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The Familiar of Zero
ZnT novel01.png
The Familiar of Zero light novel volume 1
ゼロの使い魔
(Zero no Tsukaima)
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Harem, Romantic comedy
Light novel
Author Noboru Yamaguchi
Illustrator Eiji Usatsuka
Publisher Media Factory
English publisher Canada United States Seven Seas Entertainment
Demographic Male
Original run June 25, 2004 – ongoing
Volumes 18 (+3 side stories)
TV anime
Director Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Studio J.C.Staff
Licensor Canada United States Geneon
Network CTC
Original run July 3, 2006September 25, 2006
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Manga
Author Nana Mochizuki
Publisher Media Factory
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Comic Alive
Original run July 27, 2006 – ongoing
Volumes 6
Game
Zero no Tsukaima: Shōakuma to Shunpū Concerto
Developer Marvelous Interactive
Publisher Marvelous Interactive
Genre Visual novel
Rating Ages 12 and up
Platform PlayStation 2
Released February 15, 2007
TV anime
Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi
Director Yū Kō
Studio J.C.Staff
Network CTC, tvk
Original run July 9, 2007September 24, 2007
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Manga
Zero no Tsukaima Gaiden: Tabatha no Bōken
Author Takuto Kon
Publisher Media Factory
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Comic Alive
Original run October 27, 2007 – ongoing
Volumes 2
TV anime
Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo
Director Yū Kō
Studio J.C.Staff
Network CTC, tvk
English network Singapore Arts Central
Original run July 6, 2008September 21, 2008
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Zero no Tsukaima: Princesses no Rondo
Studio J.C.Staff
Released December 24, 2008
Runtime 24 minutes
Anime and Manga Portal

The Familiar of Zero (ゼロの使い魔 Zero no Tsukaima ?) is a fantasy and comedy-oriented series of Japanese light novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka. The story features several characters from the second year class of a magic academy in a fictional magical world with the main characters being the inept mage Louise and her familiar from Earth, Saito Hiraga. The series has been adapted three times as an anime series. The first season aired in Japan between July and September 2006 produced by the animation studio J.C.Staff and directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki.[1] The second season, entitled Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi, was directed by Yū Kō and aired in Japan between July and September 2007. A third anime adaptation, titled Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo, is produced by J.C.Staff, with Yū Kō as the director, and aired on Japanese television between July and September 2008.[2] A manga version drawn by Nana Mochizuki began serialization in Media Factory's manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive in July 2006.

On April 21, 2007, Geneon announced that they have picked up the English dubbing rights of the first season of the anime series and will be under the title The Familiar of Zero. The announcement was made at the 2007 Anime Boston convention.[3] On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment still retains the license, Funimation Entertainment assumes exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. The Familiar of Zero was one of several titles involved in the deal.[4]

Contents

Plot

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Story

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. In this world, those who can use magic are either mages or nobles.

Louise is terrible at magic, and can never use it the way she wants to. 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 mage), two (line) three (triangle) and 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.

One day Saito challenges a noble who disrespects commoners (Guiche) to a duel. Saito is beaten badly at first, but once a sword was put in Saito's hands, he gained a mysterious power and with this power he is able to defeat the noble in the duel. Louise and Saito's relationship's develop during the course of the story. 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.

Main characters

Louise.
Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière (ルイズ Ruizu ?)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Japanese), Cristina Valenzuela (English)
Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, third daughter of the noble family La Vallière who owns the north-eastern territory of Tristain, is the main female character. She is a second year student at the Tristain Academy of Magic. Louise is a terrible mage who is often scorned by her fellow classmates because every spell she casts fails, so she is nicknamed "Louise the Zero" after her zero success rate and zero attributes. This has led her to be very bitter and occasionally cruel in the way she treats her future familiar Saito.
At first, she treats Saito like a dog, making him lie on a straw bed, and even getting naked in front of him. She used to make him dress her and still makes him wash all of her clothes (including her underwear). As is typical of Rie Kugimiya's voice roles as tsundere type characters, Louise at first hates Saito, but because of various situations, grows fond of him and even harbors feelings of love for him.
From the start of the second season Louise changed the way she treats Saito. When she thinks he has perverted thoughts about other girls, or is jealous of or mad at him, she quickly beats him with a whip or blows him up with her magic, later into the third season getting into the habit of kicking him in the groin from behind on multiple occasions. In one instance within the second season Louise whipped Saito for hours until he had wounds all over his body (Though all had disappeared by the next scene) and later on buys a more brutal type of whip. All this is portrayed in a comical manner as is seen much more as the story progresses.
Later it is revealed that Louise's failure in performing magic of any of the four basic attributes is because, in fact, her magical affinity is with the rare and powerful Void element, hence being known as the Void Wizard since then. This relies, at first, on the cooperation of Saito's ability to trigger it, even though they do not get along.
Saito.
Saito Chevalier de Hiraga (平賀才人 Hiraga Saito ?)
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino (Japanese), Jonathan Meza (English)
Saito Hiraga, the main male character and primary protagonist of the story, is from Earth (specifically Tokyo, Japan). At the time of the summoning, he had just picked up his laptop (on his way home from school in the manga) from getting repaired. A portal of some kind opened in front of him, and, Saito's curiosity getting the better of him, he touched it and was sucked through. At first, Saito had no idea where he was, and was thoroughly disoriented. In the anime, he also could not identify or understand the language the students were speaking, but after Louise attempts to cast a silence spell on him that fails, he can understand and communicate with others as though they were speaking Japanese. At first he wanted to leave the world he was brought to but later just accepts what has happened to him and puts up with all the trials, tribulations, and physical damage inflicted on him by his so called Master Louise.
There are runes inscribed into Saito's hand as a result of his being bound to Louise. They read geboundolf or Gandalfr (ガンダールヴ Gandāruvu ?, actually "Gundolf"). These runes glow when his Gandalfr powers activate. As a Gandalfr, Saito has the ability to use any object that was made with the intent of being used as a weapon at an extremely high level of skill. He also becomes significantly stronger, faster and tougher. This physical augmentation fades more or less instantly when he stops using the power, which can result in him falling unconscious if he had been previously wounded. That he can only use items specifically crafted for "the purpose of weapons" was revealed by Derflinger after a failed attempt to use an ornamental sword. It has not been made clear whether Gandalfr powers could be used in conjunction with purely magical weaponry such as a wand or a staff. He is said to be the left hand of god.
His partner, the talking sword Derflinger, was also the partner of the Gandalfr six thousand years previously. Saito protects Louise with a passion, and it is later shown that he has feelings for her as well, saying that "All that he is good at is protecting her." He is revealed to be a Gandalfr, a familiar who exists to protect a Void Wizard as they cast their spells. He eventually falls in love with Louise, as he later confesses his love for her despite the way she treats him.
Tabitha/Charlotte Helene Orléans de Gallia (タバサ Tabasa ?)
Voiced by: Yuka Inokuchi (Japanese), Jennifer Alyx (English)
Tabitha is a quiet girl who is a classmate and the best friend of Kirche, as well as being Louise's classmate. Throughout the series she is almost always reading a book. Later it was revealed that the name Tabitha is an alias; she is in fact Charlotte, daughter of the King's murdered brother, and the rightful heir to the throne of Gallia. Her specialty is wind magic. She is also a chevalier knight, which is the lowest rank of knight. Her familiar is a nature dragon named Sylphid. She also seems to have feelings for Saito.
Kirche Augusta Frederica Von Anhalt Zerbst (キュルケ Kyuruke ?)
Voiced by: Nanako Inoue (Japanese), Lauren Landa (English)
Louise's well-endowed classmate. Fire magic is her specialty—drawn from her strong passion for love. The territory she is from has long since had a dislike for the La Vallière family. She flirts and has dated (and heavily implied in the anime, slept with) many of the academy boys, but falls in love with Saito after seeing his ability. Often her schemes and aggressive invitations for him to sleep with her leads to him getting punished by his master Louise because of her overwhelming jealousy. Her familiar is a salamander called Flame. She was expelled from her last school and was almost forced into a marriage to an 'old geezer' (her words) by her parents.
Guiche de Gramont (ギーシュ Gīshu ?)
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese), Nicholas Manelick (English)
Guiche is one of Louise's classmate who, despite being in love with Montmorency, is a conceited playboy who cannot decide which girl he really wants. He comes from a royal family. He always carries an artificial rose with him, the stem of which is his wand. He also likes to dote upon his familiar, a giant mole named Belldandy. As his familiar indicates, his specialty is earth magic.
Siesta (シエスタ Shiesuta ?)
Voiced by: Yui Horie (Japanese), Xanthe Huynh (English)
A maid at the academy. She has a crush on Saito, and treats him very kindly. She cares heavily for Saito and is very concerned with his well-being. Although bearing witness to a possible relationship between Saito and Louise and its accompanying sharp up and downs, Siesta (in proper agreement with her actions) believes she can provide Saito a more gentle and caring relationship and love. She has also been commonly aware of Louise's continually abusive treatment of Saito. Although timid, her love for Saito draws her to take increasingly confident actions to win Saito's love, including reticent lying following an unveiled seduction attempt, and donning various costumes to attempt to win Saito's affection. Her recent attempts, although somewhat less aggressive, have revealed unveiled reciprocal feelings on Saito's character to at least a minor extent. It is revealed later that Siesta is actually descended from a World War II Japanese pilot, explaining her physical Japanese features akin to Saito's, including black hair.
Henrietta De Tristain (アンリエッタ Anrietta ?)
Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi
The Princess of Tristain. She is loved by her nationals and is also an old friend of Louise. She is very envious of Louise, even though Louise looks at her with respect. Later, she becomes the queen of Tristain and decides to defend Tristain from the Albion invasion after the assassination of the Albion prince. She was in love with Wales, but after his death he wanted her to move on. She also seems to have developed an affinity for Saito. While at first she is presented as your stereotypical princess, her character later grows to show her struggles with the war.
Montmorency Margarita la Fère de Montmorency (モンモランシー Monmoranshī ?)
Voiced by: Mikako Takahashi
She is Louise's classmate. Like most Tristain nobles, she has a great deal of pride. She also had made a contract with a Water spirit. She has feelings for Guiche, but she doesn't reveal it to him. She also can create various potions, including a prohibited love potion.

Setting

The fictional continent of Halkeginia bears similarities to Europe.
Halkeginia
Halkeginia (ハルケギニア Harukeginia ?) is the continent that the story of The Familiar of Zero takes place on. It can be thought of as a sort of alternate Europe, with similar, although not entirely identical, geographical and political boundaries. During the course of the story, its history begins to parallel Europe's history as well, and is in a period of transition. Halkeginia's social structure is similar to the feudal class systems of Europe in the Middle Ages. Nobles hold great power in the royal courts, and only they are able to use magic. Commoners are generally treated poorly by the nobility.
Tristain
Tristain (トリステイン Torisutein ?) is the nation in which the majority of the story takes place. It is a small monarchal country resembling modern day Belgium and Luxembourg with a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Benelux). It is under threat from Albion, because of a rebellion there by the people against the royalty. Tristain is home to a magical academy which attracts students from nearby countries known as the Tristain Academy of Magic. The academy is a highly acclaimed school for magical studies, where students gather to study the mysteries of magic. It even attracts students from Germania and Gallia. The main courtyard of the school is known as Vestri[5] Court.
Militarily, the country is weak, with only a small permanent force, which forces it to make marriage alliances with other countries. This mirrors the political state of the Low Countries on many occasions throughout history, in reality. The capital city is Tristania (トリスタニア Torisutania ?) and is located in the northwest of Halkeginia.
Germania
Germania (ゲルマニア Gerumania ?) is the largest kingdom in Halkeginia, and is also regarded as the strongest in terms of military might. Although its name comes from the Roman word for Germany, its landmass is much larger than would be expected, and seems to also occupy where a lot of Eastern European States and Western Russia should be. It is regarded as a more barbaric and down-to-earth type of country, with its men considered to be brutish. This parallels the Roman view on the people of Germania in reality. Gemania is located to the northeast of Tristain.
Gallia
Gallia (ガリア Garia ?)[6] is another kingdom in Halkeginia, located to the southeast of Tristania. Germania is on its eastern border, in the Alden Forest. It is the second largest country in Halkeginia, and it most similar to France, although it also seems to occupy where Iberia should be as well. Within the Gallia Royal Family, murders and assassination attempts have lead to an unstable royalty. There is a city named La Rochelle[7] in the mountains, which is also a major treeport.
Romalia
Romalia (ロマリア Romaria ?)[8] is a holy empire, located to the south of Gallia. It occupies a peninsula similar to Italy.
Albion
Albion (アルビオン Arubion ?)[9] is a floating island nation nicknamed the white country, which is similar to Britain, and is in a period of political strife. According to the storyline, a group of nobles, known as Reconquista initiated a coup d'etat against the royalty, and most of the Albion Royal Family had been killed. The last notable royal left alive is named Prince Wales, which also parallels real history to a certain extent, although his counterpart in reality, Charles I, was more a Dane and a Scot than an Englishman. The rebellion in the story mirrors the English Civil War, when the parliament elected by the people rebelled against the Royal family in a brutal power struggle. The name of the leader of the Parliament forces was Oliver Cromwell, and the leader of the Albion rebellion is also aptly named Cromwell. Cromwell seeks to spread his power elsewhere, and begins with Tristain.

Magic

The nobles of Halkeginia are magi, otherwise known as wizards or magicians, and must use a wand or a staff to cast spells. Some of the wands are uniquely shaped and made, such as Guiche's, which was made from the stem of a rose. Not all magi are nobles as some have given up their nobility to use their magic for thievery or to work as mercenaries.
There are four magic elements: fire, water, wind, and earth. Magi have an affinity to one of those elements. There is a fifth element, the legendary lost branch of element, known as void. The only known users of this power are Louise, and most likely King Joseph (Sheffield's, a familiar of the void, master). The five elements referenced in the story are not the classical Greek elements or the Chinese elements, but the five classical Japanese elements, also known as the Godai. According to this system, they are Chi (Earth), Sui (Water), Ka (Fire), (Wind), and (Void). In the story, has been changed to Kyomu but remains the same in concept.[10]
Magi can combine different magical elements or even stack the same element on top of itself to make spells more powerful. The power of a mage is determined by how many elements he or she can combine. There are four ranks of magician based upon this factor. Those who cannot combine any element together have the first rank, which is symbolized as a dot. Most magic students are in this class. Those who can combine two together are called line magi, the second rank; some of the better students are capable of this. The third rank, triangle mage, is for those who can combine three elements together. If one reaches the rank of triangle, one is worthy of being an instructor of magic as an elite class mage; though Tabitha and Kirche are already at this level. The fourth rank, the square mage, is rare. Those who reach it are worthy to be called legends. In myths, there is even a fifth rank called pentagram mage. Royal blooded magi are also able to combine their skills to boost their level past the pentagram level. This happened when the undead Wales and Princess Henrietta did this to perform "Hexagon Magic", stacking Wales' wind triangle and Henrietta's water triangle.
One of the major themes is that humans and technology from Earth displaced into the world of Halkeginia are considered to be highly magical since Halkeginia itself has little science and technology. A magical item called the "Staff of Destruction" is, in reality, a human-made Vietnam-era M72 LAW rocket launcher. Another item called the "Dragon's Mantle" is a World War II-era A6M Zero fighter plane. The name of the "Staff of Destruction" came about when the war veteran who brought it into Halkeginia killed a dragon with it. The "Dragon's Mantle" yielded what is known as "Dragon's blood", which turns out to be gasoline. Another artifact from the real world, referred to as the "Great Spear", is revealed to be a German Flak 88 artillery gun. The weapons are so advanced that no regular magic, except void magic, can match their strength; the rocket launcher blows up a golem that was invulnerable to wands, and later, by itself, the Zero fighter decimates a whole legion of dragons. The Zerbst Family also owns a book that is said to magically seduce any man who reads it, which turned out to be a (really old) pornographic book. The headmaster of the academy acquires female swimsuits from Earth, and then manipulates the entire female community of the academy (including the princess and her bodyguard) into wearing them at the beach for his and his male students' enjoyment.

Novels and adaptations

Light novels

The Familiar of Zero began as a series of light novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka under the original title Zero no Tsukaima. The first volume was published in Japan on June 25, 2004, and as of March 4, 2009, sixteen such volumes have been published by Media Factory. A side-story, Tabitha's Adventure, initially available as a cellular-phone online serial, has been released in three published volumes to date. Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the series in 2007 under the title Zero's Familiar,[11] but have yet to release the novels.

Anime

The Familiar of Zero has been adapted three times into an anime series by the animation studio J.C.Staff. The first season aired in Japan between July 3 and September 25, 2006, and contained thirteen episodes. Geneon licensed the rights to release the English language edition of the first season under the title The Familiar of Zero, but soon after they dropped out of the US market, the anime would later be licensed by Funimation who announced that they would be releasing it in English as part of an agreement between them and Geneon at Anime Expo 2008. The first season box set was released on November 4, 2008.

The second season under the extended title Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi (ゼロの使い魔 ~双月の騎士~ ?, lit. The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Two Moons) aired in Japan between July 9 and September 24, 2007, containing twelve episodes. A third season, also containing twelve episodes, entitled Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo (ゼロの使い魔~三美姫の輪舞(プリンセッセのロンド)~ ?), aired on Japan's Chiba TV between July 6 and September 21, 2008, and Arts Central in Singapore between July 10 and September 24, 2008.[2]

The TV and DVD versions of the first two seasons are the same with some bonus trailers and other short clips. However, the TV version of the third season was censored to some extent. The frames became dark and/or blurry when some ecchi scenes took place. The DVD version also has an unaired original video animation episode.

Music and audio CDs

Both the first and second seasons used two pieces of theme music; one opening theme and one ending theme each. The first season's opening theme is "First kiss" by Ichiko, released on July 26, 2006, and the ending theme is "My True Feelings" (ホントノキモチ Honto no Kimochi ?) by Rie Kugimiya, released on August 9, 2006. The second season's opening theme is "I Say Yes" by Ichiko, released on July 25, 2007, and the ending theme is "Suki!? Kirai!? Suki!!!" (スキ!? キライ!? スキ!!! lit. Love?! Hate?! Love!!! ?) by Rie Kugimiya, released on August 8, 2007. The first seasons original soundtrack was released on August 23, 2006, and the second seasons' soundtrack was released on August 22, 2007.

Both the first and second seasons released four character song albums each. The first CD is for Louise and Saito which is sung by Rie Kugimiya and Satoshi Hino. The second CD is for Montmorency and Guiche which is sung by Mikako Takahashi and Takahiro Sakurai; the first two CDs were both released on September 6, 2006. The third CD is for Kirche and Tabitha which is sung by Nanako Inoue and Yuka Inokuchi. The fourth, and final CD from the first season, is for Henrietta and Siesta which is sung by Ayako Kawasumi and Yui Horie; the third and fourth CDs were both released on September 21, 2006. The first CD for the second season is for Louise which is sung by Rie Kugimiya. The second CD is for Henrietta which is sung by Ayako Kawasumi; the first two CDs were both released on October 10, 2007. The third CD is for Siesta which is sung by Yui Horie. The fourth, and final CD from the second season, is for Eleanor and Cattleya which is sung by Kikuko Inoue and Kotomi Yamakawa; the third and fourth CDs were both released on October 24, 2007.

Two audio dramas were released for the second season. The first is a compilation of radio drama episodes from the The Familiar of Zero Internet radio show Zero no Tsukaima on the radio: Tristain Mahō Gakuin e Yōkoso and was released on July 25, 2007. The second album is a drama CD featuring the characters Louise, Kirche, and Tabitha—voiced by Rie Kugimiya, Nanako Inoue, and Yuka Inokuchi respectively — which was released on September 5, 2007.

Manga

A manga series illustrated by Nana Mochizuki began serialization in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive on July 27, 2006, published by Media Factory. As of March 22, 2008, four bound volumes have been released by Media Factory under their MF Comics label. Compared to the anime, characters appear younger in the manga.

Visual novel

A visual novel under the title Zero no Tsukaima: Shōakuma to Shunpū Concerto (ゼロの使い魔 小悪魔と春風の協奏曲 ?, lit. The Familiar of Zero: Goblins and the Spring Breeze Concerto) was developed by Marvelous Interactive playable on the PlayStation 2. The game was released in limited and regular editions on February 15, 2007 in Japan.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "The Familiar of Zero (TV)". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=6660. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  2. ^ a b "3rd Zero no Tsukaima Anime: Summer's Princesse no Rondo". Anime News Network. 2008-03-27. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-03-27/3rd-zero-no-tsukaima-anime-summer-princesses-no-rondo. Retrieved 2008-03-27.  
  3. ^ "Anime Boston: Geneon Announces The Familiar of Zero". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2007-04-21/anime-boston-geneon-announces-the-familiar-of-zero. Retrieved 2007-05-04.  
  4. ^ Anime News Network (2008-07-03). "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America". Press release. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2008-07-03/funimation-entertainment-and-geneon-entertainment-sign-exclusive-distribution-agreement-for-north-america. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  5. ^ In Norse mythology, Vestri was the dwarf who supported the west cardinal point. He, along with his three kin, Norðri, Suðri, and Austri, appear in the Völuspá, an Icelandic poem about the creation of the world and its future destruction.
  6. ^ Gallia was the Latin name for the Roman provinces Narbonensis, Aquitania, Lugdunensis, Celtica, and Belgica, which more or less make up most of modern France and the rest of the Low Countries. In English, the region is usually known as Gaul, as a result of the way "Gallia" came to be written in French.
  7. ^ The real La Rochelle is a coastal city in Western France most famous for the Siege of La Rochelle in the seventeenth century.
  8. ^ Its name derives from the city of Rome, which once held a vast empire across Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. Romalia is most likely an allusion to the Roman Papal States that took up most of the Italian peninsula from the Middle Ages onward.
  9. ^ Albion is a very ancient name for the Island of Britain. The word is Celtic in origin and comes from an Indo-European root meaning both "white" and "mountain". "Alba" in Latin is the word for "white". The Modern Gaelic word for Scotland is "Alba" but no longer refers to the whole island.
  10. ^ Each of the four base elements in Western thought also had an elemental associated with it by Paracelsus during the Renaissance. Undine and Gnome were adopted from German mythology to be the elementals of water and earth, respectively. As for the elementals of fire and air, Paracelsus created Salamander and Sylph to fill their domains. Since then, the four elementals have been incorporated into the general element lore and have appeared in numerous works and worlds from The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope to Record of Lodoss War to Tales of Phantasia.
  11. ^ "Zero's Familiar English light novel". Seven Seas Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20070927011320/http://www.gomanga.com/manga/zerosfamiliar.php. Retrieved 2009-10-17.  

External links


Template:Safesubst:
File:ZnT
The Familiar of Zero light novel volume 1
ゼロの使い魔
(Zero no Tsukaima)
GenreAdventure, Harem, Fantasy, Romantic comedy
Light novel
Written by Noboru Yamaguchi
Illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka
Published by Media Factory
English publisher Seven Seas Entertainment
Demographic Male
Imprint MF Bunko J
Original run June 25, 2004 – ongoing
Volumes 19 (+3 side stories)
TV anime
Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Studio J.C.Staff
Licensed by Geneon
Network CTC
Original run July 3, 2006September 25, 2006
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Manga
Written by Nana Mochizuki
Published by Media Factory
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Comic Alive
Original run July 27, 2006 – ongoing
Volumes 7
Game
Zero no Tsukaima: Shōakuma to Shunpū Concerto
Developer Marvelous Interactive
Publisher Marvelous Interactive
Genre Visual novel
Rating Ages 12 and up
Platform PlayStation 2
Released February 15, 2007
TV anime
Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi
Directed by Yū Kō
Studio J.C.Staff
Network CTC, tvk
Original run July 9, 2007September 24, 2007
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Manga
Zero no Tsukaima Gaiden: Tabatha no Bōken
Written by Takuto Kon
Published by Media Factory
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Comic Alive
Original run October 27, 2007 – ongoing
Volumes 4
TV anime
Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo
Directed by Yū Kō
Studio J.C.Staff
Network CTC, tvk
English network Arts Central
Original run July 6, 2008September 21, 2008
Episodes 12 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Zero no Tsukaima: Princesses no Rondo
Studio J.C.Staff
Released December 24, 2008
Runtime 24 minutes
Anime and Manga Portal

The Familiar of Zero (ゼロの使い魔 Zero no Tsukaima?) is a fantasy and comedy-oriented series of Japanese light novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka. The story features several characters from the second year class of a magic academy in a fictional magical world with the main characters being the inept mage Louise and her familiar from Earth, Saito Hiraga. The series has been adapted three times as an anime series. The first season aired in Japan between July and September 2006 produced by the animation studio J.C.Staff and directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki.[1] The second season, entitled Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi, was directed by Yū Kō and aired in Japan between July and September 2007. A third anime adaptation, titled Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo, is produced by J.C.Staff, with Yū Kō as the director, and aired on Japanese television between July and September 2008.[2] A manga version drawn by Nana Mochizuki began serialization in Media Factory's manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive in July 2006.

On April 21, 2007, Geneon announced that they have picked up the English dubbing rights of the first season of the anime series and will be under the title The Familiar of Zero. The announcement was made at the 2007 Anime Boston convention.[3] On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment still retains the license, Funimation Entertainment assumes exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. The Familiar of Zero was one of several titles involved in the deal.[4]

Contents

Plot

Story

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. In this world, those who can use magic are either mages or nobles, and those who cannot use magic are known as "commoners" or "plebeians".

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 mage), two (line) three (triangle) and 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.

One day Saito challenges a noble who disrespects commoners (Guiche) to a duel. Saito is beaten badly at first, but once a sword was put in his hands, Saito gained a mysterious power. The strange letters on his left hand began to glow and his agility and strength enheightened. With his new power, Saito is able to defeat the noble in the duel and even receive an apology he was supposed to give. Louise and Saito's relationship's develop 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. At one point in the story, Saito confesses his love to Louise, but she doesn't believe him until much later. 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.

Main characters

Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière (ルイズ・フランソワーズ・ル・ブラン・ド・ラ・ヴァリエール Ruizu Furansowāzu ru Buran do ra Variēru?)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Japanese), Cristina Valenzuela (English)
Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, third daughter of the noble family La Vallière who owns the north-eastern territory of Tristain, is the main female character. She is a second year student at the Tristain Academy of Magic. Louise is a terrible mage who is often scorned by her fellow classmates because every spell she casts fails, so she is nicknamed "Louise the Zero" after her zero success rate and zero attributes. This has led her to be very bitter and occasionally cruel.
At first, she treats Saito like a dog, making him lie on a straw bed, beating him, and generally treating him as sub-human. Louise at first hates Saito, but over time, grows fond of him and eventually falls in love with him. However, she continues to violently mistreat him and abuse his natural patience and friendliness. When she thinks he has perverted thoughts about other girls, or is jealous of or mad at him, she beats him with a whip or blows him up with her magic.
Eventually Louise discovers that her failure in performing magic of any of the four basic attributes is because, in fact, her magical affinity is with the rare and powerful Void element.
Saito Chevalier de Hiraga (平賀才人 Hiraga Saito?)
Voiced by: Satoshi Hino (Japanese), Jonathan Meza (English)
Saito Hiraga, the main male character and primary protagonist of the story, is from modern-day Earth (specifically Tokyo, Japan). While walking down the street a portal opened in front of him, and when he touched it he was sucked through, landing in the Tristain Academy of Magic. At first, Saito had no idea where he was, and was thoroughly disoriented. His attitude is generally carefree yet he blows up easily when anyone he cares for is in danger, particularly Louise. Though he at first wishes to return home, he adapts to his strange new situation relatively quickly.
There are runes inscribed into Saito's hand as a result of his being bound to Louise. They read or Gandalfr (ガンダールヴ Gandāruvu?, actually "Gundolf"). These runes glow when his Gandalfr powers activate. As a Gandalfr, a familiar who exists to protect a Void Wizard, Saito has the ability to use any object that was made with the intent of being used as a weapon at an extremely high level of skill. He also becomes significantly stronger, faster and tougher. This physical augmentation fades more or less instantly when he stops using the power, which can result in him falling unconscious if he had been previously wounded. He is said to be the left hand of god.
His partner, the talking sword Derflinger, was also the partner of the Gandalfr six thousand years previously. Saito protects Louise with a passion, a result of both his duty as a Gandalfr and his feelings for her. He eventually falls in love with Louise, despite the abusive way she treats him.
Tabitha/Charlotte Helene Orléans de Gallia (タバサ/シャルロット・エレーヌ・オルレアン Tabasa/Sharurotto Erēnu Orurean?)
Voiced by: Yuka Inokuchi (Japanese), Jennifer Alyx (English)
Tabitha is a quiet girl who is a classmate and the best friend of Kirche, as well as being Louise's classmate. Throughout the series she is almost always reading a book. Later it was revealed that the name Tabitha is an alias; she is in fact Charlotte, daughter of the King's murdered brother, and the rightful heir to the throne of Gallia. Her specialty is wind magic. She is also a chevalier knight, which is the lowest rank of knight. Her familiar is a nature dragon named Sylphid. She also develops feelings for Saito after they rescue her from Bidashal.
Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst (キュルケ・アウグスタ・フレデリカ・フォン・アンハルツ・ツェルプストー Kyuruke Augusuta Furederika fon Anharutsu Tserupusutō?)
Voiced by: Nanako Inoue (Japanese), Lauren Landa (English)
Louise's well-endowed classmate. Fire magic is her specialty—drawn from her strong passion for love. The territory she is from has long since had a dislike for the La Vallière family. She flirts and has dated many of the academy boys. Kirche's schemes and aggressive invitations for Saito, her latest victim, to sleep with her, even though he is obviously against it, leads to him getting hit by Louise due to her overwhelming jealousy. She later moves this crush onto Professor Colbert, whom she had financially helped in building Ostland. Her familiar is a salamander called Flame. She was expelled from her last school and was almost forced into a marriage to an older man by her parents. Kirche frequently appears with her closest friend, Tabitha, to help Saito and Louise out of the daily trouble they get into.
Guiche de Gramont (ギーシュ・ド・グラモン Gīshu do Guramon?)
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese), Nicholas Manelick (English)
Guiche is one of Louise's classmates. Despite being in love with Montmorency, he is a conceited playboy. He comes from a royal family. He always carries an artificial rose with him, the stem of which is his wand. He also likes to dote upon his familiar, a giant mole named Belldandy. His specialty is earth magic.
Siesta (シエスタ Shiesuta?)
Voiced by: Yui Horie (Japanese), Xanthe Huynh (English)
A maid at the academy. She has a crush on Saito, and treats him very kindly. Although bearing witness to a possible relationship between Saito and Louise and its accompanying sharp up and downs, Siesta believes she can provide Saito a more gentle and caring relationship and love. Although timid, her love for Saito draws her to take increasingly confident actions to win Saito's love, including reticent lying following an unveiled a rather pathetic seduction attempt, and donning various costumes to attempt to win Saito's affection. Siesta is actually descended from a World War II Japanese pilot who was stranded in Tristain after flying into a solar eclipse along with another airplane which managed to return to Earth.
Henrietta de Tristain (アンリエッタ・ド・トリステイン Anrietta do Torisutein?)
Voiced by: Ayako Kawasumi
The Princess of Tristain. She is loved by her nationals and is also an old friend of Louise. She is very envious of Louise, even though Louise looks at her with respect. Later, she becomes the queen of Tristain and leads the defense against the Albion invasion after the assassination of the Albion prince Wales, with whom she was in love. She also seems to have developed a trust for Saito.
Montmorency Margarita la Fère de Montmorency (モンモランシー・マルガリタ・ラ・フェール・ド・モンモランシ Monmoranshī Marugarita ra Fēru do Monmoranshi?)
Voiced by: Mikako Takahashi
Montmorency is one of Louise's classmates. Like most Tristain nobles, she has a great deal of pride. She has an affinity for the water element, and her familiar is a frog. It is shown that she cares deeply for Guiche, her boyfriend, though acts indifferently when she is expected to act romantically. She has skill with creating various potions, including a prohibited love potion.

Setting

Halkeginia
Halkeginia (ハルケギニア Harukeginia?) is the continent that the story of The Familiar of Zero takes place on. Halkeginia's social structure is similar to the feudal class systems of Europe in the Middle Ages, with magic-users being considered nobles.
Tristain
Tristain (トリステイン Torisutein?) is the nation in which the majority of the story takes place. It is a small monarchal country located in the northwest of Halkeginia. It is under threat from Albion. Tristain is home to a highly acclaimed magical academy which attracts students from nearby countries known as the Tristain Academy of Magic.
Militarily, the country is weak, with only a small permanent force, which forces it to make marriage alliances with other countries. The capital city is Tristania (トリスタニア Torisutania?).
Germania
Germania (ゲルマニア Gerumania?) is the largest kingdom in Halkeginia, and is also regarded as the strongest in terms of military might. It is regarded as a more barbaric and down-to-earth type of country, with its men considered to be brutish. Gemania is located to the northeast of Tristain.
Gallia
Gallia (ガリア Garia?) is another kingdom in Halkeginia, located to the southeast of Tristania. Germania is on its eastern border, in the Alden Forest. It is the second largest country in Halkeginia. Within the Gallia Royal Family, murders and assassination attempts have led to an unstable royalty. There is a city named La Rochelle in the mountains, which is a major port.
Albion
Albion (アルビオン Arubion?), nicknamed the white country, is a floating island nation which is in a period of political strife. According to the storyline, a group of nobles known as Reconquista initiated a coup d'etat against the royalty, and over the course of the story, succeed in killing the entire Albion Royal Family. Cromwell, the leader of the Albion rebellion, seeks to spread his power elsewhere, and begins by attacking Tristain.
Romalia
Romalia (ロマリア Romaria?) is a holy empire, located to the south of Gallia.

Magic

The nobles of Halkeginia are magi, otherwise known as wizards or magicians, and must use a wand or a staff to cast spells. Not all magi are nobles as some have given up their nobility to use their magic for thievery or to work as mercenaries.
There are four primary magic elements: fire, water, wind, and earth. Magi have an affinity to one of those elements. There is a fifth element, the legendary lost branch of element, known as void. Magi can combine different magical elements or even stack the same element on top of itself to make spells more powerful. The power of a mage is determined by how many elements he or she can combine. There are four ranks of magician based upon this factor. Those who cannot combine any element together have the first rank, which is symbolized as a dot. Most magic students are in this class. The ability to combine two, three or four elements together leads to a magic user being referred to as a line, triangle, or square mage. In myths, there is a fifth rank called pentagram mage.
One of the major themes is that humans and technology from Earth displaced into the world of Halkeginia are considered to be highly magical since Halkeginia itself has relatively primitive science and technology. For example, a magical item called the "Staff of Destruction" is, in reality, a human-made Vietnam-era M72 LAW rocket launcher. Other examples of Earth technology, often weaponry, appear throughout the story.

Media

Light novels

The Familiar of Zero began as a series of light novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka under the original title Zero no Tsukaima. The first volume was published in Japan on June 25, 2004, and as of March 4, 2009, sixteen such volumes have been published by Media Factory. A side-story, Tabitha's Adventure, initially available as a cellular-phone online serial, has been released in three published volumes to date. Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the series in 2007 under the title Zero's Familiar,[5] but put their light novels line on hiatus and have yet to release the novels.

Anime

The Familiar of Zero has been adapted three times into an anime series by the animation studio J.C.Staff. The first season aired in Japan between July 3 and September 25, 2006, and contained thirteen episodes. Geneon licensed the rights to release the English language edition of the first season under the title The Familiar of Zero, but soon after they dropped out of the US market, the anime would later be licensed by Funimation who announced that they would be releasing it in English as part of an agreement between them and Geneon at Anime Expo 2008. The first season box set was released on November 4, 2008.

The second season under the extended title Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi (ゼロの使い魔 ~双月の騎士~?, lit. The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Two Moons) aired in Japan between July 9 and September 24, 2007, containing twelve episodes. A third season, also containing twelve episodes, entitled Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo (ゼロの使い魔~三美姫の輪舞(プリンセッセのロンド)~?), aired on Japan's Chiba TV between July 6 and September 21, 2008, and Arts Central in Singapore between July 10 and September 24, 2008.[2]

The TV and DVD versions of the first two seasons are the same with some bonus trailers and other short clips. However, the TV version of the third season was censored to some extent. The frames became dark and/or blurry when some provocative scenes took place.[citation needed] The DVD version also has an unaired original video animation episode.

Music and audio CDs

The three anime seasons used two pieces of theme music each; one opening theme and one ending theme. The first season's opening theme is "First kiss" by Ichiko, released on July 26, 2006, and the ending theme is "My True Feelings" (ホントノキモチ Honto no Kimochi?) by Rie Kugimiya, released on August 9, 2006. The second season's opening theme is "I Say Yes" by Ichiko, released on July 25, 2007, and the ending theme is "Suki!? Kirai!? Suki!!!" (スキ!? キライ!? スキ!!! lit. Love?! Hate?! Love!!!?) by Rie Kugimiya, released on August 8, 2007. The first seasons original soundtrack was released on August 23, 2006, and the second seasons' soundtrack was released on August 22, 2007. The third season's opening theme is "You're The One" by Ichiko and the ending theme is "Gomen ne" by Rie Kugimiya.

Both the first and second seasons released four character song albums each. The first CD is for Louise and Saito which is sung by Rie Kugimiya and Satoshi Hino. The second CD is for Montmorency and Guiche which is sung by Mikako Takahashi and Takahiro Sakurai; the first two CDs were both released on September 6, 2006. The third CD is for Kirche and Tabitha which is sung by Nanako Inoue and Yuka Inokuchi. The fourth, and final CD from the first season, is for Henrietta and Siesta which is sung by Ayako Kawasumi and Yui Horie; the third and fourth CDs were both released on September 21, 2006. The first CD for the second season is for Louise which is sung by Rie Kugimiya. The second CD is for Henrietta which is sung by Ayako Kawasumi; the first two CDs were both released on October 10, 2007. The third CD is for Siesta which is sung by Yui Horie. The fourth, and final CD from the second season, is for Eleanor and Cattleya which is sung by Kikuko Inoue and Kotomi Yamakawa; the third and fourth CDs were both released on October 24, 2007.

Two audio dramas were released for the second season. The first is a compilation of radio drama episodes from The Familiar of Zero Internet radio show Zero no Tsukaima on the radio: Tristain Mahō Gakuin e Yōkoso and was released on July 25, 2007. The second album is a drama CD featuring the characters Louise, Kirche, and Tabitha—voiced by Rie Kugimiya, Nanako Inoue, and Yuka Inokuchi respectively — which was released on September 5, 2007.

Manga

A manga series illustrated by Nana Mochizuki began serialization in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive on July 27, 2006, published by Media Factory. As of February 2010, seven bound volumes have been released by Media Factory under their MF Comics label. Compared to the anime, characters appear younger in the manga. In Indonesia, the manga has been licensed and released up to volume three by Elex Media Komputindo, under the title The Familiar of Zero.

Visual novel

A visual novel under the title Zero no Tsukaima: Shōakuma to Shunpū Concerto (ゼロの使い魔 小悪魔と春風の協奏曲?, lit. The Familiar of Zero: Goblins and the Spring Breeze Concerto) was developed by Marvelous Interactive playable on the PlayStation 2. The game was released in limited and regular editions on February 15, 2007 in Japan.

Notes and references

External links


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