In a World where young witches and wizards train at the Tristain Academy of Magic. One of these students is Louise, who's so terrible at magic she's earned the nickname "Zero". When the time comes for students to summon their familiars, she ends up summoning Saito Hiraga, a normal teenager from modern Japan. Even though he's being treated like a dog and forced to do menial labor, Saito stays to protect his mistress. This means dealing with incoming advances from other women around him and getting involved in a war between Tristain's neighboring countries....Originally a series of Light Novels written by Noboru Yamaguchi, it has since received four seasons of anime adaptations, namely Zero no Tsukaima, Knight of the Twin Moons, The Princess' Rondo and Zero no Tsukaima F, that aired in the beginning of 2012. The anime has been released in English as The Familiar of Zero. The first season is the only season that has been dubbed in English. A 7-volume manga by Media Factory has also been translated into English by Seven Seas Entertainment under the title Zero's Familiar.The light novels stand unfinished at 20 volumes plus 3 side story volumes. North Americans can watch season 4 of the anime, Familiar of Zero F, here legally on Crunchyroll.
This series contains examples of:
Above the Influence - Saito persistently brushes off the advances of a Love Potion afflicted Louise in the first season. He often acts this way towards the other women as well, despite the fact that they all insist they're okay with it. While he has intentionally kissed some of them, he often ends up regretting it.
Action Dress Rip - When Henrietta learns about Albion's invasion, she rips her wedding dress and takes off running to lead the army.
Action Girl - Agnes is a musketeer and a royal bodyguard.
A-Cup Angst - Louise is very insecure about her bust size, and believes this is why Saito keeps looking at other women. When Saito tries calming her by claiming to love flat chests Tabitha simply points out that hers are smaller. Louise just can't win.
Aerith and Bob - There are names like Henrietta, Guiche, Tabitha, Agnes... all appropriate for the setting. Then there are names like Hiraga Saito and Siesta. People do notice Saito's fairly strange name, but it's justified. Seems to be played straight in Siesta's case -there's no expy nation of Spain, her only named relatives have British-sounding names, and she's of Japanese descent.
Alien Sky - The world the show takes place in has two moons, thus everyone assumes Saito's lying when he says his world has one.
Ambiguously Brown - Kirche is from "Germania" but her skin tone looks like she came from somewhere else.
Wardes tries to do this to Louise in Season 1, and since he's her arranged finance, he has a good chance of success.
Non-villainous example with Tabitha in Season 4. She tells Louise that if she ever gets in a bad argument with Saito again, the former will take Saito away and marry him.
Asleep for Days - Saito sleeps for three days after his first duel with Guiche.
Armor-Piercing Slap - Louise gives one to Henrietta after the former confronts the latter about constantly hitting on Saito in episode 6 of Season 4. Henrietta tries to counter, but Louise blocks it, then it turns into a naked wrestling match in the hot springs.
Mr. Colbert detests violence because of the time he burned down a village on bogus orders.
King Joseph can be seen as a twisted example. It's hinted at that he truly regrets not feeling remorse over killing his brother and that all his actions up to this point have been an attempt to try and make himself feel remorseful.
Author Existence Failure - Yamaguichi died on April 4, 2013, after losing a two-year battle with cancer, and with the last two volumes still incomplete, and many questions regarding The true nature of the Void, Brimir, and the origin of the conflict between humans and elves which were meant to be addressed in the final arc, forever unanswered.. The anime's 4th season is as close to a closure as we'll ever get.
Saito is knighted and becomes a nobleman by Henrietta.
Louise is adopted as a sister by Henrietta, thus making her a princess.
Ax-Crazy - King Joseph of Gallia. The previous king awarded the throne to him instead of his brother and his brother expresses happiness over Joseph having been made king instead of the seething jealousy Joseph had been hoping to see. This causes him to snap and murder his brother in a fit of rage during a hunting trip some time after.
Baby-Doll Baby - Tabitha's mother drank a spiked drink meant for Tabitha, who is actually the next in line for the Galian throne. This resulted in her losing her mind and thinking that Tabitha's childhood doll was Tabitha herself, and that her daughter was an impostor sent to replace the doll. This leads to Tabitha leaving and adopting the name of her doll, Tabitha.
Badass Bookworm - Tabitha can be seen reading a book when she's not kicking ass or savings someone else's.
Belligerent Sexual Tension - Louise constantly refers to Saito as "baka-inu" (literally "stupid dog"), usually when she's about to beat him senseless. These moments usually come right after she feels a surge jealousy. Saito, for his part, pushes her berserk buttons on a daily basis, but is loyal unto death to her.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: While acting-wise the European Spanish dub is pretty good, the translation is sometimes too literal:
Louise's nickname Louise The Zero is translated literally in Spanish as Louise La Zero. While the nickname has lots of sense in both Japanese and English, in Spanish sounds extremely dumb, not to mention the official dub spells Zero as such, when the correct Spanish spelling is Cero. A better translation or adaptation should be Louise La Maga Cero (Louise the Zero Mage) or similar ones. The Mexican dub, on the other hand, translates her nickname as Louise La Inutil (Louise The Worthless), albeit somewhat ruins the name of the series, who is named after her
Kirche's title Kirche The Bronze since it's translated literally as Kirche El Bronce.note The Spanish article El refers to a male person. A better adaptation should be Kirche La Maga de Bronce (Kirche The Bronze Mage, as she's dark-skinned). The Mexican dub gives her the punnier nickname of Kirche La Ardiente (Kirche The Burning One, albeit ardiente can be translated as both burning/hot and also horny/sensual woman)
Body Double - Wales explains to Henrietta that he used one of these to avoid assassinations. it turns out to be a lie and his body has been reanimated instead.
Bodyguard Crush - Familiars are summoned to protect their masters. Saito is a familiar and Louise is his master. Do the math.
Bolivian Army Ending – Both Volume 2 and 7 end with a variation of this, though the ones at the receiving end are not the main characters. In Volume 2, the Albionian Royalists’ glorious last stand got most of the wind knocked out of it after Prince Wales’ assassination, so they ended up getting ignobly massacred. Volume 7 closes with Cromwell, up to then the main antagonist, cheerfully greeting the “reinforcements” from the Gallian airship armada… only to be bombarded and killed along the rest of the Reconquista army.
Broken Bird - Tabitha has great personal angst because her Evil Uncle broke her wings, metaphorically speaking. The death of her father, the insanity of her mother, the missions he forced on her, etc.
Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them - Saiot and Louise drive each other buts but can't part from each other without feeling depressed or listless. It's taken to the Logical Extreme in Volume 8 of the novel. A depressed Louise is upset that even in a dream, she's unable to tell Saito she loves him. Deciding she can't leave him until she's said it at least once, she attempts suicide just to meet him again. Only to be stopped by Siesta. Only to fall either way. Don't worry, they get out safe and sound... at Guiche's expense...
Possibly Julio, though he tends to have girls running after him instead.
Censor Steam - In the anime and light novels such as during a Furo Scene.
Chains Of Love - The second season ending theme, in lyrics and imagery.
Character Development - Less apparent in the anime, but virtually every recurring character becomes more rounded as the series progresses, mostly as a result of growing maturity as well as the stark realization of the looming threats of war.
Louise's development is one of the most obvious; starting off as a Jerkass with a Hidden Heart of Gold who frequently abuses Saito physically and verbally, she eventually becomes a Type B Tsundere towards Saito after realizing her own feelings to Saito and recognising his exploits, effectively overcoming her noble upbringing which discriminates against commoners. The entire process took almost 20 volumes, spanning over a year in the series timeline.
Character Exaggeration - Every single named character gets this, with varying levels, in the anime; their quirks and personality traits are amplified for the sake of constant slapstick. Louise is more violent and mistrusts Saito more easily, resulting in more punishment and explosions for him; Saito himself is more of a willing pervert, the "accidental" part is less pronounced, resulting in him deserving some of the punishing; Siesta appears in situations she wasn't originally in, heavily exaggerating her clingy quirks and snark comments on her bigger bosom over Louise's.
Chekhov's Boomerang - The Water Ruby, a ring which Henrietta passed to Louise as a good luck charm before assigning her to a mission in Albion. It was vital to convince Prince Wales of Albion that Louise is really Tristain's ambassador. It is more than just a Tristainian royal keepsake as it was later revealed to be essential in unlocking the secrets of Void magic.
The Chess Master - Joseph, Tabitha's uncle, had Tabitha go on suicide missions after nearly poisoning her, started the Tristian-Germania war with Albion through a group he was manipulating, made small nuclear rocks, and caused another war to break out between his nation and Tristania.
Collector of the Strange - Rukhsana, an elven researcher introduced in Volume 18 of the light novels, likes to collect human artifacts from Halkeginia. However, she tends to mistake the functions of those artifacts, leading her use them in strange ways, such as hanging a bucket on a hat-stand, or using an upturned umbrella as a container.
Comedic Sociopathy: Louise's treatment of Saito would be horrifying if it were not played for laughs note Some fans find it horrifying nontheless
Cool Loser - Kirche, Tabitha, Louise and Saito were all shunned by their peers at one point, but not after a few volumes of heroic deeds.
Cool Ship - The Ostland. In a world where flying sailing ships and flying chariots are the norm, a ship that is powered by both magic and technologynote steam technology, but still.... and packed with technologically-inspired magic weapons is simply awesome.
Cry Cute - Louise is absolutely adorable when she allows herself to be honest with her feelings, and usually when crying. It's pushed to the point of near-woobification in Volume 13 of the novels, when a barely-composed Louise tells Saito that without him she'll never smile again, right before she drugs him and offers herself to Romalia's cause in order to have him sent back to Japan.
Dance of Romance - When Louise is a guest of honour at the academy's ball, several nobles ask her to dance, but she turns them all down and asks Saito to dance with her. Saito later admits that this is the moment he fell for Louise.
Dark-Skinned Redhead - Kirche; nobody else in the setting has either, making her very exotic indeed.
Death Faked for You - Kirche lied about Mr. Colbert's death when he is just severely injured to prevent Agnes from exacting revenge on him.
In the anime, it was Tabitha who did the faking, but in both cases, Mr. Colbert ended up recuperating in Kirche's family estate.
Fought an elf and survived. This is one of his biggest ones, really, as elves in the novel are practically demigods.
Refused a chance to abandon Halkegenia and return to his homeland Japan (although he was lined up to be shot by the Pope's Windalfr, if he stepped into the portal), got a tank, and defeated an entire platoon of magitek weapon-wielding medieval mecha designed specifically to ward all medieval weaponry and magic, by himself, with ammunition support from Tabitha and steering from Colbert, both guided by Saito. His victory was then claimed by Vittoro's Crusaders faction to be entirely their job and their success. Twice. This time all of the Undine Knights were upset by that.
All of this happened after Saito had an important and complex part of his bond with Louise broken by a brute force Amnesia spell, specifically the part designed to make Saito ignore everything but Louise's positive qualities and block out anything that doesn't make him subservient to her. Yet he still soldiered on for her, regardless. Yet Louise still shows him no respect, even calling him a dog and continuing to whip him. She also refuses to accept his being a noble (When she was a Chevalier, he later became the same. When she became a Court Lady, he later became a Lieutenant of the Imperial Army. When she became in line to the throne, he later became a Duke.) meaning similar or equal grounds to her. When this was mentioned to her in the Light Novel, she yelled at him loudly, mocking the thought of them ever being equal using her last name as her entire argument, and lastly called him a dog some more for good measure.
Elemental Hair - On the Played Straight side, we've got Fiery Redhead Kirche (fire affinity), Rei Ayanami Expy Tabitha (wind), Mme. Chevreuse (brown / Earth), and Miss Longueville (green / Earth). On the other hand, Shana Clone Louise, Ill Girl Cattleya, and their mother Karin all have pink hair, but all have a different affinity (Void, Earth, and Wind, respectively). It's notable that the main characters who are not magic users of some kind (Seito, Siesta, Marteau, Scarron, and Jessica) all have very dark brown or black hair.
Elemental Powers - Magic is divided into the classical elements of earth, fire, wind, water and the not-so-lost element of heart void Louise can use it, but that is the only of the 5 elemental magic types she can use, that means, she can only destroy... Blow thing or people (mostly her familiar) up..
Element Number Five - Void is the legendary fifth element. The reason a mage's rank doesn't go beyond "Square" is because everyone thought it was just a legend. While never outright stated, it seems to be heavily implied that void type mages can't use any other type of magic. That would mean that no mage above square rank is even possible.
Eye Catch - Usually of a female character(s) in the show with a tiny animation of Saito and Louise on the bottom part of the screen.
Familiar "Summon Servant" is a rite of passage for young mages. It determines their future education and is a measure of their potential.
Fan Boy - In the novels, Saito has several of them to go along with all of the shiny new fan girls.
Fangirl - Saito and his male friends get a few after the Albion wars, hell even a girl support group formed from the schoolgirls in first and second year to help them.
After his exploits in Romalia and Gallia, Saito comes back to Tristain and finds that a play his been written about him. It plays him up as a hero of the plebeians. His fan base has been extended to all the commoner woman who now want a piece of him.
This was actually downplayed in the anime, believe it or not. In the book, one of the first things one of his fans asks of him is to name her unborn child.
Fanservice - It's troweled on in very thick amounts, especially in the later seasons, to the point where it can be distracting to the actual plot.
Fantastic Racism - Tiffania hides her ears because of this toward elves. This may have something to do with religion, as evidenced by the inquisition Tiffania has to endure.
References in the light novels indicate the elves hold the "Holy Land," and are resented for this as well as being feared for having unusually powerful magic. Montmorency said at one point that even a Square Mage is at a disadvantage against an elf.
This also applies to nobles, who treat commoners like crap because they can use magic and commoners can't.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture - The countries have european seventeenth century counterparts and most of the character names are either actual historical names or famous fictional character names. So much that it is definitely a case of Shown Their Work.
Halkeginia (Zero No Tsukaima Europe counterpart) is loosely based on seventeenth century Europe
Kingdom of Gallia is Kingdom of France with some Spain in it. The capital city is Lutèce (Paris), but the royale palace is in Versailles.
Kingdom of Albion ans Holy Republic of Albion are respectively United Kingdom and Commonwealth Republic (with some Germany in it). The capital city is Lundinium (London) but the court take refuge in Newcastel.
Holy Empire of Romania is Church's States. Others parts of modern Italy don't have equivalents
Empire of Germania is north-eastern Europe: a combination of Holy Empire of Germany, seventeenth century Austria and seventeenth century Poland (modern Poland and western Russia). The capital city is Vindobona (Vienne).
Kingdom of Tristain is Austrian Netherlands (combination of modern Belgium and modern Netherlands) with some France in it
Grand Duchy of Grudenholf is Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and, as seventeenth century Luxembourg is under Austrian Netherlands rules, is under Tristain rules)
There is also an unnamed state which can figure either Spain, either Portugal
Outside of Halkeginia, there is also elfans' states like Sahara (Ottoman Empire) or Rub Al'khali (probably Emirate of Diriyah).
Queen Henrietta of Tristain is Henriette Anne Stuart of England (Louis XIV's mistress, 'cuz her husband, Prince Philippe was busy with Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche) and her maidservant Louise de La Baume Le Blanc, Duchesse de la Valière (also Louis' mistress; the real Guiche was, prior to this, trying to get into her pants too, but Louis was ... persuasive)
The same Prince Philippe Bourbon of France, Duc d'Orléans is Philippe of Tristain, the father of Henrietta ; as Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche is Guiche de Gramond.
Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst is Sophia Augusta Fredericka von Anhalt-Zerbst, also know as Catherine the Great, Emperess of Russia
Margarita la Fère de Montmorency is probably Marguerite de Montmorency.
Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector of Holy Republic of Albion which is, well, Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector of Commonwealth Republic. The civil war he leads was against James I of Albion, counterpart of James I of England (father of Charles I against whom real Cromwell leads a rebellion). On the other hand Prince Wales Tudor of Albion is a generic Prince of Wales.
Giulio arrogantly named himself after the Fantasy Counterpart of Caesar, who apparently lived centuries ago in the history of the setting. So he's not actually a fantasy counterpart of a historical figure, just a fanboy of the fantasy counterpart of a historical figure.
The fourteenth novel introduces a Gallian warrior named Batz Castlemorre. Charles de Batz-Castelmore was more commonly known as d'Artagnan (yes, he really existed).
Albrecht III, Emperor of Germania is maybe Albert VII, Archduke of Austria.
There is also Cardinal Mazarin the chancellor of Tristain, Madame Molière the chancellor of Gallia under Joseph reign or Jean Colbert. Professor Chevreuse is probably named after Marie de Rohan, Duchesse de Chevreuse.
Maricorn isn't exactly historical, but has a rather... interesting... Spanish meaning.
First Girl Wins - Mostly played straight, but mildly toyed with as well. Louise was the first girl we're introduced to, she wasn't the first girl to whom Saito showed an overt attraction, but she was the first girl he shared an intimate moment with, and she's the one he's ultimately fallen in love with.
Floating Continent - Albion's called "the White Country" because of the clouds that gather around its underside.
Forgotten Phlebotinum - Saito's ability to see through Louise's eye. Used once earlier on, and then never again, though it may have been mentioned once or twice.
It's used once in Volume 2 and again in Volume 11. The purpose of the ability is to notify Gandalfr whenever his master is in danger he wouldn't otherwise know about. The first time it was used was when Wardes turned traitor and tried to kill Louise. The second time was when the golem Jörmungand ambushed Louise and his fellow Knights of Ondine on their way out of Albion. Both times it notified Saito of his master's peril so he could come to the rescue. Unfortunately there are a whole bunch of other times where it would have come in handy but is just never mentioned, so this trope is usually in effect.
For the Evulz - After Joseph steals Louise's void magic ability in episode 3 of Season 4, he uses it to set off some magical bombs. His reasoning for all the evil deeds he's doing is because he wants to feel some kind of emotion, such as Louise does when she begins to shed tears after he starts blowing up his fleet along with Romalia's fleet. He doesn't seem to care that his actions are hurting or killing lots of people.
King Joseph's stated goal is to destroy the world, causing atrocity after atrocity until he is finally capable of showing remorse over the acts he has committed.
Gratuitous English - Rather oddly considering they're supposed to be French-speaking, Queen Henrietta at least once clearly addresses Colbert as "Mister Colbert." Sheffield also uses the term "Miss" at one point to address Louise, although Sheffield is an English name, so she's got an excuse.
They seem to use the Greek alphabet, at least in the manga.
Green-Eyed Monster - Literally. Triggering Louise's insecurities over Saito is the quickest way to recharge her willpower—willpower that allows Louise to unleash the apocalypse and manipulate the logic of reality.
Happens again at the end of Season 4, this time with a Mitsubishi F-2A fighter jet.
Hadaka Apron - Under the influence of her uncle and cousin, Siesta serves this to Saito along with the dinner in season 3 episode 6.
Hair Color Dissonance - In the novels, Louise's hair is described as strawberry-blonde, but already drawn as pink on the covers.
Hair Colors - Pink, blue, purple, white, you name it! There are several black-haired characters, but it turns out they're all descendants of an earlier visitor from our world.
Hair Color Spoiler - On multiple counts: anyone with Louise's hair color is in her immediate family, black-haired folk are visitors from our world or descendants thereof, and the villain from season three is Tabitha's uncle.
Happily Married - Louise and Saito in the series finale of the Anime. The show ends with Louise using World Door to visit Earth with Saito to announce their marriage to his parents.
Happiness in Slavery - Even after all the whipping and explosions Saito has suffered under Louise, he still loves her and steadfastly remains loyal and protective. Quite possibly best exemplified in the last episode of season one, where instead of going home to his world, Saito throws away his only chance to help/save/stay with Louise, and the first episode of season three, when the runes disappear from Saito's hand, meaning he is no longer Louise's familiar. Despite this, he promises to never leave, suggesting they can now live as a regular couple. Of course, Louise, being the tsundere she is, promptly blows him up.
Hegemonic Empire - Romalia also utilizes a different sort of hegemony over Halkagenia, a continent that consists of five independent nations (Albion, Gallia, Germania, Romalia, and Tristain). Romalia is relatively weak militarily, and it often remains neutral (such as when Albion declared war on Tristain), but the Romalian Emperor, by exerting control over the church, can nonetheless override the other rulers' decisions.
Heroic Resolve - In the last episode of season two, even as Saito's worn out and nearing his limit, he thinks of Louise and regains the will to fight an army of 70,000 die hard soldiers.
I Kiss Your Hand - Subverted. Princess Henrietta offers Saito her hand to kiss in recognition of his achievements, but Saito — being from modern Japan (though this really shouldn't be an excuse) — misunderstands what is meant by "kiss" and instead sweeps the princess off her feet in a deep embrace and kiss that leaves her stunned.
Inconsistent Dub: The European Spanish dub suffers of this regarding the use of the word Familiar (Tsukaima in Japanese). Everybody reffers their familiars as such in Spanish, despise in Spanish (in all dialects) the word Familiar normally reffers to both a member of a family and also when something is familiar for someone.note See "Blind Idiot" Translation for more details. The problem here is in the same episode the dub use Familiar and also the Spanish word Sirviente (Spanish for Servant who is the equivalent for Familiar in that language). On the other hand this is avoided with the Spanish title: In both Spain and Latin America it was renamed asLa Magia de Zero (The Magic of Zero) for the already explained reason.
The Mexican Spanish dub avoids this entirely: It's now translated consistely as Guardian Mistico (Mystical Guardian) or simply as Guardian. Oddly enough, in the pilot dub used during the Official Fan-Submitted Content, Sirviente was used just like the European Spanish one.
The Zero Fighter also falls victim to this in the anime.
Jerkass - So far it's shown nobles of Louise's world are pretty much this, including our pink haired main character, although there are exceptions of course but too few.
Joshikousei - In one of the light novels, Saito has a seifuku made and persuades Siesta to wear it. Guiche and Malicorn loudly express outrage at how "indecent" it looks (compared to the Academy uniforms?), but they're clearly fascinated - and then Guiche asks where he can get one, implying he's going to try and talk Montmorency into wearing it ... in private.
In the anime, Saito sees the seifuku at a shop (how the shop obtained it is anybody's guess) and buys it for Siesta. Later in the episode when the main cast is trapped in a cave, Siesta comes running to them (complete with very audiable Gainaxing) wearing the seifuku, much to the party's amusement.
Karma Houdini: Louise. After all that she made Saito suffer through, she gets a loyal, fiercely protective boyfriend out of Saito, who later marries Louise, and a seat on the throne. All this, and compared to Saito, she barely suffers throughout the series.
Kick the Dog - Louise regularly calls Saito a dog. She treats him much, much worse.
Kill It with Fire - How the religious dissenters of D'Angleterre were dealt with. Agnes, the only survivor of the massacre, made uncovering the people responsible for the massacre her lifelong quest.
Kissing Cousins - In the Manga it is revealed that Wales and Henrietta are cousins. Must have been too 'Squick' for the Anime.
Last Stand - Saito does one during the end of Season 2, combined with One-Man Army. As to be expected of such lopsided odds, it doesn't go well for him, although he does buy the Tristan army the time they needed to evacuate. It's also subverted because although he technically dies, he's brought back to life almost right away shortly afterwards.
Lighter and Softer - If you read the novels after having watched the anime, you'll be outright startled at how much the violence was toned down. For example, when Saito beat Wardes for the first time, rather than just swinging his sword at Wardes and making him collapse, Saito hacked his arm off. And during their final confrontation, rather than Wardes vanishing in the explosion of light created by Louise's void magic, he is ventilated by high-caliber machine gun rounds (only for it to later be revealed that he survived).
Additionally the Anime 4th season is FAR lighter and softer than the equivalent parts in the novel (dealing with Romalia and the Elves), which has far more gambits and a very real crisis to deal with that does not seem to have an obvious happy ending in sight.
Limp and Livid - Guaranteed with Louise every time her and Saito's relationship gets rocky.
Lost in Imitation - Tabitha owes a lot to Rei (from Evangelion). So at first glance her mother's story looks like a tie in to Rei's Red Oni counterpart. Actually the reason for her mother's madness is directly taken from Princess Kushana's story in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (which is also where Eva adapted it from).
Love Makes You Crazy - Louise's obsession with Saito will cause her to beat him if he so much as looks at another woman. And when he (occasionally) gets angry and leaves she ends up hardly able to leave her bed.
This actually is a reoccurring theme in the franchise as a whole. To the point where it's actually easier to count the number of relationships where the partners aren't completely out of their minds then it is to count the number of relationships where people are.
Love Martyr - Sometimes Saito borders on this. Louise can be an utter bitch at times.
Love Potion - Not that it doesn't work as intended. In fact, it works TOO well.
Love Potions return again in the third season. Siesta plans to use one on Saito, but by Finagle's Law, it ends up spreading to a good amount of the women at the academy.
Also, in the first case, at least, it seems to have the effect of severely altering the drinker's personality. Louise goes from regularly beating Saito to being ridiculously submissive. This is probably because if all it did was make her fall in love with Saito, the effect probably would have been unnoticeable, as her (denied) love for him was what led her to drink the potion in the first place.
Incidentally it ONLY alters their personality, nothing else. Saito found this out the hard way when Louise reverted back to normal, complete with all her memories of everything that had happened. In Detail. She was not happy
Macguffin Delivery Service - Louise and Prince Wales play this part in episode eleven alowing Waldo to get ahold of Henrietta's letter to Wales and thus stopping Henrietta's marriage to the prince of Germania and leaving Tristain without allies before Albion's invasion
Louise seems to be the only wizard-wannabe to do that during the ceremony. I hardly imagine Montmorency kissing a frog without making a fuss. Another is the neigh-impossible thought that Louise could kiss a dragon or a manticore if she did manage to summon one. If it were me, good grief, I'd rather pick a human over anything.
Joseph & Sheffield have stated that they underwent this ritual in Season 4. In the anime, at least.
Meaningful Echo - As the True Companions makes their way toward rescuing Tabitha, she's reading a story about a girl being rescued from a dragon. Saito admits to Louise (in the light novel, at least) that he's trembling with fear of the elf they have to fight; the story Tabitha's reading mentions that the hero who rescues the girl trembles with fear of the dragon. And the overcoming of the elf's shields parallels the dragon's defeat as, both times, the sword suddenly glows (in Derflinger's case, with Louise's Void "Dispel") before striking the final blow.
Meaningful Name - A mage's "runic name" is chosen to reflect his or her elemental affinity and abilities. For example, Tabitha's runic name is "Blizzard", implying she's skilled with wind and water spells, while Guiche's is "Bronze" because he prefers to summon bronze golems that fight for him.
If you think about it, Louise's unwanted nickname "zero" actually fits her very well, since it turns out she can cast void magic to nullify magic effects.
Mind Rape / More Than Mind Control - Louise spends most of volumes 10 and 11 angsting over the possibility that Saito’s then-newfound courage and determination could be the result of the Familiar contract brainwashing him into servility, and wondering if his feelings for her could be a fabrication as well. This gets solved in two parts:
In volume 10, Louise confronts Saito on his (perceived) fearlessness, prompting him to explain somewhat angrily that he’s actually scared out of his wits yet trying his best to retain composure. Fittingly, a normal person persevering in the face of danger and his own fear is precisely the theme of "The Hero of Ivaldi", the book Tabitha spends most of the volume reading.
Saito: “I actually don’t have any such courage. I am ashamed to say it, but to be frank, I’ve been trembling fearfully for a while now. Trembling with excitement? Quit joking. I am shivering in fear.”
Still unconvinced, in volume 11, Louise has Tiffania use her Oblivion spell to erase any possible thought-alteration that the contract could have caused, with somewhat unexpected results. For a while, Saito had noticed that he’d get severe bouts of homesickness whenever he was far from Louise, and it’s then revealed that the Familiar contract acts as a suppressant for those emotions whenever the Master is close. While Louise’s other fears turn out to be unfounded, Saito is hit with a year’s worth of homesickness all at once and suffers a temporary Heroic BSOD. In the end, he gets over it and returns to Louise all the same, but not before voicing his annoyance at her continuing to distrust his feelings.
Saito: “Listen you! How long can I keep telling ‘I love you’ to a girl who does not return my feelings?! I should be getting a medal for this!”
Mistaken For Object Of Affection: In the anime Louise gets into the bed that she, Saito, and Siesta share. The problem? Well, she ends up being kissed by Siesta, who had mistaken her for Saito.
Moment Killer - This anime just LOVES this trope. In almost EVERY possible situation where a "Moment" could happen, any other character just conveniently walks into the situation and everything is ruined. Cue Explosion. If they don't walk in, it is at the very least witnessed by someone else and consequences will be had later. Basically, nobody in this show has a sense of privacy and everyone has impeccable timing.
And if no one else can kill the "Moment" Saito will accidently find a way to say something stupid, usually about events involving another girl or Louise's breast size, out loud in front of Louise.
Mood Whiplash - Again, the last episode of season two where Saito comes back alive, embracing a tearful Louise, but ruining the moment by telling he was saved by an elf. He makes this worse by talking about her breasts and staring at Siesta's. My god, Saito, just shut your mouth for once.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Louise constantly administers these to Saito with such brutality that it qualifies as torture. At one point in the anime, Saito can be seen heavily wounded from Louise's whippings and crying in pain.
Not So Different - While the elves and humans both display Fantastic Racism, in episode 9 of Season 4, after Lukshana goes off on her own to explore Tabitha's castle, Guiche and Ari both go looking for her. Montmorency later sees Guiche talking to a maid and immediately assumes that he's cheating on her (again). She refuses to listen to an explanation and storms off, after which Ari mentions that when it comes to women, they both have the same issues. Both of them are later seen eating together and angrily agreeing with each other with supposedly how badly their women treat them.
One morning, Agnes bursts into Louise's room to deliver some news. Louise is straddling Saito on the floor. Her shirt's undone, her stocking is torn, and she's out of breath. Saito's only wearing his shorts. Not what it looks like, or exactly what it looks like? (Never mind the question of if she had started whipping the poor boy that morning, or perhaps had simply not stopped beating him since the night before.)
Not Worth Killing - Tabitha finally has the chance to kill her uncle, Joseph in episode 3 of Season 4, and nearly goes through with it, but then stops herself. Luckily for her, his familiar does the job for her by setting off the last magical bomb.
Nuke 'em - The holy land revealed that this is a possible event, with the discovery of a Soviet submarine with nuclear missiles in them. And Saito's Gandalfr runes are meant to work with them.
She's the nicest elf I've ever seen in more ways than one.
Overly Long Name - Montmorency's full name is Montmorency Margarita la Fère de Montmorency.
Long names, given the medieval setting, is common:
Louise's full name is Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière, named after a real-life French courtesan.
Kirche's full name is Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst.
By the end Saito's is Saito Chevalier de Hiraga des Ornières.
Paper-Thin Disguise: In the first season's opening Forquet wears a hood that doesn't cover her hair and since she's the only one with green hair at the time, it's pretty easy to tell who's the next villain.
Poor Communication Kills - Louise and Saito have both made lots of progress in their relationship. Their problem is complete obliviousness on both ends. Saito probably wouldn't be blasted to hell and back so often if those two knew how to talk to (or simply cold read) each other. As it is, the fact Louise hasn't killed him yet is astonishing.
Power of Love - The light novels make it very clear that Saito's powers as a Gandalfr increase when feeling strong emotions. Anger, sadness, happiness, any will do, but Saito most frequently fuels his powers via his love for Louise.
In a reciprocal twist, the quickest way to recharge Louise's willpower is apparently to trigger any of her myriad feelings for Saito.
Pragmatic Adaptation - The arcs and deeper details surrounding them are compressed in the anime, or some are outright ignored; case in point being Tiffania's introduction and eventually joining Saito's party, in the novels she took some time to gather courage to leave the forest, that and she was taking care of lost children, the anime glosses this over and make her join right in.
Punch Clock Villain - Elemental Brotherhood. They oppose the heroes early in Season 4, but later are hired by Tabitha to help.
Ramming Always Works - Saito crashes his F-2A jet into the dragon at the end of Season 4. It exposes the dragon's weakness long enough for Louise to hit it with a supercharged Explosion spell using Saito's Lifdrasil ability.
Rant Inducing Slight - In episode 11 of the second season, Saito finally cracks near the end of the episode after a heated discussion with Louise about how much she (and others) care about their reputation more than their lives.
Another occurs in novel Volume 11 (heh...). After having his memories fixed, Saito rants about Louise's negatives (even Tabitha is amused), and later decides that finally giving Louise a piece of his mind is more important than dealing with the uber-golem below, and does so without hesitation.
Saito: "What’s so good about you? No one would take notice of you - you are haughty like hell, you kick around when you sleep, you do not wear panties, one only can say 'I love you' to you out of pity for the bust-handicapped girl, really. There’s nothing else to praise you for. When I ignore you, you try to provoke me calling it a familiar's 'reward', but when I misunderstand and drool about it, you put me down with insults. Your head is as much of a zero as your chest is, idiot. Realize the reality, peach-haired fool."
Reasonable Authority Figure - Most of them, in fact. Mr. Colbert could even be said to go to unreasonable lengths in his reasonableness, agreeing to be complicit in treason in order to help one of his students.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech - Derf gives a minor one to Louise on her relationship with Saito. It's basically how quite a few fans see the relationship.
Derf: "I see. You acted coldly to him again didn't you? And then Partner went away with a bitter face... He says he loves you. Partner gave up on going home and joined the war to follow you, though he doesn't want to get involved in it. Why do you think that is? Because he loves you. Have you ever responded to his feelings, even once? While he devotes himself to you, isn't whipping the only thing you do to him?"
In the English dub, at least, Tabitha and Kirche, the quiet young mage with serious parental problems and her busty, energetic redhead best friend, are also Fate Testarossa and Arf... a quiet young mage with serious parental problems and her busty, energetic, redhead familiar.
Considering that Volumes 7 and 8 had already been published, and gave a proper (and very good) development and resolution to the story arc of Saito's death, this is probably more a case of Executive Meddling or Producer Cop Out.
Secret Government Warehouse - Romalia has one located in the catacombs underneath its capital and is filled with assorted weaponry from Earth that are secretly collected by its agents around the Holy Land. The weapons range from AK-47 rifles to a Tiger II tank.
Derflinger as well, as when they first got him he was just some rusted junk but now his a clean and polished blade.
She Is Not My Girlfriend - More on the opposite end of the spectrum, as Saito's quite fine with expressing his love for Louise, while she gets into a blushing fit in the same situation. Even after they get "married" in the last episode of the second season, she's still embarrassed to even think of such things.
In the light novels, at least, she tried to commit suicide after Saito's heroic death, in distress not just because he was dead, but because even in a dream she couldn't say aloud that she loved him.
Shout-Out - Hard to say if it's this or Theme Naming, but Guiche's giant mole-critter familiar is named Verthandi, the original (Norse) spelling of Belldandy's name from Ah! My Goddess.
And some of the translations actually render the familiar's name as Belldandy — which may just mean the translator didn't realize that's not the Norn's original name.
One episode features the cast investigating a secret chamber in the school, the entrance of which happens to be in a girl's bathroom. Yes.
Take a look at Belldandy (the mole). It has a blue triangle on its forehead. Belldandy from Ah My Goddess has a blue gem in her forehead.
Also, the series features a character named Louise Valliere, a Cardinal Mazarin, a teacher named Chevreuse, a quest to retrieve an embarrassing item from a royal's lover, a port named La Rochelle, and references to the Siege of Amiens. And that's just for starters.
A very local one was added in the Mexican Spanish dub in Season 1, first episode: While Saito trying to escape from the castle, he compares Louise and the nobles with some kind of "cult" or freaks. While it could be a coincidence, it could be a reference from the infamous case of the Cuban-American Voodoo cult leader Adolfo Constanzo, who murdered many people in human sacrifices for some drug cartels and used his body parts for supossed spells.note Needless to say, that case still shocks Mexican society to this date.
Something Else Also Rises - The bathing scene with Saito and Siesta in episode eight of the anime has a subtle instance. After Seista joins in, the flames heating the bath cause the one of the pieces of firewood to jolt upward from one end.
Squishy Wizard - Most nobles turn out can't really fight well without their magic, subverted later on as militarynobles know how to use weapons alongside their magic.
Status Quo Is God - No matter what happens to Louise and Saito you can rest assured that she'll be right back to blowing him up by the end of the episode.
Stepford Smiler: Louise actually invokes this trope in Saito, courtesy of runes that cause him to lose all sense of indignance towards Louise's dreadful treatment of him.
Stockholm Syndrome - Dear gosh Saito, he is pretty much kidnapped from his world and treated so badly that PETA would be up in arms if it was happening to a dog. But in time he falls in love with the woman who practically enslaved him.
Superpowerful Genetics - The ability to use void magic is a trait limited to those with Royal Blood of the founders of Tristan, Romalia, Albion and Gallia. Not only that, there can be only one void user at a time for each bloodline, and each void user can only call a specific human familiar depending on the bloodline.
Super Speed - Saito's secondary power besides being a weaponsmaster.
Supporting Harem - Louise is a title character, and the story starts with their magical contract sealed by a First Kiss, but this doesn't stop other girls from trying.
Sword and Gun - Agnes' armaments of choice are a pair of pistols and a longsword.
Saito eventually acquires an AK rifle. Never mind how it got there or where the ammo comes from, combine an AK with the Gandalfr powers, and that guy just got scary.
Take That - Surprisingly, the light novels of the series end up becoming a Take that and A Deconstruction of having a relationship with a Tsundere, more specifically, the Unfortunate Implications of Domestic Abuse caused by it. Especially after the 11th volume of the series.
Tank Goodness - Later in the novel, Saito acquires a King Tiger II from WWII.
Thanks For The Mammaries - Saito's done this a couple of times, although usually while he's asleep or very shortly after waking up. He's also tried doing it to Louise, who's often not happy with it.
Theme Naming - In this case, it involves swords: Saito's talking sword is Derflinger while the display sword was said to have been made by a Count Spee. Derflinger was a WWI German Battlecruiser (named for a 30 Years War General), while Graf (Count) Spee would be a WWI German Admiral or the WWII pocket battleship named for him..
While not exactly weapons, 2 famous Mitsubishi fighter planes, the WWII A6M Zero and the modern F-2A Viper Zero are also examples.
During the last episode they use a Flak 88, the biggest Boom Stick of the whole series.
Too Dumb to Live - Tabitha's mother. After realizing that a drink someone just handed her daughter is probably poisoned; she snatches it from her hands to keep her from drinking it, and then proceeds to down the whole thing herself for reasons I can't begin to fathom.
To clarify, she and Tabitha were at a formal event (a ball?) and Tabitha was offered a drink. Being a noble, protocol meant that refusing the drink was an act of rudeness, and the assasin was taking advantage of it. Tabitha's mother managed to get wind of it and took the drink herself, so it's actually a case of Heroic Sacrifice. Perhaps she could have averted it by say knocking the drink over and spilling it, making it look like an accident, but possibly tarnishing their image in the process.
Took a Level in Badass - Saito from ordinary person to powerful familar. Also Louise, as her magical ability is explained.
Training The Gift Of Magic: Who's competent at magic, and what sort, is important to the story — but all the types tend to need training.
Translator Microbes - The Halkeginian language is magically translated into Japanese and vice-versa for the benefit of Saito and his interlocuters. The limitations of this form of translation became apparent in later volumes when Saito tried to learn the Halkeginian script and realised that he was reading the words as if they were translated idiomatically, which is not a problem if he just want to understand the overall meaning of the text but becomes a problem if he wanted to understand it literally.
Trapped in Another World - Not entirely true: even though Saito is "trapped" in Louise's world, he can still leave by flying into a solar eclipse. He chooses to stay and help Louise, though.
Played straight in the novels, one of his main motivations is getting back to his own world.
He still managed to find a possible way back to Earth, via a Void-based portal spell. By then however, he became too attached to Halkeginia and decided not to leave. At least for now.
Tsundere - Louise, with heavy emphasis on "tsun". She begins the series by getting mad when her "pet" does something wrong (like broken panties that randomly fall off from Louise). In the second season, she gets pissed when Saito looks at other women (justificable, but still...). At third season, however, she goes berserk against Saito by the smallest of details; ones she is to blame for.
Unusual Ears - Tiffania's very nervous about her ears, and wears something to cover them most of the time.
Upper-Class Twit - Every student and many of the adult nobles seen throughout the series, including the good guys. However, those whose position requires more diplomacy like the faculty or the princess tend to have a more balanced outlook.
War Is Hell - Invoked by a number of characters, including the protagonists, and is contrasted with the general sentiments of the populace, especially the nobility, that War Is Glorious.
What Measure Is a Non-Human? - Louise reasons that since Saito was summoned through her familiar-summoning ritual, he's a familiar, despite being a walking, talking, thinking, feeling human being. She subsequently decides this means she doesn't have to treat him like a human.
Whip It Good - Louise and her sister Eleonore. Dealing pain must run in the family.
Their mom doesn't use a whip for her punishments, oh no she casts a Tornado Spell with Razor Wind as punishment.
Groin Attack - And when Louise doesn't have a whip, this is her alternative method.