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Familiar of ZERO

The "Don't Make Me Get
Medieval" ROSSMAN

Apparently the Japanese really, really love Harry Potter. And Moonlighting. But back to Harry Potter. So many "wizard and witch"-filled anime and manga projects have been produced (crapped out) in the past few years by the Land of the Rising Sun; featuring a wizarding school for young 'uns born to worship the dark arts, or young magic people who pretty much have the same problems as Harry, Hermione, and (mentally handicapped) Ron. There's Maburaho, Negima, Magicano, and that one chibi-witch show whose name escapes me now, to name but a few. Oh, and now there's The Familiar of Zero.

Not that The Familiar of Zero is bad or anything, as it's not. It's just cute and harmless fluff. It's another one of those shows in which you know EXACTLY how it's going to end about 5 minutes into it, you know who the cloaked and mysterious bad guys really are the second they show up, but you just don't give a shit because the characters are actually fun to hang out with, and you just want to see them interact with each other more no matter what the basic plot is (or is lacking).

Speaking of which, the plot of TFoZ goes a little something like this: Hermione Granger (henceforth known as Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière [no, I'm not fucking with you, that's her real name], or Louise for short) is an aristocratic witch-in-training at some magic school in a strange world, with two moons in the sky and a caste system of living. Louise is a lousy witch though, despite the fact that she's from one of the more prestigious families in the country. So, because of her mystical suckiness, instead of a cool nickname, like most of her classmates and acquaintances (for example: Fouquette the Crumbling Dirt, Horny Osmond and Kirche the Hot Slut), Louise is simply known as "Zero" Louise (mostly 'cause she constantly blows the shit out of everything she's trying to enchant or magically alter, and appears to have "zero" talent *Yaaaaawn*). We later learn this isn't because she's a retard at magic, but because... Well, it's a satisfactory reason, so I won't spoil it here.

So, "Zero" Louise can't do no right when it comes to classwork and magic in general, but then one day she (along with the rest of her class) is forced to conjure forth a familiar spirit to be her magical companion for the rest of her life — this is for a grade, so she can't excuse herself. All of Louise's classmates summon either powerful and impressive creatures (like dragons or charizards [once again, not shitting you]) or beasts that actually reflect their mage's elemental power (like the pretty-boy, Guiche, whose earth powers called forth a giant mole, or prima donna Montmorency whose water powers conjured a frog); but Louise herself ends up summoning a Japanese boy by the name of Hiraga Saito. A sarcastic Japanese boy named Hiraga Saito I meant. And comedy does then ensue.

What made this show better than I initially thought it would be is the Japanese lead, Saito. He's your typical, average, normal, commonplace teenager who's yanked out of Tokyo and chucked head-first into Louise's loco world against his will. He's constantly referred to as a "plebeian" and laughed at by all of Louise's full-of-themselves fellow students, but he doesn't take any of that crap. In a society where the commoners are nothing but things for the nobles to step on to keep their expensive shoes from getting dirty, Saito stands up for himself and doesn't take horse pucky from any of them. He doesn't do it to in order to start a Marxist rebellion or to impress a girl (although his actions do incidentally capture the eye of a cute maid in the school, but that's neither here nor there), but just to stand up for himself. I honestly cannot remember something like this being the reason for the protagonist doing what he did in any anime in recent memory.

Not that Saito's a proud or vain guy, he's just sick of the stuck up assholes calling him dirt just because he wasn't born onto a princess or a duke. He even puts the smack down on pretty-boy Guiche early on just to show all the others that he's not their plaything (well, he's nobody's plaything except for Louise at least).

Then there's Louise. She's so disappointed at herself for calling forth a human (which is unheard of for a familiar) that she just starts treating the poor Jappy like a dog. She makes him sleep in a pile of hay in her room, makes him change her as if he were so far beneath her that any skin he saw would mean less to him than a worm catching an eyeful of Citizen Kane (which I find to be highly overrated myself, but which always tops out the "Best Movies Evah" lists everytime they're published. Personally I'd choose Brain Donors for my number one slot if I ever had to make a list of bests... but that's neither here nor there)... or 5 Nights in BangCock (a classic beyond description, and a close runner-up to Brain Donors). Soon Louise even takes to smacking Saito with a horse whip. But after he stands up for himself — and to a degree Louise as well — and beats down Guiche, Louise starts to see that Saito may be more noble than most of her classmates. Yeah, it was a bit sappy for me to write that last line down, but there was no other way to put it. And the sappiness kind of ends there anyway, seeing as Saito and Louise then fall into a "Maddie and David" relationship of snappy retorts, quick glances and jealous rages when somebody else hits on the other.

Some walk by night,
Some fly by day,
Nothing could change you,
Set and sure of the waaaaaaaaaay...

My only real question now is who's Miss DiPesto in this thing? Tabitha? Siesta? Princess Henrietta?

Back to things. With the subplots of other shit (like pornos and weapons) from Saito's world (our world) popping up all over the place in Louise's world, and the military coup in a floating island-country which would bring war to Louise's kingdom, things stay pretty interesting the whole way through. So yeah, when the sequel comes out I'll probably give that a shot too (despite it being written and directed by different people entirely... I'd really like to know the story behind that, seeing as this first season was actually kind of a hit, and therefore the sequel won't be anything like the second series of Negima in which they completely scrapped the original team of animators and pretended that the first shittacular season magically never happened. Oh, and I like to ramble).

By all rights, The Familiar of Zero should have been a piece of shit. Seriously, at first glance the plot of Maburaho seems less lame than the basic outline of this show. But, the charms (pun unintended) of the characters elevate this 13 episode series into something rather enjoyable. No, it ain't Shakespeare (hell, Romeo X Juliet isn't even Shakespeare...), and it ain't even Harry Potter, but it's a worthwhile watch for 6.5 hours, if you don't have anything better to do. I give it a B-. Not too shabby.


.....He got me again. Once again my dear brother promised me an "animated Harry Potter" show, and I fell for it. I fell for it again, despite being tricked with that Maborahore show a few years back.

Maybe my brother was just confused and actually THOUGHT that this was an Japanimation of Harry and Hermione (who should totally have gotten together; and who, in my shipper fanfics, regularly do), and not some half-arsed attempt to trick innocent viewers like me into watching it thinking that they're getting something magical and delightful, instead of just dismal and annoying. Really, what would it take to make 7 complete series of an animated Harry Potter instead of this rip-off poody that tries to gain an audience simply through tricking them into watching.

Well, fool me twice, shame on me and all, but seriously, no more. Despite my ratings picture, which I still don't have a new one of, I give this show a thumbs down.


This goes out to my main, pasty-skinned, vanilla-faced home-girl, JK Rowling... I know some bad ass lawyers who can stop this shit from ever happening again. Or, if you prefer, I know some homies and bitches with glocks if they still don't get the mothafuckin' clue. Your call, G.

How the FUCK do these guys gets away with this shit?