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Thank god there's Character Development
Zero no Tsukaima is a standard fantasy series, with loads of fanservice (to the point that you'll be drowned in it), and typical fantasy things. The first thing you'll notice is Louise's abuse. She takes the Tsundere thing to a whole different level. She has most of the traits of a typical abuser. Clingy, jealous, and violent. Fortunately, for her, Saito almost never does anything equally as bad to her.

She manages to abuse him in almost all forms. Emotional abuse in the novel since you can tell how Saito's mind is affected, physical abuse obviously, financial abuse since she kicks him out of her house when she's mad, and verbal abuse to the point that Saito believes he's as worthless as a dog in the novel. What's even worse are her Karma Houdini tendencies and she comes off as a Jerk Sue.

Just to say one more thing if Louise was a guy and Saito was a girl the series probably wouldn't even be published.

Putting Louise's abuse aside, the story in the anime is at it's best in season 1. Once the 2nd season comes there's more fanservice and characters like Siesta end up worse. The fight scenes are rare, but decent.

Unfortunately, the anime tends to exaggerate just about every character, to the point that Saito's perverseness and Louise's abuse become their defining traits.

Luckily, there's this very great thing called Character Development. You'll enjoy seeing Louise go from a total jerk to an actual nice girl by the end. I recommend reading the Light Novels if you like fantasy anime.
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That's what this series is all about.

Since the first instance, when Saito is kidnapped from his world and enslaved, the entire series is nothing but a sickfest of Unfortunate Implications and unlikeable characters.

Some fans say it's gets better several volumes (seasons) latter. I don't care, I couldn't pass from the 5 chapter without becoming ill and hating, loathing louise. and several of the "charming" side characters.

Saito may be a pervert, may be an Idiot, may be an inconsiderate twit but he is still a human being. The way Louise treated him is beyond criminal and redefine Moral Event Horizon all on its own. The fact that this mediocre, worthless writer tried to make it comedy its what sicken me so much.

She destroyed his dignity, his life, feed him like an animal and brutally punished to the point that if it wasn't an Anime he should be crippled and we are supposed to be sad for her? Fuck her, fuck her to hell. I don't care how badly she was treated, how many excuses you pile to her situation, how cute she is when she cry, its not a reason for the way she treated her fellow human being. And she had the gall to say its the way people treath their familiars? See the other students and how they interact with their Familiar to realize how fucked her view on relationship is. Hell, she is lucky she got Saito and not a griffin, dragon or chimera; any of this proud animals would have ripped her appart in matter of hours.

And then the series got the gall to put this as a romantic relationship. A healthy romantic relationship...

ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND.

Seriously, FUCK LOUISE AND FUCK THE WRITER FOR THIS PIECE OF CRAP.

This is the bottom of the cesspool that had become the Tsundere archetype, with other horrros that are Domina no Do. Read the Fanfic and don't waste your time with this mindless, putrefact parody of Romantic Fantasy... whathever.
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Anime first season: Pandering to the extreme
I started this series mostly because it came across as really cliche fantasy fluff with creepy fetishistic undertones. It lived up to my expectations, but it's a shame it does nothing more than that.

You could practically have a ticker on the corner of the screen for every cliche that comes up. Louise is introduced as an incompetent failure of a mage. Will she turn out to have some hidden reserve of great power? Of course. Will she turn out to have feelings for her "servant" in spite of abusing him both physically and mentally? You bet. Will Saito ever get home? Don't get your hopes up.

Beyond its formulaic nature, the series just doesn't work. Characters are cardboard cutouts defined by their role in the story. There's the large breasted romantic rival who exists for fanservice, the emotionally withdrawn genius girl, the handsome lech and his clingy girlfriend, the perverted old headmaster, and so on. If you feel like you've seen everybody before, it's because you have.

Even the only two characters with any real definition seem to be slaves to the plot rather than organic beings. Saito's supposed loyalty is completely unconvincing, inconsistent, and just gets dropped in without any real development. It takes all of a single day and barely any resistance before he starts following orders. It doesn't feel like his thought process so much as the writers realizing their intended path wouldn't work if he remained belligerent. It's not quite as bad as the completely obvious and horribly clunky tsundere archetype that Louise embodies.

Underneath the thick layers of fanservice (with an obsession over lingerie, apparently), the plot is pretty cut and dry. You have your usual high school antics along with some class struggle and a war between nations. Yawn. It gets boring even at a paltry 13 episodes. It doesn't help that this series also has some of the lamest villains ever, but even the best antagonists wouldn't make the plot any better. More interesting are the comparisons between our world and fantasy land, but the series never really explores it very well nor uses it as anything more than a plot device.

Ultimately, the series is just your usual mass produced fluff. If all you want is fanservice and familiar fantasy fluff, this is the one for you. Otherwise, take a pass.
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