The fourth and final season of Familiar of Zero is simply called 'F.' This possibly means finale, though the first thought is given to that grade which haunts people as the sign of failure. I’m banking on ‘finale,’ though …. Well, by the end of episode twelve, you must admit the wild run twixt Louise and Saito has run its course. This was the possible intention that the final episode was called 'The Familiar of Zero' to draw up the whole flow of four seasons of adventure and a bevy of borderline naughtiness, and all this sassiness revved up by the forces of jealousy and the misunderstandings this causes.
Plot has always been the problem with The FoZ series. This fourth edition was hampered by a sense of needing to wrap up certain aspects. First, we have the menace of King Joseph, the Incompetent King, and Tabitha's uncle. This was handled by episode three. There seems to be a sense of the third episode. Perhaps the flow is regulated by spurts of three episodes to advance the story. In season three (‘Rondo’ of Princesses), Saito lost his role as Louise's familiar, only to regain that role in episode three. Move quickly to the second plot offering, Tiffa seems to gain Saito as her familiar, giving Saito greater and more dangerous powers. Then, as the pièce de résistance, a threat to the entire realm of Halkeginia shows up, a much-prophesied Ancient Dragon which could leave the magical world in ashes. Spread these plotlines apart and insert what has been driving the FoZ enterprise, girls, girls, girls, and the degree of problems one jealous girl Louise has with her attractive, gallant familiar Saito.
The whole four seasons are wrapped in a milieu of medieval European-like kingdoms bonded together with a spirituality guided by their version of a Pope, which turns out to be one more user of Void Magic with a vision. While a laudable character, His Holiness was a problem to comprehend. It’s as if the whole plotline depended on his proclamations. Really, the devotion of Bremir was never really established (this and plotlines) and this gives the whole series an aspect of making up stuff as it goes along. And this makes things predictable. It is from the Pope that we learn that Saito’s new relationship with Tiffa as her familiar gives Saito a magical enhancer which will kill him if used too much. That’s the cue for the realm-wide calamity to show up. Predictability has been a problem for FoZ. For example, in episode eleven, to protect Saito from certain self-destruction, Louise banishes Saito to Japan, and Saito needs to find a way back. Only one episode left … not much time for a solution. But I figured out the path before the climactic last episode, and, if one thinks about it ... anyone could. It was that obvious!
Nudity still remains an issue, particularly that of the feminine figure. In episode 11 of the third season, I thought that the magic girls dressed up as dancing girls was on the verge of revealing. The third season OVA, Seductive Beach, was only pushing closer towards the edge of artistic license, though nothing revealing was revealed. But 'F' pushed the issue as far as one goes. Leave it as it is, full frontal nudity was still a 'no-no' but just barely (pun!). All the techniques were on display (or not ... really). The time-honored method of screening, and it is a wonder what a batch of thin tree branches can do to cover up the situation. The use of the back-to-side viewing angle which views the girls from a safe angle, though you can plainly see that Saito is embarrassed (and you have just enough of a hint) by Tiffa's clothing malfunction. The use of border-edging where you can see Louise's navel, four inches south of there, six inches north … but no more! Torso's are safe. I can't believe that in all this that FoZ offered us anything more than salacious, definitely nothing unseemly. I wouldn't wish to accuse a series which was rated Y-14 to present the apparent naked female body (and three unfortunate male forms, unfortunately) to such a degree of exposure. I could be wrong on this matter.
Dare I err? (reader, take only a few seconds to read this slowly, and then let's move on to some important stuff)
The fourth season does a decent job of wrapping up all the loose ends, but always in that 'expected to happen' manner. Of course, Louise and Saito marry, but do we see only the honeymoon in the last minutes of the final episode? Louise and Saito in Japan visiting Saito’s parents announcing the marriage. This gives rise to jibber-jabber about a fifth season of FoZ. Will we visit the land of Halkeginia and see the magic once more? Sorry, but too much has been resolved. Louise and Saito are together. The land is saved from disaster. The relationship between Guiche and Montmorency is less rocky. Tabitha reigns in Galia, her mother restored to sanity. Siesta is over Saito. Queen Henrietta is over Saito. Tiffa is over Saito. Tabitha is over Saito. Kirche never had a chance with Saito. Agnes never liked Saito. So, I wonder what else can be done here.
The Familiar of Zero: The Next Generation?
Please, let sleeping dogs (like that girl-ogling Saito) lie. Move on and do better.