The Familiar of Zero follows the adventures of the protagonists Louise and her familiar Saito. Louise is a second year student at the Tristain Academy of Magic. Louise is terrible at magic, and can never use it the way she wants to, as her attempts of using magic ends up as a general explosion. She is given the nickname “Louise the Zero” by her classmates, due to the inability to use any of the four common magic elements, whereby a mage’s power is determined by the number of elements they can use ranging from a single element, one (dot) to four (square). Early in the school year, the second year students summon their familiars; this is considered a special ritual where a mage summons their eternal protector and partner, which usually is some sort of magical creature. Louise manages to summon a human commoner named Saito Hiraga, leaving her totally humiliated. Due to the sacredness of the ritual, Louise is left with no choice but to reluctantly accept Saito as her familiar. She proceeds to treat Saito as any other familiar only worse, making him sleep on a bed of hay and beats him with a whip for little to no reason, among other things.
Louise and Saito’s relationship develops during the course of the story to the point where they risk their lives to save the other. Though, Saito is usually the one to do so since Louise is almost always the one in danger. Together they face many mysteries and uncover unexpected truths, including the nature of Saito’s mysterious power, and the truth behind Louise’s inability to cast magic.
Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière
Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière is the female protagonist of the series. Although Louise is in her second year at the Tristain Academy of Magic, her magic skills still need a lot of work. Because of this she lacks self-confidence, and her classmates look down on her, calling her “Louise the Zero.” During the ceremony when all second year students summon their familiars, instead of summing a normal familiar like the other students, Louise summons a human from another world, Saito Hiraga.
Saito Hiraga is the male protagonist of the series who was summoned from Earth (specifically Tokyo, Japan) to be Louise’s familiar. At first Louise and Saito did not get along and Louise treated him quite poorly. But as the series progresses, the two eventually come to understand each other and eventually fall in love. When Saito pays any attention to another girl, Louise is quick to punish him.
[Review Begins Here]
So firstly I would like to say that I’m sorry I couldn’t get a review out last week. I was caught up with getting my school grades up, but I won’t have to worry about that for another few weeks. That being said, I will also say that there will be a review over Thanksgiving holiday, but only 1 review over the 2 week Christmas holiday.
So The Familiar of Zero is an action, ecchi, comedy, romance, anime that involves a boy being constantly surrounded by girls of various stereotypes, that all seem to love him, in your typical magical dungeons and dragons-esque world.
Anyways in this world, Slavery is apparently the new big thing, as we find out, when Louise summons Saito to her world and binds him under the “contract of the familiar”. Thus being trapped in this world, he decides to do everything Louise says, because she provides him with food and water. Umm dude? By episode 3 there is basically no security keeping you from running away, and you have a sword and are incredibly talented with it, you know a hot maid girl who would most likely have let you stay with her in her village far away from Louise and her sadism, and have almost no reason to stay. Seriously dude, better things await you then being a bipolar girls’ pet.
This is something I have never understood about homeless people. They decide they’re time would be better spent on the roads with signs, begging for money, when they could easily get a low paying job, buy a tent, a fishing pole, and other survivalist gear, and live like Suguta from Sora no Otoshimono, while you work your way up to buying a house.
Well at the very least I can say that Saito is NOT a Saint Protagonist! (Cue Hallelujah drop-in.) Thus Saito is one of the very few male protagonists in an ecchi anime to earn my Bad-ass Seal Of Approval! (A term blatantly stolen from Angry Joe, but I don’t care.) Saito isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in, even if it means practically defying the belief system of the entire world at the same time.
However there always has to be someone I hate, doesn’t there? Well I suppose hate is kind of a strong word. I don’t hate Louise, but I’m not her biggest fan either. She’s the usual Tsundere type we’ve seen 100 times before in other anime’s, but her “Tsundere-ism” is handled much better here; to an extent.
Shana Nymph Mio Akane Haruna Louise starts out being an all-the-way Tsundere, beginning when she summons Saito. For the first few episodes she is very snotty and rude to him, but I guess that’s just supposed to enforce the fact that she grew up in this social class based society. So for the first few episodes I’m thinking “O.K. this is just Louise growing up, and learning that all human beings should be treated equal, regardless of whether there a peasant or a mage”. And to her credit she does start to mellow out half way through the series, but the writers had to spoil it with the final scene of episode 13. ( No spoilers.) In the very last scene during the credits Louise gets mad after finding Saito talking to Siesta, and proceeds to whip him calling him an animal, so really her character spontaneously reset at the end of the last episode so we could start it all over again in the second season. Joy. Disregarding her distinct lack of lasting character development, I will just say that while we have seen better Tsundere’s before, Louise isn’t a terrible one.
The Op is (like the rest of the show) average. The animations average, the song is average, and I really hate average anime Op’s. Even more than I do horrible Op’s. At least I can make fun of horrible Op’s (see YuruYuri First Impression) ,but all I can say about an average one is that it’s just sort of O.K. This is the part where I would normally get out of this by comparing it to other worse/better Op’s or by talking about what it could have done to be better, but I decided to let you have a small glimpse at how the vast and wonderful brain of the Ultimate Otaku works. You’re welcome.
Now for the overall animation, and I’m going to save myself time by not writing it, and you time by not making a paragraph out of it, is average. I’m beginning to notice a trend here, are you?
And I know this is a kind of petty complaint, but unless you want me to talk some more about how average this show is, I suggest you don’t complain. In the first episode when Saito is summoned, we find out that the people of his new world don’t speak Japanese. We don’t know this, because from the beginning of that episode, everyone had been speaking Japanese. I would have personally preferred it if they had the people from the magical world speaking in gibberish (or at least another language) for the first half of the episode with Japanese subtitles for the original audience, then switching it all over to Japanese once Saito learns the language.
I bring that up because I spent the next 5 minutes not really watching the show, but instead thinking about how cool it would have been if they had done that. Would it have really been that hard to tell the seiyū’s “O.K. now just speak gibberish in this tone of voice.” and then just put subtitles in? I can do it, watch.
djfea djnfkdjd frrtituwow irti eirwier;’ejfj dkknf<.>
(Subtitles: Watch Sora no Otoshimono!)
(The pun works better with video reviews, but I don’t care.)
So in final, while The Familiar Of Zero isn’t groundbreaking, it is a fairly enjoyable watch. Not awful, but not near the God-like level of Sora no Otoshimono. Louise can get really annoying, but Saito is her saving grace. The animation is decent, but it’s not Seitokai Yakuindomo. (This is that “Comparing it to other, better things” part I was talking about before). It has a well written, yet clichéd story and setting. But that’s enough for me to heartily recommend it. And remember, you can email in recommend anime for future reviews, by mailing your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Next Week: Fairy Tail (Season 1)]