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Roku de Nashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records – 02 »« Tsugumomo – 02

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 01

「魔女と獣堕ち」 (Majo to kemono ochi)
“The Witch and the Beastfallen”

Another season, another fantasy, another show with Zero in its name. Thus the illustrious Japanese naming trend continues as White Fox returns to fill—slightly—the hole left behind by Re:Zero’s absence. While there might not be any Subarus or Emilias this time around, I think a rambunctious witch and her pure of heart, half-beast companion should more than make up for that trick of the eye. Well, at least it does for me :P.

Looking on it, Zero occupies a unique spot this season in not being your “typical” fantasy. Yeah we have the magic, witches, and a church ascendency premise vaguely similar to Spice and Wolf, but the story veers more towards Hitsugi no Chaika than say Shingeki no Bahamut. This one—at least currently—is about finding a book and helping a cat, not saving the world or heading off on an adventure. Obviously that can change in due time (as Chaika eventually did), but so far Zero has enough to thematically separate it from its seasonal brethren. Helping matters here is our main duo in Zero (Hanamori Yumiri) and her mercenary (Koyama Tsuyoshi) bed companion. Zero has bashful banter down to a fine art, hilariously playing off well against our nameless (deliberately) mercenary who secretly likes our little fur lover, but cannot admit just yet. I particularly enjoy how both actually have a reason to hate one another as well, but do to circumstance and a sort of “opposites attract” situation end up coming together. A pretty refreshing twist on the usual fantasy character types, and a relationship I hope is increasingly explored going forward. After all, it would be a waste leaving those melancholy flashbacks as is.

The serious surprise for me, however, lay in the world building. I never anticipated Zero would feature much beyond the bare basics, but lo and behold a magic system with actual reasoning behind it. While the Fullmetal Alchemist similarities are obvious (ex. magic circles, some form of exchange), the subtlety is in the difference between the FMA-esque sorcery and magic. This separation intrigues the hell out me, especially when noting both that magic has “natural” (i.e. law-based) limitations upon its use, and can potentially require sacrifices—well, at least I heard sacrifices. The magic foundation gives Zero an immediate leg up on similar series, especially when noting that the concept of magic here was all but invented (i.e. codified) by Zero—I would be lying if my inner engineer wasn’t chomping at the bit for more. Considering the emphasis on names too I’m pretty sure we do not know every component of this magic system just yet. Specifically, however, it calls into question just what the “end of the world” here means and what the incantation specified in the Grimoire requires for it. I seriously doubt the higher level magic is as straightforward as currently made out to be.

In the immediate future though it looks like it’s party collection time as another witch (wizard?) joins the fray and we hopefully find out a little more about this world. Where’s the book? No one knows, but with little blonde boys throwing around Zero’s writings at whim you can be sure it’s not in a good place. I may not know yet if I’ll end up covering this one, but Zero definitely has me locked in for three episodes. With all these details tickling me right, I’m quite eager to see what lies ahead.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「はじまりのしるし」 (Hajimari no Shirushi) by Chima

Preview

April 11, 2017 at 12:10 am
26 comments »
  • April 11, 2017 at 12:40 amOne Pinch Man

  • April 11, 2017 at 1:12 amzztop

    http://randomc.net/image/Zero%20kara%20Hajimeru%20Mahou%20no%20Sho/Zero%20kara%20Hajimeru%20Mahou%20no%20Sho%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2025.jpg
    Just a little change
    Small to say the least
    Both a little scared
    Neither one prepared
    BeautyLoli and the Beast…♪

    I wonder if Japan will see the parallels between this and the live movie (except one has more singing and talking utensils).

    http://randomc.net/image/Zero%20kara%20Hajimeru%20Mahou%20no%20Sho/Zero%20kara%20Hajimeru%20Mahou%20no%20Sho%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2032.jpg
    Zero’s LN illustrator also designed Kancolle’s Shimakaze and Nagato.

    • April 11, 2017 at 1:32 amdaikama

      @zztop: FYI – Shizuma Yoshinori did quite a few KC designs: Shimakaze, Yukikaze, Amatsukaze, Tokitsukaze, Akizuki-class (Akizuki, Teruzuki & Hatsuzuki), Nagato-class (Nagato & Mutsu), Yamato-class (Yamato & Musashi), Akitsushima, I-13, I-14, Iowa & Saratoga.

  • April 11, 2017 at 1:17 amdaikama

    Gotta admit, I liked this. Not suggesting instant AOTS, but by the end I did leave with a net favorable impression. Part of that may be due to having zero expectations going in, but certainly a large portion is due to the strength of Zero’s character. Liked her outright. She may be young (I think – looks typical HS age to me), but even if so, she gives off a sense of maturity. Confident, competent, and a bit of snarky humor thrown in for good measure. Given her background, I wondered if we would get a more trope-ish “country bumpkin” type, and to my relief we didn’t. She’s certainly capable and apparently quite powerful – loved how she schooled whatshisname, but I’m not getting a too hax/op feeling from her (yet).

    Tiger guy (I guess “Mercenary”?) wasn’t as good IMO, but still pretty good. Still… *sigh* [rant] Once again, I just cannot escape the blushing trope. Granted not nearly as spammed/extreme as in Bahamut VS or Clockwork Planet, but give me a freaking break. He is, uh, an adult mercenary – right? You know, someone who goes into battle and kills others for a living. Yeah, she used him as a make shift “bear rug” (while fully clothed), but still… If that’s the case, this guy is going to be killed the first time he meets a female opponent in bikini armor. Bleh! Perhaps someone fluent in Japanese can help me with my petition to repeal the Anime Character Mandatory Blushing Act of 1985. [/rant]

    Other than that he was fine, if unspectacular, and points for ripping up the magic contract. Also liked how they set things up. Really the only credible way Zero could entice him is to give him something he desperately wants (be human), but was seemingly unobtainable. Obviously she’s not the usual “kill/enslave beastman (or whatever they are called)” witch, but that alone is not enough IMO to make him so quickly change his views.

    This was somewhat exposition heavy. Admittedly, I have a fairly high tolerance for that so it didn’t bother me as it might others. Regardless, it did what it needed to do – establish the world setting and magic system clearly which I appreciate since I suspect the nuances between “sorcery” and “magic” will play a role in the future. Sure seems that way, and like Pancakes, I did like the more detailed magic system in the story.

    As for any comparisons, nothing really similar comes readily to mind though the anti-witch setting does remind me of Junketsu no Maria.

    Definitely in for at least a couple more episodes. Hope this holds up.

    • April 11, 2017 at 4:56 amGoodwill

      I do admit, the blushing does seem out of character. But I would think that the only reason he can tear through people is more because of who he is physically and he’s been forced into that corner. If he had the choice, he’d probably drop the lifestyle in an instance and live out the rest of his life as peacefully and normally as possible. As the episode went on, I am starting to believe he’s still a boy at heart and has been showing many consistencies with it. He gets flustered easily, emotional easily, illogical or impulsive reasoning at points. Human mercenaries, to reach a level close to what the beastfallen is have to train hard, harden themselves and steel their heart. He doesn’t, he is just that good at what he does on the basis of his condition.

      His hate of witches may not even be that deep. It might just be a personal conclusion he came to when being hunted by them. It doesn’t seem like witches have done anything to him personally and he’s just avoiding/hating them as a way to survive. So a witch that offers no hostilities, and even agrees to grant his wish seems like a pretty fair incentive. Also, he fights humans fine with an overwhelming advantage. But notice how he ran away from a single magic user? He knows how dangerous they are and knowing that Zero could kill him at any time on a whim, but hasn’t, has suggested to him that what she says is probably true. It may also be because he doesn’t like the solitary life so it’s nice to have a companion at the least. Whole world is against him so I’m pretty sure he isn’t too picky about it as long as they aren’t trying to kill him, or get him killed.

      Also, are we sure he’s an adult? Correct me if the episode had cleared that up, but his condition probably just makes him look like an adult… Although Zero did point out he has a cute face and I’m thankful I wasn’t the only one that thought that. So it may be possible he’s still a boy or at least a very young adult? Again, correct me if I’m wrong.

      Overall, we haven’t got much of his backstory so all I’m saying is just conjecture. I personally don’t think he’s been that inconsistent and at the least hasn’t contradicted himself.

    • April 11, 2017 at 8:45 pmdaikama

      @Goodwill: I wonder if there’s a bit of miscommunication regarding my post though I may fully understand yours either.

      First, yes, the blushing does seem out of character which is the point (and that’s disregarding whether one literally can blush if you face is covered in fur, but that’s not my point). His physical abilities are not the issue. Would it matter if he was a large, very physically gifted human in this regard? Not as effective in battle as beastfallen, but same idea. Whether by choice or not, whether beastfallen or human, there’s still the “steel their heart” part of it as you note. Beastfallen just means it’s easier to do the job. Not only that, life he’s had in general would harden a person.

      In the anime he outright says “I hate those damn witches”, and it does seem that witches in the past have hunted him unsuccessfully. Also, he literally says to Zero – “I came here to KILL witches…” [emphasis added]. So I think his anti-witch feelings are well established. The fact he ran away from a tactically disadvantageous situation earlier is just smart IMO. But if he’s here “to kill witches”, then obviously he can’t always run away.

      Now he is a good guy (offers food since he ruined her dinner), and doesn’t attack Zero after he discovers she’s a witch. Yes, she is different by showing no hostility, and yes he’s not rabid about killing witches. Also, also as you note, she’s powerful and blindly attacking her isn’t smart anyway. Again, tactics. Still, “I hate those damn witches” is pretty clear as to his general outlook.

      “So a witch that offers no hostilities, and even agrees to grant his wish seems like a pretty fair incentive. … Whole world is against him so I’m pretty sure he isn’t too picky about it as long as they aren’t trying to kill him, or get him killed.”

      Starting with the second sentence. Disagree. He’s refused to work with witches and thieves/bandits who want to use him for his beastfallen abilities. In fact, he outright refuses Zero’s offer initially when she asks him to be her guard and replies “I don’t give a shit about compensation!” when she mentions it. So yeah, he IS “picky”. Now I do agree with the first sentence about “granting his wish” is what changes his mind. In fact, that was the very thing I posted above. The offer to turn him human is not only a credible reason, but quite arguably the only credible reason, for him to join up with Zero.

      For your second paragraph, I’m honestly not sure what point you’re trying to make. Is that part of the “reasons for blushing” argument, or a separate “reasons to join Zero”? If it’s the former, I don’t think those are factors. If it’s the latter, then per above we agree.

      As for an adult, you’re right – we don’t know his age (also do beastfallen age at the same rate as humans? I assume so). Right or wrong, currently it seems to me that he’s an adult or mature young adult given his general demeanor. My impression was that he left his village when he was almost, if not fully, grown (i.e. a young man), and this is sometime after that (he’s lived as a mercenary for a least a little while). Nothing gave me the impression that he was still a boy. Did he ever use “boku” once? If so, didn’t catch it. Just in general he gives an impression of maturity, experience, etc. – someone who’s been through some sh*t and accepted his mercenary occupation, including setting out to kill people (witches).

      If you disagree that’s fine, but the bottom line for me is that here’s an adult or at least “adult-ish” character who’s lived a hard life and has a very adult occupation. But apparently due to mandate by law, still MUST just freaking blush because a girl, a clothed one at that, *gasp* made physical contact with him. Granted JMO, but it’s a situation where that trope is once again overused and overdone.

      Sorry for the length, but just to be clear, obviously this isn’t a deal killer for me. Still liked Ep. 01 and still in for at least a couple more episodes. But tiger-blush is something that stood out to me in a negative way. Would have been better without it. Just go with “I’m not a fur rug” and be done with it. IF necessary, save the blushing for after the romance is firmly established (and I bet there is one).

      • April 11, 2017 at 10:12 pmGoodwill

        Now that you mention the blushing and the fur, it’s not just being potentially out of character, but out of design context as well. I can’t argue with your point there. And for that matter, I don’t have any argument against your points because there is very little to nothing indicating your points as being wrong. Similarly, my points are neither right. Just something I like to keep open because this situation will only be as good as the writer’s consistency.

        As for my third? paragraph about the merc being an adult, it was less about bringing up a point of argument, but rather a genuine question where it may have had an answer I overlooked.

        Overall, I don’t disagree with you and would prefer to treat this as a discussion rather than an argument. Although I will have to 100% agree that blushing does seem off for quite a few reasons. I don’t think it’s beyond him, but I do think it’s certainly a trait many would pick up on.

      • April 11, 2017 at 11:45 pmdaikama

        @Goodwill: Hmm… I wasn’t looking at this as an “argument” per se. I used the word “argument” above as in “point being made”. Sorry if that’s misleading. In retrospect I could have used “point” rather than “argument”. Also, it’s the second paragraph, not third, in which I was having some trouble (starts with “His hate of witches may not even be that deep.”). No big deal, but I did want to make sure I understood you correctly. FWIW, I did a quick search to determine his age, which is a factor, but didn’t come up with anything. Maybe a LN reader (that is source, right?) can provide some illumination on that.

        In terms of writing & situation, IMO the blushing has the potential dual purposes of conveying “is really a nice guy” despite being a mercenary, and “indications of attraction” (i.e. future romance). The first I think is already clearly established when he felt sorry for Zero and gave her some food (on top of not treating her as a potential bounty target). Obviously, he’s a nice guy and not “rabid” (overly zealous) in his views on witches. There are other clues as well, and thus I think the “nice guy” part is clearly delineated without blushing.

        As for hints of romance (potential, but I’d bet more likely we have one), do you need to tip your hand right off the bat? It’s Ep. 01 after all. How about waiting until there’s a romantic foundation laid then he can blush (in moderation, please!) if necessary to visually confirm their relationship has changed?

        Physical traits (fur) aside, sure blushing is possible, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Granted JMO and admittedly this is a trope which I find increasing irksome, but this just seems an unnecessary and out of place trope. To me this was trope for trope’s sake.

    • April 12, 2017 at 1:38 pmAdam

      Blushing does normally annoy me, but
      1 between Beastmen appearing so far to be reasonably rare
      2 Beastmen being hated by normal humans & Witches alike
      3 the MC being raised my wholesome parents & spending alot of his life hiding in the cellar

      I just assumed the MC hasn’t had alot of experience with the fairer sex

  • April 11, 2017 at 2:06 amThe17thNoah

  • April 11, 2017 at 4:53 amboingman

    Enjoyed the exchanges between the two main characters.
    Very good first episode.

  • April 11, 2017 at 9:50 amChris hall

    Love the Feet of Zero oxxoxo

  • April 11, 2017 at 9:59 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Zero is just too adorable, lol.

  • April 11, 2017 at 10:09 amMormegil

    It also reminded me a little bit of Guin Saga.

    • April 12, 2017 at 10:36 amPancakes

      That’s the first thing I thought of once I saw the mercenary. His look and personality just scream Guin to me, although of course this one is not escorting a princess and her douchy brother lol.

  • April 11, 2017 at 12:05 pmLonghaul

    http://i.imgur.com/gIKggqz.jpg

    Couldn’t help myself.

  • April 11, 2017 at 12:29 pmWorldwidedepp

    Oh.. Witch hunting.. serious stuff.. Well, it gets my attention

    • April 11, 2017 at 12:33 pmWorldwidedepp

      “the name of the rose” with Sean Connery, to get a bit background infos

  • April 11, 2017 at 1:34 pmzeroyuki92

    Going in, I didn’t guess the impression that lasts the most in me is “cute”.

    Well, pretty good start from a rather lackluster season so far (still need to catch up so I can watch the sequels). Gotta be the first fantasy show this season that I decided to watch. More quality banter and less anime trope please, if possible.

  • April 11, 2017 at 4:40 pmmac65

    Enough story and technical background to keep it interesting,
    and good character dynamics made the time go by sweetly.

    Can’t wait for the 2nd episode. The only problem I can
    potentially see is the length of the season. Seems like
    there’s a lot of good potential that 1 cour would be too
    short.

    • April 12, 2017 at 10:35 amPancakes

      Could be a split cour too, won’t really know what to reasonably expect here for a while yet.

  • April 12, 2017 at 12:53 amCrook

    At first I thought this show was catering to the furry audience, but the set-up proved to be pretty interesting.

    Besides, I don’t think furrydom (that’s a word from now on) is really popular in Japan.

    • April 12, 2017 at 10:33 amPancakes

      Probably not, or you wouldn’t see so much fascination with cat girls. Japan has likely tired itself out too much with that to bother going full bore into the fetish :P

  • April 12, 2017 at 9:17 amGoukaRyuu

    I was not going to give this one a try. But, given that it seems several other shows this season are worse than first thought, I figured I’d give it a chance. I like it. I like the dynamic between our characters of Mercenary and Zero. Hopefully we can learn their actual names at some point.

    • April 12, 2017 at 10:30 amPancakes

      I have a sneaking suspicion names (the actual names) will be important later one, probably like how Tears to Tiara treated them in terms of magic and control.

      • April 12, 2017 at 11:41 amWorldwidedepp

        in a old US Elf Fantasy book (i think its called Elf Quest), i learned that “true names” can also meaning Soul Connections, as if two persons are meant for life. Some sort of Love in first sight

        So, perhaps here knowing both True names, is like bound by Soul

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