Märchen Awakens Romance, officially abbreviated as MÄR (メル, Meru), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Anzai, serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday from January 2003 to July 2006. MÄR follows 14-year-old junior high student Ginta Toramizu who is transported into a fantasy-based world known as MÄR-Heaven. As Ginta ventures in the world of MÄR-Heaven, he encounters allies and antagonists.
North American cover of the first manga volume featuring Ginta Toramizu, Babbo, and Dorothy.
|Written by||Nobuyuki Anzai|
|Imprint||Shōnen Sunday Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||January 22, 2003 – July 19, 2006|
|Anime television series|
|Written by||Junki Takegami|
|Music by||Daisuke Ikeda|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||April 3, 2005 – March 25, 2007|
|Written by||Nobuyuki Anzai|
|Illustrated by||Kōichirō Hoshino|
|Imprint||Shōnen Sunday Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||September 13, 2006 – June 27, 2007|
In North America, Viz Media has licensed both the MÄR manga and anime for an English-language release. The manga was published between July 2005 and June 2007. The anime aired first in July 2006 on Toonami Jetstream, an online service from Cartoon Network, and then on the network itself, as part of the Toonami programming block in December 2006.
A sequel entitled MÄR Omega by Anzai and illustrated by Kōichirō Hoshino was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from September 2006 to June 2007.
Ginta Toramizu is a 14-year-old junior high student from Tokyo who is portrayed as a typical video game geek and underachieving student who is a fan of fairy tales. One day and without warning, he finds himself summoned to the mysterious world of MÄR-Heaven which he has only seen before in his dreams and in his mother's books. In this fairy tale world, Ginta's physical weakness is replaced with superior physical strength, incredible stamina and endurance, and being able to see without his glasses.
Upon meeting a mysterious 16-year-old witch named Dorothy, Ginta is introduced to the powerful magical accessories and weapons called "ÄRM" (pronounced air-um). Dorothy plans to steal the mysterious ÄRM Babbo from a trap-guarded cave, and brings Ginta along to assist her, intrigued by his unusual strength and abilities. Babbo is revealed to be an extremely special and unique ÄRM, as he possesses a will of his own and the ability to speak. Displeased with the fact that Babbo is so cumbersome, Dorothy gives Babbo to Ginta instead taking the guardian arm that guarded the chest, departing with a warning that others will try to steal Babbo from him.
He continues on a journey of discovery, reveling in this new world. When he encounters the farmer Jack and his mother, who are troubled by two werewolf brothers, he finds that he misses the real world. Ginta resolves to find a way to reach home while enjoying as much of MÄR as he can along the way with Jack journeying with him.
However, it is not long before Ginta learns that the world of MÄR-Heaven is not as peaceful as it seems when he is attacked by thieves wishing to steal Babbo. Upon meeting Alviss (who summoned him to MÄR-Heaven using a ÄRM known as the Gate Keeper Clown), he learns of the sinister "Chess Pieces" and how they had tried to take over MÄR-Heaven six years earlier. Alviss reveals that he summoned Ginta in order to gain assistance from an "other-worlder" in the upcoming war, as was done previously, and that Babbo originally belonged to one of the knights of the Chess Pieces.
Gaining both allies and enemies, the series follows Ginta as he opposes the Chess Pieces led by Chess Piece King Orb, Queen Diana and her servant Phantom.
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The story started 6 years after the second War Games, about Kai, the adoptive son of an ÄRM smith from Harnau City in MÄR Heaven, who idolizes Ginta and Babbo for defeating Phantom at the end of the 2nd War Games. He always wants a good ÄRM for himself, which is often ridiculed by others since Kai possesses no potential whatsoever of magic power, much to his personal dislike, since at the time throughout MÄR-Heaven ÄRMs are already in wide use (especially a new type called fake ÄRMs, activated without the need of magic power), and Kai himself inherited a magic stone from his dead parents, a memento highly suggested his family's relation to the sorcerer kingdom Kaldea. When Kai was delivering ÄRMs to another city, he walked past a mountain and suddenly got attacked by a remnant of the Chess Pieces. While searching for cover from the Chess Pieces's wind Nature ÄRM, Kai jumped into a pond and woke up the most unthinkable underwater resident - Babbo. Using the ÄRM Kai defeated the Chess Piece, one amazing yet inexplicable feat: how was he, a normal boy, be able to fight with the ÄRM up til then can only be wielded only the warriors of legend, Ginta and Phantom.
Leaving the question hanging, the two returned to Kai's city, only to find themselves in an even tighter situation: among those who came to admire Babbo, there are Kai's fake ÄRM user friends, and they were all out to take Babbo - to bring it to a sinister mysterious figure who was watching them the whole time. When the emergency arose, Kai had no choice but to resort to his last option - put the magic stone he owned into Babbo, and forth reborn to the world of MÄR-Heaven the most powerful Guardian recognized, Gargoyle. Gargoyle easily defeated the guardians and returned their owners' consciousness, but then it was Kai's turn to face trouble with his ÄRM: he lost contact with Babbo inside Gargoyle, and the monster would have ravaged the whole town if not for the timely restraint from Alviss with his familiar 13 Totem Poles attack, allowing Kai enough time to regain synchronization with Babbo, returning him to normal.
Saving everyone no time to ponder on what had happened, the Cross Guard's young warrior's unexpected arrival brought an even more unexpected truth: those fake ÄRM all used so at their own ease didn't, indeed, require a proper amount of magic power from the users, but it sucked from them a worse fuel - their life energy, and through that, their minds could be controlled like a puppet dancing to death. It has not yet been revealed to why people used the fake ÄRMs or who made the fake ÄRM, however, as the one controlling everyone took a sudden desperate move to seal the town except Alviss, Kai, Babbo and Kai's female friend Elise, introducing himself. Although he was easily defeated by Kai and Alviss, the town couldn't be returned, and for that they had to consult Caldia -birthplace of all ÄRMs and magic users.
In Caldia, they were welcomed by Dorothy and a new male character named Inga into the Grand Elder's palace. All answers for their questions were ready, coming down to a legend descending the magic kingdom for 300 years: the fake ÄRMs were not actually the work of many sorcerers, but rather only one's - the dark magician with infamy for his experiments of human mind manipulation, went by the name of Unwetter. Babbo - the Elder of Caldia in his time - confronted the man and succeeded in consigning him and his malicious creations into oblivion, just before Babbo himself died, transferring his soul into the ÄRM and erasing every memory related to that accident. It's unknown for the Grand Elder himself, however, as to why the supposedly sealed fake ÄRMs were once again spread throughout MÄR-Heaven now, how the supposedly dead Unwetter could be revived, and what purpose would be served with the claiming of Babbo. Either way, until these riddles could be solved, Babbo would be taken into custody, which of course met with Kai's disagreement.
Relented, the wizard postponed the deal with Babbo... only if Kai could prove himself worthy of wielding it, inside Dorothy's training Dimension ÄRM with Inga's witness. They were not disappointed, however, as when facing with the danger of death, Kai suddenly unleashed all his dormant magic power - which was so powerful that it did not only confirm his relation to the magic kingdom, but also suggested a direct blood connection to Babbo. No sooner had they discovered that than the fake ÄRM users presented themselves before Caldia, to continue the accomplishment of their objective: take Babbo back to their master Unwetter.
Kai and crew are able to fight them back with the assistance of Inga. Inga is a descendant of Unwetter and by following Caldia's law he must seek Unwetter out and kill him. Kai then finds out that he truly is a descendant of Babbo. Kai, Inga, and Elise all volunteer to go and find Babbo's magic stones which would restore his memories of the Grand Elder who fought fake Arms and Unwetter 300 years prior to the story. The three are sent to Luberia to start their quest where they are to be helped by Nanashi (Dorothy says she'll help). Kai beats Atmos and saves MÄR-Heaven.
MÄR is written and illustrated by Nobuyuki Anzai. The series was serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday from January 22, 2003 to July 19, 2006. The series was compiled into fifteen tankōbon volumes published by Shogakukan between May 17, 2003 and August 11, 2006.
A sequel titled MÄR Omega, written by Anzai but illustrated by Kōichirō Hoshino, was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from September 13, 2006 to June 27, 2007. It was compiled in four tankōbon volumes published between December 16, 2006 and August 10, 2007.
An anime adaptation titled MÄR Heaven (メルヘヴン, Meru Hevun), produced by SynergySP premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 3, 2005 where it ran for 102 episodes until its conclusion on March 25, 2007.
In North America, the anime was licensed by Viz Media and aired on Cartoon Network's online broadband service Toonami Jetstream in July 2006, and the series premiered on their television programming block Toonami, on December 23, 2006. It also premiered in Canada on YTV channel on June 1, 2007. Viz Media began releasing the series to DVD on June 12, 2007, with each disc containing 4 episodes. Four volumes were released before Viz delisted the series in favor of other titles. In June 2011, the first 52 episodes were available on Netflix's Instant streaming service.
|MÄR Heaven: Knockin' on Heaven's Door (メルヘヴン KNOCKIN'ON HEAVEN'S DOOR)||Game Boy Advance|
|MÄR Heaven: Arm Fight Dream (メルヘヴン ÄRM FIGHT DREAM)||PlayStation 2|
|MÄR Heaven: Karudea no Akuma (メルヘヴン カルデアの悪魔, MÄR Heaven: Devil of Karudea)||Nintendo DS|
|MÄR Heaven: Boukyaku no Clavier (メルヘヴン 忘却のクラヴィーア, MÄR Heaven: Oblivion of Clavier)||Nintendo DS|
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