Rave Master, titled Rave (レイヴ, Reivu) and, alternatively, The Groove Adventure Rave in Japan, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. The series follows Haru Glory, a teenager on a quest to find the five pieces of the sacred stone Rave in order to bring peace to the world by defeating the criminal group Demon Card. Mashima created this series with the idea of travelling around the world and was presented with difficulties in its serialization due to its considerable length.
First volume of Rave Master, released in North America on February 11, 2003
|Written by||Hiro Mashima|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Magazine|
|Original run||July 21, 1999 – September 9, 2005|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Takashi Watanabe|
|Original run||October 13, 2001 – September 28, 2002|
|Special Attack Force|
|Platform||Game Boy Advance|
The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from July 21, 1999 through July 10, 2005, and published in thirty-five tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. The manga series was licensed for an English release in North America by Tokyopop until Kodansha allowed their contract to expire. It was also adapted into a fifty-one episode anime series by Studio Deen. The anime premiered on TBS on October 13, 2001 and ran until September 28, 2002. Tokyopop also licensed the anime adaptation which premiered on Cartoon Network in the United States on June 5, 2004 as part of the Toonami programming block and re-broadcast on Syfy in 2009.
The manga series has received generally positive critical response with praise commonly aimed towards the storyline and artwork. On the other hand, the localized anime adaptation has been panned for the multiple edits Tokyopop made to the original version which resulted in uninteresting and confusing dialogue, as well as unappealing music.
In 0015, the world is corrupted by Dark Bring, dark stones that bestow powerful magic with different abilities to their owners. The Dark Brings are used by the Raregroove Kingdom, and the Symphonia Kingdom fight against them with their five powerful Rave stones. Shiba Roses, the Rave Master, attempts to destroy Sinclaire, the "mother" of all of the Dark Brings, with the Ten Commandments sword. However, the aftermath causes a massive explosion known as Overdrive, destroying one-tenth of the known world. Shiba, protected from the disaster by his special guardian "dog" Plue, holds onto the Rave required to power his sword. Plue and the four remaining Raves, however, get scattered around the world.
Fifty years later, sixteen-year-old Haru Glory lives on the peaceful Garage Island with his older sister, Cattleya. Shortly after Haru accidentally fishes Plue up, Shiba arrives wishing to reclaim Plue, but a group of terrorists from the Demon Card organization appear to kill Shiba. Shiba tells Haru that he is the second Rave Master, entrusting the Ten Commandments, Plue, and his Rave to him. Seeking power to defeat Demon Card, Haru and Plue set off on a journey to find the missing Rave stones. Upon arriving at the mainland, Haru befriends a girl named Elie, who has no recollection of her past. During their journey, Haru encounters enemies from Demon Card who eventually become his allies, including Shuda and Sieg Hart. Haru later meets a diverse group of allies, including Hamrio Musica, grandson of a blacksmith; Let Dahaka and Julia, two who appear human but are in fact of the Dragon Race; Griffon Kato, a strange blue creature and Plue's friend; Ruby, a penguin and a casino owner; Belnika, a mage; and Niebel, Sieg's close friend. He also encounters Gale "King" Raregroove, the king of the Raregroove Kingdom and leader of Demon Card. On the Tower of Din, Haru reunites with his absent father Gale Glory to defeat King and end Demon Card. Although they win, Gale sacrifices himself to save his son from Din's destruction.
Some time later, King's son, Lucia, appears and revives Demon Card. He wishes to capture Elie to use the magical energy known as Etherion hidden within her body. While facing Lucia and his forces, Haru's group also learn of the mythical creature known as Endless, which threatens mankind by provoking another Overdrive and can only be destroyed with Etherion. Using all Sinclaires, Lucia absorbs Endless. Lucia's objective is to destroy the world, which is actually a parallel dimension created by his descendant with Etherion after the original was ruined by a plague and his family was cursed as a result. After Haru finds all of the Raves, Elie uses Etherion to combine them. In order to avoid another Overdrive, Haru and his friends oppose Lucia and his strongest enemies in the Star Memory. Although Haru defeats Lucia, he is absorbed by Endless and convinces Elie to destroy it even if it means taking his life. One year later, Elie has lost her memories of Haru, and she and the others visit his grave. Haru appears alive thanks to the Star Memory's magic and reunites with Elie, who then remembers him. The warriors go their separate ways, and Haru and Elie return to Garage Island to live together.
Hiro Mashima created Rave Master with the idea of travelling around the world. Composed of thirty-five volumes, Mashima comments that although it was sometimes difficult to think of how to develop the storyline, he still remembers enjoying the making of Rave Master. Additionally, he regards that the series' end was "a little sentimental, a little sad." In early chapters Mashima had multiple difficulties with the series' backgrounds. Nevertheless, across the volumes Mashima realized how the art was evolving resulting in most appealing pages. During publication, Rave Master was supposed to end in its ninth volume with King and Demon Card's defeat and all of the plot's mysteries resolved. This was planned since Mashima had the desire to make a new manga. In the end, he decided to continue with Rave Master following King's arc after finding such an ending too contrived.
In both Rave Master and his other manga Fairy Tail, Mashima wants to make justice prevail but also make readers understand the villains' reasons to fight the main character in order to make them more complex characters. In some cases, Mashima admitted having writer's block as he did not plan the abilities of certain characters with some readers referring to the Dark Brings as "too convenient." The protagonist, Haru, was designed prior to developing the story as he was a male character Mashima always wanted to draw. His sidekick, Plue, was also designed much earlier when he was in high school. Plue was given his own sidestory much to Mashima's surprise because of the funny looking characters designed for a shonen magazine.
Rave Master began serialization in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from issue 32 of 1999, published on July 21, 1999 and ran for 296 chapters until its conclusion in issue 35 of 2005, published on September 10, 2005. It was published in thirty-five collected volumes by Kodansha, with the first volume released in November 1999 and the final volume released in September 2005. The series was later rereleased in eighteen bunkoban volumes between August 10, 2006 and April 12, 2007.
Rave Master was licensed for an English release in North America by Tokyopop, which released 32 volumes of the series. On August 31, 2009, Tokyopop announced that they would not be completing the series as their licenses with Kodansha expired and Kodansha required that they immediately stop publication of all previously licensed series, including Rave Master. The next month, it was announced that Del Rey Manga had acquired the license and would begin publishing the remaining volumes in 2010. The last three volumes were published in a single omnibus volume. Del Rey never released the earlier volumes before their license expired. In 2017 Kodansha USA licensed the series for release with the intention to re-release all thirty-five volumes in digital format, which were all released together on October 3, 2017. The volumes are available on digital platforms such as Amazon Kindle and ComiXology.
The series is licensed for regional language releases in French by Glenat, in Spanish by Norma Editorial, and in Italian by Editions Star Comics. Egmont Manga & Anime licensed Rave Master for a German release, including serializing it in their monthly anthology Manga Power. Rave Master was also one of the first manga series released in Spanish in North America by Public Square Books.
The series was adapted into a fifty-one episode anime series, entitled Groove Adventure Rave, by Studio Deen. It was directed by Takashi Watanabe and the music was composed by Kenji Kawai. The anime premiered on TBS on October 13, 2001 and ran until September 28, 2002. The anime series is based on the first twelve volumes of the manga series. The series was also collected in a total of seventeen DVD volumes between February 6, 2002 and June 4, 2003.
Tokyopop licensed the series for release and broadcast in North America. As with the manga, Tokyopop released the series under the name Rave Master. Tokyopop edited the series for content and length, hired Rita Majkut to produce the English-language version, which was recorded at Bill & Ted's Recording Studio in Burbank, and contracted Glenn Scott Lacey to compose an alternate musical score. The ADR writer was Bob Buchholz, and Marc Handler was the voice director for all of the episodes. The leading actors for the English-language version were Yuri Lowenthal, Doug Erholtz, Michelle Ruff, Tom Kenny, and Mona Marshall. The English dubbed version aired on Cartoon Network in the United States, premiering in June 2004, as part of the Toonami programming block. The series' second half premiered on January 22, 2005. It was also on the MiGUZi weekday afternoon after-school action block and its Sunday Morning daytime lineup of Summer 2005. Later, Syfy had begun airing the dubbed episodes on March 16, 2009 as part of its "Ani-Monday" programming block and finished on September 21, 2009. Tokyopop released three DVD volumes of the series and in 2010 it collected the entire series.
The one-shot crossover between Rave Master and Fairy Tail was adapted into an original video animation with Mashima himself acting as supervisor to the project and had expanded the original chapter to include more characters from Rave Master. It was released on August 16, 2013 alongside the thirty-ninth volume of Fairy Tail.
The Japanese audio by Kenji Kawai was released in a total of four CD soundtracks by King Records. Geneon also published a CD based on the Japanese soundtrack for English release under the title of Rave Master: Music Side.
There are six video games based on Rave Master published by Konami. Three games were released for the PlayStation including a role-playing games Groove Adventure Rave and its sequel Groove Adventure Rave: Mikan no Hiseki (GROOVE ADVENTURE RAVE ～未完の秘石～), and platforming game Plue no Daibouken from Groove Adventure Rave.
For Nintendo's consoles Konami released both Groove Adventure Rave and Rave Master: Special Attack Force! (Groove Adventure Rave: Hikari to Yami no Daikessen 2), two fighting games for the Game Boy Advance, and Rave Master, which was released on the Nintendo GameCube.
The Rave Master manga has been well received with its Western release appearing in Diamond Comic Distributors's graphic novels charts. Publications for manga and anime also had positive impressions with Jason Thompson's book Manga: The Complete Guide giving it a positive review of 3 out of 4 stars. It states that Rave Master had a relatively shaky start, in terms of storyline and art. However, it states that about part way through the first major story arc, the series began to improve and set itself apart from other manga series. Like most reviewers, they stated that Rave Master had a collection of likeable characters. Chris Beveridge from Mania Entertainment also enjoyed the series recommending people to buy multiple volumes rather than one to enjoy the connected story arcs. He praised the series' fight scenes coupled with the emotional content that makes the series worth reading. UK Anime Network writer Rory Carlyle shared similar comments as he viewed the series to be "pretty good" despite having common standards seen in multiple shōnen manga. Carlyle was surprised by the multiple character designs that included humanoid and superdeformed characters besides common ones like Haru. The artwork was also praised by Anime News Network's Allen Divers who referred to the series as "a try before you buy" based on the simple storyline.
In contrast to the printed version, the localized TV series has garnered some significant criticism mainly for its edits. Critics were mainly concerned about how the script was rewritten for the series' English release which resulted in confusing character interactions and unfunny humor. The animation was praised although the fight scenes were not found entertaining. Both Anime News Network and DVDTalk found that the series was better suited towards a young audience and expected TokyoPop to release an uncut version of the series to attract older fans. The exclusive English soundtrack was also heavily criticized for not fitting with the series while the English voice acting was found underwhelming.
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