Violinist of Hameln (ハーメルンのバイオリン弾き Hamerun no Baiorin Hiki?) is a fantasy adventure story created by Michiaki Watanabe. Its premise is that a group of adventurers are traveling north to the Northern Capital (a.k.a Hameln) to prevent a catastrophe. In this world, music has magical qualities. The manga and the anime are very different. The manga tends toward a lighter, more comedic tone, whereas the anime is darker. No official English translations exist to date for the manga or its adaptations.
GanGan Comics ran the manga for approximately ten years and 37 volumes were published.
The manga combines a serious story with an irreverent tone; characters frequently shift between heroic and pathetic as the situation warrants. The manga also contains a myriad of unconventional running gags, such as Hamel's repeated attempts to force other members of the party into costume. Each chapter is referred to as a movement.
The setting resembles a medieval Europe judging by the architecture, the way people are dressed, the local environment shown in the background. The world in which the story takes place is like an alternate universes in which chronologically, many things do not makes sense. In fact, despite the medieval feeling with demons and magic, there are also technologically super advanced flying battleships and carriers, tanks and cities made completely of metal platings with siege machines much like the science fiction worlds of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, or any other mecha heavy world. Also, the pieces played by Hamel and Raiel on their instruments are actually real pieces composed by real historical composers such as Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Schubert, Mozart, Haydn, etc. despite many of these figures existing much later in history.
The world they live in is referred to as Europe, however, the map shown has absolutely no resemblance to Europe at all. Most countries and characters are named after musical themes, be they instruments, tones, beats, etc. There is presence of both fantasy and science fiction elements.
The world they currently live in is dominated by two races, the human race and the mazoku race. The mazoku are demonic like creatures that once ruled their world, until they were all sealed away into a tiny box by a heroic angel 500 years ago. An age of prosperity and peace arose and human civilization blossomed. Cities were built and nations were created. Science advance in some while magic became the source of power for others. One day, a woman by the name of Pandora accidentally opens the box containing all the demons, releasing them all from their imprisonment, darkening the skies and dooming human race to extinction at the hands of the mazoku. In a desperate attempt to save humanity, the Demon King Chestra, who was also released from that box, was sealed again. Pandora, who had two children were separate, one was taken by the mazoku, the other remained with her mother. In order to keep the world safe, the box that sealed the Demon King, now named Pandora's box, was sent far away, and the key that opened the box was also send far away, in hopes that even if the mazoku would ever get the hands on one part, they would not be able to make use of it. All the demons who were released then headed north, and occupied the norther most continent and called it their capital, Hameln. Now humans fight a never ending war against the demons in order to survive. Pandora's children, one who lives with the humans, and hated by all those around him, the other, living with the mazoku who have never shown her any sign of affection are destined be reunited and bring an end to the war, one way or another.
The plot for the manga revolves around the hero Hamel who travels northbound towards the continent of demons in order to avert a great disaster. Using his magical oversized violin, he plays music that would force his enemies to repent for their sins and kill themselves. Or so that was how the story should have been. The so called Hamel is instead a selfish, cowardly, heartless, and immoral fiend that seeks to take advantage of those around him, and extort from those he saves. After saving the remote village of Staccato from nearby demons, he decides to abduct an orphaned girl named Flute as payment for his services. Hamel, Flute and Oboe, Hamel's advisor who is a talking crow, head north on their long, arduous and ridicule filled journey. Along the way, they meet Raiel, the hero of Love who plays beautiful and powerful tunes that can summon spirits and manipulate people with his 500 kg solid gold piano; he is actually Hamel's childhood friend. Their first encounter results in a not so deadly battle for revenge. Next they encounter Trombone, the young prince of Dal Segno, the warrior nation renowned for their knights and their swordsmanship. Having his country burned to the ground and his parents murdered in front of his eyes, the young prince swears revenge and joins are party northwards in their quest. Adventure, hilarity, and humiliation ensues as Hamel leads the ragtag band north while performing street performances bicker with each other. Along the way, they fight dreadful enemies and eventually meet Hell Hawk King Sizer, one of the Lords of hell, the guardians of the Demons Legions. In a mostly one sided battle, Hamel's Violin is broken. It is also revealed that Hamel is actually the son of the Demon King Chestra, and that he heads north in order to defeat his father and save his mother Pandora.
As they venture further north, they eventually reach the kingdom of Sforzando, one of the most powerful nations of their world, renown for their magi-knight corps, their healing magic, and the strongest woman alive, Queen Horn. While at Sforzando, they meet the Head Priest of Sforzando, they greatest magic user in all of their kingdom, who immediately takes a dislike to Hamel. It is revealed that Flute, the victim of Hamel's humiliating antics was actually the only princess of Sforzando, who was unfortunately abandoned as a baby in order to increase her chance of survival when Sforzando was besieged in a dreadful war many years ago. Reunited with her estranged mother, Flute tries to deal with many pent up emotions while Hamel is sent out in order to Seek out a man capable of fixing his magical violin. Unfortunately, during Hamel and Raiel's absence, Sforzando is besieged yet again by the armies of Hell. Leading them are Dragon King Drum and King of the Beasts Guitar, both extremely strong and one of the 4 Lords of Hell. A fierce battle ensues, where both powerful forces collide and tens of thousands of both sides perish. In the end, Hamel and Raiel return after meeting Vi Olin and having the violin fixed in order to finish their foes off. In a last ditch effort with everyone attacking at the same time, they manage to subdue the Dragon King Drum who had turned into a 48 headed hydra.
The battle ends with the victory of Sforzando, and the revelation that the Queen had only a few years left to live, as her healing magic requires the user to pay by giving up their lifespan. Once preparations were done, Hamel, Raiel, Trombone and Oboe set off once again on their quest to the northern continent. Torn between wanting to stay with her newly reunited mother and rejoining her rather ungrateful companions on their journey, she eventually chooses to follow Hamel and slowly realizes her feelings for him. At this point, the party splits up. Raiel heads to Staccato to deliver the money given to Hamel should he choose to leave Flute behind in Sforzando; Trombone goes back to Dal Segno to pay respects to those who perished there; Flute, Hamel and Oboe head north, and are joined by Cornet, Clarinet's younger sister.
A sequel to the series called Violinist of Hameln: Shchelkunchik started serialization in January 2008. It involves the travels of a young boy named Schel who wishes to become a wizard. Along the way he meets Hamel's son Great.
The TV adaptation was twenty-five episodes long and suffered from budget constraints. A substantial portion of the story is told by panning over still images, with full animation reserved mainly for action-heavy scenes. The anime has a darker setting than the manga, and although it initially follows the basic outline of the manga's plot, the two stories completely diverge by the anime's conclusion.
Also of note is a 30-minute animated movie, whose storyline does not intersect with the TV series. The movie was released several months before the TV series, and benefits from a substantially higher animation budget.
The Video Game
The game was made for SNES by Enix (which also published the GanGan Comics magazine) and is a side-scrolling platformer. It follows the manga reasonably well but changes are made so Flute is met at the beginning of the story but as the game progresses huge jumps are made in the story. The game requires you to throw Flute and put her in various costumes in order to reach the end of the level. Numerous demons from the manga appear in the game as bosses.
Throughout the game Hamel will pick up numerous costumes that Flute will wear in order to reach the goal.
Ostrich - Allows Flute to walk on spikes
Frog - When ridden Flute will jump very high
Robot - When jumped on will destroy blocks
Duck - Can swim across water and will dive when jumped on
Penguin - Can swim across water and will dash when jumped on
Monster - Used to trick a monster to let you across a bridge
Monkey - Will climb wall when ridden
Orangutan - Used to progress the story
Sunfish - Floats when ridden
Frisbee - Acts like a boomerang when thrown
Curling Puck - Slides when thrown
Elephant - Shoots water when jumped on
Octopus - Allows Hamel to move in any direction under water when ridden
UFO - Hovers and follows Hamel
Eagle - Flies in the direction Hamel is facing when ridden
- Hamel - The 16 year old main character. A traveling hero who uses a violin- which is often mistaken for a cello- and magical music to fight his enemies. He can be very rude, perverted, and cruel. But he loves his friends and family just as much as anyone else. When his demon blood awakens, he becomes a powerful mazoku. He is also the son of Pandora and the Demon King Chestra.
- Oboe- Hamel's constant guardian and companion who is a crow. He is actually a former general of Chestra's - ex-Hawk King, specifically.
- Flute- The 15 year old female lead who grew up in the small mountain village of Staccato. She is heir to the Sforzando throne and the King and Queen Horn's daughter. As a result, she is capable of healing, an ability that pops up later in the storyline, but using it shortens her lifespan.
- Raiel- In both the anime and manga, he is a childhood friend of Hamel's. He is in fact the only human friend Hamel ever had as a child, and became the first human other than his mother that we would trust.
- Trombone- The prince of the country of Dal Segno that was destroyed. He is the youngest main character and is an excellent swordsman. He and Hamel are often at odds with each other, though they have very similar personalities.
- Sizer- The head of the demons' airborne Hawk Army and Hamel's younger twin sister. She is also the daughter of Pandora and Demon King Chestra. Unlike her brother, she has the image of an angel with wings. Not a human that will look like a demon sometimes. She uses a huge scythe in combat and can summon Valkyries with magical music, via her scythe that she plays like a flute. At first she was kiddnapped and tricked and was evil. Killing everyone with sadness in her. After meeting theother characters of good, she becomes their friend and changes.
- Ocarina- Sizer's servant who often takes the form of a bird with a scar over her right eye. However, she is actually Oboe's daughter and her true form is that of a winged woman. She was Sizer's only companion when she was growing up, taking care of her after every battle, and comforting her when she was lonely and sad.
- Queen Horn- The Queen of Sforzando and Flute's true mother. She is also the mother of Lute, the Demon of Sforzando who is now under the control of Hell King Bass, whom till this day, she mourns his loss.
- Clarinet- A 20-something man with long, golden hair who is the High Priest and Commander of the Magic Corps. He is currently the strongest magic user in the world, second only to the power of the Sforzando family lineage.
- Percus- One of Queen Horn's assistants. He's an old man who is not very trusting of Hamel and is a very skilled magician.
- King of Sforzando- The old deceased king a Sforzando that only appears around 3 times in Lute's revealing past. He is used as a tension breaker because no one really remembers that he's the king. Even both Lute and Queen Horn forget. For some reason he dies in a funny way and is ignored a lot. And I mean A LOT.
- Cornet- Clari's younger sister. In the manga she has a huge crush on Hamel and tries anything and everything to get Flute out of her way as a romantic rival. She is also spoiled rotten by Clari. Later in the manga during an unfortunate accident with a spell, all intention of evil go away and leaves Flute alone...kinda.
- Lute- Flute's older brother. He once was called the Demon of Sforzando and was greatly feared by all the mazoku and admired and loved by all the people.
The demon army that wishes to revive Demon King Chestra by opening Pandora's Box. Vulnerable to over-use of internal energy, can replenish thus by attacking living beings.
- Hell King Bass- The head general of the demon armies and leader of the army of the undead. All that remains of him is his head, but he has possessed the body of Flute's brother Lute.
- Dragon King Drum- The head of the Dragon Army who is an ogre-like monster with two heads. He was eventually killed during the invasion on Sforzando.
- Warrior King Guitar- The 4th general of Hameln is a centaurian dog creature: his upper half is an anthropomorphic dog, and his lower half is a hooved greyhound.
- Orgel- (Hell's Clown) His appearance is that of a masked jester with a very exaggerated costume. He is one of Bass' special servants in the Undead Army. His specialty is his icunning and mastery of powerful illusions.
- Vocal- A wild, arrogant demon who rebelled against Chestra's authority. He was imprisoned for five-hundred years due to his actions, but is later released so he can provoke Hamel to awaken Chestra.
- Pick - A minor character, Pick was once the 3rd warlord of Hameln and commander of the Fiend Army. Easily killed by Lute when he was still good in chapter 106 or 107 revealing Lute's sad past and ending.
- Demon King Chestra- The pun on his name comes from the Japanese word for "king", being "ou". Hence, "Ou Chestra" (Orchestra). He is Hamel and Sizer's father, and as his title suggests, he is the king of the demons.
- Pandora - The woman who opened a box that released misery into the world. As a result, the box was named "Pandora's Box". She was a kind and caring woman who loved her children, Hamel and Sizer. In fact, it was for them she opened the box, as they were being held hostage and she had no other choice.
- Vi Olin (Introduced in Movement 26) - The inventor who made Hamel's giant magical violin, and the creator of Pandora's box in which was sealed the Demon King Chestra and his minions. He also created the Sword That Can Cut Through Anything, which ironically was what was used to cut through the lock on Pandora's box. In chapter 128, it is revealed that he is Sizer's and Hamel's grandfather, the father of Pandora. Also, it is revealed that he is a white angel, therefore explaining Sizer's white wings.
Violinist of Hameln: Shchelkunchik
The sequel. The plot takes place 20 years after the war against the Mazoku. It features the children of protagonists of Violinist of Hameln.
- Shchel - A boy whom Clari saved 10 years after the war. He enters Sforzando's School of Magic hoping to be a magician just like the Clari. He seems to hiding dark secrets abouts his body. It seems he cannot wield magic without Piroro's consent. The secret concerning his body may be connected with the dark faries.
- Piroro - A fairy accompanying Shchel. She seems to detest Great. It seems that she was forcefully taken from her home shortly before meeting and accompanying Shchel.
- Great - Hamel and Flute's son, who seems to take after his father in both looks and personality. He can play the violin with magic music like his father, though not yet as good as Hamel. He too, had entered Sforzando's School of Magic. He has inherited Demon King Chestra's blood which makes other demons bow to him out of respect. This leads to great to have a childhood similar to Hamel's. Although he seems to carry a cold attitude towards his family and strangers, he does it from fear of hurting them. He opens up shortly after meeting Shchel.
- Lute - Hamel and Flute's son, Great's older brother. He resembles Flute's brother, Lute. He is also the Captain of the Kuu Crusaders, the group of strongest cadets in the Magicorps. When Lute tries to help Shchel with his magic, Lute is one of the first to notice the strange and dark aura surrounding Shchel.
- Gospel - A classmate of Shchel and Great, a shaman from the ghost country, Dotar. He uses skulls.
- Count Ridge - A classmate of Shchel and Great, from a family of merchants rumoured to be vampire aristocrats.
- Bonshou Rei - A classmate of Shchel and Great, he looks like a Jiang Shi. He has a divine beast: a tiger called Kayagumu. After he is beat up by Great he leaves the school and returns his country.
- Tinor Sax Bone - A classmate of Shchel and Great, a swordsman from Dal Segno. He can summons demon dogs from his black sword. He blames the Mazoku blood for the handicapping of his father and the strange illness that his mother carries.(He may be the son of Trom Bone and Corrnet because his family name).
- Biyorne and Blanche - Classmates of Shchel and Great, a pair of warrior sisters known as the String Sisters. Blanche seems to have a crush on Shchel. Biyorne is responsible for looking out for her sister's safety. Biyorne wields an enormous axe while Blanche wields an enormous hammer.
- Ocarina - Raiel and Sizer's daughter. She can play the flute to summon small Valkyries. She is also Great's and Lute's cousin. It seems that her growth is accelerated because of the inherited angel blood from her mother.
- Harmony - A girl with butterfly wings and a double-edged scythe. She is currently a member of the Fairy kingdom's Poison Moths. Their insignia is carved on the top of her scythe. She may be Shchel's sister. She carries both Shchel's and her mother's ring.
- Snow Drop Kiy