One night, after editing one of our recent podcasts, I couldn’t sleep. Someone from my anime club had told me about Crunchyroll.com and I was randomly browsing through it and I happened to come across the second season of Zero no Tsukaima (Futatsuki no Kishi). I watched episode 1. I didn’t stop until I got to episode 5, the latest one released then. It was 6 AM by then.
I gave Zero no Tsukaima last year’s “Guilty Pleasure” award, because
I’m helpless to Rie Kugiyama tsundere power as cheesy, predictable, and cliched as it was, with a pedestrian excuse for a plot by the end, it was competently done cheese. The pacing was smooth and watchable, unlike some other bad shows I could name. The cheeky S&M overtones slapstick humor worked for me. There was a marginal attempt at cleverness with all the plays on the word “Zero.” Saito is the first harem lead I’ve seen that actually enjoys being in one, too! All in all it was one of those easy-to-watch shows that, unlike Nagasarete Airantou, didn’t become merely boring.
This season offers mostly more of the same, though apparently the “serious” plot starts earlier. Most of it is due to the introduction of Agnes, the Musketeer captain with a dark past and who looks like she might have walked in from a different anime. (One the other blogger on this site has said quite a lot about.) The darker elements start sooner and are a few degrees more intense than in the first season. I’ve already guessed the twist that was hinted at the end of episode 8 a couple of episodes back, though, and considering this show’s track record of predictability, I’m fairly sure I’m right.
The “romance” stuff in this show is even more ridiculous than the first season from the get-go, but that’s why we really watch this show, isn’t it? Naturally, this show’s entire reason for being is for Rie Kugiyama to do her tsundere thing, and for some of the other girls to, ahem, expend even more effort to win Saito like he’s the last male on earth. (My, how desperate they are this season compared to the last!). I’m actually rather disappointed that the boat scene turned out to be something of a red herring (so far), with no apparently lasting change. I do love how they got caught though by the parents. It’s such an archetypal teenage scene–the parents finding their daughter making out with the bad, unsuitable boy from the wrong side of the wand.
I could only imagine if that horndog, harem-loving Saito were dropped into the world of School Days. Somebody would get more than temporarily exploded by a magic wand…oh no. As the upcoming PT Anderson movie puts it: “there will be blood.”
Plus, what was only overtone before is now not only fully admitted, but reveled in.
Is it just me? I now find it impossible to watch Louise now without filtering her through Nagi in Hayate no Gotoku. That’s Kugiyama’s best role, I think (though she’s more deretsun in that one), her best developed character, and it’s actually pretty funny seeing the same kind of facial expression on both Nagi and Louise’s face from time to time. For the exact same reason, too.
One of these days I’m going to have to write another article about the difference between incompetently done dumb and competently done dumb. This show continues in the tradition of the latter. Which means, at least, it’ll be hard to disappoint me too much. It does what it does and does it well enough.