Media Factory published 20 volumes between June 2004 and February 2011. The series was left unfinished due to the author's death in 2013, but was later concluded in two volumes released in February 2016 and February 2017 with a different author, making use of notes left behind by Yamaguchi.
The story features several characters from the second year class of a magic academy in a fictional magical world with the main characters being the inept mage Louise and her familiar from Earth, Saith Hi raga. A manga adaptation illustrated by Nana Mizuki was serialized in Media Factory's manga magazine Monthly Comic Alive between June 2006 and October 2009.
The manga was released by Seven Seas Entertainment in North America. Three additional spin-off manga were also created (one of them also localized by Seven Seas Entertainment), as were three visual novels.
The fictional continent of Halkeginia bears similarities to Europe. Halkeginia's social structure is similar to the feudal class systems of Europe in the Middle Ages, with magic-users being considered nobles.
The continent itself is vaguely reminiscent to Western Europe, with many of the countries carrying ancient and Roman names. It is a small monarchical country located in the northwest of Halkeginia and has come under threat from Albion.
It is regarded as a more barbaric and down-to-earth type of country, with its men considered to be brutish. Within the Gallic Royal Family, murders and assassination attempts have led to an unstable royalty.
There is a city named La Rochelle in the mountains, which is a major port. One of its palace/fortresses is called Alhambra Castle, named after the palace/fortress complex in Granada, Spain.
According to the storyline, a group of nobles known as Reconquista initiated a coup d'état against the royalty, and over the course of the story, succeed in killing the entire Albion Royal Family. Cromwell, the leader of the Albion rebellion, seeks to spread his power elsewhere, and begins by attacking Tristan.
Albion is the ancient Greek name for the main island of Great Britain upon which are the modern nations England, Wales, and Scotland. The capital city of Albion is Continuum. Cromwell is named after the leader of the Round heads during the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, who successfully ousted the Monarchy, establishing a brief reign as Lord Protector until his death in 1658 prior to the return of Charles II.
Reminiscent of Italy, and specifically the Papal States (and the Vatican City; it is mentioned that they have a pope and officials who are bound to celibacy), which once controlled much of central and northern Italy. The nobles of Halkeginia are magicians known as “mages” or “magi”, and must use a wand or a staff to cast spells.
Not all magi are nobles, as some have been forcibly demoted or given up their nobility and use their magic for thievery or to work as mercenaries. There are four primary magic elements: GNIS (Fire), Aqua (Water), Venus (Air), and Terra (Earth).
The ability to combine two, three or four elements together leads to a magic user being referred to as a line, triangle, or square mage. One of the major themes is that humans and technology from Earth displaced into the world of Halkeginia are considered to be highly magical, since Halkeginia itself has relatively primitive science and technology.
For example, a magical item called the “Staff of Destruction” is, in reality, a human-made Vietnam-eraM72 LAW rocket launcher. Other examples of Earth technology, often weaponry, appear throughout the story, such as a World War II era Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane.
Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Dallier is a member of the nobility who is terrible at magic, as her attempts usually result in an explosion. She is nicknamed “Louise the Zero by her classmates, due to her inability to use any of the four magic elements.
Early in the school year at the Tristan Academy of Magic, the second year students perform a special ritual where they summon their familiar, which serves as their eternal companion, protector and partner, and is usually some sort of magical creature. But Louise summons Saith Hi raga, an ordinary teenage boy from Japan, leaving her totally humiliated.
Due to the sacredness of the ritual, Louise reluctantly accepts Saith as her familiar, but proceeds to treat Saith as any other familiar, only worse: making him wash her clothes, sleep on a bed of hay, and whipping him with a riding crop whenever he upsets her. The Familiar of Zero follows the adventures of Louise and Saith as they help their classmates and friends, while occasionally blundering into situations where they risk their lives to save one another and Tristan.
Saith tries to find a way to get back to Japan, but he also gains a mysterious power that allows him to wield swords and other weapons to perform heroic feats. They also eventually learn the truth behind Louise's magic inabilities.
As Saith's and Louise's friendship grows, and they start to work together, they ultimately fall in love with each other. The Familiar of Zero began as a series of light novels written by Nobody Yamaguchi and illustrated by Fiji Satsuma under the original title ZeronoTsukaima.
Media Factory published 20 volumes in Japan between June 25, 2004, and February 25, 2011. Further publication was threatened by Yamaguchi's advanced cancer, which he died from on April 4, 2013, leaving the series unfinished.
However, it was later decided by the publisher to continue the series in the author's absence, due in part to calls from fans to continue the series, as well as Yamaguchi's family wanting to see it completed. Yamaguchi had dictated the remaining plot of the series, including its ending, and entrusted it to the editors.
A side-story, ZeronoTsukaima Garden: Tabatha no Broken, initially available as a mobile phone online serial, was released in three volumes between October 25, 2006, and March 25, 2009. It centers on the adventures of the character Tabitha, Louise's classmate.
Another side story, Kane no Kishihime, was released in two volumes on October 23, 2009, and March 25, 2010. A companion volume, ZeronoTsukaima Memorial Book, was released on June 24, 2017.
It collected various short stories and illustrations previously unpublished in book format, as well as character designs and other information, such as outlines for volumes 21 and 22 left behind by Yamaguchi. It also revealed that the last two volumes of the series were written by You Shimizu, author of Blade dance of Elementals, using Yamaguchi's notes.
The first season aired in Japan between July 3 and September 25, 2006, and contained thirteen episodes. While Ge neon Entertainment still retained the license, Animation Entertainment assumed exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles.
Animation released a complete box set of the series on November 4, 2008. Animation reported their rights to the series expired in August 2011.
Sendai Film works re-licensed the first series in North America in 2013 and released it digitally. Sendai released the Ge neon English-language version on Blu-ray and DVD on April 8, 2014.
Honeybee Entertainment later licensed the series in Australia in February 2014. The second season under the extended title ZeronoTsukaima : Katsuki no Fish ( , lit.
The Familiar of Zero : Knight of the Twin Moons) aired in Japan between July 9 and September 24, 2007, containing twelve episodes. Sendai Film works licensed the second season (under the name The Familiar of Zero : Knight of the Twin Moons) in North America and released it on March 10, 2015, on Blu-ray and DVD.
The third season, also containing twelve episodes, entitled ZeronoTsukaima : Princess no Rondo (()), aired on Japan's Chiba TV between July 6 and September 21, 2008, and Arts Central in Singapore between July 10 and September 24, 2008. An original video animation episode for the third season was released on December 24, 2008.
Sendai Film works licensed the third season with the OVA (under the name The Familiar of Zero : Rondo of Princesses) in North America and released them on May 12, 2015, on Blu-ray and DVD. The fourth and final season titled ZeronoTsukaima F aired twelve episodes between January 7 and March 24, 2012.
In 2012, Sendai Film works licensed the fourth season (under the name The Familiar of Zero : F) in North America and released it on July 14, 2015, on Blu-ray and DVD. The first season's opening theme is “First kiss” by Chico, released on July 26, 2006, and the ending theme is “My True Feelings” (, Onto no Kimchi) by RIE Bulimia, released on August 9, 2006.
The first CD is for Louise and Saith which is sung by Bulimia and Satoshi Hind. The second CD is for Montmorency and Quiche which is sung by Mikado Takanashi and Akihito Samurai ; the first two CDs were both released on September 6, 2006.
The third CD is for Circle and Tabitha which is sung by Nanak Income and Yuma Gnocchi. The fourth and final CD from the first season, is for Henrietta and Siesta which is sung by Awake Kawasaki and Yew Horse ; the third and fourth CDs were both released on September 21, 2006.
The second CD is for Henrietta which is sung by Awake Kawasaki; the first two CDs were both released on October 10, 2007. The fourth and final CD from the second season, is for Eleanor and Cattle ya which is sung by Kikuyu Income and Kokomo Yamagata; the third and fourth CDs were both released on October 24, 2007.
(in which all the “Familiar of Zero characters are depicted as kindergarten children) by Nakamura Malaya, serialized between September 2009 and March 2012 and compiled in three volumes. Nine volumes of the official anthology manga were published between August 23, 2007, and September 23, 2008.
Three visual novels for the PlayStation 2 were developed by in which the player assumes the role of Saith Hi raga. The first, ZeronoTsukaima : Oakum to Hardware Concerto ( , lit.
The Familiar of Zero : Goblins and the Spring Breeze Concerto), was released in limited and regular editions on February 15, 2007, in Japan. This was followed by ZeronoTsukaima : Mum GA Telugu Yoke no Fantasy ( ) on November 29, 2007 and ZeronoTsukaima : Mango no Period to Ibsen no Symphony ( ) on November 6, 2008.
The light novels are one of the top-selling series in Japan, with 6.8 million copies in print by February 2017. ^ Zero no Tsunami Author Nobody Yamaguchi Plans Surgery”.
^ “The Familiar of Zero Light Novels to Continue After Author's Passing”. ^ “The Familiar of Zero Light Novels' 1st Volume After Creator's Passing Scheduled”.
^ “The Familiar of Zero's Final Novel Volume Cover, Art Book Previewed”. ^ “Sendai Film works Adds The Familiar of Zero TV Anime”.
^ “Sendai Film works Adds Familiar of Zero : Knight of the Twin Moons Anime”. ^ “Sendai Film works Licenses The Familiar of Zero : Rondo of Princesses Anime”.
^ “Sendai Film works Licenses Zero no Tsunami F TV Anime Series”. ^ “North American Anime, Manga Releases, July 12–18”.