Katte ni Kaizō (かってに改蔵?) is a shōnen manga by Kōji Kumeta. The manga ran for 26 volumes in Shōnen Sunday from 1998 to 2004. The art style went through a huge change as the story went on, by the end of the story the art style was the same as the type used in Kumeta's next series, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei.
The series follows the strange goings-on that surround Katsu Kaizō, an eccentric, perhaps insane student who has a unique perspective on the world around him. He was once a child prodigy but at the age of 7, his childhood friend Umi kicked him off the jungle gym and suffered a head trauma, changing his personality - gaining a huge interest in various weird or "occult" things (UFO's, pyramids, ghosts) and starting to easily believe anything, no matter how preposterous.
Now at 17, Kaizō was hit by a human anatomy model the science club accidentally dropped from the second floor of the school building. Being revived with a defibrillator, he starts to believe he was rebuilt as a cyborg by the president of the science club, Suzu Saien, who facilitates that belief for her own personal entertainment. Kaizō joins the science club and becomes a constant annoyance to Umi and also the bane of the existence of another member of the club, Tsubouchi Chitan.
At the time of his accident at the age of 7, Kaizō was also attending the Genius Cram School, a local institute for prodigies in various but decidedly unscientific fields like sleeping or fashion. However, after the accident a dazed Kaizō destroyed the building by inadvertently mixing dangerous chemicals, creating an explosion. Now the science club constantly runs into people that also used to attend that same cram school and display even more eccentric behavior than Kaizō himself. It is put into question whether this behavior was present before or if it was created due to the trauma of the destruction of the school or the loss of a safe place to express their tendencies.
- Kaizō Katsu (勝 改蔵?)
- A 17 year old Junior in high school, Kaizō has led an interesting life. A former genius, Kaizō's life changed the day his friend Umi kicked him off the jungle gym at the local playground. Ever since that day he's become an eccentric young man who believes that aliens and conspiracy theories are around every corner. Recently he believes that he has been turned into a cyborg by Suzu. Many times, his strange ideas are actually true.
- Umi Natori (名取 羽美?)
- Umi has been friends with Kaizō for a long time and is in fact to blame for his strange behavior. Even though she feels some guilt over what happened, she cannot bring herself to admit what she did. In the beginning of the series, she seems fairly normal, but as it develops she is revealed to be a quite disturbed character. Is somewhat romantically interested in Kaizō, and likes cursing people.
- Suzu Saien (彩園 すず?)
- Suzu is the head of the Science Club and the only Senior in the group. Upon meeting the eccentric Kaizō she decides to indulge his belief that she has turned him into a cyborg. She often appears indifferent to the strange things that occurs, or shrugs them off as interesting.
- Chitan Tsubouchi (坪内 地丹?)
- The smallest member of the Science Club who is instantly recognizable by his thick glasses. Chitan is pretty much everyone's personal punching bag, and was decided to be an "underling" by Kaizō, a role that Chitan more often than not actually slips into. He can can often be seen wearing weird "underling suits". He also likes trains very much.
- Yamada-san (山田さん?)
- The class president, known for her beauty. She apparently hates her first name and refuses to reveal it, and has an addiction to yakisoba bread. She is also homeless, moneyless, eats anything, and can be seen popping up in weird places together with her strange mother.
- Jun (ジュン?)
- Suzu's self-crowned nemesis. Used to be in a pop-group with Suzu until Suzu quit, leaving Jun stranded in Tokyo after moving there from Osaka. She now seeks revenge for that on Suzu.
In the last chapter of the manga it was shown that Kaizō and Umi were actually patients of a mental ward and that the whole story shown to the readers were actually just a part of Kaizō and Umi's imagination. Suzu was in reality the doctor in charge of them and in order to help their recovery she let Kaizō and Umi create a city with model buildings and model people. As the city grew the two of them started to imagine themselves as a part of the city. At the end they made a full recovery and were allowed to leave the ward, they got an apartment and started to live together.
Many considered this to be an abnormal ending because Shokakukan had just released the fan book "かってに改蔵 公式ファンブック かってに研究しやがれBOOK" on January 10, 2004, whereas the series end in saying the main characters are simply mental in mid-2004. Officially Kumeta said the series end because of "lacking in popularity", since it is impossible for a company to release a fanbook which has little popularity, this is considered an official statement from Shokakukan. There are three possible reason for Kaizō's ending:
- 1. Shōnen Sunday is adjusting it's main target to younger children, therefor "Kaizō", which has switched from a simple comedy to a satire story with some jokes on politics (i.e. North Korea and Kim Jong-il), and that is not what an average young child can understand.
- 2. This is under the arbitrary order of the chief editor of Shōnen Sunday at that time, Shinichi Mikami 三上信一, who once said "Can't let my child see this(Katte ni Kaizō)". A proof of this point is that Mikami had been removed from his position of Shōnen Sunday to the less important Young Sunday.
- 3. Kumeta reckon that there's no hope for this series ever to be animated, so he decided to end this story and try a new topic. The proof of this point is it describes the secret door in the science club (Vol. 4 Chap. 2) and Suzu's reaction to strange things. Also in the last chapter, he appeared alongside those from the Genius Cram School, he was featured as a mangaka who believes his series is entering volume 30 and will soon be animated.