DVD Review: The Familiar of Zero: Rondo of Princesses – The Complete Series
18/06/2015 Leave a comment
We take a third trip back to the magical world of Halkeginia to see what lies ahead for Saito and Louise after the climatic finale of the previous season; So what did we think of MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of Familiar of Zero: Rondo of Princesses? well lets find out.
Getting married and then dying would put a damper on most honeymoons, but Saito is made of stouter stuff than most would-be stiffs, and having been miraculously restored to life is a definite improvement over being dead. Unfortunately, as a result of his recent resurrection-al activities, the runes which bound Saito to his master, Louise the Zero, appear to have faded away. But will the fact that he is no longer contractually obligated to be Louise’s Familiar lead to the two of them getting more “familiar” now that they’ve tied a different kind of knot?
If Louise can’t learn to control her problems with premature explosions, the answer is probably not. Things only get more complicated when Siesta gets appointed to be Saito’s personal maid and everything goes completely out of control when the overly endowed Tiffania, who’d previously nursed Saito back from the dead, implants herself into the story as well! Will this full frontal assault on twin fronts be too much to handle? Will Saito and Louise’s relationship get “runed” yet again?
It’s fan-service galore as the third season for The Familiar of Zero once again see’s Saito and Louise in all-sorts of predicaments; but this time there are new girls to flirt with, bigger breasts to contend with and new enemies to defeat. This would make for a catching ‘back of the box’ snapshot, but it’s actually the truth; fan-service on a toned down scale is what’s on offer here and because of it the story of an impending threat from an unknown source easily becomes overshadowed by pointless banter between characters.
It all starts off pretty interesting; with Saito losing his RUNE, the pair being attacked by Sheffield and then the Queen awarding Saito the honour of becoming a chevalier; a knight of the queen. But by the end of the first episode all of these talking points have been put to rest; making you wonder what the remaining eleven episodes will be about. Well it’s supposed about the mage Sheffield, and her mysterious master, plotting an insidious act upon the country but in actuality it’s more about Louise taming her familiar; or to that extent.
With the first, and potential most entertaining, episode out of the way the series moves to locating the person who saved Saito on the battlefield; which is later to be revealed as the half-human half-elf girl known as Tiffania. Her introduction into the franchise adds no real value to the story of Sheffield and her master; but given Tiffania’s mammoth breast size it does spark a new rivalry between Louise, Siesta and herself – and this is where the fan-service starts to take over the show. For the next handful of episodes everything you could possibly imagine, such as bath-scenes, love-potions gone wrong, cross-dressing and skimpy maid outfits appear on screen and while it may be toned down compared to other shows, Highschool DxD for instance, it’s pretty much constant from start to finish.
Fan-service is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can be quite amusing, it’s just that in this series it tends to overshadow the talking talking points of the show itself – so much so that it makes me wonder where the storyline actually went. Of course there are some positives to take from this season, for starters all of the supporting cast members, including a selection of new ones, have a fair amount of screen-time; so much so that they actually take part in missions and help Saito and Louise with their tasks. There are plenty of more surprises in store as well, such as the appearance of a character once thought dead and a dragon that can transform into a girl, but those wishing to see the storyline develop will once again have to sit through hours of mediocre banter.
Luckily if you do survive the banter between characters and their infactuations with Saito you are treated to some interesting storyline elements; with betrayal and deceit being the highlights. I won’t spoil the details but everything that happens ‘behind-the-banter’ builds up to this climatic moment of the series and yields some interesting, and potentially surprising, results for all of those involved.
Whether you love or loathe the direction this series is taking there is no doubt that some fun can be had; but moving away from the series itself you’ll find yourself with some minor bonus features stored away on the second DVD disc.
Just like previous MVM Entertainment releases the only bonus features come in the form of clean opening and closing credits as well as for three trailers; two of which are currently licensed by MVM Entertainment. Super Sonico and Devil Survivor 2 will most likely draw the most attention, as these are both seeing a UK release.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:39:00 (Disc 1), 2:17:16 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 223kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
The Familiar of Zero: Rondo of Princesses could have been a story about Saito reclaiming his lost RUNE power while attempting to defend Louise from the onslaught of attackers; in actuality however it’s something different entirely. Depending on your perspective of events can depend on the way you see this particular series of the franchise; is it a story of impending threat overshadowed by fan-service and boobs; or is it a story that sees Louise fending off the competition against Saito. For me it was the former and despite a few surprises, as well as an interesting end to the series,i found that it provided more disappointment than entertainment.
The first season of The Familiar of Zero teased a world filled with magical conflict within a school environment mixed together with a love-story between a peasant familiar and a noble wizard; the second season tried to expand upon this but instead found itself lost within a war and then this third season now offers something completely different – fan service. Of course this isn’t your traditional fan-service, such as nudity and sexual innuendos; no this is a bit more discreet but it makes a constant appearance in every episode; especially the included OVA episode which sees the entire female tricked into wearing skimpy and revealing swimwear at the beach.
Questionable, but friendly, content aside this DVD release by MVM Entertainment is pretty much standard as usual; with adequate picture and audio quality throughout. Much like the second season this release is also an ‘English Subtitled’ product; and as a result there are no setup options on the main menu, but if you want to the subtitles can be removed at any point by using the buttons on your players remote. In terms of extras then its pretty much ‘business as usual’ with only the bare minimum of trailers and clean songs included for our viewing pleasure.
After The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Twin Moons this third season release of the franchise is a partial welcome return to its roots; however it opts to swap-out the magic and school-filled entertainment and focus on ‘friendly’ fan-service with multiple girls. There is a story to be had; but you’ll have to look for it and the same can be said for Louise and Saito’s relationship; as while it does make an on-screen appearance its pretty much a repeat of the past two seasons – with Saito getting the rough end of the stick. If you’ve been liking the show so far then this third season will offer much of the same with a different cast of characters; if you are new to the franchise then you are either better off starting at the beginning or not at all; but if you enjoy some fan-service and plenty of outbursts between characters then you may wish to give it a shot.
The Familiar of Zero: Rondo of Princesses – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 29th June 2015