Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 04

Grimoire of Zero continues to feel episodic; last week was the big city episode, while this was largely a transitory outing, full of little slice-of-life vignettes that serve to deepen our understanding of who Mercenary, Zero, and Albus are—not to mention having the latter two bounce off the former, both literally and figuratively.

One thing is clear: Albus has quickly softened his “kill all beastfallen” stance, while Zero, neophyte to the outside world that she is, has formed a very close bond with Merc, considering him not just an employee, but a project.

She and Albus repeat the joke about them being sex slaves to the gate guards, but when one of the children he scared away is hurt (when another beastfallen shoves her out of his way), Zero makes it look like Merc fully heals the young woman’s ankle.

Changing hearts and minds will be key if the war between the factions of this world is to ever cease. After that, the downright leisurely pace of the episode is mitigated somewhat by the fact the trio covers a fair amount of ground, much of it very picturesque (see above).

Albus gets some pointers on fishing magic from Zero, while Zero also attempts to give Merc a kiss (and is rebuffed by the bashful tiger).

The trio tucks into another fine meal by Merc (who wants to one day open and run a tavern), and learns that Albus was orphaned and raised by his granny, and that Zero grew up in the caves studying sorcery and may well have developed her Grimoire of Zero in order to eat better. Not a bad reason, if you ask me!

Continuing the theme of Zero wanting to get closer to Merc, she offers to train him in magic, which will keep them together for some time. All this sticking around with people for an extended length of time is clearly a new concept for Merc, but I don’t think he loathes it as much as he sometimes protests; quite the contrary.

Thinks finally take a turn for the dark, and a rather sudden one, at that, once the trio reaches the outskirts of their next destination, the village of Latette. Albus knows the village well, and a dog he knows comes to greet him, but it’s carrying a burnt doll. The trio looks on and is horrified to see it is also smoldering; its inhabitants burned alive.

Is it mere raiders, or more likely, hostile witches fighting in their late idol Sorena’s name to exact revenge on humans? Whatever it is, our trio will likely have to tread carefully once again, and avoid revealing too much of themselves to strangers—something they now have no trouble doing with each other.

Grimoire of Zero has its charms, but it isn’t particularly spellbinding; it’s a bit of a dawdle at times. It’s certainly no match for recent fantasy adventure shows like Grimgar, Alderamin, or Re:Zero. If it was airing any other day but Monday I’d have probably already dropped it, but after a four-episode sample, I believe I’ve watched enough after all.

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 04”

  1. Huh…funnily enough i think this show is better than all three of the shows u mentioned in your addendum; then again, i never thought highly of any those schlock-like shows to begin with. To each their own

    1. “Schlock-like”? Them’s fightin’ words! XD

      Zero is pleasant, but it’s heavy on the fluff and light on the bite, if that makes sense. Too light of a touch for my tastes at the moment.

      I’ll also take Lawrence and Holo any day over Zero and Merc.

      1. “thems fighting words” hahahaha im ready to throw down anytime friend

        And yea i as well would take holo and lawrence over zero and merc but what makes those two comparable in the first place is the genuine emotional honesty of these couples’ relationship. So many series’ make it seem like its such a hard thing to do and yet a show like spice and wolf and grimoire of zero makes it look easy (partly because it is if you know what you’re doing). Having that kind of element in your narrative makes for a powerful hook in terms of investing the audience in the narrative and I think grimoire of zero excels in that department. I still think the series is rough around the edges but it does what it sets out to do right: be a road trip story of characters exploring elements of their world while learning about themselves and how to cope with the prejudices of their world through each other. It’s a functional story with an endearing core to its narrative.

        Re:zero forced the hell out of plenty of its emotional moments, grimgar suffered a bit from its lack of interesting characters/character dynamic aside from mary. if you wanna make a quiet, somber isekai story then you better make sure your characters are interesting to boot or act in interesting ways. Also i found that the show had issues between balancing some of its narrative beats and the lead in to the emotional payoffs of its arcs (and no, not because it moved too slow). As for alderamin, while i liked the leads, i wasnt too impressed the by the storytelling. Zero beats all three of these shows in that it focuses on its strength and its main concern and uses that as the vehicle to drive to story. It uses the search for the grimoire as an excuse to allow itself to explore the characters and their bond and does it with much less heavy-handedness than all three of those shows. Re;Zero was heavy-handed (and not in the way that sometimes benefits a story), grimgar was heavyhanded pretending to be subtle (although there were some subtleties, its heavy handed writing overshadowed them), and alderamin also had this issue

      2. I were only foolin’ :) But all good points. In terms of pure viewing experience, I just got more out of those three “heavy-handed” shows in the first four episodes than Zero.

        Anime, like entertainment in general, is a domain where “feelings over facts” has always reigned, so reasonable minds can surely disagree on how certain shows make them feel.

        If it’s just as entertaining for me to explain why I love a show using facts than it is to watch the show, that’s fine. But if it’s a chore, I’ll settle for feelings. Anime is created primarily for the enjoyment of viewers, after all, not necessarily to challenge viewers to explain in critical terms why they enjoy said anime.

        I don’t dislike Zero but it’s not quite strong enough to keep me out of the Spring sunlight, so I shall bid it adieu.

        Fortunately, there’s plenty of other shows out there for fans of Zero, fans of Re:Zero, and fans of both.

  2. “I don’t dislike Zero but it’s not quite strong enough to keep me out of the Spring sunlight, so I shall bid it adieu”
    That’s absolutely fair; T’was a good conversation

  3. I haven’t watched this latest episode yet but I find Grimoire of Zero a pleasant enough diversion and fits in nicely to my viewing calendar. I quite enjoy the slower pacing and find myself looking forward to it each week now,. It’s not groundbreaking in the magical/fantasy genre but it has set up an interesting social conflict to be resolved going forward. I never found Re: Zero that interesting and dropped it after 5 or 6 episodes: maybe one day I’ll revisit it and complete it. Grimgar was okay, it succeeded in being different but probably needs a second series to resolve all the questions it left hanging somewhat unsatisfyingly at its end. Alderamin was pretty standard fare I thought – though once again I need to complete it. Fantasy/magic shows with some sort of alternate medieval/pre industrial feel come in all shapes and sizes and there are others I’ve liked as much or more than those mentioned above. Probably my favorite remains Konosuba which has the good sense to poke fun at the peasant’s cart full of tropes and pretensions these sort of shows deliver to us on a regular basis with a very straight face indeed. :)

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