Friday, October 26, 2007

Zero no Tsukaima

I happened to stumble across an anime series called "Zero no Tsukaima" on Youtube (both seasons that currently exist are available there) and I was pleasantly surprised. The series admittedly has some fanservice going on, but there's a little more to it than that. It reminds me a little bit of "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi" in the sense that there's a little more to it than the superficial level of silly humor, cute girls, and romance.

This series happens to deal with class systems and oppression, a bit of science meets magic, and of course, the horror of war.

The theme of nobility vs plebians runs throughout the series, especially since the nobility is determined through the ability to use magic. It also seems that there is a bit of a "might makes right" theme in why a magic user is above a non magic user. However, the good nobles do use their power and influence to protect the people of their land while the bad nobles abuse their power to oppress the people of their land. The nobles are obsessed with concepts like honor and reputation, for better or for worse.

The theme of science meets magic creates some amusing scenarios, like the Mitsubishi Zero being a "dragon" and the gasoline it runs on being "dragon's blood." The Staff of Destruction being a rocket launcher is probably the goofiest. Apparently their world gets little bits and pieces of our world somewhat frequently. Even an accidentally summoned porn magazine becomes a family's heirloom in their world.

The theme of the horror of war is pretty frequently referenced too, particularly in the second season beginning with the captain of the royal guard seeking revenge for massacre of her home town. It turns out of course that the massacre of her home town was due to political motives by a fairly evil high ranking noble to the horror of the captain who burned the town. The captain realized his mistake and gave up on war to try to atone for his crime by becoming a teacher. He dies saving the captain who wants revenge on him, resolving her need for revenge without her having to kill him at least. This message about the value of life continues to the final segment of the second season where Louise attempts to sacrifice her own life to buy time for everybody else and Saito takes her place to protect her and our two lovers have to confront each others' deaths. I have to admit, I was pretty sad by this section because it really did feel like the two were finally getting things to work between them.

Yeah, I guess I've gotten sappier in my old age. I think it's a bit due to my issues with the women in my life (who seem to bear a slight resemblance to Louise). But due to some totally unexplained chick with big boobs, Saito survives. Apparently there's more information about that chick in the manga, but I'm too lazy to read the manga to figure it out. Hopefully the next season will explain a little more....

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