Sunday, October 29, 2006

Anime Review: Zero no Tsukaima

Title: Zero's Familiar / Zero no Tsukaima / ゼロの使い魔
Anime Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Harem, Romance
Date of Airing: 2nd July 2006
Date Concluded: 24th September 2006
No. of Episodes: 13
No. of Episodes Watched: 13

"Pink haired Potter?"

Well, I must say that exams and a confounded PC do not make for a particularly generous setting for anime watching/downloading or blogging. The latter of which I very much regret...my blog's kinda grown on me, so it's an injustice that it has to lie dormant for so long. =( After around 3 weeks of getting the final 5 episodes of Zero no Tsukaima (henceforth ZnT), I've finally managed to finish the damn series. Pathetic? Hell yeah! ;)

So, here's my review on it. I've decided to change the format of the review and make it slightly more ordered and concise (I hope) for the purposes of:
i) Easier reading
ii) Less yapping from me = less typing ^^
So, read on!

Plot Synopsis:
Well, you could probably get this on ANN or AniDB, but it's required for a review, okay? =P So, we have Louise Francoise de la Valliere of Tristein Magic Academy (or Hogwarts if you so please), or better known as Louise the Zero, so named due to her lack of successes in casting any sort of magic spell. The students at the academy have a familiar summoning ceremony which she must attend. At the ritual, lo and behold, Louise manages to defy the odds and summon a familiar. Only her familiar turns out to be Hiraga Saito, normal teenage boy from Japan. He's stuck here, and she's stuck with him, so it begins.

Zero no TsukaimaLouise the Zero, and aptly named too.

Setting/Story:
At first glance, just like I mentioned some time ago in first impressions, the setting of the anime appears to be very much a rip-off of Harry Potter's famed Hogwarts. 2nd and 3rd glances don't do much to change my view, so yes, it is somewhat a Harry Potter rip-off, but not in a bad way. The world is always blindingly colourful (Louise's pink hair included) and makes for pleasant viewing throughout the 13 episode series. The story is pretty much the synopsis, except that Saito finds that he's pretty attractive to a few girls in school, making it a little harem-y. He's also trying to find a way back to Japan, which he does, in a way. There are a few twists, but I don't think the producers ever meant it to exercise your brain.
Score: 6/10

Characters:
Saito's your stereotypical, likeable Japanese boy, voiced by Hino Satoshi who also did Yuuji in Shakugan no Shana (SnS). And Louise is rather cute, discounting all her temper flares and her 'dog-treatment' of Saito. Hmm...actually that's rather cute too. Her seiyuu is Kugimiya Rie, who was Shana in SnS. See what I'm getting at? The problem with me was that I've seen SnS, so watching the pair of Saito and Louise in ZnT was like watching brighter, more colourful versions of Yuuji and Shana in SnS. You see, SnS is a pretty nice show, with a rather dark story etc. etc. (if you haven't watched it, go see for yourself), so their very similar portrayal of the characters in both shows (Shana & Louise get angry alot/Yuuji & Saito are innocently dumb alot) kinda detracted from the experience for me. That's not to say they did a bad job, on the contrary, in fact. Just try not to watch the 2 animes too closely together. The rest of the cast, from Henrietta to Kirche are all what you would expect from an anime of this sort, but they play their parts well enough. I paticularly liked watching Guiche squirm in the face of Montmorency or any slightly threatening situation, lol. Stale roles, with a rather entertaining execution keeps things interesting.
Score: 7/10

Zero no TsukaimaShana with pink hair...deja vu.

Zero no TsukaimaSaito and Guiche.

Animation:
Animation is very nice. Though if colours and happy thoughts aren't your cup of tea, then this may disappoint. Think Negima and not Trinity Blood/Blood+. Overall, I thought the animation pretty much suited the show perfectly.
Score: 7/10

Music:
As with most animes, the opening and ending songs are catchy tunes sung by women with dog-whistle octaves in their vocal range. Okay, I'm kidding. But, the songs are nothing to shout about and I really didn't like Kugimiya Rie's execution of the end song 'The Real Feeling'. Cringe-inducing. Music in the show is in the same department as the animation, happy and colourful.
Score: 5/10

Zero no TsukaimaMetal polish does wonders on rust.

Verdict:
Harem, love, and some heroics in Hogwarts Academy, Nagoya, Japan. Lol. This was like ordering a huge burger and not being able to finish it. The show started out really well to me, but around the 3/4 mark, the plot just became a bit tired, and you can really see what's going to happen next. But, it's still a burger I managed to munch down.

Zero no TsukaimaPrincess Henrietta, dressed to kill, literally.

Worth Your Time?
Well, if you're the "I download all anime, new or old!" kind of person, then why even read this? If you're not though, then yes, it's worth your time and bandwidth (or money if you want). However, I wouldn't recommend it to people who only watch Gundam, Naruto, Bleach and nothing else. ^^

Overall Score:

If You Liked This, You May Like:
Love Hina, Tonagura!, Inukami!, REC

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5 comments:

Hangmen said...

What makes ZnT superior than other animes which shares similar genres with it is how GAR Saito is when it comes to standing up on his own and fighting back, whereas other similar animes tend to make the male protagonist annoyingly weak, wimpy and stupid. It's rare to see a male protagonist in such animes showing a strong will to fight and being a bit manipulative and deceptive at times.

And hey, any anime where the bitchy tsundere chick gets a healthy bitchslap and a bootcamp lecture from the male protagonist and then ended up shyfully offering him a chance to dance with her is instant win in my book.

Anonymous said...

www.zero-tsukaima.135.it

this is fist italian web site of this anime ^_*

Anonymous said...

personally i very much enjoyed this anime even though i usually hate harems probably coz the harem guy is such a goddamn wimp but i raher enjoyed this :) i cant wait to start watching the second season :D

Anonymous said...

The anime is terrible compared to the source material, especially past season one. Read the manga, or better yet, the light novels. It's a classic example of what happens when you focus on (poorly done) fanservice over substance, and it's almost painful to watch.

They butcher the characters (even Saito), the plot, and the pacing. They manage to lose any of the "epic" feel that the light novels try so hard to instill. There is really very little left in the anime to praise, other than the little bits of the original plot they left in.

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