zatch and Kiyo.
    • Robnos' song.
    • Penny's song about love.
    • Victoreem's Very Melon.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Maruss experiences this when Zatch (who he had bullied in the past) not only holds his own against him but delivers an asskicking, and Zofis experiences this after Brago tells Zofis why he sucks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to the eagle that carried Zatch in the first episode?
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Some of the mamodo get stuck with lame powers. Until late in the series, Kanchome's abilities revolve around transforming for various purposes, but are rarely useful in battle. Purio has the power of snot, which is only mildly useful. Momon has what Kiyo calls "running away powers", which involve running away.
    • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Later in the series, these mamodo discover useful ways to use their powers. Kanchome, in particular, becomes possibly the strongest mamodo in the series, while Momon holds off two evil mamodo with relative ease.
  • Widget Series: The premise itself is a straight-forward There Can Only Be One set up but what happens between that is weird. Exhibit A: The Very Melon Song.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Many bookkeepers let the power of their demons go to their heads. Kiyo is surprised when he finds out that there are exceptions to this rule.
    • During the battle against Zeno, Zatch uses the real Bao Zakeruga, a power that feasts on anger and hatred, who even Zeno came to admit if he were to use it he'd be devoured by it. Zatch nearly died when using it.
    • A more notable example is used in the final arc: while training the main characters to improve themselves so they can combat Clear Note, Dufort explains to Folgore that Kanchome has the potential to be the most powerful mamodo in the group. However, if Kanchome doesn't have control of his abilities, bad things are going to happen. Turns out Dufort was right: During his fight with Goomu, the power of his Shin Poruku spell goes to Kanchome's head, turning him into an overpowered monster that shows no regret when cruelly beating Goomu and his bookpartner Mir (thankfully Folgore convinces him what he's doing his wrong before he can do any permanent damage.
  • Yandere: Penny quickly turns into this after finally meeting up with Zatch.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: From Zeno to Steng and Baltro.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real:
    • Laila's stone curse and Cherish's fear of thunder.
    • This is basically the power of Kanchome's strongest spell in the manga.
  • Younger Than They Look: Would you beleive that Belgim E.O is a "child" who is at the same grade that Zatch is?

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alternative title(s): Konjiki No Gash Bell; Konjiki No Gash; Gash Bell; Zatch Bell; Zatch Bell
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