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a.k.a. Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, or Konjiki no Gash!! ("Golden Gash [Bell]!!")
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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, superpowered children with human partners. 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.

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The series was a smash hit in Japan, running for 33 volumes and spawning a 150 episode anime, toys, collectibles, multiple video games, two movies, and a trading card game. In America, the English dub aired on Toonami in 2005, though only 2/3rds of the series were dubbed.

Tie in media includes:

  • Zatch Bell! Side Story: Friends - One-shot special set after the series

Films

  • Zatch Bell! 101st Devil (2004)
  • Zatch Bell: Attack of Mechavulcan (2005)

Tabletop Games

  • Zatch Bell! (2005)

Video Games

  • Zatch Bell! Electric Arena/Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Unare! Yūjō no Zakeru (JP:2003, WW: 2005)
    • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Unare! Yūjō no Zakeru 2 (JP:2004)
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Yūjō Tag Battle (JP:2004)
    • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Yūjō Tag Battle Full Power (JP:2004)
    • Zatch Bell! Mamodo Battles/Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Yuujou Tag Battle 2!! {2005)
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Makai no Bookmark (JP:2004)
  • Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury/ Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Gekitou! Saikyou no mamonotach (JP:2004, WW: 2006)
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  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! The Card Battle for GBA (JP:2005)
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Unare! Yūjō no Zakeru Dream Tag Tournament (JP:2005)
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Go! Go! Mamono Fight!! (JP:2005)
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! Golden Memories (JP:2019)

This series provides examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Abounds in the King's Festival arc; with only 10 demons left in the battle, they're going to be showing everything that they've got, and of those ten, only three are characters that haven't appeared previously (though Ashuron got a brief mention in Faudo).
  • Abusive Parents: Sherry’s mother expected her to perform to ridiculous standards practice the piano for hours without sleep or food while beating her for the slightest mistakes and doing the same thing with gymnastics and martial arts training. What makes this worse is that we never see anyone teaching her the basics; she was expected to perform everything the first time perfectly without fear. To add insult to injury, her mother would cry in front of her about giving birth to such an incompetent child. It reached the point where Sherry plunged headfirst into a river to get away from it all.
  • 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).
  • A Day in the Limelight: The nature of Tio's powers prevents her from having fights to herself in the main series, but she and Megumi get an adventure all to themselves in the bonus chapter "Two Princesses".
  • Affably Evil: Mind controlled Koko is usually always smiling while being terribly cruel.
  • 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.
  • And That's Terrible: The heroes commonly invoke this trope. "That's unforgivable!" is a common expression.
  • 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. Kiyo himself, Teen Genius that he is, could be multilingual, although it's implied that Folgore is more popular in Japan than his home country, so he probably has a working knowledge of Japanese. Of course, this is a series that runs on Rule of Funny, so anything's possible.
  • 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, and even that one is going to return to the demon world after they win. 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.
  • Anti-Climax:
    • The revelation of Earth's final spell. It had been hinted at for an arc without actually showing up, with Earth finally using it in his battle against Goomu. He casts it, and hundreds upon hundreds of BFS's rain from the sky. You'd think Goomu would be screwed, right? Nope. He promptly pulls out his ultimate spell, which summons as many black holes as Earth has swords, and the black holes suck up the swords like nothing. Earth doesn't last long after this.
    • 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: The battle brings out the most ruthless side of several demons, but barring a few exceptions, most of them aren't 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" makes Bari rethink his way of fighting and define his own goal of "Becoming a Strong King".
  • Art Evolution: Subtle, but Zatch and Kiyo's faces get narrower, more refined and more "mature" looking as the series progresses,
  • Art Shift: Whenever 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.
  • Attention-Deficit Disciple: Folgore's first appearance. Kiyomaro is still analyzing him while he dances, and Gash couldn't help but join the dance.
  • 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, Kanchomé, Ponygon, Kido, Laila, Penny, and the list goes on...
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Happens on occasion.
  • Badass Bookworm: Kiyo again. Doctor Riddles and Kido also apply. The first is an old guy, 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. By about midway through the series, she's fighting hand-to-hand with demons and winning effortlessly.
    • Parco Folgore also applies, being Made of Iron to an absurd degree, consistently taking more punishment than his demon partner and getting back up no problem. Played a bit more realistically though, given that it hurts him a lot, and nearly kills him on one occasion.
    • 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 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.
  • Barely Changed Dub Name: The English dub used this with a few characters but kept Japanese names for others (albeit still different from their actual Japanese names):
    • "Suzume" became "Suzy" and "Shiori" became "Lori".
    • Tio to Tia
    • Zeon to Zeno
    • Kafka to Kafk
    • Papipurio to Purio
    • The Mamono race to the Mamodo race
    • Wonlei to Wonrei.
  • 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 broil the demon's human partner alive.
  • Beam-O-War: A lot of fights end up being resolved by the combatants firing their biggest spells at each other.
  • Bee Afraid: Zatch helps Kiyo and his classmate during a bug hunt... by dropping a beehive on them. Running quickly ensues.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Don't piss off Zatch, you will regret that. Or for that matter Kiyo. You know what; especially Kiyo.
    • Kanchomé 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 bookkeeper 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 Kanchomé. One's a goofy, skirt-chasing Italian pop star. The other's a crybaby with a duckbill and a sleeper. Both have shown that they're potentially the most dangerous team in the competition on multiple occasions.
    • Dr. Riddles and Kido. Kido may look cute, but he's packing a ton of firepower. Meanwhile, Dr. Riddles seems like a Know-Nothing Know-It-All, but if anything, his claims to know everything is an understatement.
    • Belgim EO and Dalia. Dalia is certifiably insane and Belgim is a complete loon in the most entertaining of senses. They're also an extremely powerful team that comes extremely close to outright killing 4 main characters (and succeed in burning one's book).
  • BFG: Cherish's rifle spell. The Shin Level upgrade of it has mini-drones that support fire.
  • BFS: Arth's upper tier Spells; 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 is this 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 mitigated due to 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.
  • Blessed With Suck: All over the place. There is a staggering amount of demon children whose spells are near useless in the straight-up fight the contest seems to entail. Nonetheless, many of these same children end up making it very far in the tournament, thanks to either creative use of their powers or teaming up with each other.
  • Blood Knight: Several examples.
    • 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 like this, 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.
  • Book-Ends: The first fight that Zatch and Kiyo have after learning about the demon battle is against Brago and Sherry. The second time that they fight (aside from an anime filler) is the final fight of the battle that determines which of them will be king.
  • 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 tease him for the lack of imagination, but the teacher proceeds to shut his class up while praising said student. He then goes on to explain there is nothing wrong with a job like that. While he exclaims to his students that careers such as a celebrity, athlete or performer are wonderful jobs to dream about, he also asks them what would they do after their time in the limelight. Being a salaryman meanwhile provides stable work that is more ideal for married life and raising a family due to corporations trying to look out for their employees. While it is a bit of an odd moment, it does also serve as a step gap in having Kiyo try and pursue his own future while mentioning how Zatch could help him figure out his path.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • 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 at Zatch's naked crotch before screaming and falling over in shock.
    • Folgore's song about breasts, "Chichi wo Moge" is changed to the far tamer "Hey, Hey, Let's Dance All Day." 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.
  • 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. Before her this is also shown with Gofure, the dog Gash meets in the rain - both terrified of his Bookmaster and very clearly not wanting to fight Gash, but when the spell is read he loses all control. Rein and Momon are willing to fight despite not being interested in fighting or becoming King, so they don't have the second personalities like full-on absolute pacifists like Kolulu and Gofure.
    • 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 badass that he can withstand this, however.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • Several Mamodo fire their spells from their mouths, including Zatch, Reycom, and Kido.
    • Bago is a more traditional version, with his spells focusing around different variations of fire breath.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Koko for Sherry....or so it seems.
    • Later subverted with Cherish for Ted, because Leo and later Zeno was manipulating her.
  • 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.
    • In one filler arc and in a special showing what happened after the battle, we do see mamodos calling the names of their spells as they use them.
  • 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.
  • Can't Catch Up: While some occasional one-shot characters could count, Purio is easily the best example for this trope. His spells have great potential and could well make him a powerhouse, but he's an immature spoiled brat and his bookkeeper is a complete spaz, so they never truly realize the full potential Purio has. Even after they make it to the top ten in the battle, they have finally achieved a Dioga level spell (which makes Purio spit out a gigantic rush of acid), they're up against a very seasoned opponent who can easily counter an otherwise extremely powerful spell.
  • 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. It's not till the end of the story that it's revealed that all damage done to Earth as a result of the Mamodo's battle to become King is undone.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one believed the bully when he told them that Zatch was a bomb.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Every single mamodo and their partner are unique, even the one-shot characters. This even extends to their spells, each of which can only be used by that mamodo. Zeon averts this since he looks a lot like Zatch, albeit with white hair, pale skin and purple eyes while using blue lightning instead of yellow. Justified since they are twin brothers. And even them, while they both have the same lightning spells, they have different techniques.
  • Catch Phrase: Sunbeam: "Grooooooooooovy!" and "Rock n' Roll!", Victoream: "Very Melon!" and "Very shit!" (only in the original version, of course)
  • Character Development: Plenty, both for the mamodos and their human partners, with Kiyo and Zatch being the most pronounced. Special mentions go for Kanchomé, Brago, and last but not least, Zatch. Significant growth for the humans and or mamodos is what let them unlock new spells. Zatch lampshades how much everyone has changed and indeed he believes that the Mamodo Battles are done so humanity and mamodokind can grow.
  • 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 Zeno gets to see them, making him doubt everything he assumed about his brother. After he's defeated, he gets to see how life was like before Zatch and is struck with sadness at Zatch's own hardships growing up, guilt at his own contributions, and moved by despite all that, Zatch still caring for him. When he comes to, he admits his wrongdoings and asks his brother for forgiveness.
    • 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.
  • Chinese Girl: Li-en. Hong Kong, specifically.
  • 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: Vincent Bari's look for his last appearance in the manga, courtesy of Elzador, a prodigy of the Dragon Clan. Even after the battle ends and the new king restores everyone's bodies, he stays this way, most likely of his own volition.
  • 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.
    • Kanchomé, starting on the Faudo arc, but especially after training near the end.
    • Folgore. From the very beginning, Kanchomé advertises him as a badass. He turns out to really be one, especially when Kanchomé is in danger.
    • 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:
    • Brago, Vincent Bari, and Zeno deal these out almost exclusively.
    • After Kiyo's return, Zatch vs. Rodeaux. 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.
    • 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 Elly is all of six or seven years old and has a terminal medical condition (that they've only just found a cure for). She is also shown to have had connections with what appears to be the mafia in the past.
    • Dr. Riddles is eventually revealed to have been virtually catatonic with depression when Kid found him. The reason? He was a brilliant surgeon who failed to save his dying grandson.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Brago, at least after Sherry gets him to cool off. He doesn't lose his ruthlessness, but he's no longer the sadistic bully he was when he and Sherry first met.
  • Darkest Hour: Happens a number of times 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 have raised this look to an enemy-halting art-form.
  • Death Is Cheap: In the manga, Kiyo dies during the fight in Faudo. The following chapter, Zatch pounding on his chest serves as an accidental defibrillator, and CPR plus Tia's healing magic gets him breathing again. Then, the concentrated nutrients in Faudo's liver allow him to make a full recovery in a miraculously short time...though he's still out of commission for 40 chapters.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Kiyo tries this during his fight with Leo, but in a subversion, he is killed.
  • Demon Head: Kiyo uses this a lot, usually when he gets angry at Zatch or another Mamodo. This reached epic heights during his Unstoppable Rage against Rodeux in the manga- suffice to say, he effectively weaponizes the damn trope by making a face so scary it makes Rodeux's eyes bug out of his head and causes him to fall flat on his face, and it only gets more deranged from there. It gets so bad that it even scares the shit out of Zeno. Dufort even broke a sweat.
  • Determinator: So very many. Including 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. However, this trope is likewise deconstructed a few times. There are moments where the heroes are up against a far superior enemy and get their butts handed to them. They then manage to get their second wind and you expect a turn around that's typical of a shonen manga...except they're too damaged to continue fighting. And, even with new spells unlocked, won't do any good if the wielder doesn't have enough energy for it to pack a punch. Thus, at best, they end up in a Last Stand situation before having to either run away, be saved by an ally or on the rare occasion, be spared by their assailant for various reasons.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Zofis. He hides behind an army of revived demons, then spends most of his battle against Brago running away and using Koko as a shield.
    • Also Grisor from the demon mirror filler arc, though possibly more justified since he lacked the strength to actually fight back when cornered.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the first episode, Eido crashes face-first into a water tower as he gets distracted by a large billboard of a girl whose skirt is blowing in the wind.
  • 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 weak points 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.
  • The Dreaded: There are four demon children considered the natural frontrunners in the battle due to their immense power. They are Thunder Emperor Zeon, the dragon clan prodigies Elzador and Ashuron, and Brago, who had received "Elite Training".
  • Easily Impressed: A lot of the mamodo children display this trope since they've been sent to Earth to decide the new king with the last tournament being a 1000 years ago. The mamodo find themselves stunned by earthly things like TV, video games, and music radios. The tiny mamodo Kido is a notable example as no matter how many times he falls for it, he still gets blown away by his book owner, Dr. Riddles, obviously exaggerated stories only to get devastated when Dr. Riddles reveals he was just kidding. The protagonist Zatch himself also has this in spades. Early on, Kiyo is able to capture the little kid's imagination with Vulcan, a figure made a noodle box and chopsticks that can fire turbo-plux missiles! Later on, he even takes Kido's place as the "shockee" from Dr. Riddles tall tales after Kido's book gets burned.
  • Eating the Enemy:
    • Certain mamodo spells seem to be capable of doing of this. An example is the ancient, plant wielding mamodo Kalura's spell "Bazu Azurozesu" which creates a giant man-eating rose. It almost consumes Zatch, but Wonrei is able to destroy it.
    • Faudo is a colossal, living demon weapon that was made on the mamodo world but sealed away due to its absurd power. And its digestive system is filled with traps designed to grind intruders and dissolve them into nutrients to fuel itself. It takes everything Zatch and his friends have to avoid these traps as they infiltrate the beast after its reactivation.
  • 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: Plenty of variety across the demons shown:
  • Emotional Powers: As a basic rule, the power of a spell depends on how much emotion the bookkeeper puts into it. But specifically, Tio's best spells are a sword fueled by anger and a shield fueled by the desire to protect.
  • 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!
  • Exotic Eye Designs: A lot of attention is paid to the eyes in this series. Concentric rings with the eyes show a person possesses special knowledge. note  Eyes drawn more realistically, with detailed cornea, show the person is exceptionally strong-willed. note 
  • 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.
  • 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. More detail under Shaping Your Attacks below.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Everyone who tasted Kiyo and friends' 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.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Sniper: Cherish, according to Ted. Her current predicament forces her to become a Cold Sniper.
  • 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 Boing/Lady 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 an 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. In his past before the battle, he used to be a complete savage, and in the present, he's got an intimidating and sometimes downright scary appearance, and he's a borderline juggernaut 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.
  • 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 resentment 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 fight mostly with their own hands. All done in an awesome way.
  • 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. Brago is also a subversion. Having received unspecified "Elite Training", he is one of the favorites to win the whole competition — on par with Zeno, no less, — and is consistently shown to be one of the strongest demons in the series.
  • 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 receives 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 Kanchomé 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 Kanchomé sings the Iron Folgore 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 = 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 pathetically underpowered demon partner, Kanchomé.
    • 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.
  • The Juggernaut: The battle contains several of these.
    • Brago is the most prominent example of this; over the entire manga, only three battles showed him getting any significant damage: Zofis, who only gained the upper hand because of psychological warfare on Brago's partner; Clear Note, another Juggernaut; and the final battle against Zatch, where he barely loses.
    • Subverted with Baltro; initially, he appears to be this, a giant hulking robot undamaged by anything...up until it's revealed that the robot is a puppet, and all they have to do is aim for the strings (or flowers, in this case) to reveal his true, much more manageable form.
    • Demolt is this even without a magical stone above his head that heals any damage he accrues; when the good guys finally break the stone, his bookkeeper casts a spell that gives him armor, negating his only weak spot and making him even stronger.
    • Rein is a hulking brute that's powerful enough without his spells. With his spells, he's this.
    • Faudo would count as this if Kiyo hadn't hacked into his weapon programming while he was dormant and made it impossible for him to attack anyone.
    • Clear Note. His power is in a completely different league to the point where he could Curb-Stomp Brago; the first time Zatch fought him, it took Ashuron pulling off a Heroic Sacrifice while Brago held him in place with his gravity, and even that didn't kill him (though it really should have). It takes a literal miracle to win against him in the final battle.
  • 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 received 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.
  • Killing Intent: Clear radiates this when he makes his first appearance. His Battle Aura even seems to take the shape of a skull.
  • 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Happens quite a few times, but every fight that Kanchomé is majorly involved in usually results in him pulling this. Special note goes to his fight against Gorm, which is almost a Curb-Stomp Battle and would've killed Gorm and his partner if Folgore hadn't intervened.
  • Light Is Not Good: Zeno and Clear Note, both having a largely white color scheme and both being very not good.
  • Little Miss Badass: Nearly every female demon kid.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Elly, Arth's human partner.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As expected from a competition with 200 participants, including 80 more shoved in by Zofis, not to mention all of the side characters.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: Definitely for Kiyo, although just having friends at all seems to have done the trick. However, learning to appreciate all of their quirks is part of his character development in the side chapters.
  • Made of Iron: Averted the day after his vicious beaten from the school bully Kiyo appears fine then we see what he really looks like.
  • 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: Most of the Mamodo are like this (with some exceptions such as Brago, who is absurdly strong to begin with and only gets more powerful). The further one progresses in the tournament, the stronger they become due to gaining more spells. This means that by the top ten, only extremely powerful Mamodo are left. Special mention goes to Kanchomé, who is virtually useless in the beginning, but later grows to be one of the most powerful demons, period.
  • 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.
  • Manly Tears: People cry a lot in this series. And by a lot, we mean upwards of ten plus times within the first volume alone.
  • 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. It also sounds like "zap".
  • Martial Pacifist: Wonrei.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Apollo has the ability to know things before they happen, he can foretell them. The greek god Apollo was sometimes associated with the sun (Apollo's family crest) and prophecy.
    • The name Umagon is Kiyo invoking this. Since it loosely means "horse monster" it's no wonder Schneider can't stand the name.
  • 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 brainwashed her, forcing her to act as though More Than Mind Control is in effect, purely because he likes to break human hearts. That it saps Sherry's magical power when they finally face off is just a bonus.
  • 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' specialty, which he uses to force the Ancient Mamodo (most notably, Laila) to serve him without question.
  • Mirror Boss: Non-video game example, a handful of fights across the series show similarities in spells or attributes to underline the difference between the two combatants.
    • Zofis and Brago's spells are based on gravity and explosions, respectively, but many are otherwise mirrors of each other, including their strongest spells Dioga Teoradom and Dioga Gravidon, both massive spheres of potent energy.
    • Keith and Bari's spells, likewise.
    • When Zatch fights Zeno, being from the same family, they possess the Lightning 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: Any spell that has the word "Ganzu" or "Ganreizu" in its name involves firing Gatling-gun-like projectiles of the user's element.
  • Monster of the Week: The series starts off like this, and this is the format between major story arcs. In-Universe, this is justified by several demon children learning that Zatch is in Japan, and wanting to eliminate what they think is an easy target.
  • 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 a Gorgeous Gaijin and meant to be stereotypically American.
  • Multinational Team: The main cast of human partners ends up being this, with new members at varying points in the story as the characters travel the world. Kiyo and Megumi are Japanese, Folgore is Italian, Sunbeam is German, and Sherry is French. Later arcs introduce temporary members such as Dr. Riddles (American), Li-En (Chinese), Sauza (Mongolian), Gustav (Russian), and Alishie (African).
  • 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. 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.
  • No-Harm Requirement: Zatch Bell and his cohorts, generally being Reluctant Warriors, will often try to resolve conflict without resorting to too much violence if possible. The best example being when Zatch found out the pink beast terrorizing the town was actually his new friend Kolulu. As soon as he realized it, he demanded that Kiyo not launch any more spells and resolved to get through to her with pleas.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Despite there being some Ship Tease between Kiyo and Megumi and some Ship Tease between Zatch and Tia, nothing really happens between neither of them in neither the manga nor the anime. Kiyo and Megumi never get together. And despite Tia obviously having a crush on Zatch, he however never finds out about her crush on him and he never develops a crush on her. Wonrei and Li-en, Ted and Cherish, and Sunbeam and Elle were the only "canon" couples in the whole series, but their relationships never got that much focus.
  • Not So Harmless Villains: Purio is a coward and spoiled brat who never would have lasted as long in the battle as he did without teaming up with others. But that doesn't mean he's a pushover; his chemical-based spells mostly focus on incapacitating the opponent, but he later gains offensive spells that take the form of corrosive acid. Really, if he hadn't been so gutless, he would have been a frontrunner.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Folgore. Yeah, don't think anyone saw that coming.
  • Oh, Crap!: Quite a few, usually from the villains. Some good examples are Demolt seeing that who he thought was Zatch is actually Kanchomé, and Zeno's terrified reaction towards Kiyo's Demon Head.
  • 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.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Sherry is adamant that nobody will defeat Zofis except for her. When she finally does, it's revealed that it wasn't just because of what he did to Koko, but what he would do; she had correctly predicted that Zofis would return Koko to normal but not erase her memories of her time being brainwashed and evil, ensuring she would suffer from guilt for the rest of her life as a final act of spite to Sherry. Sherry had to bring him down herself so that she could ensure Zofis erased Koko's memories before she burned his book.
    • In something of a lesser example, when Zatch and Kiyo earn Sherry's respect even in defeat, she spares them and tells them not to lose to anyone else. And it ends up being the four of them in the final battle for the throne.
  • Only Sane Man: Kiyo somehow manages to play straight man to everyone, even ostensibly serious characters.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Two notable examples.
    • Before the Faudo arc, the little that's shown of Zeno portrays him as a conniving, ruthless combatant who never changes moods from "smug superiority". When he sees Faudo for the first time, he becomes genuinely shaken up, which demonstrates just how powerful and dangerous Faudo really is.
    • Ashuron is a kindhearted, noble demon who wants to create a Demon World where all live in peace with one another. So for him to attempt to straight-up kill Clear Note, not burn his book, but actually kill him, shows just how dangerous Ashuron thinks Clear is.
  • Organ Autonomy: Faudo has a number of smaller Mamodos living inside him that run his bodily functions, most notably Unko Tin Tin, the guardian of his digestive tract, and the unnamed operator of his heart. When Faudo is asleep, the heroes pass them without incident and they seem harmless... but when he wakes up, it turns out they're both extremely strong, each requiring a Heroic Sacrifice of a Guest-Star Party Member to bring down. Faudo's white blood cells are also semi-sentient and serve as the Mooks of the arc.
  • 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.
  • 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 Kanchomé has illusion powers, and so on. Taken to an extreme with pervert Momon, who has a move set entirely based on evasiveness, which he uses for 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- he gave her a mask to hide her scars, and later beat up the bullies that made her life hell.
    • Zeno feeling bad about Rodeux passing on to the Demon World, and him subsequently tanking Rodeux's final blast are the first indications of his coming Heel–Face Turn.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Suzy, and to a lesser extent, Folgore and Kanchomé.
  • 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 are implied or just about outright stated to have romantic relationships) and inevitably gives them Heroic Willpower to go on. Literally, in fact; it's shown early on and several times after that someone else touching a spellbook or bookkeeper can transmit their willpower through it, which turns into pure power for the mamodo. The Golden Book power is the apex of this trope, as other demons lend Zatch and Kiyo their spells along with their willpower.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Tooyama sensei was sick of Kiyo getting perfect scores on tests despite being frequently absent so he made one question that was only covered in class worth 30 points. When Kiyo resolves to get notes from his classmates, Tooyama makes a full 50% of the next test's grade come from a question about his personal life that none of the class could answer. The test is promptly thrown out and Tooyama gets scolded by the vice-principal.
    • For a second it seemed that Umagon was going to be put on a bus after he found his partner Sunbeam. He's back before the day is out since Sunbeam's apartment won't let him keep a horse there.
    • On more than one occasion, a cowardly character finds the courage to stand up to a physically imposing enemy. Said enemy promptly kicks their ass, because being brave doesn't give you muscles.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Or at least getting your book burned.
    • Zofis's Co-Dragons Penny and Byonko do this after Zatch forces a Heel Realization on them, pulling a Big Damn Heroes against Demolt and sacrificing their books to protect the main cast and destroy the Moonlight Stone.
    • For example, Zeno regrets his villainous acts and protects his partner from getting hit Bao Zakeruga, which was very likely to kill him.
    • Gorm was The Dragon to Clear Note because he, Gorm, had always been alone in his life, and so no love was lost between him and anyone else; it was because of this that Clear agreed to spare him, and only him, from his planned genocide so that he could live out the rest of his life alone. Then Kanchomé used his new powers to Curb-Stomp and then befriend him before Clear burned his book, and when Clear refused Gorm's request to spare Kanchomé as well, he turned against him.
  • Red Is Heroic: The main character has a red spellbook.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Combined with Improbably Predictable, this is how the students determined what was going to be on Tooyama sensei. Sadly it didn’t help anyone pass
  • Replacement Goldfish: Purio for Lupa's dead son and Kido for Dr. Riddles's dead grandson.
  • Roundabout Shot: Done in the fifth ending, "Fever", surprisingly being a two-pronged example with the Mamodos in front of the camera while their partners/book wielders are behind them.
  • Running Gag:
    • Anything to do with Chichi wo moge/Groping Breasts.
    • Gash inspiring a weak-willed character to step up and fight only for them to receive a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
    • Professor Riddles telling Kido a huge lie, before cheerfully admitting that it's a lie.
  • Sadist Teacher: Tooyama, Kiyo's homeroom teacher, has a huge bone to pick with him for his actions during his "arrogant smart jerk" phase.
  • Secret Test of Character: Lien's father is hinted to have done one when he held a sword towards Wonrei's face. Though he came off as an overprotective mafia boss, there's no denying that he cares a great deal about his daughter and would only accept a man capable of standing up to him as Lien's husband/lover. This can be further reinforced by how after she lets Lien and Wonrei leave together, his goons look back at Lien and give her a smile followed by a nod. clearly showing that they have finally found the man capable of protecting Lien.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: Ultimate spells are as likely to take the form of just a mass of force as they are to fit this trope.
    • Tia, Zeno, and Kido's best spells all take the form of goddesses, while Clear Note's best spell has a more masculine form.
    • Zatch's Bao Zakeruga is a lightning dragon. Jiou Renzu Zakeruga is another, lither lightning dragon.
      • Penny's So Giaku is a water dragon.
    • Eshros's Groundbai is a stone snake. Later, Dogmos's Groundga Cobra is a stone cobra.
    • Furigaro's Lagikor Fang is an ice wolf.
    • Erujo's Daibara Biranga is a winged sphinx made of light. Pamoon's Pentalem Farga is an enhanced version with five heads.
    • Wonrei's Rao Diboren spells unleash a white tiger.
    • Tsao-Lon's Zao Giru Erudo is a blue shark.
    • Maestro's Magne Shido Duranga is a samurai ape of magnetism energy.
    • Riya and Rein both create massive energy constructs that resemble themselves, but mightier. And for Rein, that's saying something.
    • Jedun's spells are all snakes.
    • Zaruchim's Jiborou Shidon is a reaper-like ghost.
    • Leo's Fanon Riou Diou is a golden Cerberus.
  • 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.
    • Kiyo and Umagon start out like this since Kiyo is already a book master and therefore can't be Umagon's.
  • 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: None of these examples are weak so much as they're arrogant.
    • Except for Kanchomé, wherein it's quickly revealed to be a ruse to hide a complete lack of self-esteem. Unlike the other examples here, though, he gets Character Development to outgrow this and fully realize his potential.
    • Eshros had exceptional potential; he started out with 8 spells, quadruple the standard at that point, and he had the upper hand for most of the battle with Gash. Heck, once his partner found his courage and stopped holding back, he did ultimately defeat Zatch. But he was selfish and cruel, a stark contrast to his Gentle Giant partner Shin whom he had manipulated and verbally abused. Shin understood what strength was as a result of the battle, so he surrendered his book in the end.
    • Robnos is arrogant, but the way he plays it up is mostly for psyching his opponent out, and it would have worked if Kiyo wasn't so smart; as it was, it was a close victory for Zatch.
    • Victoream. He's no slouch at all in brain or brawn, but his ego is titanic, and a good part of that was exploited to defeat him. And to clarify, he encountered the protagonists while they were recovering from a previous gauntlet of battles, none of them able to use more than one or two spells with the energy they had left; if not for Kiyo's planning, they never would have had a chance...and he gave them the opportunity they needed to make the plan in the first place.
    • Koral Q always studied his opponents thoroughly before challenging them, never making a move unless the odds were in his favor and belittling anyone who fought high-risk battles. He lost to Zatch and Kiyo because he lacked their fighting experience, the ability to read an opponent's moves at the moment and adapt on the fly.
    • Keith considered himself on par with the Four Prodigies, simply because he had never met another child he couldn't easily beat. Then he met Vincent Bari. Bari even calls him out on this when they meet again in the battle; Keith was powerful, but he lacked the guts to challenge anyone above his level and the spirit to press on in impossible odds. Bari experienced those traits when he battled Zatch and gained them for himself when he defeated Elzador, one of the Four Prodigies; even with Faudo amplifying Keith to insane levels, he never stood a chance against Bari.
  • Smug Snake: Zofis is a textbook example of one. Zofis isn't weak, but he fancies himself having already won the competition, despite his enslaved Ancient Mamodo doing most of his fighting, and despite the fact that he's scared senseless of Brago.
  • Spell Book: A cornerstone of the plot. Each of the 100 mamodo sent to Earth for the battle has a book that's tied to their magic, and only one person in the world can read it and unleash the spells within. The book's magic allows for borderline telepathy between partners with a strong enough bond and turns the willpower of anyone who touches it into pure energy to fuel the spells. Furthermore, new spells appear as new power awakens in the mamodo and the amount of text on one page that that spell takes up demonstrates how powerful it is; it can be anywhere from one line to the whole page. And most importantly, if the book is destroyed, the mamodo tied to it loses all claim to the throne and is sent back to the Mamodo World.
  • 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).
    • Several spells suffer from this too. The most common is shaving off the U on the end, like changing Zakeru to 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. Even after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Starscream: Everyone who lent Leo their power to awaken Faudo, except for Zaruchim who was truly loyal to him. When Zeno takes over, they change their target up until a power upgrade Zeno gives them brainwashes them into loyalty. The only one who really manages this trope in full is Rodeaux, who managed to break free of the brainwashing and mutiny.
  • 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, and several have spells that make them even stronger.
    • Ted's spells revolve around amplifying his speed, strength, and stamina more and more with each spell; he and his bookkeeper compare it to gears in an automobile.
    • Ponygon and Karudio's spells revolve around this, giving them increased size and speed along with armor.
  • Super Zeroes: The Majestic Twelve. They actually do have some pretty cool powers (or at least, some of them do), but they're never seen to do anything particularly useful unless you count Big Boing being funny. Even worse in the anime, where their powers are all useless as well.
  • 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.
  • Title Drop: A Japanese-only version. The manga's original title is Golden Gash, which is exactly what he's called by Clear Notes final form.
  • Tomato Surprise: Zeno's relationship to Zatch is kept hidden until near the end of the third story arc. They're twin brothers.
  • 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 Kanchomé, who take steady steps towards Badass status in the course of the story. A highlight is the chapters focused on them, where Kanchomé 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 Kanchomé he was in his first appearances.
    • After Kiyomaru comes back from the dead, he and Zatch shoot up in power. They become so strong that their basic spell, Zakeru, becomes about as strong as their old Zakeruga. Kiyo even spams this against Rodeux, and disables him as a result.
    • 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.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The entire premise of the series is this, being basically a massive last man standing battle between children. And that's not even getting into the way some contenders are happy to murder anyone who gets in their way, Zofis brainwashing people en masse, Zeon being willing to commit mass murder just to hurt Zatch, and Keith's smoking. Let's not even get started on Clear Note.
  • Tsundere: Tia, Penny.
  • Tyke-Bomb: 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. It's easily her strongest attack spell.
    • Subverted on one occasion. After Patty explains how the thousand-year-old demons partners are being forced to fight, Kiyo and Zatch who had been badly beaten are enraged. They launch a furious counterattack, which completely fails since the two of them were already completely exhausted to begin with.
  • 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:
    • 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 Kanchomé battle with Zatch and Kiyo.
    • Robnos' song.
    • Penny's song about love.
    • Victoreem's Very Melon.
    • Coral Q's song about himself.
    • Keith's butchering of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mars 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.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In the manga, they throw up instead.
  • Weapon of Choice: If a mamodo's power doesn't focus on an element, it's likely to focus on this instead.
    • An Axe to Grind: Buzarai.
    • Bare-Fisted Monk: Danny's only spell is self-recovery, leaving him to rely on his natural demonic brawn in battle. Wonrei's spells awakened through training in kung fu with his partner, and the two meld perfectly. Ted is tough to start with, but his spells focus on amplifying his speed, strength, and stamina, each one more than the last.
    • Blade Below the Shoulder: Demolt.
    • Chain Pain: Rops. His strongest spell adds anchors.
    • Cool Sword: Arth's sword is the focus of his spells, but even without them, it saps the enemy's stamina with every strike.
    • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Tia's spells focus on endurance, so she has several variations of shielding spells.
    • Natural Weapon: Rodeux's spells focus on his wings, Rein is a hulking beast, Elzador and Ashuron are super-powerful dragons by default...
    • Simple Staff: Tsao-Lon.
    • This Is a Drill: Vincent Bari's spells are officially Vortex-based, but it becomes this when the spiral is inward rather than outward.
    • Wolverine Claws: Kolulu's alter-ego's spells focus around claws and fists.
  • Wham Episode: The beginning of the King Festival Arc, which reveals the real prize for winning the tournament: the King's Privilege, the ability to choose who they want to revive. As it turns out, the tournament causes everyone still in the Demon World and any losers to become spirits, and the winner gets to choose who they wish to come back to life. Initially, this isn't so bad- eight of the ten final competitors are good people... but the last two are ''not'', and one of those two is insanely powerful.
  • Wham Line:
    Zeno: Zatch, you and I are brothers.
  • Wham Shot: Dozens.
    • At the end of the Ancient Mamodo arc, Kiyo and his teammates run up the stairs towards the Moonstone, and see that the Mamodo guarding the Moonstone is a gigantic, Baphomet-looking demon that just impaled Won Lei. Earlier, Lelia firing on her comrades.
    • Kanchomé pointing out that the strange structure looks like a gigantic demon at the beginning of the Faudo arc. At the end of the arc, seeing that Kiyomaro has come back to life.
    • Ashuron impaling Clear, nearly killing him during the King's Festival arc, and later seeing Gorm emerge from a portal after being cut in half.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Whatever happened to the eagle that carried Zatch in the first episode?
    • Eito and Hyde were the first team that Zatch and Kiyo ever encountered. At the end of their second appearance, the two seemed to have grown closer, Eito promising to take the battle more seriously. Aside from a cameo at a Megumi concert, they were never seen again.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Some of the mamodo get stuck with lame powers. Until late in the series, Kanchomé's abilities revolve around transforming for various purposes, but are rarely useful for offensive purposes in battle. Purio has the power of ailment-inducing liquids, 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. Kanchomé, in particular, becomes possibly the strongest mamodo in the series, while Momon holds off two evil mamodo with relative ease. The exception to this is Purio, who gains a very powerful skill set but lacks the ability to be useful due to his idiocy and greed.
  • Widget Series: The premise itself is a straight-forward There Can Only Be One setup 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; originally designed for protection, it became corrupted from the emotions it devoured and required an iron but tranquil will to leash it. King Bell denied it to Zeno because he said that Zeno couldn't handle it...and when he comes face-to-face with it Zeno himself is unable to deny that it was beyond his ability to handle. Heck, 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 Kanchomé has the potential to be the most powerful mamodo in the group. However, if Kanchomé 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 Kanchomé's head, turning him into an overpowered monster that shows no regret when cruelly beating Goomu and his bookkeeper Mir (thankfully Folgore convinces him what he's doing his wrong before he can do any permanent damage.
    • Brago theorizes that this is the case with Clear Note, his extreme nihilism being the result of him being drunk on the power of his strongest spell: Shin Clear Seunousu.
  • 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.
    • Kanchomé's strongest spell in the manga is basically this.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • Would you believe that Belgim E.O. is a "child" who is at the same grade that Zatch is?
    • Kiyo also looks and sounds considerably older than you would expect a 14-year-old to.


 
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Turns out Zatch and Umagon where running to someplace irrelevant to the mission...

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