Rave Master, titled Rave (レイヴ Reivu?, romanized as RAVE) in Japan and also known there as The Groove Adventure Rave, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. The series follows Haru Glory, a teenager in 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.
The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from July 1999 through July 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 anime adaptation has been panned for the multiple edits Tokyopop made to the original version resulting in uninteresting and confusing dialogues as well as unappealing music.
In 0015, the world is corrupted by Dark Bring, dark stones that bestowed 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 powerful five Rave Stones. Shiba Roses, the first Rave Master, attempts to destroy Sinclaire, the "mother" of all of the Dark Brings, with the Ten Commandments Sword-the DecaForce Sword. However, the aftermath causes a massive explosion known as "Overdrive", destroying one-tenth of the known world. Shiba, protected from the disaster by Plue, a special guardian "dog" who shielded him from the blast, holds onto the Rave required to power his sword. Plue and the five remaining fragments of Rave, however, get scattered around the world. Shiba spends the next fifty years looking for Plue and the rest of the rave in hopes to destroy the dark brings.
Fifty years later, sixteen-year-old Haru Glory lives on the peaceful Garage Island with his older sister Cattleya. 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 Sword, 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 Hip Hop Island, Haru befriends a girl named Elie, who has no recollection of her past. During their journey, Haru encounter enemies from Demon Card who eventually becomes his allies, including Shuda and Sieg Hart. Haru later meets a diverse group of allies, including Hamrio Musica, grandson of a local 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 who was believed to be able to control Etherion, but it was proven to be false; 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 Raregroove, appears, reviving Demon Card. He wishes to capture Elie to use the magical energy hidden within her body, Etherion. While also 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 finding all Raves, Elie uses Etherion to combine all of them. In order to avoid another Overdrive, Haru and his friends oppose Lucia and his strongest enemies in 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 and the others visit Haru's grave, where she regains her memories. Haru appears alive thanks to the Star Memory's magic and reunites with the Rave Warriors. The warriors go their separate ways, and Haru and Elie return to Garage Island to live together.
Rave Master was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine in 1999 and ran for 296 chapters until its conclusion in 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.
- Main article: Episodes
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. 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.
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: Yūkyū no Kizuna, its sequel Groove Adventure Rave: Mikan no Hiseki (GROOVE ADVENTURE RAVE ～未完の秘石～?), and the platforming game Plue no Daibouken from Groove Adventure Rave.
For Nintendo's consoles Konami released both Groove Adventure Rave: Hikari to Yami no Daikessen 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 (Groove Adventure Rave: Fighting Life) 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 Beverdige 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. 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. Carlyle was surprised by the multiple character designs that included humanoid and superdeformed characters besides common ones like Haru.
In contrast to the printed version, the 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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