|Harry Potter she isn't...|
Zero no Tsukamia, or The Familiar of Zero, billed as a romantic comity, shown in three parts (or seasons, with a fourth one threatened) takes place on a sword and sorcery world where, in the coveted Tristain Academy of Magic, young snobby aristocrats come to train in the magical arts. We first discover a young girl named Louise, who is know as "Louise the Zero" mockingly by the other students, because that is her success rate with magic. As a second year student, Louise, along with her classmates, get to summon there wizard familiar, an animal or monster that serves there wizard faithfully. Louise is the last to go, and tries for a very powerful familiar, but gets instead a young boy named Saito, who comes from our world, and the country of Japan. With a kiss to seal the deal, Saito becomes Louise's familiar, and because he is a commoner, get beaten and verbally abused by Louise as she treats the young man like her personal slave, worse than an animal. Out of this setup, somehow romance buds between the two.
This title came highly recommended but I thought it mostly stunk. On the plus side, the Harem and fan service elements where kept to a minimum, and the main story, when you where allowed the privilege of seeing one, was just a bit better than mediocre . There where other characters with there own side story, that was better than the main one between Saito and Louise.
This is what I didn't like. First, the repetition of the only real joke in this series, was both depressing and unfunny, to say the least. The only joke I saw in this "romantic comedy" was went Saito was caught looking at or thinking about, another girl. Louise then would get mad, call him a dog, and whip him half to death. If you think this is funny and wish to see this 100 or more times over, get this series. It was truly the only source of humor in this series, as all other attempts at humor fell short. This alone would be a deal killer for me.
As for the romance, do you really want to see one between a girl who looks like she is 10 and a boy who looks like a 12 year old? Come to think of it, do you really want to see this young man fondle her tiny panties as he washes them? Unless your a pedophile, I'd think the answer would be no. And though the young male lead was at least like-able and charming, the female lead was the exact opposite. She was so despicable and vile I would find myself cheering for those who belittled her (almost in the same way you'd get watching the school bully getting beat up), as well as her older sister who pushed her around "for her own good". To make things better for Saito and give Louise a chance to fly off the handle more often, Saito has his own mini harem going, one is a school maid named Siesta, a nice sweet innocent young lady who fell in love with Saito after he saves her from a terrible fate. The other is a well endowed student named Kirche who is a rival of Louise, and wants Saito both to make Louise mad and the fact he is "forbidden fruit", though this, the only source of real fan service in this series, can have any man she desires. Both are obviously a better choice for young Saito, but no, he wants nasty Louise, because he is her familiar, and with the special power he gets from that fact, feels duty bound to love and protect her, despite the constant repetitious verbal and physical abuse she heaps on him. I pity the fool. Or should I say, dumbass.
I think that in itself, what I have given you so far would be enough to keep you away from this series, but there is more. The dialog was thin, and character development was almost non-existent, save for a special power being gained here and there. The romance story was interwoven badly with the main plot and some side stories. I won't spoil them should you decide to get this series, but I can say none of them where terribly interesting or original. The battles, or should I say few of them when they happened, where too short and the choreography was poor and sloppy. The rivals they faced, and allies they made, where all old archetypes we have seen 1000 times, nothing original or funny about any of them. The drawing stile of the anime was par at best. The series as a whole I thought was very choppy, scatterbrained and simplistic. I gave it one star, there where a few elements to this series I liked, though overall the entertainment value was poor.