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Konjiki no Gash!!
by Zoro on November 4th, 2011, 11:16pm

Rating - 7.8 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 3.7 out of 5
Characters - 4.1 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 3.9 out of 5
Overall - 3.8 out of 5

Click here for series information

Let's take a gander at the wildly critiqued world of the Golden Gash Bell (Zatch Bell). Having a young protagonist gives the child-like manga an obvious shounen feel, and it's highly regarded controversial storyline is always balanced for age groups around 10-13 and up. But that can't stop us shounen enthusiasts from getting entranced in this passionate and dreamlike story.

Gash Bell is a demon sent to the Human world for one thing, to become king. Demons are creatures with specific powers passed down to them from the demon world, their own personalities reflect the type of power they embody. Gash embodies the power of electricity, one of the most powerful elements in the human world. There are 100 Demons sent to the Human world every 1000 years to decide who's to be the king of the Demon world, but they can't do it alone, here's where the humans come in. Each demon, no matter how reluctant they are, must partner up with a human and use strategical methods in order to defeat their opponent. Their connection to each other is the demon's magical book. The human reads the demons spells from the book in order to activate the demons power.

Of course, a story set up for the purpose of fighting, giving us a foresight into what's to come, it is the classic cliche to the shounen history. But what's not to love about two boys who want to find their place in this world? In my opinion, the story is very dragged out nearer the beginning of the story. It's not so easy to fall into the world of Gash and Kiyomaro because we simply know nothing of the mystery we've just crossed paths with. Reading on, we evidently cannot put this manga down.

Kiyomaro is a troubled boy with a bit of a daddy issue, this tampers with his potential, because creating the classic genius character and throwing in rebellious traits has never been done, right? ('Death Note', even the film 'Good Will Hunting') It doesn't matter to us who he is or what he can do, we read on because we want to know what causes him such desolation. From Gash's uncontrollable sense for justice and grace, Kiyomaro is able to set aside his worrisome emotions and concentrate on making that glass 'half-full'.

It's impossible not to stare at Gash's smile and understand what's happening in his one track mind, he doesn't leave anything out for us, we know what his goals are and he never speaks of anything else. As far as I know he never lies, which is how the author establishes a trusting relationship to build between Kiyomaro and Gash. Gash is the character to stand up for the weak and defeated. Like most shounen heroes, Gash has a demon within him (being a demon already), he can't control his powers well enough, this causes him to faint whenever a spell is cast, of course it's not logically soundproof for a main character to faint every time he has to attack, but the author somehow manages to dodge this discrepancy by giving Kiyomaro control of every fight the two of them encounter. Gash's character certainly doesn't trespass on the 'bland' side, but he isn't the eagerly developed character either. His history is well thought out and planned, but besides being the main character we're more intrigued in Kiyomaro's intentions and strategies to move the progression of the story. Because of the case of Gash's character it makes us even more appreciative for the later introduced characters, watching how their personalities bounce off Gash's and branding them either 'friend' or 'foe'. The introduction for Brago's character was the most exciting between all of the characters the author creates. Giving him a role in the series even more important than Gash and Kiyomaro. He triggers a kind of vigor in Gash and thus creating a rivalry that is very respectful on both sides.

In more cases than one, you will find yourself welling up to Gash's determination, or to Kiyomaro's bravery. You will appreciate these characters for what they stand for and how they help our golden Gash Bell to become strong and an indestructible force.

Drawing Style
Raiku's style is very unique and noticeable. He gives himself easy characters to draw a lot of the time, but that doesn't mean they're not equally as demanding. Battles and important situations are most likely spent with hours of preparation, as they are extremely detailed, even though the pace tends to drag on with the numerous interruptions. Backgrounds in this series are especially detailed, giving us a precise location, and a nice representation of Japan.

A very accomplished manga that lacks only in originality, but there's no use in throwing it out the window just because it doesn't bring anything new to the table. True, it's predictable and long, but it's tasteful and easy to read. The humour is never outclassed by the action in this series. It still doesn't compete with other series when mixing the two together, but in all cases we just find ourselves laughing to the very colourful expressions so well drawn by the author that we lose all sense of criticism to the content.

A long and sometimes tiring read, but this series will hit you when you least expect it to. The arcs aren't so layered out as you would expect from a long series such as this, but with patience and acceptance you'll begin to believe in this manga and it's characters. Raiku Makoto spared no expense to juice up the bits of this series where they count, and he creates a much anticipated conclusion for us to munch on in the end. An entertaining series with passion and honor awaits.
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