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Reviews Comments: Bland, boring, uninteresting characters, nothing but fanservice. The Familiar Of Zero film/book review by willyolio

So we\'ve got Plainguy Mc Insert dropped into this world. Tsundere just goes all out physically abusing him (literally whipping), but ha ha, comedy, laugh at that.

Plainguy sees Booby O\'Double Dees, Tsundere gets jealous, more whipping, ha ha, laugh, it\'s funny.

Plainguy doesn\'t learn, fantasizes at Booby O\'Double Dees again, oh look, Tsundere gets mad/jealous again, more whipping, laugh please.

Plainguy doesn\'t come from this world, he comes from our world, does he miss anyone? No? insert token complaint about wanting to be home, but absolutely no effort whatsoever in doing anything about it. Plainguy simply exists to be a point of view character, he doesn\'t question, he has no curiosity, he has no goals or drive or thoughts of his own. Oh, except boobs, because ecchi comedy! laugh, audience, laugh!

What an amazingly low-effort, cliche borefest.

Read the fanfiction, it\'s better than canon. Seriously. Decent fanfiction brought me to this series, I tried watching it, realized it was absolute crap, went back to the fanfiction. You might find ones where characters are actually characters, instead of walking-overused-joke-props.


  • allfictions
  • 22nd Jan 17
I prefer the originl material myself. The light novels gradually get better than the anime, in which every character was flanderized to hell and back and any serious plot points were ignored in favour of fanservice.

For example, using one of your complaints as a springboard, Louise (the tsundere) flies off the handle very easily in volumes 1-4, but once it's around volume 12, Siesta (Booby O/Double dees?) can needle her all she wants, Louise does not raise a hand to her nor take it out on Saito. The reason for Saito (Plainguy) to not get homesick is also a plot point.

I won't say the light novels are a work of art or anything, and they are not that good, but they are decent and do have their charms. I do agree fanfictions tend to be better though, if only because even if the L Ns are marginally better than the anime, the protagonist is still an excuse for ecchi stuff and "Comedy" that detracts from serious arcs (because there are!). I believe that all Zn T fanfic authors should read the L Ns before writing, or at least be aware of what is canon and what is fanon. Of course, it won't stop some from writing curbstomp fics or stupid fantasy fufillment fics that bash characters and the setting, but it'd help tone it down.
  • willyolio
  • 24th Jan 17
Unfortunately, I still wouldn't count that as a plus. If it sucks that much at the beginning, I'm definitely not going to slog through twelve volumes to see things get better. A work needs to convince me to read more on its own. Saying "you just need to slog your way though this much crud to get to the good stuff" sounds more like Stockholm Syndrome.
  • KarkatTheDalek
  • 24th Jan 17
I mean, that doesn't sound particularly inviting to me either, but citing "Stockholm Syndrome" kind of makes it sound like you're projecting on allfictions there.
  • willyolio
  • 25th Jan 17 you know what stockholm syndrome is? Look it up. If you can't tell, that's called a joke. I'm not trying to imply the author of Zn T has actually kidnapped allfictions.
  • KarkatTheDalek
  • 25th Jan 17
I know what it is, and I didn't think you meant it literally. My issue was that you seemed to be implying that allfictions only likes the series because they read so much of it, not because they found merit in it.

I'm not saying that this was necessarily your intention, but that was how it came off to me.
  • YasminPerry
  • 26th Jan 17
Louise is one of the WORST Jerk Sues. She's a good reason alone to not watch this show.
  • allfictions
  • 28th Jan 17

I was not saying the novels get better after twelve volumes, but that Louise's behavior gets noticeably better throughout the series, since it was one of your complaints and the most common ones about Zn T. The 12th novel was the example that came to my mind due to the exact scene being a perfect example of it.

For the plot itself, it starts getting better way earlier, around the time the war in Albion starts, so volume 6. This is the volume where the noble teenagers (and us readers) get a taste of why the time period sucks, with children of nobility being sent to the frontlines of a war, sometimes being given positions of authority over other people which can get them killed if they make the wrong decisions, and people deserting to flee the horrors of war. We also have the Wizarding School 's status as a place where the progeny of aristocracy, royalty, and other dignitaries are gathered serving the plot as students and teachers are taken hostage by mercenaries because of the school's strategic value. The teacher who was only known as a bumbling nerd up until now is revealed to have been a mercenary in the past, who burned down a village of supposed heretics and/or plague victims under the orders of the Church (a plot point which will be used later for the Myth Arc), and thus became a teacher to atone for his past and embraced nonviolence and pacifism in a world where military might is everything. Said teacher is then confronted by the survivor of the village, who swore to take revenge and follow through her oath, despite both of them being on the same side as good guys. And the teacher is killed (not quite, so he comes back way later).

So to speak, the novels started Growing The Beard during the War in Albion arc, ceasing to be “Harem romcom The Three Musketeers”, and became its own thing, a The Cavalier Years world with a past history extremely relevant to the plot, rules explaining the magic, and an emphasis on how The Cavalier Years can suck (though ZNT never quite departed from its Musketeerian roots, as a latter arc has a conspiracy centered around dethroning a ruler and secretely replacing them with their hidden twin, just like the third and last Musketeer book). It still had harem romcom elements, because that’s what sells in Japan, but it started to use those elements less and less as a crutch and the plot could carry itself without relying on them. Louise’s Character Development was one such example.

@Yasmin Perry

I don’t think you quite understand what Jerk Sue means. Generally, the viewers are supposed to like them because of their jerkiness and it is not presented as a bad thing.

It’s not quite the case with Louise? While her behaviour is kept for “comedic value” as (somewhat extreme) slapstick, I don’t think her treatment of Saito is shown as good or in a positive light.

In the L Ns, at least, Louise’s behavior, while not excused, is understood as a result of many factors: how she was raised, her mother’s strict discipline, her older sister’s attitude towards her, her insecurities, her classmates’ view and treatment of her, etc. Still doesn’t make the abuse more palatable, but it is acknowledged that this is a bad personality trait and she needs to change it if she wants a real relationship with Saito.

Speaking of him, his behavior is not squeaky clean either (he almost raped Louise, for example), and it also gets some explanation. Despite being intended as the idiot protagonist we’re supposed identify with, he is actually…complex, and gets a real personality and actual motivations for acting the way he does. Louise was the first girl he's able to call "His" in any way, and he starts feeling a sense of belonging, and more importantly, purpose when he's around her, as opposed to the aimless and monotomous life he led before. But having this kind of purpose is addicting for him. It makes him feel significant.

As the series go on, Saito becomes more jaded and dispassionate while Louise goes further in her punishments as she feels Saito just doesn't learn or develop when in reality he's just becoming more and more desensitized. Girls, from Saito's point of view, change from things he can never lay hands on and never truly interacted with to things that he can now easily interact with but "Should not". He becomes less shy and timid, but his social graces do not follow suit in development as from his position, from his standpoint, there is no real impetus for his social graces to improve that much - His heroism and status as the Gandalfr gives him a sense of entitlement in all the wrong ways and we can clearly see that this "hero" status hoisted upon him impacts his character development negatively in certain areas.

It’s actually fascinating how the novels (and the heroes themselves) have the realization that their relationship is toxic. Both parties began to wonder if they are really worthy of the other and if their significant other wouldn’t be happier without them in their lives. Eventually, they work (slowly) through their issues, and, by volume 16, you can tell Louise is the final girl for Saito, and they are actually a cute couple together.

As I said, what I hated with the anime is how some of the worst traits were magnified, and no one could develop as a character.
  • MeeMaggot
  • 29th Jan 17
That still doesn\'t redeem the series as a whole. This, along with the constant shitty Light Novels produced each year is a signification of how the anime medium has become low-quality garbage.

And thank Zero Punctuation for reminding me of that.
  • allfictions
  • 29th Jan 17
If you say so. As with most media, Sturgeons Law applies, though I don't think Anime And Manga as a whole is bad, only that there is a disturbing amount of Otaku Pandering (fetishization, fanservice, flat characters, lolicon bait, loser self inserts, etc.)

I'm just explaining why Zn T, while not that good, is not as bad as people make it out to be. There are certainly worst light novel series/anime adaptations out there (ever heard of Hagure Yuusha No Estetica? They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot in favour of having a molester Jerk Sue of a protagonist).
  • MeeMaggot
  • 29th Jan 17
Heh, if anthing is to go by, I\'d rank Zn T alongside Medal of Honor: Warfighter for several similarities. Dull, incoherent in terms of characterization and storytelling, obnoxious, uninspiring, nonsensical and worst of all, boring.
  • allfictions
  • 29th Jan 17
  • TheKaizerreich
  • 21st Feb 17
Well, I said it before, but I wouldn\'t expect much of a series when other works by the author include hentai games with gangrape and vomit-inducing tentacles (Jiburiru the Devil Angel) and I take a fairly dim view on people who unironically say they like Z n T the way it is. I watched the anime in full when I didn\'t know better, I tried the LN but no-uh and then found out there is a manga adaption, which is slightly better.

Thing is, the universe IS admitedly well constructed and has many interesting points, but it all gets drowned under too much Fanservice and stupidity... and domestic abuse. Tons of it! What was the author thinking, presenting it as something that\'s not to be criticised, ever!?

If you want a Z n T that is good, look at the Fanfic Rec page, there are dozens of good ideas and executions of a better story, or if all else fails just write your own.

I also agree with allfictions on the general criticism, there is too much crap-tier stuff out there to sift through (though that\'s true for anything and hardly new, sadly). And yeah, placing bait and then exepcting the cash to roll in doesn\'t work anymore - GO ALL THE WAY or GO HOME.

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