Familiar Of Zero (Season 1) Review

Familiar of Zero was recommended to me by a friend who adores it and Slacker, who wants me to get off my lazy ass and write something. It’s classified as a romantic comedy, though it starts out much more a comedy than a romance, with the humor seeming to be mostly slapstick. I had to download another media player just to watch the season which was more troublesome than finding and taking all the pictures in this post.

So was it worth it?

Familiar of Zero is about Lousie “the zero” Valliere, a magician with no magical talent, who accidentally summons Saito Hiraga from Earth to be her Familiar, something similar to a personal minion. Usually Familiars are things like Gryphons or Dragons but it is assumed since Lousie is so bad at magic (hence the name “zero”) that she summoned Saito.

Lousie and Saito

Embarrassed by Saito, Louise often abuses him by making him sleep on the floor and beating him with a riding crop (a short whip). It also doesn’t help that Saito disagrees with the discrimination of the magicians, called Nobles, against normal people, called peasants, which lands him in trouble with Louise very often.

Ouch

As a Familiar, Saito was granted the ability to be masterful any weapon once he touches it, using a sword most of the time. He is kind, helpful and strong willed, willing to fight to protect those he cares about, but he’s also easily distracted by girl’s assets. This makes him the love interest of a kind peasant maid and a slutty flame mage called Kirche. It also results in quite abit of annoying fanservice

Saito's on a plane

Louise is very prideful and forceful tsundere, refusing to acknowledge Saito as an equal by essentially treating him like her servant, but inside she is sweet and vulnerable.

Tsun mode deactivated

With all that, naturally, I thought the anime would be centered about the misadventures of Louise and Saito in the magical academy that Louise attends with much slapstick humor injected into the mix. For the most part, this is true, with most of the funny scenes being good enough to make me facepalm at the epic awkwardness, though don’t expect those in scenes every episode.

Along the way Saito finds out that normal items from Earth exist in the magic world and are considered rare treasures. By pursuing a legend about such a relic, (minor spoiler) Saito finds a way for him to return to Earth.

The Staff of Destruction, A.K.A Rawkit Lawnchair (read it aloud)

At the same time, a secret organisation is plotting to destroy the country that the academy is in through the manipulation of another country, though their motives are unknown at the end of the season.

Before you think that the plot sounds decent, I have to tell you that every plot point feels cliche. Every episode’s scope is a new problem which is solved by the end of the episode. Not to mention that you can see every plot turn a mile away and the ones you don’t see are resolved by the characters so easily that it makes the story feel as deep as a puddle in a desert. Even the mystery surrounding the Familiar mark on Saito didn’t capture my interest.

The only thing that has enough continuity to get me through the 13 episodes is the relationship between Louise and Saito. Apparently, Lousie is voiced by a very good tsundere voice actress. That coupled with Louise’s cute yet proud personality makes a pretty entertaining character. Saito on the other hand is a very simple character, expressing himself with ease. Because of this, the relationship between the two seems very genuine and makes me want to see how it develops episode by episode.

Tsundere for "I like you"

Familiar of Zero is moderately funny and has a convincing romantic relationship at its core, so it succeeds at being a romantic comedy. But it tries to be more and doesn’t succeed. With better storytelling, I think it could have turned out to be an anime that really can make you laugh and cry like Clannad but instead it tries to have action and fantasy themes in addition to the romance and comedy elements. Those extra themes take up precious time that could be used to increase depth in comedy or romance. This isn’t helped by the already shallow plot and makes the series worse off overall.

I can only imagine that this series is as popular as it is because people like Louise’s moe cute moments.

Tough luck Saito

Still, its better that they succeeded at something rather than failing at everything and this is still the first season, so there’s still hope the next few will be better.

If, by any chance you actually thought I did a decent job, help me out by commenting or liking or something. It really means alot to me =)

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About LessThanFree

Average, lazy guy who loves to game and appreciates anime and movies. Studies on the side.

Posted on December 13, 2011, in Anime, Otaku-ism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I can see what you mean by ZnT being ‘moderately funny’. It indeed had an interesting premise and could have went anywhere, but it unfortunately traversed the path of generic harem/romcom. I’d say ZnT did help reinforce Kugyuu’s tsundere queen status alongside her other series such as HnG, SnS and others, but the series was not really very interesting to me overall. What’s worse — in my opinion — is that it spawned off three more sequels (ZnT F coming soon) which so far has been progressively worse. Louise and Saito’s romance wasn’t getting much progress (unless Saito is secretly a masochist) with the inclusion of all her potential rivals but the latter seasons introduced more to take away from the core romance including the introduction of an elf love rival and the Void element. The Void element also showed a lot of promise in the beginning but turned out to be a little cliche and mediocre by the end of the season.

    That’s just my two cents and random ramblings but nice review and I hope the final season will be more interesting than the previous ones, and also be able to seal their love relationship (or at least bring a harem ending).

    • Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you liked it! Currently I’m watching season 2 and it really feels like Saito is trying to kill himself with the story being even more unfocused, but I’d hate to watch season 4 without watching the previous seasons so I guess I’ll have to persevere…

  2. I was so annoyed by the predictable nature of it all that I refused to watch the second season. There were plot holes that I felt should have been resolved except they seemed to have been forgotten about thoughout each episode. It definitely wasn’t gut busting funny but it had its moments. I actually felt myself feeling bad for Saito. I wanted him to go back home. Enjoyed reading your point of view, I agreed.

  3. I’m happy you enjoyed reading! Thanks for commenting. Well I had to finish the second season in order to get the backstory for season 4 and the plot is just as cliche. Saito also seems to have a death wish because he deliberately fools around with other girls which gets him blown up by Louise. Also there’s more fanservice and some episodes which feel like a total waste of time. Though I did feel for the last episode, until the ending, which could’ve been predicted by any child who has ever watched a Disney movie.

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