Friday, September 21, 2007

Zero no Tsukaima Futatsuki no Kishi: A whiff of betrayal

ZnT II episode 10: Stupidity
When Zero no Tsukaima's first season was still airing, I stumbled across a thread that summarized events in the light novel up to its seventh volume. Since they never took place in the first season's run, and with no guarantee of a second season at the time, I proceeded to forget about most of it.

What did stick with me was the underlying conflict that pervaded the later volumes, which boils down to pacifists against warmongers when set in a comparatively backward and primitive era. This may or may not sound something like the premise of Zipang.

In other words, Zero no Tsukaima Futatsuki no Kishi could have had a promising, coherent, plot, except J.C. Staff has generally chosen service over serious, backing away from the darker undercurrent that began to take hold in the later episodes of the first season.

Sure, service sells and trivializing the overall story with undeveloped side plots has probably turned out to be pretty profitable for all involved, but I do get a sense of frustration having seen even a high-level view of what things could have been. I think I understand a bit what it must feel like for a fan of the source material to watch such a gutted adaptation.


Julio said...


Hanyu said...

Uh... as someone who read the novel I'd say the proportion of serious stuff you've outlined versus the "service" stuff hold up between anime and novel. Don't let the "summary" fool you into thinking that ZnT novel is anything other than a very fun and trashy novel. The amount of "service" content in the novel is outrageous(particularly the lastest vol 12) and we probably won't get to see it animated. True to the spirit of the book I guess.

Mike said...

This is probably strange coming from me, given the kind of stuff I like to write on my anime blog...I love serious, well-written, and emotionally real shows very much. But I don't watch Zero no Tsukaima for that, and in my opinion, its attempts to be serious tend to fall flat. (The plot turns tend to be very predictable, for instance.) I felt that way at the end of Season 1 and I feel the same with similar efforts in the current season. I watch it for the slapstick humor and the service :) And all things considered, I actually think that ZnT the anime is much more competently plotted and paced than a lot of similar genre shows, both the humor and more serious/action oriented episodes.

introspect said...

@Hanyu: Hm, I suppose expectations ran a little high, and I personally would have liked a bit more balance, but thanks for the heads up regarding the amount of comedy versus serious content.

It's not that I abhor the service-y bits. Maybe they've gotten stale or weren't as well done this time around. The first half of the first season was a riot. The majority of this season has been a drag. Maybe it's just because Saito has been more or less domesticated by this point.

@Mike: I do agree that the serious bits are poorly done. They're mostly contrived soapbox scenes, where everything is spelled out early on and in no uncertain terms.