Familiar of Zero aka Zero no Tsukaima is set in a fantasy and feudal world called Helkeginia.  The female protagonist “Louise de La Valliere” is a 2nd year student at Tristain Academy of Magic and has been nicknamed ‘Louise the Zero’ due to her complete ineptitude at performing magical spells, much to the amusement of her classmates. This leads to her constantly messing up any attempts at magic, such as blowing up a classroom or accidentally summoning a boy from another world.

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During the 2nd year at Tristain Academy, every magician in the school is required to do summoning ceremony and form a pact with their summoned familiar.  The creatures that the mages can summon can range from frogs to a powerful dragon; however Louise manages to summon an ordinary boy from Japan called Saito Hiraga.  Bound by the rules of the academy and the magic world he has fallen into, Saito is marked as Louise’s familiar and will need to follow and remain with her.  At first, Louise doesn’t accept Saito as her familiar; treating him like a dog, making him do all her chores and making him sleep on the floor like an animal as well.  Later on the series, she slowly begins to accept him and develop feelings for him in classic tsundere style.

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Very little is known about Saito apart from the fact that he is a normal boy from Japan who was summoned by Louise while he was out to get his laptop fixed.  After Louise made the summoning pact with him to complete the ceremony, Saito was gifted with a special rune “Gandalfr” which allows him to excel with any sort of weapon/object in his hand including vehicles.  Due to Saito’s stubbornness he doesn’t give up and also makes a point to protect the people who are close to him.  After showing off his skills in public in a duel against another Magician “Guiche”, he wins the hearts of several girls in the school (developing his own harem) which annoys Louise all the time.  Saito’s attention span also seems to be very weak when in presence of a girl’s chest which results in Louise to punishing him (kicking his crotch, casting explosive spells, whipping etc).

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Due to the fact that Saito is from another world, his main objective in the series is to find a way back home.  Everyone in the whole school supports him in finding a way back.  However this will mean that he will lose his friendship with the people he has met at Helkeginia.

Even though the first series is short (13 episodes), the development of the story was very well done.  It has a fantasy feeling to it with all magic, weird creatures and a strong character development.  Even though the series is harem, it has not overpowered story and makes it enjoyable to watch. Even with the wide range of girls available to Saito, it was pretty obvious that the story will stick with Louise.  The girls ranged from the ever-quiet Tabitha, Siesta the busty maid, Kirche the seducer and Princess Henrietta, the young ruler of the region.

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The voice acting in the series is also done very well.  Louise’s main actress in the english version was done by Cristina Valenzuela (commonly known as Cristina Vee) and has voiced several memorable characters in games and anime such as Noel Vermillion in Blazblue and Mio & Homura in K-ON and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Meanwhile, the japanese version was done by Rie Kugimiya who is pretty well known for her Tsundere voice acting in most anime (Taiga[Toradora], Nagi[Hayate the Combat Butler], Shana[Shakugan no Shana], etc…) and is hard to beat in a Tsundere match off.

There’s not a great deal in terms of extras on the discs other than a couple trailers for other anime and the original episode previews and promo for the series when it was airing in Japan. Included with this is the creditless versions of the opening and closing sequences of the series.
The opening song is sung by ICHIKO – First Kiss which was a catchy song however after a while it started to get into my head and I had to skip the opening sequence.  However surprisingly the Ending song was sung by Rie Kugimiya herself; Honto no Kimochi.  Though this song also drove me crazy after a while and resulted me to skip it as well.  Fans of Jpop songs may like the opening/ending song however I assume it will vary on people’s taste.


Review Summary

Overall I think the first series was done very well which builds up the story for the 2nd season. Most animes with harem inside it tend to die off too quickly for me however Familiar of Zero managed to pull it together at the end. Each character has their own personality and attract their own fans. The voice acting in the series has also met my expectations and I can't think of anyways of improving it. The only downside is that it was only 13 episodes and the last few episodes felt a bit rushed.