Note: Yup, spoilers.
Storyline and Plot
The story of ZnT follows a boy named Hiraga Saito from Japan, who has been summoned to serve as a familiar for a mage, Louise “Zero” de la Valliere, nicknamed because of her ineptitude to cast normal magic. This season continues on from where S3, Princesses no Rondo left off, with Louise and Saito now living together and overcoming new challenges.
I have to congratulate JC Staff on Zero no Tsukaima this time round. Not only was there a minimal amount of filler compared to other seasons, we actually managed to avoid a harem ending, which is definitely a success if you consider all the haremettes Saito managed to add over the seasons (Louise, Tiffa, Henrietta, Tabitha and Siesta being the main ones).
Though I felt that the whole Ancient Dragon plot was a little forced at the end, I think it was a suitable climax to the show, which I’m guessing is anime-original since the author of the light novels hasn’t finished the series yet. The beginning of the series that wrapped up the conflict with King Joseph and Sheffield was well done too, and definitely made me forget about the not-so-amazing Season 3. Overall, a strong beginning and end, with a slightly weaker middle.
Characters and Development
The character cast has always been something I love about Zero no Tsukaima – as cliché as some of them are, they’ve managed to leave a strong impression on me, which should be the goal of an anime. Even the insignificant people like Guiche or Siesta have their own quirks, and the people I didn’t like originally eventually grew on me.
Like Derflinger said in one episode, Saito’s really come far since the first season, and his development this time was just the icing on the cake. Especially in the finale arc of the series, again and again he proves himself to be such a cool guy, willing to go so far to return and save Louise, just because he doesn’t want to make the girl he loves cry. Louise herself went through quite a bit of development, loving Saito despite his faults and attempting to do the right thing by sending him through the World Door out of love.
For those who wanted the harem ending, let’s put it this way – at least it ended with a wedding rather than a fanservice episode with every single female character in the nearest hot springs/beach.
Animation and Music
Ichiko’s music is as unique as ever – I didn’t think the OP this time was better than First Kiss or I Say Yes though, but various tracks from previous seasons popped up here and there, which was really nostalgic. In terms of the animation, it wasn’t too bad – pretty good compared to the first three seasons, but some things like the Ancient Dragon’s animation wasn’t great – a bit distorted and fuzzy even in 720p. It feels so nostalgic whenever I hear any ZnT music now…
Even if you hated Season 3,
haters gonna hate you might as well finish the series – you’ll realize it isn’t that bad after all. If you liked the previous seasons for what they were, then this one is likely to exceed your expectations. Either way, Zero no Tsukaima (the series as a whole) is something everyone should watch as part of their anime repertoire. There’s no harm giving it a try at least xD