Zero’s Familiar is a comedy fantasy manga written by Noboru Yamaguchi and drawn by Nana Mochizuki. The story beings in a different universe where magic exists and in at a time where humanity is ruled by kings and nobles. In this particular world a novice mage by the name of Louise Francoise, is chanting a summoning spell to summon her new familiar. However, the new familiar she summons happens to be not from her world. In fact he is from our world and more specifically, from Japan.
The story in Zero’s Familiar has a really good start. We are introduced to a few characters, and an interesting world of magic and nobles. It does a good job to explain how the world works. You have nobles which are humans with the ability to cast magic spells. Then there are the commoners(muggles) who have no ability to cast spells. Its much like reading a bit of Harry Potter. The characters go to school and learn from their masters. There’s also an evil caster who wants to rule the world and the hate stigma against commoners. However, unlike Harry Potter, this story really loses traction. The magic is not grand, the villain not that scary and the romance is more drama than romance.
Anyways back to the story at hand. In this world our two main protagonists are Louise Francoise the mage her newfound familiar Saito Hiraga.
Not a bad start to the story, although a bit of a coincidence to our hero Saito. He wants to live an adventurous life and just as he dawns on that thought, a portal opens to a magical world. Saito reacts like many characters in this type of genre, reacted with dismay and confusion. Now branded as a familiar and with the portal forever closed there’s no way to return, he stuck. Louise on the other hand can’t believe his story and along with everyone, they agree he just looks like a commoner. Well they aren’t wrong, hes just a normal person like everyone else back on earth. There’s nothing noble about us who live on earth compared to their standards.
With lack of knowledge of the inner workings of this new universe. Saito really lacks respect for the nobles because where hes from you earn it and aren’t born with it. This gets him into trouble with the students and leads to his first ever duel with a noble mage. A quality that doesn’t change much throughout the series, but he shows a bit of pride in it and wins the hearts of girls at his new school. Some of the comedy revolves around Louise belittling Saito and degrading him lower than commoner. There’s also an wise old pervy mage and his secretary who quickly puts him in his place. Along with Louise being a lousy mage and blowing buildings up it can be quite entertaining for a while.
As for the characters in Zero, sub par at best. There’s not a lot of interesting characters besides Saito and that’s partly because a lack of character development. Saito, is from our world so his knowledge is very different than the residents of this universe. His brand gives him the ability to weild any weapon which makes him cocky but he learns his lesson. The side characters are another story, they are just one dimensional and don’t really stick out. I blame this on the harem aspect which I think the writer focused to much on. He could have created a chapter to tie in with background information for each character who likes Saito. It would have been grand to have information and added at least some depth to side characters. The most disappointment part was the masked villain who, when introduced, made it almost obvious who it was.
The art in the series was decent. There’s not a lot of background on most pages and you don’t get to see the world around Saito. Therefore, the majority of what you see is just characters and it does a swell job at that. Each character wears an arrange of clothing for different settings and events going on. Like school clothing, dresses or gowns for a ball and adventure robes. The artist also did a great job with drawing touching scenes marvelously and adds effects like shine when a character experiences good emotions. Which can also be said for when characters experience bad emotions or are just feeling down, very well done.
I may have bashed this series a bit but that doesn’t mean I hated reading this. Really love reading fantasy stories and I’m a sucker for when the MC is not from that world. Puts a bit of twist in how the story will play out which can lead to characters having conversations about the differences in their worlds. Something that you would expect should happen in a series like this, and it does happen in Zero a few times. Heck there’s even items that appear in this new world that were from Japan which happen to be my favorite parts of the series.