Schneider (シュナイダー, Schneider) and Kafk Sunbeam (カフカ・サンビーム, Kafuka Sanbīmu, usually translated as Kafka Sunbeam in the Japanese version) are two characters in the manga and anime series Zatch Bell!, and two of the main protagonists in the series, although Kafk does not appear until midway through the second season. Schneider specializes in Armor Magic.
Schneider, nicknamed Ponygon by Kiyo, is a mamodo who looks like a horse, sounds like a sheep, and acts, for the most part, like a dog. Schneider is seen many times throughout the series following Zatch Bell around, but he was not officially introduced until the episode, "Go for it, Ponygon". Originally Schneider discovers Zatch at the end of his trip in England, but the anime introduced Schneider in Japan earlier to show him off while following him and Kiyo to England to follow with manga continuity. His book owner Kafk is found in episode 58.
When Schneider was two years old, it was shown that he had a difficult time making friends with other mamodo children, because of his belief that his kind, the horse tribe of mamodo, were slaves to other mamodo tribes like the humanoid tribe. This was shown when he witnessed another humanoid mamodo ride on the back of his father during a parade. Because of this, he showed hostility towards anyone who appeared as though they could treat him like a servant and ride on his back; his father paid this no mind, as he figured that Ponygon was too young to understand. His life changed when he met a young Zatch, who interpreted his harsh "Meru meru me" as an offer of friendship, making Zatch Schneider's first friend. At first, Schneider showed no form of kindness towards Zatch, as he did things like ate both their boxed lunches and avoided him whenever possible, but Zatch remained ever confident that Schneider was his friend and his mother continued to encourage him to act nice towards Zatch. One day, while enjoying an outdoor lunch, Schneider's father was bitten by a poisonous snake and was left in a critical condition from its venom. Schneider attempted to get the medicine for the poison, but his father told him to carry Zatch, as he could tell what antidote was needed but he was still too young to talk properly. Schneider expected Zatch to say no due to his harsh treatment of him beforehand, but Zatch agreed without a second thought, shocking Schneider, but making him happy, allowing him to finally consider Zatch a friend. Schneider eventually realized, after seeing the mamodo that rode his father visit him in the hospital, that other mamodo riding on the backs of his tribe was one of the many ways mamodo work together. As he was chosen to participate in the battle for mamodo king, his mother told him that the one thing more important than becoming king was having a friend.
Schneider makes fast friends with Zatch Bell and Tia, but not with Kiyo Takamine. Schneider bites Kiyo's hand when Kiyo and Ponygon first meet. The frayed relationship is further strained when Kiyo sees that Schneider is having difficulty trying to untie his spellbook from a rope net, and decides to help him by cutting the ropes. Schneider becomes angry because his mother had made the rope herself, and now Kiyo had ruined it. Since Schneider can't say anything except "Meru meru me", Kiyo had no idea what he was saying or what he was so upset for. Schneider subsequently beats Kiyo up.
Kiyo later bans Schneider from his house, then went to look for him after his classmates forced him to. After talking with Tia, Kiyo came to realize that Schneider, being on Earth without a book owner, must feel extremely lonely, and the reason he bonded so well with Zatch and the others was because he thought of them as companions and fellow mamodo, and he gets along with Kiyo's classmates because he hoped that maybe one of them would end up being his book owner. Kiyo also comes to see that Schneider only felt hostile towards him because he already had a mamodo, so he found no reason to try to get along with him. When Kiyo finally finds Schneider, he tells Schneider that he could stay with him and Zatch until he finds his book owner.
With the help of Kido and Dr. Riddles Schneider found his human partner, Kafk Sunbeam, in the Mochinoki Town Square, around the time everyone was preparing to fight Lord (aka Zofis) and his army of 1000-year-old mamodo at the Devolo Ruins in South America. However, Schneider refused to fight due to his dislike of conflict. Nonetheless, Schneider joined Zatch, Kiyo, Tia, and Megumi to the Devolo Ruins to battle Zofis. As time passed, Schneider began to suffer from an internal conflict; his fear of fighting and his desire to aid his friends, who were gathering their courage and fighting with all the strength they had while he could only watch and offer little to no help. During the battle with Dalmos, in which Laila betrayed Zofis and offered the group a chance to escape, Schneider hesitated to leave. Kiyo stated that it was fine and he had done enough, understanding that Schneider also disliked Kiyo due to his belief that Kiyo was the one dragging Zatch into battle. After hesitating more, Schneider left, but encountered Sunbeam outside and indicated how he had made his decision to fight. Even though he knew there was no turning back as soon as Sunbeam read the book, Schneider accepted his decision to fight, with no intention to turn back. Eventually, after a hard battle in which Schneider and Sunbeam showed an incredibly strong bond despite having known each other in such a short time, immediately unlocking their second spell and showing perfect coordination between partners. Ponygon then won his first battle against Dalumos. He later supported Zatch in other battles against enemies like Pamoon, Demolto, and even Zofis himself by fighting head-on as well as letting him and Kiyo ride his back.( Possibly implying that he was now friendlier with Kiyo)
In the Faudo Arc Schneider found a rival in Karudio, a horse mamodo like him who had ideals and opinions that completely opposed his. Karudio and his partner were disgusted with mamodo that formed alliances with other mamodo, stating that Schneider had "the stench of other mamodo on him," as opposed to Schneider and Sunbeam, who believed in the limitless power produced by teamwork among allies. Schneider later assisted Zatch in the attack on Faudo, and eventually overcame his differences with Karudio.
Schneider only speaks the phrase "Meru meru me" or a variant thereof; it is Japanese sheep onomatopoeia. Since Schneider cannot not speak in a language the others could understand, Kiymaro couldn't figure out that his name is Schneider, and nicknamed him Ponygon instead. Kiyo decided to call him Ponygon because he's a horse (Uma means horse in Japanese and -gon is a suffix meaning "Monster"). (In the English, he names him Ponygon because he's a Pony, and he wanted him gone.) and When Schneider hears the new name, he went ballistic and beat Kiyo up again, although in later episodes, he seemed to be more used to the name. Recently, Zatch seems to almost remember Schneider's real name after getting his memories back from Zeno, but nonetheless refuses to stop calling him "Ponygon".
In the manga
Schneider is chosen as one of the candidates of the King's Festival, the final event in the battle for king that includes the last 10 mamodo in the Mamodo World. After learning of the king's privelage, the state of the Mamodo World, and the threat posed by Clear Note, Schneider goes to Africa, as recommended by Dufort, the former bookkepper of Zatch's brother Zeno, to build up his animal instincts together with Kafk who is there expanding his company during the ten months he is recuperating after his battle with Zatch, Ashuron, and Brago. While training, Schneider is asked by Dufort to remember the memory he had of when he was two years and four months old, as it would be the key to drawing out his hidden power. The experience of living in the wild and struggling for survival changes both Schneider and Kafk's physical appearance, giving both of them longer, wilder hair as well as a more muscular body and a new spell Shin Shudoruku. After the ten months of training pass for the surviving mamodo, Kiyo and Dufort formulate a plan for defeating Clear, which involves Schneider and Kafk attacking from another direction along with the others: an ambush. However, they later meet with Zatch, Kiyo, Tia, and Megumi as they are in a private jet and are being attacked by "Shin Kuria Seunousu Baadorerugo," one of Clear Note's ultimate spells (the left hand of his "Shin Kuria Seunousu"), and overpowering it in an aerial battle. During the battle, as the skeletal bird begins to gain the advantage with its "disintegration on contact" feature, Kafk reveals that Schneider truly did struggle to stay alive and was kept going by the though of his friend Zatch. Schneider remembered Kafk telling him that no matter how much injury or suffering he went through in his days, in the end he was alive. With help from Zatch and Kiyo, who Schneider placed all his faith in, managed to reunite with his friend. Schneider then aided further by flying Zatch's group halfway around the world, using a function in his armor to fasten everyone onto his back while Tia defended the group with her enhanced defenses. After Tia's book is burned and Brago arrives to battle Clear, he offers to carry Zatch and Kiyo the rest of the way to the battleground, although he appears too tired and beat up to keep going on, as casting the "Shin Shudoruku" spell twice in a row has severely weakened him. Casting "Gou Shudoruku" one final time, Sunbeam asks Schneider to take Zatch and Kiyo the the final battleground while he tearfully asks Megumi to burn his own Mamodo's book, respecting his partner and knowing that he is too tired to fight any longer. As he disappears, Schneider's armor cracks and deteriorates, yet he smiles happily, remembering all the battles that they fought together; Zatch exclaims that he wanted to have a fair fight with Schneider to determine the king, but Schneider continues to smile, happy that Zatch was his friend and that he could be of some use to him. He ranked 4th Place in the fight overall.
After Zatch won the battle and became king of the Mamodo World, Schneider was revived, along with all the other mamodo in the Mamodo World, and given back his enhanced body. He is seen dancing with Zatch as they head off to school (Zatch still calling him Ponygon, and a nearby Tia, who had found out Ponygon's real name, asking if it's all right not to call him Schneider). Like the other mamodo, Schneider was entitled to send a letter and postcard to his former partner, Sunbeam, along with a picture of all the mamodo that participated.
He is voiced by Satomi Koorogi in the original Japanese version and by Dave Wittenberg in the VIZ Media dub, Satomi Koorogi's version was originally the version for the Stonestream Recording Dub he is now voiced by David Stenstrom.
Schneider ranked second in the most recent Shonen Sunday popularity contest in Japan.
Schneider's reader is later revealed to be Kafk Sunbeam (Kafka Sunbeam in the Japanese version), He is a quiet, smart and easy-going man in his early thirties with blond hair, green eyes, and wears a green vest, a white shirt under his vest. He also wears light brown pants and dark brown shoes. Unlike Zatch's other friends, Tia and Kanchome, whose bookkeepers are celebrities, he is an automobile engineer who has come to work from Germany to Japan, similar to Schneider's roaming from England to Japan. Kafk first meets Schneider when a dog runs off with his book. He calms the dog and takes the book and holds on to it until they meet again at the Devolo Ruins and battle Dalmos. It is later revealed that he came to meet Schneider at the request of Dr. Riddles which explains the note left by him telling Kiyo the location of Zofis' ruin-base. Schneider did not want to fight, but Kafk secretly traveled to the Devolo Ruins anyway, believing that Schneider would make the right decision. Although he seems to understand Schneider in his own strange way, he too calls the horse by the name Kiyo had given to him. Schneider then subsequently tries to use body language to prove his name is "Schneider" (physically forming the katakana of his name), but, yet again, no one understands the horse mamodo. During the Faudo arc, he gains a crush on Elle (to Tia and Megumi's embarrassment).
Sunbeam has a philosophy to be a "cool adult," and doing things like abandoning Schneider or his friends tend to go against his principles, quickly earning him the trust and friendship of the others. He likes to use the word "groovy" and uses lingo like "dude", "Rock' n' Roll" and "cool" frequently but says "groovy" more often. When speaking to Dr. Riddles in the Japanese name, instead of referring to him as Nazonazo-hakase (Dr. Nazonazo Hakase), he literally says "Doctor Nazonazo" (ドクトル・ナゾナゾ Dokutoru Nazonazo).
After the battle, it is revealed that he is living in Africa with Elle, presumably as a couple, where they take care of the animals and he continues his work at the car company there, which is doing well. Like all the other partners, he got a postcard from his former partner Ponygon, showing that he is doing well.
He is voiced by Hozumi Gouda in the original Japanese version and by Henry Dittman in the VIZ Media dub, he was voiced by Phillip Avalos but is now voiced by Jonah McGary in the Stonestream Recording Dub.
List of spells
Schneider's fighting ability is his animal instinct. It is not completely developed yet, due to his fear of fighting other mamodo, so he needs more training. Most of Schneider's spells are geared toward releasing his inner animal through special armor that increases his agility and strength. He also has the ability to create armor that not only grants him more power and speed but grants him manipulation of the element of fire.
Description: Schneider receives flame-based armor and can manipulate fire for offensive and defensive purposes. His tail also becomes more like a horse's and gets armor almost everywhere except of the top of his forelegs, muzzle, and his neck
Of all the mamodo with Shin-class spells in the series, Schneider has the fewest spells (Rein may have the same amount of spells as Ponygon but it has never reveled if he has more then 4 spells in the manga).
Schneider also has the distinction of being the final non-humanoid mamodo remaining in the Mamodo Battle.
Ironically for a horse, Ponygon does not like carrots as displayed in various episodes such as in EP043 and EP046.Ponygon's a horse, whenever his spells are used, he transforms into a unicorn or mythical horse.
Whenever Ponygon's 2nd, 3rd, or 4th spell are used, his physical strength is so excellent that he's able to have 3 or 4 of his companions ride on his back, he still (in his normal form) possess enough strength to have Zatch ride on his back.
Of all Playable characters for the video game Zatch Bell! Mamodo Battles, Ponygon is the only one without spells, as he had no partner.