ゼロの使い魔 – DVD 1
Set in a world where magic is commonplace and mages are the social upperclass, with non-magic users looked down upon as commoners. Zero no Tsukaima is set largely in an elite magical school in which these mages are trained. Being a school full of teenagers, the usual rules, of course, apply.
Disc 1 contains the first two episodes of Zero no Tsukaima, in which we’re introduced to both the main and supporting characters. First and foremost is the Louise, otherwise known as Zero no Louise due to her having never succeeded in casting a single spell. Generally, anytime she attempts a spell, it results in an explosion. A large explosion.
We also have Kirche, the busty lass who goes on so many dates she frequently mixes up their names. Her male equivalent is Guiche, who is ostensibly dating Montmerency (token freckled girl), but who is frequently found chasing after anything female. Tabitha is the token quiet bookworm. Old Osman is the principal who doubles as the horny old man stereotype.
It’s during the summon ceremony, during which the young mages summon their tsukaima (familiars) that we are introduced to the male lead, Saito. Louise, predictably enough, causes a big explosion during her summoning attempt, but rather than just leaving a smoking hole, she has managed to summon a human. Saito is understandably slightly off-put by this, especially as he can’t understand the language. His weird-o-meter goes off the scale when Louise (as part of the sealing of the contract with a tsukaima) kisses him.
Fortunately, the language barrier is broken when Louise attempts to cast a spell on Saito to make him shut up. The spell, as was to be expected, didn’t work, but it did have the notable benefit of allowing Saito to both understand and speak in the local language. This doesn’t help his situation, and Louise throws her dirty clothing at him, expecting him to wash it. He’s momentarily distracted by having a girl strip off in front of him, but he’s to put out at being treated like a servant to enjoy it.
Naturally, there is curiosity over the summoning of a human as a tsukaima, especially as the runes on his hand (indicating the contact with his mage master) are very rare, and indicate that he may be an almost unknown type of tsukaima — one which can unlock the myth-like power of the void.
Saito quickly finds himself in trouble when he challenges the arrogant Guiche to a duel. It looks like a fight he cannot win, until Guiche gives him a sword. The runes on Saito’s hand glow, and he discovers that he knows exactly what to do with the weapon. He quickly destroys Guiche’s summoned warriors, and forces him to yield. As the runes fade, however, he collapses in unconsciousness. He awakes some days later in Louise’s bedroom, to find Louise asleep at her desk and the maid, Siesta, bringing him food.
The video quality is quite high, as should be expected when only two episodes are on the disc, but it did seem a little on the soft side. The animation is generally of a high standard with action scenes looking the part. Despite the back of the box listing “16:9 Letterbox” the video is actually in Anamorphic 16:9.
The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, which sounds quite good. The BGM does sometimes threatens to overshadow the dialogue.
Extras are confined to some adverts for Zero no Tsukima products.
The front cover is a shot of Louise looking angry (how unusual) with the logo in the bottom right-hand corner. The rear features some nice screencaps and has episode descriptions and disc information. The reverse of the cover is a nice full page shot of Louise.
The disc and insert feature the same image as the cover, while the insert also contains character information about Louise along with some series information on the rear-side.
The first-press edition comes with a nice box to hold the whole series, with most of the girls featured on the wrap-around artwork. A booklet is also included, containing some artwork of Louise along with a short manga.
In short, a nice, polished release of the first two episodes of a fun series. It would have been nice to see perhaps an extra episode, some behind-the-scenes extras and Linear PCM audio.
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- Display: AWA TFTD81G 81cm LCD
- Receiver: Kenwood SAT6110 6.1ch Surround Sound
- DVD Player: Samsung DVD-HD747 upscaling to 720P @ 60Hz
- Cabling: Video via DVI, Audio via Co-axial