Zofis (ゾフィス, Zofisu, usually translated as "Zophise" in the Japanese version) and Koko (ココ, Koko) are characters in the anime and manga series Zatch Bell!, known in Japan as Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, and are the major villians in the Ancient Mamodo Arc, as well as one of the first major villain teams in the story. While Zofis is skilled in various non-verbal magic like controlling people's hearts, his main type of magic is Explosion Magic, attacking enemies with explosive energy.
Their initial appearance is during one of Sherry's flashbacks, but they make their first in-person appearance in the Ancient Mamodo Arc, as the main antagonists. Zofis is a heartless, extremely powerful and dangerous Mamodo who wants to become king at any cost, and likes to see other people suffer, as seen when he tortured Sherry with her dark past with Koko's actions. For an unknown reason, Zofis wants to prove that he's stronger than Brago, even if the evil Mamodo is cheating in the battle.
Koko is a teenager who always was discriminated against by other people for being poor. Sherry has became her best friend because she saved the rich teenager from the death and gave her a reason to keep living while they were children. However, when Zofis manipulated Koko's heart to help him on the Mamodo Battle, Sherry entered the battle with the sole intention of rescuing her.
He was introduced in the series under the alias Milordo-Z (ロード Rōdo, "Lord" in Japanese) and his real name Zofis was revealed later in the series. Zofis is a heartless, evil mamodo who desires to become king of the Mamodo World and rule with an iron fist. To this end, he is willing to manipulate the hearts and minds of others through their desires, sadness, or fears, including his human partner, in order to gain the power necessary to crush all who stand in his way. However, it is also seen that he takes a certain sadistic pleasure in the misery of others, as shown from how he laughed at Sherry's pain and stated that he always smiled at the destruction of a human's heart. He is also seen as somewhat of a genius and master tactician, as he was able to effectively lead the army of Ancient Mamodo that he assembled, as well as create the mysterious Stone of Moonlight to enhance his heart-controlling power. In reality, despite his tremendous power, Zofis is really nothing more than a coward who flaunts his power in order to act superior to others and uses those he manipulates into fighting his own battles for him, in return granting them whatever they desire, and trembles in fear whenever someone stronger appeared before him; this fact is shown when Brago threatened him as to whether or not he wanted to live in fear of him forever.
Zofis' gender was originally questioned due to the Japanese language not having specific pronouns for gender. But in an interview, creator Makoto Raiku has confirmed that Zofis was always intended to be male. In the English dub of Zatch Bell!, Zofis is referred to as a male.
"This is an enjoyable game - manipulating the human heart."
—Zofis, while speaking to Sherry about Koko and the battle
Zofis first met Koko at her village, right before the day that her acceptance letter to a local, prestigious university arrived. He told her about the battle for Mamodo King and offered the book to her as his partner, but she refused his offer, as she wasn't interested in power or glory. Zofis then used her hidden pain and suffering to brainwash her and turn her into the ideal partner for him: one that enjoyed others' pain as much as he did. Together, they burned down Koko's village, drawing Sherry's attention. She immediately blamed Zofis for the change in her best friend, but Zofis merely explained that all he did was free her heart and allow the misery she always felt to surface, permitting Koko to take pleasure in others' pain, and that it wasn't difficult to do with his powers. He also explained that was trying to become king of the Mamodo World and that he needed Koko for the battle, which he explained to Sherry. After that, they tried to eliminate her by launching a Radom spell at her, then fled without paying attention to the immediate arrival of Brago.
Ancient Mamodo Arc
"They're merely pawns in this game. They have no control over what they're doing - they're merely our minions."
—Zofis while speaking to Zatch and Kiyo regarding the Ancient Mamodo.
Months after the aforementioned incident, Zofis appeared again, under the alias of a Mamodo named Milordo-Z (Lord in the Japanese version) and was collecting mysterious Stone Tablets from around the world with the help of a new subordinate of his: the frog mamodo Byonko. He had received word of a powerful team, Zatch Bell and Kiyo Takamine, and figured that they could be of use to him. So he set up a masquerade ball and hypnotized Suzy into delivering the invitation; at the ball, he tried to recruit Zatch (whom Zofis referred to as "Lightning Blonde") and Kiyo as their allies by lying to them, saying that they too believed that the Mamodo who won the battle and became king should be good and noble of heart, but Zatch and Kiyo refused the offer upon seeing that the Mamodo and partners that were with him were being manipulated, just as Suzy was when she offered the invitation. After seeing that they wouldn't help and assuming that they had overestimated them, Zofis fled and attempted to get rid of Zatch and Kiyo, but failed.
Later, Zofis was introduced to Penny by Byonko after her battle with Zatch, and was told the truth behind Zofis's scheme: the stone tablets held within them the candidates of the battle for Mamodo King from 1000 years ago who were defeated and left imprisoned in the tablets for a thousand years up to the current point in time. He explained that he researched each of the battles and learned that all of the mamodo were defeated by the same opponent (Goren of the Stone) and the same spell without their books being burned, and were still alive despite being trapped. After being questioned by Penny, he also explained that because they were trapped for so long, unable to die, live in the human world, or return to the Mamodo World for a thousand years, they were obviously angry and willing to vent that anger and hatred on any Mamodo they were told to as retribution for their imprisonment, and that Penny was there because Zofis was looking for current Mamodo comrades that could relay his orders to the Ancient Mamodo and keep them in line, and Penny and Byonko fit the description. With everything said, he used his special creation – The Moonlight Stone, a stone crafted with magical properties that emitted a glow similar to the human world's moonlight – to free the Ancient Mamodo from their stone prisons, and Penny accepted his offer.
Following their release, Zofis learned the names and birthplaces of the Ancient Mamodo's original human partners, and sent Byonko to their homelands in order to locate their descendants. Zofis captured every person he could find that the spellbooks reacted to and locked them away, and then performed experiments on them, quickly discovering that even though they were descendants, they couldn't read the books because the wavelengths of the humans' hearts and those of the spellbooks weren't compatible with each other. So Zofis used his manipulative powers to alter the hearts and minds of the humans, matching the wavelengths of their hearts with those of the books, and in the process, erased all of the humans' emotions except their anger and their will to fight, turning them into perfect fighting machines that could unleash all the power the Ancient Mamodo needed to unleash their anger.
Koko is an 18-year old poor girl and the Book Keeper of the Mamodo Zofis. Koko is a warm-hearted person and Sherry Belmont’s best friend since childhood.
"If you die now, what'll happen to your happiness when you're older!? It may be painful right now... it might feel like the inside of a pitch black tunnel... but you must keep walking and look for the light! Isn't that right? Every tunnel has an exit, right? That's why as long as you keep trying, you'll eventually find the light! That's why you can't die; if you die now, you won't be able to find that happiness when you're older!"
—Koko telling Sherry not to give up on life.
When Sherry suffered heavy abuse from her strict mother and attempted suicide because of it by jumping off a bridge during a rainstorm, Koko saved her life by jumping into the river and pulling Sherry out. Koko then gave Sherry the will to live on when she told her to not throw her life away when times were harsh because she would never find the happiness waiting for her when she got older if she did, and that there was always light at the end of the darkness. From then on, the two were best friends to each other, vowing that someday they would both find happiness in life.
Koko and Sherry managed to hold close to their friendship even with the trials of their separate lives over the years. However, throughout her life, Koko was the target of immensely harsh treatment from her fellow villagers due to her financial status; because she was poor, her family was forced to steal in order to gain the little food and comfort they had, and Koko herself was labeled as a thief because of it, even though she was innocent. Realizing that she would never be worthy in their eyes, Koko chose not to give in to despair and focus all of her energy into her work and studying for school.
"Sherry, you must not stand in my way because if you do, I will destroy you. I'm telling you, I won't lose this power!"
—Koko, brainwashed by Zofis.
When Koko's efforts were finally recognized and granted her entry into a prestigious college, Zofis appeared before her. He told her about the battle for Mamodo King, and offered to help her get revenge on the city where she suffered in return for her assistance in the battle. However, Koko, being the gentle person she was, refused to join Zofis in battle, as she was incapable of hurting others. With this, Zofis unleashed his manipulative powers in order to control Koko's mind by bringing all of her painful memories to the forefront and transform her once warm heart into a cold one; with this, the once-kind Koko unwittingly teamed up with Zofis, now just as cruel as him.
Koko's first act of evil was using her spellbook to take revenge on everyone who has ever been cruel to her by destroying her own village. In the early stage of Zofis's control over Koko, Koko displayed a degree of insanity, as she could do nothing but smile and laugh over her newly acquired "power" and at the destruction of her town, and the only thing her mind was focused on was avenging herself for all the cruelty she suffered throughout her life.
When Sherry appeared before her and tried talking with her, Koko stated that as long as she had the power Zofis gave her, her old dreams of a better life no longer mattered, as she could now take the happiness she wanted by eliminating those who mocked her and that if Sherry stood in her way, she would share the same fate. After a failed attempt on Sherry's life, Zofis took Koko with him to aid him in his plot to become Mamodo King; from then on, Sherry's main purpose was is to find Koko and defeat Zofis, so Koko could be released from Zofis' mind control powers and turn back into the friend that Sherry once knew.
Ancient Mamodo Arc
"Hurting those who are weak, and destroying that which is beautiful...is so enjoyable."
—Koko, during her battle with Sherry.
Koko appeared again months after the incident along with Zofis (disguised as Milordo-Z) collecting the stone tablets that held within them the Ancient Mamodo, as well as present-day Mamodo to lead them. At this time, Koko appeared to act more in control compared to when she was first brainwashed, but because Zofis's control on her was still in effect, Koko was completely coldhearted; she continuously supported Zofis in his plot to use the Ancient Mamodo to eliminate the remaining competitors in the present-day battle for king, usually by hiding in the shadows while unleashing Zofis's spells on their enemies. She also received new clothes that reflected the lavish lifestyle she wished to lead. Eventually, she encountered Sherry again, and explained that Zofis wasn't controlling her heart in order to make her do bad things, but instead she performed those cruel actions of her own free will and that she enjoyed being with Zofis, because he gave her a chance to change and become the person she really was. Koko revealed to Sherry that for all the time they knew each other, no bond of friendship ever existed between the two of them, that Koko always hated Sherry because of their opposing positions in life - Koko being poor and Sherry being rich. To compensate for this, Koko continuously sought out her own special talent, something that she could always beat Sherry at, but Sherry always proved to be better than Koko in whatever activity they performed, further increasing Koko's hatred of Sherry and her life. Koko then claims that during Sherry's tenth birthday party, in an attempt to make Sherry miserable, she stole a priceless heirloom necklace and left a clue - Sherry's handkerchief - to make it look like Sherry was responsible; the scheme worked, as the police viewed Sherry as the only suspect, believing her actions to be stemmed from rebellion against her overbearingly strict parents. Sherry, at first, refuses to believe Koko to be responsible for the theft, as the real Koko was incapable of something so evil, but it is proven true when Koko show the necklace, leaving Sherry's spirit broken and Sherry herself unable to cast spells, giving Zofis the advantage.
Sherry continuously tries to deny that Koko stole the necklace and that she had carried a grudge against her for all the time they knew each other, but finds herself less convinced with every second, not knowing what basis she has to say it's a lie. (Zofis is surprised, and mentally reviews the forged necklace to try and remember where he might have erred in it's creation.) As she cries, her tears land on one of her rings, cracking it; this allows her to faintly hear Koko's voice and remember back to her tenth birthday party. Koko gave the ring to Sherry as a present telling her that there is an old legend stating that when people are going through hard times, it was the work of unseeable evil spirits playing tricks on them. The rings, which were carved out of wood and painted, could chase away those evil spirits because it was said that wood had the power to repel them, and the sun and the moon symbols painted on them represented the light of the real sun and moon that would shine on and protect them during hard times. Sherry then realizes that when Koko showed her the necklace, she actually wanted Sherry to look at the earrings she wore, which were created and decorated in the same style as Sherry's rings, the sun and the moon symbols crafted just the same. Sherry then hears the voice of the real Koko, begging Sherry to save her; with this, Sherry becomes free of her doubts and vows to save Koko once again. Despite Koko's harsh words, Sherry is convinced of the real Koko's kindness and eventually wins the battle.
With Zofis's defeat, Koko is reduced to a temporary comatose state, but Zofis laughs, explaining that for his final revenge on Sherry and Brago, Koko will never find happiness. He explained that he implanted a strong darkness in Koko's heart that, when mixed with her painful memories, resulted in the creation of an alternate, fiendish personality for Koko, the one that assisted him for so long. The evil Koko would disappear when Zofis's book was burned, and Koko would return to her original, kind-hearted self; however, because Koko received a special form of mind control that allowed her to retain her free will, she would also retain the memories of her evil self and all the numerous crimes she committed along with Zofis. Because Koko was a gentle person, it was inevitable that when she remembered everything, Koko would be so overcome with guilt that she would eventually lose the will to live on, but after being frightened by Brago, Zofis submitted to Sherry's demands and erased Koko's memories of the battle for Mamodo King.
Koko was then taken to a general hospital in France; after awakening, she was told a cover-up story: that when her village was attacked by an evil person, she fainted from shock and was left unconscious for several months. Sherry then met with her, and after telling Koko that she submitted a leave of absence and that Koko could go to college when she got out of the hospital, and that the evil person that attacked her village was gone forever, Koko confronted Sherry, asking if Sherry had saved her again. Koko admits that even though she didn't remember anything, she knew that Sherry saved her from the evil one because she had always saved her and helped her through hard times even though Sherry was suffering a great deal more. Koko thanks Sherry for this, and the two friends tearfully embrace each other.
Koko is not seen or mentioned again for the remainder of the series in both the anime and manga, but it is assumed that she is now in college and beginning her new life.
Zofis is seen again in either series; in the Manga, in spite of everything Zatch and the others put him through, he is seen helping him in the final confrontation with Clear Note, proving he puts his own survival before anything else. His last appearance is when he is seen nervously lingering in the doorway of a school in the Mamodo World after seeing that his classmate is Brago. In the Anime, however, he is seen in Ted's flashback, having destroyed Cherish's home, severely hurt her parents, and framed Ted for it out of sheer malice after seeing the two of them, Ted and Cherish, so happy together.
Of the three main antagonists, Zofis is the only one whose book was not burned by Zatch and Kiyo.
In the dub of Episode 67, Kiyo mentioned Zofis's name before Dr. Riddles revealed that Milordo-Z was really Zofis.
In the Faudo Arc, when Cherish/Ted has a flash back to Cherish's parents death in a house accident, she believed it was Ted who caused it. In fact Zofis was the culprit, as he was shown escaping into the shadows.