The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi

Title: Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi aka The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Two Moons aka Zero no Tsukaima II
Genre: Action/Romance
Company: J.C. Staff/GENCO/Media Factory
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 9 Jul 2007 – 24 Sep 2007

Synopsis: The invasion of Tristain has been pushed back thanks to Louise and Saito and an ueasy calm settles over the land. Louise begins to practice Void Magic while Saito, having given up his chance to go home to Japan, tries to find ways to fill his time. But the wars are not over. The peaceful lull is but the calm before the storm, and soon Queen Henrietta must make a terrible choice between a temporary peace and a preemptive invasion of Albion. Either way, Tristain is soon to be embroiled in war once more, and “Zero” and her Familiar will be right in the middle of it.

The Highlights
Plot: Two separate story arcs connected by a backdrop.
Characters: Lost any growth from the first series.
Atmosphere: Schizophrenic.
Music: Better than the first season.
Fanservice: Yep… boobs.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: I hate this show, and I don’t just mean the second season. Actually, I should probably say that I am more disappointed with how J.C. Staff decided to present their version of Zero no Tsukaima. I have never read the original light novels, but from what I hear, J.C. Staff crammed several chapters worth of story into only thirteen episodes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody producing a quality product while condensing the source material. But their biggest crime was taking an interesting premise and turning it into a fanservicy piece of drivel with poor storytelling. I didn’t have a lot of expectations for the second season, but I will admit J.C. Staff surprised me. I didn’t think it was possible but they managed to make the second season even worse than the first.

I don’t want to make this an entirely bad review, so I will point out the good things first. The second season’s intro and exit music were pretty good. “I SAY YES” by Ichiko is a nice piece of Techno-Pop that does a very good job of representing Zero no Tsukaima. As you listen, you can hear some of the background beats are manipulated pieces of harpsichord music and horn fanfare that are reminiscent of aristocratic society and European Victorianism, combined with modern pulse pounding beats and a really good singing performance. The end theme, “Suki!? Kirai!? Suki!!” by Kugimiya Rie is the perfect tsundere anthem for Louise Francoise de la Valliere. Both songs are worth collecting for your collections, and in fact I’m listening to both right now as I write this. Background music is nothing to write home about, but it works.

The characters are also another highlight. Regardless of what you may think of harem male leads, Hiraga Saito is just a fun guy to root for. He doesn’t take any crap, he’s not a coward, and he’s not an idiot, nor is he a total jerk. Saito does what he wants, and damn the rules or proper etiquette. In fact, as “fish out of water” characters go, Saito gives Louise’s world the biggest “finger” and just goes about his business. As far as male leads go, Saito is one of the biggest breaths of fresh air in years. By the end of the second season, you will believe that Saito CAN simply walk right into Mordor.

Sadly, the characters are also a big blow to the series. As cool as Saito is, the second season finds him degrading himself a bit more in the lecherous pervert department. He was never this bad in the first season, and he just keeps spiraling down the drain all the way. He also becomes kind of pretentious towards the end, which is understandable because he doesn’t “get” this world of Louise’s, and he just flat out doesn’t like it. Louise is cut from every tsundere cloth that came before her, Siesta degrades to a fanservice pot, and the new characters introduced to the show are shallow, predictable, and in some cases, unnecessary.

By far, the biggest reason I hated this show is the plot. We get two arcs worth of storyline here, unrelated except by the common thread of war. The first involves one of the new characters and Professor Colbert’s past. For the first couple of episodes, they were setting the conclusion up well; not blowing the heaving foreshadowing up our backsides like they did in the first season. It doesn’t last, of course, and by the end of it I already knew everything before it was explained. The second arc is the more pretentious one, involving a lot of morality of war, self sacrifice, honor, and why Saito hates it. And then, J.C. Staff just yanks our chains with one of the best… and I must stress best… dramatic scenes I’ve seen in an anime EVER, only to ruin any impact it had with a deus ex machina ending that made everything just not make any sense at all. Throw in several pointless fanservice sequences involving Henrietta, Siesta, and Louise, and it’s incredibly hard to find anything about the show itself to like.

It’s funny in places, edge of your seat dramatic in a couple of others, pointlessly fanservice ridden the rest of the time. Zero no Tsukaima II just fails.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: TypicalIdiotFan

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