DVD Review: The Familiar of Zero F – The Complete Series
06/05/2016 Leave a comment
It’s been a long-time-coming; but the final series of The Familiar of Zero will soon be upon us – so does love overcome all dangers? Well according to this series yes! but what did i think of this DVD release of the The Familiar of Zero F by MVM Entertainment? Well find out below!
Their relationship has been building ever since she first accidentally kidnapped him from Earth, but even with all they’ve been though together, are Saito and Louise ready to take their relationship to the next level? The answer, sadly, will have to wait, as once again events in Halkeginia are running out of control and Saito and Louise find themselves, along with several other Void Mages, pressed into service to save the world.
And while any mission involving Void Magic is sure to suck at some point, the suck-age is certain to be compounded by the fact that one of the mages they’ll be working with is the amply endowed elf Tiffania. Who may have designs on getting familiar with Saito herself. Betrayals, reversals and the inevitable side trip to the hot springs lie ahead as the evil plots get plottier, the dysfunctional relationships get even more dysfunctional, and lots of stuff goes BOOM for only vaguely justifiable reasons!
To some this fourth and final season of The Familiar of Zero, otherwise known as The Familiar of Zero F, is an attempt at bringing the anime franchise to its much anticipated heartfelt conclusion. While this is the case it does so in a rather disappointing way; with over the top banter, illogical talking points and elements that do not seem needed in a story that should all be about our main two protagonists. It’s another rather lack-lusture approach to a series and while it has some interesting topics they are constantly over-shadowed by the harem being played out on screen.
It all begins in traditional fashion, with Saito, Louise and Siesta waking up in the same bed which results in Louise becoming jealous and using her explosion spell to punish those around her; however things take a more interesting turn when the current pope of Romalia, known as Vittoro, summons Saito, Louise and Tiffa to the palace in order to discuss an important subject. The subject at hand is an old prophecy that predicts that four void users and their familiars must join forces to stop a great catastrophe that will bestow the world. It’s a crucial storyline element for this fourth season; but interestingly enough it’s not one that makes its appearance until much later in the series; instead an impromptu attack from the Galia Knights (otherwise known as Gensou siblings) sees Louise abducted by the current king of Galia, Joseph.
From here you would suspect a staggering selection of episodes that see war break-out between neighbouring countries and the four void users reuniting which lead to the catastrophe predicted by Vittoro; but instead this rescue attempt takes place within a single episode which see’s Saito, and his Ordine Knights group, take down Joseph and his familiar Sheffield in a bid to save louise. Its an action –packed-episode, and one that i greatly enjoyed; but considering it leads to a handful of ‘fan-service’ episodes, including a questionable bath episode found in Saito’s newly acquired land, that breaks up the natural pacing of this series you can’t help be slightly disappointed. This disappointment of the series progression continues when the Galia Knights return to attack Saito and Louise for no apparent reason at the same time that Elves appear onto the scene in order to abduct Tiffa and Saito in order to prevent the four void users reuniting. It’s all a bit random and oddly paced; but fortunately there is some meaning to it.
The meaning here is that humans, which are nicknamed savages by elves, believe that uniting the four void users will protect the world while the elves believe that if the four void users were to join forces it would spell destruction for the world. This is the reason why the Elves abducted Tiffa and Saito; and for the next selection of episodes we see these two attempt to survive captivity while Louise tries to go alone and rescue her lover. This ‘abduction’ is just a prelude of things to come as shortly after the much talked about catastrophe arises and it turns out to be a powerful dragon. It doesn’t sound like much of a catastrophe; but considering this dragons abilities it proves to be a formidable foe to our characters – and when things go wrong an ultimate decision has to be made; a decision which really shows the emotional attachment between Saito and Louise.
When it comes to bonus features on The Familiar of Zero releases then theres not really a lot to expect; and it’s the same again on this DVD release of The Familiar of Zero F; with only a selection of trailers and textless songs being included.
As shown in the screenshot above trailers include Super Sonico, Captain Earth and Hakkenden; with both Super Sonico and Captain Earth available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK through MVM Entertainment. Hakkenden on the otherhand has yet to see a UK release.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:24:56 (Disc 1), 2:23:15 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
For me; The Familiar of Zero F is exactly what I expected; a disappointing end to rather entertaining series that focused too much on the fan-service and harem to deliver a heartfelt story between two characters. This fourth season starts off fresh, active and engaging by wrapping-up storyline elements found within the past two seasons; but by the half-way-point we are back to the events that plagued the entire franchise – its constant use of fan-service, harem and “do you like me” antics that by now have become insanely tiresome. What’s even more disappointing is that it doesn’t get any better when several of these episodes begin to explore Tiffa and Tabithas feelings for Saito; as despite deliberating the possibility of stealing Saito away from Louise neither character acts on their emotions – which results in wasted viewing time.
Fortunately this mix-mashed intro does lead into a relatively solid ending; with the elvian race finally making their debut appearance and pushing their ideals onto the viewers as well as a final fight to save the world from destruction. It’s a nice ending; but i can’t help but wonder what the series would’ve been like if storyline elements found within this fourth season were spread out across the previous three seasons as they would have interlinked perfectly to deliver a more progressive and engaging storyline instead of one thats constantly overshadowed by fan-service that doesn’t go anywhere. Of course this is just my personal observation and opinion.
Disregarding the story of this franchise, which at its core is a love-story between two characters that never seems to progress forward on screen, this DVD release by MVM Entertainment is pretty much as you would expect it to be; but it does have some flaws. To start with this fourth season of The Familiar of Zero is once again only available in Japanese with English subtitles, as an English Dub does not exist, and as such we have to rely on subtitles to present the dialogue to the viewer; unfortunately however these subtitles do not always manage to achieve this task especially when two people are talking at once. As with past subtitle-only releases when two characters are talking at once (such as background discussions) they can become intermingled with the main dialogue – sometimes the main dialogue is on top of the alternative dialogue and sometimes its underneath and since the subtitles all use the plain white font (with no “dash” indicating on who is talking) then can be difficult to follow the conversation and to understand what’s exactly happening. Subtitles aside the picture quality is exceptional, especially for a DVD release; but once again only a handful of bonus content items are supplied.
Complaints aside The Familiar of Zero F is probably one of the better releases of this series; as while Series 1 did a good job of introducing the characters and it’s world of magic this one does an exceptional good job of showcasing danger, love, independence and deceit within the world of magic. Its entertaining, its fun and it’s filled with fan-service; but unfortunately enough it could have been a lot better.
The Familiar of Zero F – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 9th May 2016.