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Literature / Kaiketsu Zorori

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"I'm the one who will rule the world as the King of Pranks, who travels day and night, mastering his skills and tricks. Everyone calls me Zorori, the one with extraordinary talent!"
Zorori in the first episode

Kaiketsu Zorori is a series of Japanese children's books. It features a humanoid fox named Zorori and his two boar disciples Ishishi and Noshishi as they travel around the land and attempt to complete Zorori's three life-long goals:

  1. Become known as the Prankster King;
  2. Build (or find, buy, or steal) Zorori Castle; and
  3. Find a beautiful bride to become Zorori's queen (princesses preferred, but not required).

While these are his own goals, he's also doing these things to make his late mother proud.

Zorori sees himself as a Villain Protagonist and will constantly state that he has no interest in doing the right thing, but his love of family is so great that if another's family unity is threatened he will do his best to bring that family back together, even if he winds up getting the short end of the deal. Other times when playing a prank or getting the better of someone is the focus of the episode, the prank will either backfire or the scheme will benefit the target instead of Zorori. There was also a second, very well-made 2006 movie based on the then-recent TV series.

After a 1993 movie that adapted two of Zorori's stories, a television series with a different animation style was produced in 2004 and released as Kaiketsu Zorori. Two more series were released soon after the first under the title Majime ni Fumajime Kaiketsu Zorori.

Not to be confused with Zorua or Zoroark. Also not to be confused with Kaiketsu Zorro, which is based on the Zorro franchise about a heroic fox-themed vigilante.

Episodes of Kaiketsu Zorori provide examples of:

  • Accidental Marriage: Zorori accepted Inu Taku's proposal and almost ended up marrying him.
  • Adventure Towns: The perfect place to look for a bride or play pranks.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The mechanical house that appears thrice over the course of the first series. Its resident, Zorori, tells it to get rid of anybody suspicious... and it kicks him out.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Or in this case, Japanese.
  • All-Ghouls School: The Monster School that Youkai-sensei runs.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Legendary Prank King's castle, as well as its elaborate entrance, has many traps referencing the King's handiwork that Zorori encountered throughout the third series, including a broken gag machine, a very familiar plank, and a plywood cut-out castle.
  • Apocalypse How: Threatened with Class X via giant meteorite at the end of the second series.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the characters from series 1 episode 1 to The Movie.
  • The Atoner: Dapon.
  • Badass Adorable: Ishishi and Noshishi, and Zorori to an extent.
  • Badass Cape: Zorori, both in his casual outfit and his Kaiketsu outfit.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Played straight most of the time whenever Zorori is naked (the most jarring example being episode 4 where he's suddenly stripped naked, looks down, realizes he has no clothes and awkwardly covers his crotch, yet there's nothing between his legs), but inverted in episode 3, where a flashback picture shows baby Zorori during a Tinkle in the Eye moment and nothing is missing.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Zorori (unless disguised or in his purple uniform) and the boars don't wear shoes, although several other characters do.
  • Becoming the Mask: Zorori disguises himself as a woman in order to fool the police. A police officer falls in love with his female persona and keeps her at the police station in order to protect her from, ironically, Zorori. Since he can't get away without revealing who he is, Zorori eventually gives up and decides that the moment he's married to the police officer he will become 'her'.
  • Berserk Button: Ishishi and Noshishi don't like it when you call one of them by the wrong name.
  • Big Eater: Ishishi and Noshishi and Zorori to some extent.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Zorori enters a golf tournament in a third series episode. The first hole is a giant pinball machine, the last hole is made of ice cream, and the main rival of the episode has a cheating accomplice.
  • Bland-Name Product: Domiso Pizza.
  • Bodyguard Crush: In series 3, Inu Taku states that he and his fiancé Cindy Clawhyord fell in love during his time as her bodyguard.
  • Boring Return Journey: In series 3, it takes 23 episodes to find the Minus Electric Eel. After they find it, the pond it was in has an underwater current tunnel that takes them right back to the Ghost Forest where they started.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Zorori talks to the audience sometimes. Other characters Ishishi and Noshishi also do this on occasion.
  • The Bus Came Back: Noshishi falls off of a cliff in the second season and is not seen for several episodes, but eventually he comes back.
  • Call-Back: In series 3 to the series 1 finale. "But we've already gone to Hell."
  • The Cameo: Yutaka Hara, the author of the Zorori books, appears at least once in every episode of the anime, some appearances more subtle than others.
  • Canon Foreigner: Gaon is in none of the original Zorori books and was created for the animated series.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Youkai-sensai gives Zorori a Duke Bururu card as a gift for helping some elderly monsters get their swing back. Six episodes later, it's discovered that there's only two such cards in the world and they're worth a fortune.
    • Chekhov's Boomerang: The magic rod that appeared early in the first series returns as the Grum Rod that Nelly seeks early in the second series, in the hands of recurring villain Tiger.
    • Brick Joke: Inu Taku, the police officer that fell in love and tried to marry Zorori disguised as a woman in the first series returns in the third series to confirm "Zoroé's" fate before he brings Zorori to trial and marries Cindy Clawhyord, a model who appeared at the beginning of Taku's episode as a one-off joke.
  • The Chew Toy: Zorori and Arthur.
  • Christmas Episode: Zorori Claws has brought his Presents of Terror for you all!
    • In the third series, aliens have stolen Santa's suit!
  • Clip Show: The first episode of the second series sums up the entire first series for new watchers with the pretense of Ishishi and Noshishi trying to cheer Zorori up. They end up resorting to rapid-fire oyiji gags.
    • An interesting variation in the fourth closing of the first series, which played for the last six episodes. During the song, a representative image and several Deliberately Monochrome screencaps of previous episodes were shown, starting with the current episode and counting back every six episodes (although they were, of course, shown in episode order). After all six sequences, every episode appeared once (except for the first episode, which appeared three times).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Duke Bururu, a candy mogul that holds contests with practically impossible win conditions to increase sales. When Zorori actually manages to find the loophole and win the contest, leave it to Bururu to find another loophole to keep him from getting the prize he's expecting.
    • The Bururu Bank charges customers, with interest, for the small services in the bank such as magazines and the water fountain that would be free in any other bank. And withdrawing money requires collecting stuff like the wrappers and cups from Bururu's assorted sweets.
    • Admission to the Bururu Art Museum is free with a flyer... up to the front desk. You have to buy Bururu brand snack food to see the exhibits, and pay cash to leave. How is he getting away with all this?! At least he's never a Karma Houdini...
    • The Gyuugyuu Electronics company set up a weather control machine to superheat a town so they could sell them their expensive air conditioners.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Dapon set up all his defenses against wizards. Which means once Zorori gets involved, his plans are screwed.
  • Crossdresser: In order to pull off a few pranks, Zorori and the boars pretend to be women sometimes.
  • Cute Witch: Nelly.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Since one of Zorori's goals is to buy a castle, one wonders why he doesn't his Gadgeteer Genius smarts to invent something that would make him tons of cash.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Zorori's father left when he was a boy to pursue his dream of flying the skies in a plane he made himself. He does come back a few times to help out Zorori.
  • Deus ex Machina: The red plane made and piloted by Zorori's father generally serves this role when it appears.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Zorori should not be allowed to eat ice cream. Ever. Ditto for cake.
  • Dungeon Bypass: What do you do when you fall into an inescapable maze? Make your own exit... with your Team Pet's stone head!
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Zorori stops aliens from invading the Earth by agreeing to marry their princess who has fallen in love with him.
  • Electric Jellyfish: Arthur is shocked by ghost electric jellyfish in one episode and Ishishi in another.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Zorori. And how.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Lampshaded in the movie's beginning where he completes all of his goals in life and promptly tells the audience that there will be no more adventures.
  • Fake Crossover: The Sgt. Frog cast appear in a crowd during The Movie.
  • Fantastic Foxes: Zorori, obviously.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Events in Season 3 that there are some Fairy Tale counterpart like;
    • When the trio and Puppe meet the King of Badness is Leroux ( who is a wolf with a counterpart from The Three Little Pigs) while the pigs took Leroux's tail when Leroux calls Zorori Big Brother. He returned as a Big Bad Wolf counterpart from The Little Red Riding Hood and only to be challenged involving Leroux's tail is stolen. Even Leroux has fallen in love with Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother and has started honeymooning in the later episode.
    • When the trio and Puppe meet Cinderella a counterpart from Cinderella story with the absence of the stepmother and only the stepsisters is the antagonist. With Zorori challenged a robot butler named Sebastian in order to help Cinderella participate the Royal Ball. Even Zorori tried to disguise as a prince to marry Cinderella but chose of making the Prince and Cinderella marry.
  • Fartillery: Ishishi and Noshishi have strong gas and can use it for a quick attack. They can also produce mass quantities for fuel when they eat sweet potatoes. That's not to say Zorori's farts can't be just as powerful, though.
    • How does one avert a Class X Apocalypse How? With a Giant fart cannon.
  • Flower Motifs: Nelly wants to cover the world in flowers.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Zorori has three and the boars have two.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The NajouNajou Spinner, despite Najou making it being able to produce question-answering riddles even when he isn't present and still in Zorori's possession, is completely absent in the third series.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Zorori, in his Zorro-like Kaiketsu Zorori outfit; plus several supporting animal characters.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Zorori can make anything from a pile of junk, including spacecraft.
    • Gaon is no slouch either. He created his own Bukkura Koita just to see if he could.
  • Genki Girl: Princess Elise.
  • Gratuitous English: Zorori disguises himself as a teacher and starts talking like a foreigner would by accenting his Japanese and throwing in English words.
  • Great Escape: In the first series, Zorori and the boars are imprisoned in an Alcatraz. It ends up taking two escape attempts to break out.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Roger is in no mood to listen to Dapon's claims of atonement when he goes to turn himself in. Thankfully, eventually subverted when it is Roger's testimony that keeps Dapon out of prison in his trial.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dapon is ultimately defeated at the end of the Magical Forest arc by getting blasted with his own anti-wizard missiles.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Gorimaru and Sarumaru when Zorori and the boars collapse from poisoning in the second series.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Complete with a golden lion and a whodunnit mystery.
  • Hot Witch: Milly.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The pun battle between Zorori and Gaon in episode 29 and Oyaji Gag Hell in episode 50.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Several first-series episodes are titled "The Great (insert something related to the episode here) Plan."
    • Also, "The (insert something here) of Terror."
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...
    "...but don't call me a hero. I'm not fit to be one. I'm just Zorori."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: See the heartwarming moment page.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zorori through and through.
  • Journey to the West: Zorori and his follows join a group homaging the novel to stop a weather control machine.
  • Kaitou: Red Eye, a.k.a. Ruby-chan, who poses as a fortune teller to "recruit" Zorori into helping her steal a highly secure treasure.
  • The Klutz: Zorori.
  • Large Ham: Zorori. And how.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the first episode of the second series, the boar brothers comment that they've been traveling with Zorori for a whole year now.
  • Limit Break: Basically, Nelly frees the twelfth Najou with one of these, using the spell to turn weapons into flowers that she had been seeking the entire series. She forgets the spell afterwards.
  • Living Structure Monster: In an episode of the anime adaptation, a Nurikabe is recruited by Zorori to be a part of a soccer team, as a goalie. Being a literal wall that is as wide as the goal itself, the youkai provides an unfair advantage for Zorori in the corresponding soccer match.
  • Love Triangle: Manifests in the second series with Zorori attracted to Milly, while Milly is (or seems to be) attracted to Roger. By the end of the series, Milly and Roger have hooked up, leaving Zorori once again out in the cold.
  • MacGuffin: The Magic Book You've Been Seeking (yes, that's the title) and the different-colored Najous during the Magical Forest Story Arc.
  • Manly Tears: "I'm not crying! This is sweat. Sweat coming from my eyes."
  • Master of Disguise: Dapon
  • Medium Awareness: At the end of episode 19, Zorori comments about his fans and then points at screen.
    Zorori: At this rate, fans of pranks from around the world, and Zorori fans are going to be disappointed. [points at screen] Keep watching, everyone! I'll escape this prison and give everyone a big surprise! Please wait for it!
    • At episode 20, while fighting the antagonist, he asks for a time out and turns to the screen:
    Zorori: Kaiketsu Zorori viewers. What will a hero like me do in such a pinch?
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: When the world's about to end, Zorori is quickly surrounded by several of his allies and a few of his enemies to assist in his plan for saving Earth. Among the assembled: Gaon, Youkai-sensei and every monster that's appeared thus far, Duke Bururu, Nelly, Milly, and Roger, the Moo Moo Girls, and Tiger with his band of fake magicians.
  • Missing Mom: Subverted. Even though she's dead, she still keeps watching over Zorori and is mentioned constantly. Zorori meets her again in Heaven.
  • Modesty Towel: Played around with and then completely destroyed.
  • The Mole: Averted. Zorori suspected Roger of being this, but it turns out to be Master of Disguise Dapon.
  • Morphic Resonance: When Puppe possesses an object, his yellow kerchief appears around its "neck."
  • The Movie: Shared with Sgt. Frog
  • Mythology Gag: When Zorori is arrested and imprisoned, the warden says he intends to teach the bad out of Zorori and by the end of his sentence, he'd be an outstanding citizen writing children's books.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Zorori ends up naked for the camera a few times, along with Ishishi and Noshishi. Also, episode 3. 'Nuff said.
  • Ninja: Gorimaru and Sarumaru, monkey ninjas that pursue Zorori and the boars for paying up their debt to their ninja school.
  • Noodle Incident: Zorori apparently had developed something of a trickster reputation before the start of the series, as he's recognized by Ishishi and Noshishi, and later Youkai-sensai, when they first meet.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: As the description states, the second series has the inverted subtitle (supertitle?) "Majime ni Fumajime," which according to Zorori-Project translates to "Seriously Kidding," describing Zorori's chosen career as a prankster.
    • Zorori-Project refers to the third series (which officially keeps the same title as the second) with the subtitle "Zekkouchou" after the season Catchphrase, which roughly means "in perfect form." So the full title is "The Seriously Kidding Kaiketsu Zorori in Perfect Form."
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Although normally we see the piles of junk Zorori builds mechas from, sometimes we don't.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The automated Zorori Castle in its last first series appearance is a Type 3, although the ominous part isn't obvious until halfway through the episode.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ishishi and Noshishi's parents are never mentioned. You'd think in a show all about loving your parents the main child characters would at least mention them.
  • Pirate: Zorori tries to become one in one episode. Also, the recurring villain Tiger, who premiered in that episode.
  • Pokémon Speak: Inverted with Najou. Zorori and others call him that because that's the only word he can say due to The Magic Book You've Been Seeking. After Nelly manages to use the counterspell, he can speak normally again.
  • Pun: The Bukkura Koita gets its power from this. Puns have the power to freeze people and objects in Zorori's World, a reference to how puns (dajare) often awkwardly silence an entire room due to its cringy-ness, causing the atmosphere to feel "cold".
  • Pungeon Master: Zorori.
  • Punny Name: A good handful or two of the bit characters.
  • Recurring Characters: The first series includes Authur and Elise, Youkai-sensai (although not necessarily the students), Paru, Gaon, Duke Bururu, and the automated house; the second series has Nelly, Roger, and Milly, along with a few from the first series; the third series features many characters from the first series that didn't show in the second series returning, including Princess Myan, the riddle-loving aliens, and the Santa Police. Also Tiger, who only appeared once in the first series, but returned for the second and as the Big Bad for The Movie.
  • Riddle Me This: Not only does the Bukkura Koita collect a thousand bad puns, they're pun riddles to boot.
    • The alien civilization that tried to invade Earth apparently has riddles as an important part of their culture. One of Zorori's duties in the event he married their princess is thinking up a million new riddles every day.
    • While cursed with Pokémon Speak, Najou's translator only results in riddles, requiring Zorori and his associates to solve the riddle in order to find out what to do next.
  • The Rival: Gaon to Zorori. Zorori also sees Roger as a rival during the Magical Forest arc, both in looking for Najous and for Milly's affections.
  • Robot Maid: Meiko-san, who's too much of a cute drama queen for you to resist eating the ginormous piles of food she cooks. Zorori eventually manages to program moderation into her and sends her back to where she was built. Turns out she was built by the scientists known as the Legendary Prank King, as they run into her again at their castle laboratory and she serves as the judge of Zorori and her creators' invention battle.
  • Rule of Three: Zorori has three life goals.
  • Say My Name: Anytime they're unintentionally separated or reunited.
  • Sexy Cat Person: Bururu’s Angels
  • Show Within a Show: Princess Myan's video game.
  • Smug Snake: With his facilities focused on making their customers pay money and practically impossible win condition contest giveaways, you are not alone to want to punch Duke Bururu in the face.
  • Something about a Rose: Gaon has plenty of these (especially to give to Zorori) pulled out of his hat.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Zorori's Najou translator activates by spinning a wheel in a mock Transformation Sequence.
  • Team Pet: Najou in series 2, Puppe in series 3.
  • Terrible Trio: Zorori, Noshishi and Ishishi.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The first opening, "Hustle," plays occasionally to indicate massive incoming awesome. This includes during The Movie and during the Misfit Mobilization Moment at the end of the second series.
  • To Hell and Back: The first series finale, excepting the third automated house episode.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zorori loves anpan, Ishishi loves melopan, and Noshishi loves onigiri.
  • The Treachery of Images: When Zorori wins "this sports car" from eating Duke Bururu Ice Cream Bars, Bururu gives him a tricycle with a towing flatbed, surrounding by four wooden walls (with seeing flaps in front), one wall of which is made from the portion of the billboard the car is pictured on. The crowd watching turns on Bururu for Loophole Abuse while Zorori, while disappointed, still blasts off happily in the tricycle using Ishishi and Noshishi's farts.
    • The castle in the Children's Country amusement park in the third series is a very convincing plywood cut-out.
      • So is the "floating" part of the Legendary Prank King's castle.
    • Treachery of words also shows up. The prize for getting the celebrity that can't laugh to laugh is a mystery bag. By which they mean just the bag, with nothing in it.
  • To Be a Master: One of Zorori's goals is to become known as the Prankster King. The overall Story Arc in the third series makes this a forefront point with the introduction of a mysterious antagonist calling himself the "Legendary Prank King." Turns out he only exists as a rumor.
  • The Tricksters: Zorori and his True Companions. One of Zorori's goals is becoming known as the Prankster King.
  • True Companions: Zorori, Ishishi, and Noshishi
  • Theme Twin Naming: Ishishi and Noshishi's names are based on inoshishi which means boar in Japanese.
  • Unnamed Parent: Zorori's father, later revealed to be Zorondo Ron in the third movie, and his mother for a while before Zorori went to Heaven and it was revealed her name was Zororene.
  • Unsettlinggender Reveal: Inverted when Zorori thought that Tail was a boy. Let's just say he was rather happy to be proven wrong.
  • Verbal Tic: The boar brothers end most of their sentences with "da" and was lampshaded by the mecha boars by ending their sentences with "mecha".
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Walking the Earth: Deconstructed. A few episodes start with Zorori and the boars hungry and yenless, and often the episode's plot is kicked off by their attempts to get a meal.
  • Wallpaper Camouflage: Occasionally, through the use of Ninja shrouds.
  • Word Power: Zorori: "Listen up, Ishishi, Noshishi. Things might be painful now, but you shouldn't give up. Tomorrow is sure to be better. Be energetic. Have hope. Have a smiling face instead of a tearful one. And you'll bring about a happier existence."
    • Zorori: "You heard me. You must get rid of the disguise you gave yourself, especially now, ...that your heart has changed back for the better."
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Zorori, especially of the beautiful variety. Duke Bururu, knowing this, hired Bururu's Angels to stop him (Zorori) from keeping him (Bururu) from tearing down the Ghost Forest.
  • Youkai: Many all sorts appear throughout the series, often accompanied by the monster school teacher Youkai-sensai and asking Zorori for help.

Alternative Title(s): Incredible Zorori



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