「ゼロの魔術師団」 (Zero no majutsu shidan)
“The Sorcerers of Zero”
Well things certainly picked up fast didn’t they? The foreboding madness Zero has so far danced around is finally out in the open as we get elaboration not only upon a new baddie, but the witches themselves. It seems the mercenary and Zero aren’t the only antagonistic pairing of the show (i.e. in the sense of witches and beastfallen hating one another), as Albus’ (and Zero’s) Sorcerers of Zero have a little competition in the form of rogue witches and a man named Thirteen. I must admit the growing divisions of Zero’s world fascinate me for their complexity. There is no right or wrong, only different sides, with each lacking key information—or misconstruing facts—impacting their interactions with the others. It’s one messed up world, and the chaos only grows.
Thirteen of course is the significant reveal this week, as he answers several questions and gives rise to many more. My idea of witches being all or nearly all women is probably wrong now given Thirteen is a confirmed guy—and powerful at that—but I’m still holding out on the female Albus hypothesis. Our annoying blondie still has
her his feminine quirks, plus the talk of Sorena’s granddaughter and the old guy’s proclamation lead to me suspect Albus might be the granddaughter. We do know for certain though that witches are employed by the state given Thirteen’s “Sorcerer of the State” title, and that the state is not entirely behind the Church’s witch hunts. I have a sneaking suspicion these hunts also have a reason beyond simple heresy considering Thirteen is using the state to help him find the grimoire. If Zero’s book is the only method for teaching magic, it becomes priceless if the group (or person) who possesses it is the only one who can practice magic. The Church would probably kill for that scenario—as Thirteen apparently is—for it effectively makes the owner ruler of the land. Certainly one way of explaining Thirteen’s attempt at keeping Zero in the caves.
On the other side of things is Zero herself, who is quickly becoming my favourite female protagonist of the season. Zero’s maturity is pleasant enough already, but it’s the way her personality comes across which I’m liking the most. For instance she dislikes malicious use of magic, but never says so directly; rather we see it through her movements and hear it in her voice. Likewise the humour behind Zero’s mercenary “ownership” has slowly morphed into pure affection fully on show this week. I’ve already expressed enjoyment at their chemistry before, but it bears repeating again: this is how you do a pairing. Zero may not be Holo and the mercenary definitely isn’t Kraft Lawrence, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t feel the same. If Zero keeps this character building up, I would be willing to overlook any serious plot-related flop. Well, almost any.
Although this week ended on a cliffhanger, I think it’s fairly obvious everyone comes out the fight unscathed and ready to talk. With Thirteen apparently not in possession of the grimoire, Zero and her fur pillow are back at square one in the book hunt, up one annoying blondie of course. No idea what to expect next time around, but I’d imagine we shall find out more about our numbered nemesis. Stay tuned boys and girls, this story is just getting started.