If you read my article on A Sister’s All You Need, then you’ll remember a brief reference to a light novel called Zero No Tsukaima being 11 years old. Zero No Tsukaima or The Familiar of Zero is an anime adapted in ’06 of a story about a seemingly inept mage called Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière and her “familiar” Saito Hiraga. The show has a number of tropes that weren’t quite cliche back in the day but will likely sound familiar (haha, puns) to you including but not limited to: travel of a modern day Japanese boy to a fantasy world with magic, magical OP tsundere girl, hidden OP trait the boy adopts, and a harem of other women who anger the tsundere when they attend/pay attention to the main character. However this show manages to pull it together in a fun and entertaining fashion.
So the show stars two individuals, Saito and Louise the Zero, called that due to the fact that every time she attempts to utilize magic, it explodes in her face. Literally. This comes to an interesting halt upon the summoning ceremony where every second year at the Tristain Academy of Magic summons their familiar, who serves as their magical companion for life. Common familiars are spriggans, salamanders, dragons, and even giant moles; however never humanoids, and especially not another human. Enter Saito, who is pulled from his home to another world. The first season of the four (which is the focus of this article) have Saito and Louise constantly fighting with her asserting dominance over him like a dog, often whipping him with a riding crop, forcing him to sleep on a stack of hay, and to do menial chores such as laundry and the like. They find themselves uncovering plots and conspiracies and the true power of the two of them is revealed. The reason for Louise’s inability to use any of the four elemental powers is because she is a Void Mage. As such, she is too powerful to use standard magic, hence it’s explosive tendencies. Saito however turns out to be a Gandalfr and obtains the ability to instantly master any weapon. This may sound silly when seeing him using an old sword (which turns out to be magical and able to talk to him). However it turns out this power is rather vague at times as to “weapon,” and while his power doesn’t extend to cosmetic weapons (such as a highly ornate weapon) it does extend to other things, but more on that later.
So plot wise we have a rather complex political climate not quite on the G.R.R. Martin level of complexity but still rather interesting. For the first season, we follow the cast as they have adventures in Tristain, although there are some acts of espionage performed in the country of Albion, currently in a state of civil war, and political marriage agreements between the princess of Tristain and the Emperor of Germania. This culminates in the declaration of war between Tristain and Albion, with Albion invading with dragon squadrons. If you recall the earlier statement about Saito and weapons, I mentioned his power as a Gandalfr and with that in mind, one of the other characters, Siesta, takes him to find a “dragon” her family kept as an heirloom. Turns out Siesta is part Japanese, and her grand-father was a pilot in World War 2. That dragon? An A6M Zero Fighter, the primary long range fighter craft utilized by the Imperial Japanese Army, aka a weapon. So in a twist that’s almost comically pants-on-head, Saito flies into battle instead of using the fighter to fly through a portal and return home and proceeds to curb stomp the dragons, which can neither match the Zero’s speed and maneuverability, nor stand up to it’s 13.2 mm Type 3 machine guns firing 800 rounds per minute at a velocity of 795 m/second.
In the end the invasion is repelled and the supporting cast along with Louise and Saito are awarded medals by the princess much like the ending of A New Hope. This show holds a special place in my heart and it really made me sad to find out there was a gap between season 3 and 4 because the author Noboru Yamaguchi had late stage cancer and he aimed at completing his work before he passed. Unfortunately the late Mr. Yamaguchi was unable to complete this but had enabled a successor to complete the novels via notes much as G.R.R. Martin has planned to do in the case of his untimely passing. Due to a number of reasons I’ve held off on watching the last season but I may go back and just marathon it all for good measure. It’s a funny story and I think it worth watching but if you are bored of shows such as Re:Zero, Konosuba, or other in another world shows, this probably won’t do it for you. For it’s time it had an interesting premise and I really enjoyed it. Did you ever watch/read Zero No Tsukaima over a decade ago? Do you still laugh at Rie Kugimiya’s amazing voice work? Let me know in a comment and leave a like and subscribe if you enjoyed the article and want more!