OP: 「I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU」 by ICHIKO
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「聖国のルイズ」 (Seikoku no Ruizu)
“Louise of the Holy Kingdom”
Louise, Saito and the whole crew are back for one last season, and if this first episode is any indication, it just might be the best one of them all. Now, I’ll admit that I say this despite rather fuzzy memories of the first three seasons. I mean, ~Princess no Rondo~ aired back in 2008, when banks were imploding left and right and everyone was afraid we’d soon been living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, fighting off slavering mutants and subsisting entirely on baked beans. But I do remember the plot was sometimes shoved aside while the ecchi took over.
Well, not this time! After a quick reintroduction to the characters, we go straight into the plot. Queen Henrietta wants Louise and the crew to head off to Romalia, the local Italy/Rome expy, and meet up with their leader, Pope Vittorio Serevare. We find out that Tiffania is a void user, and so is the Pope, and that the blond bishie who was first introduced back in ~Futatsuki no Kishi~, Julio, is the Pope’s familiar. We’re also treated to a great fight scene of Saito and Louise versus some mirror thieves that ends with Saito blundering into Tiffania’s familiar summoning ritual.
Phew! Fortunately, none of this felt rushed at all. Events flowed naturally from one to the next, making for a really easy to digest episode. Plus, it managed to avoid two pet peeves of mine in regards to fiction. First, none of the characters were idiots. In many shows – and Zero no Tsukaima has been guilty of this before – the author makes characters do stupid things in a transparent attempt to further the plot. Here, while Saito and Louise do get into a rather silly argument, that’s well within character for those two. What’s more, the ploy Saito and Louise used to beat the tattoed thief was actually quite clever. I’m not going to lie, I cheered when I saw that : ) Secondly, I feel like the plot was not only set up, but it started to move forward. Jacques’ capture was especially surprising to me, though there was also the deal with Tiffania’s summoning ritual that has her going all doki doki when she sees Saito.
If I had one complaint about this episode, it would be that last part. From the look of things, Saito probably just became Tiffania’s familiar as well. I mean, Louise yelling “why don’t you just become her [Tiffa’s] familiar!” is a dead give away. And while I’m all for Saito expanding his harem – unlike some loser harem leads, I think he actually deserves at least some of the attention he gets – I was disappointed at the missed chance to add another interesting protagonist to the show. I would have liked to see three familiars going up against King Joseph’s busty protector, Sheffield.
Still, that’s a minor complaint in the face of an all around excellent first episode. For me, Zero no Tsukaima is one of the shows that really accelerated my love for anime, so I was going to watch this season through to the end no matter what. I’m just glad that it’s looking like this will be a treat rather than a chore.