Zatch Bell (aka: Konjiki no Gash!!) Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59116-590-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Zatch Bell (aka: Konjiki no Gash!!) Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     December 06, 2005
Release Date: October 11, 2005

Zatch Bell (aka: Konjiki no Gash!!) Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Makoto Raiku
Translated by:David Ury
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kiyo and Zatch are gradually mastering more spells from the red book as they continue to battle other mamodo and their human masters. And when the school goes on a special camping trip, will Kiyo turn out to be the world-class curry chef that Suzy claims?

The Review
Mmmmmm. Nothing like some Mamodo battles with a little curry on the side. Well, okay, perhaps it’s best not to eat Kiyo’s curry as I’m sure not even Zatch’s pickled plums will make it go down any easier.

VIZ uses the same cover artwork as the Japanese tankoubon. The colors are a little dull, but the lightning bolts shooting out of an enraged Zatch do advertise the action element of the manga properly. The print reproduction is pretty much on par with most other VIZ releases. Extras include a few mini-manga pages from Makoto Raiku that a freetalks as well as goofy strip-panel style epilogues.

I really want to know what Makoto Raiku was on when he came up with these Mamodo designs. They are both visually creative as well as humorous, but also border on insanity. There are a lot of over-exaggerated facial expressions and deformed designs that really play well into the bizarre sense of humor. The battle sequences are quite explosive featuring a lot of strong action lines. I only wish there were some full-page panels during the more climatic scenes. Being an action title, the backgrounds can be quite sparse but when they are there they look quite nice.

SFX have been translated and retouched. The retouch has some boxing going on and I’m not a big fan of the fonts that are used. The translation reads quite well and keeps the bizarre humor, but there are some changes besides the character names. Folgore’s song in Japanese was “Chichi wo Moge”, meaning Squeeze the Breasts, but is translated here as “Hey, Hey, Let’s Dance All Day”. I am not familiar with the original text, so I’m not unsure if there were any other changes made.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After his battle with Kolulu, Zatch finds his motivation to become stronger--win the Mamodo battle and take the throne as a “kind king”. This of course will requir a lot of hard work and sacrifice, by himself and Kiyo as well, but more importantly it requires more spells! Possibly related to Zatch’s new resolve to be king, the red book reveals a new spell, Jikerdor, which Zatch and Kiyo rush out to try out. This is an especially funny scene, with Zatch and Kiyo both holding on tightly to each other and shaking in their boots, wondering what sort of awesome power is going to be unleashed. It is most definitely the same reaction I would have in their situation, so I couldn’t help but get a couple chuckles. However, the results are not good as nothing happens when the spell is called out.

Even without a successfully battle tested new spell, Zatch and Kiyo finally get their chance against a tyrannical Mamodo named Fein--a cross between an Oompa Loompa and a member of the Lollipop Guild with an evil clown-like grin. Zatch’s new found strength is on display as he constantly gives up his body to protect Kiyo and defeat this Mamodo who wants to use the throne’s powers for evil. In a move of desperation they call out Jikerdor, only this time the spell is a success. The spell turns Fein into a human magnet, finding himself stuck to a large metal billboard that conveniently boasts the company tagline, “We knock out the bad guys!”, while attracting random nails and other pieces of metal. Another nice bit of humor thrown in by the author.

Zatch is not the only one who becomes stronger, as Kiyo finds his strength and will do to good as he goes up against a giant, kind-hearted human book reader named Shin who is trying to destroy the school as revenge for years of bullying. While it is great to see Kiyo throwing his fists around and charging in like a mad bull at the opponent, what is more interesting in this battle is how the book and Mamodo can poison the mind of its human owner. Shin is not the type of person who would seek vengeance, but the influence of the power of the book and the mental manipulations of the Mamodo have convinced him of his plight. This is a common shounen theme, the responsibility and influence of power, that is nicely mixed in with Kiyo’s growth.

Makoto Raiku also makes sure that there are plenty of bits of humor thrown in between the Mamodo battles. The curry cooking chapter is especially funny, even if it is a bit of filler. The event illustrates how well Kiyo gets along with his classmates now, but the best part is seeing all the victims’ reactions to Kiyo’s vomit inducing concoction. At the end of the volume is another Mamodo named Kanchome, who is dressed in a baby’s one-piece with a duck-billed mouth. Kanchome is a shape-shifter that makes his introduction as a long-nosed Kiyo doppelganger, tricking Zatch and Suzy, whose powers seem to get weaker and weaker with each new spell. His human book reader, Folgore, is an Italian pop star that is prone to break out in dance moves and is more interested in his Japanese girl groupies. We learn a bit about how Zatch was seen by his peers back in the Mamodo world and how the tables have now turned in that Zatch is now inspiring some of the weaker Mamodo. Mostly though, this story is just a few chapters of comedy goodness that had me chuckling frequently. There is no doubt that Folgore and Kanchome will be back again.

Even though I usually don’t go for the trainer/creature shounen manga, ala Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!, there is something that Zatch Bell! has that has me still reading this title even with the silly editing done by VIZ. Perhaps it is Makoto Raiku’s bizarre and certifiable sense of humor that permeates his characters and situations, which no doubt have sent me into unsuspecting fits of laughter. Or maybe it is the simple relationship between Zatch and Kiyo, watching them grow together to become not only stronger, but also develop more positive attitudes and personalities than when they first started.

The credits page this time around did not have a disclaimer about removed artwork due to content, so I did not bother doing any checking with the original version. The only change I found in this volume was Folgore’s song, which still does not make much sense given the ‘T’ rating (‘Squeeze the Breast’ sounds like perfect teenage toilet humor to me) and the flying, bloody limbs found in the volume.


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