Zatch Bell!

Common Sense Media says

Demons + kids = violent and scary for youngsters.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters must work together as a team, which some find difficult.

Violence

Frequent, strong cartoon violence. Spells, weapons, and blows that cause characters to fall down in pain.

Sex

Flirtations, blushing, awkwardness between female and male characters.

Language

No swearing, per se, but some strong antagonistic language: "You are finished." "Done with you." "Elimination by whatever is necessary."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that each and every episode of this anime series includes fight scenes involving weapons, physical contact, and life-threatening spells between demons and their human accomplices. As with most adaptations of Japanese manga series, many of the battles include wham-bam flashes of light. Demons and humans often fall down in pain. Some characters also experience inner turmoil over figuring out their own roles and deciding whether they can trust others.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Every 1,000 years, one hundred mamodos (demons) come to Earth to fight other demons as part of an ongoing battle to reign as king. ZATCH BELL follows one such demon, who, while he was unconscious, was discovered by a man and sent to mentor the man's son, Kiyo Takamine. Zatch has no memory of the demon world, how he arrived on Earth, or any characters from the past. But since mamodos can't work alone, Zatch gets help from Kiyo, an aloof 14-year-old middle schooler who isn't well-liked at school; the pair learn that working together isn't easy, since they come from different worlds and react differently to situations. Joining Zatch and Kiyo are Sherry Bellmont, a girl who can't forget her difficult childhood and wants to keep a particular demon from dominating her best friend; Tio, a tomboy demon who has trouble finding trust in others; Umagon, a demon searching to find a human partner; and many more.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The show's focus on relationships and the ability to trust a partner distinguishes it from many other anime adaptations. The series isn't just about violence -- although there's plenty of that, with constant battles involving spells and weapons -- but also about the relatable challenges and questions of identity that the characters face. Characters often think aloud about painful experiences in their past, and related flashbacks and evocative music add to the drama. Each character has his or her unique problems -- problems that aren't too unlike what kids face today.

The "battles" seen in some episodes can use dramatic visuals, language, sound effects, and music that becomes gratuitous, drawn out, and, at times, difficult to watch. There are also mild flirtations between characters, which lead to blushing and stammering. Overall, with its graphic violence, the characters' internal struggles, and the occasional eyelash-batting, parents may find Zatch Bell inappropriate for kids under 10.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges the two main characters face when it comes to working together. They don't always like or understand each other, but they still have to work together as a team. What strategies can kids use when paired with others? How does communication help in these situations? Families can discuss the appeal of anime in general. Is the violence necessary for the story? How could anime series be less violent and still interesting? Since it's clearly dubbed in English, this series provides an opportunity to discuss Japan's history and culture.

TV details

Cast:Debi Derryberry, Leslie Carrara
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Zatch Bell! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byTV-14lv November 17, 2009
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Kool

Zatch bell is awsome and its fine for anyone 6 and up
Kid, 10 years old February 3, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Not that bad for youngsters!

I think this show isn't that bad. The only concern is the fantasy violence, but it's fantasy and even my 3-yr-old sister isn't frightened by it. And I love it! It doesn't have much crude humor. SpongeBob SquarePants has a lot more crude humor than this! It's also a great show that kinda teaches friendship. So I think this is appropriate for all ages.
Adult Written byCakiecat February 1, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Equally heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.

The official review of Zatch Bell on this site is outrageous. Really, no positive messages? As for the user reviews, it's too violent, seriously? The "violence" in this series consists of flashes of light and the occasional pained groan. That's on top of the fact that this series is action/adventure – if you’re not in favor of cartoon violence, bar your child from those genres entirely. As for the person who mentioned the "breasts" song – why is that relevant if it's only in the Japanese dub? Besides the fact that it is culturally relative, we don't hear it in the American version, so why is it "wrong"? And another thing: when a book is burned, the character does NOT die – he or she is sent back to the "mamodo" (contrast this with "demon," another ridiculous accusation from the official review) realm. If you don’t understand this, you don’t understand the entire premise of the show. I loved Zatch Bell when I was younger. It moved me. All the characters were lovable and funny, and all the book-burning moments were heartbreaking. Definitely recommend this, with all my heart, to kids of all ages.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action