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May 2005

Kaiketsu Zorori

Zorori the fox and his two sidekicks (2005 H/P•NBN•S•ZEC)

It's 7:00am on Sunday morning, and kids all over Japan are glued to their TV sets. There's no way they're going to miss the animated show Kaiketsu Zorori (Zorori, the Naughty Hero).

The show features a fox called Zorori, who embarks on a journey to train in the art of mischief making together with his friends, a pair of twin wild boars. The three friends travel from place to place, sparing no effort to play practical jokes on those they meet. Zorori's pranks often backfire, which ends up making his target happy, but every time he finds himself in a pinch, he comes up with some clever idea that allows him to wriggle out of trouble. Zorori's dream is to become the king of mischief, build a castle all for himself, and marry a beautiful woman. Will he ever realize this dream?

Although the master prankster Zorori is now hugely popular on TV, he first appeared in a book in 1987. In December 2004, volume 36 of the Zorori book series was released. The TV anime, which began in February 2004, has also been a big hit. In one episode, Zorori kept making incredibly bad puns (plays on words), and many kids have begun imitating their favorite fox by punning left and right at home and at school.

Eight-year-old Fujii Takuya, a young soccer fanatic who lives in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, is a diehard Zorori fan: "Of course I watch the TV show every week, and I also read the books. I've read eight volumes so far, and my favorite story is Kyofu no Sakka (Scary Soccer)."

The publisher of the Zorori books receives comments from kids almost every day. One said, "It's cool how the hero isn't an ordinary goodie, and I like how he always puts it over on someone worse than himself." Another observed, "There are so many interesting surprise endings that I never grow bored no matter how many times I read it." Zorori has been popular for almost 20 years, but that popularity shows no sign of ending. In the summer of 2005, volume 37 of the book series, provisionally titled Kaiketsu Zorori no O-dorobo (Zorori the Thief) is scheduled to be released.

In the near future, maybe you'll be able to watch Zorori on TV in your country. He's a goofy prankster, but for some reason we can't help but like him. Let's all cheer him on as he goes around making mischief.

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