Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Final Episode (12): Magic was a mistake

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I can’t really tell whether I’m being overly harsh on this series, but I really did feel like it made less sense as we moved along. This episode was no real exception. I felt like the series was presenting me with a lot of fairly open-ended situations and insisting that there was only one possible explanation. The series seemed more interesting to watch when it was just a gruff mercenary and a sarcastic witch travelling together on a quest in a fantasy world (with a sidekick). Thirteen kinda made things weird. Anyway, I wouldn’t actually be opposed to a second season of this series, since it seems to have left off at more of what the series gave in the beginning.

Aww…the plague was caused by a bunch of nameless witches. That aside, I don’t particularly have an issue with Sorena having some bigger plan for her death, but it kinda devalues her sacrifice for her granddaughter. It suggests that she could have escaped with them if she really wanted, but she had some bigger reason to let herself die.

The math level in this scene is insane…

Do witches have to be in the center of a magic circle in order to maximize the effect of a spell? Or is this just some random meetup location to validate the Sorcerers of Zero.

I guess we needed to make sure that everyone in the party was okay with Thirteen, but I still feel no tension while watching this scene. The only way Holdem succeeds in killing Thirteen is if he’s too much of an idiot to realize that it will wipe out all of the Sorcerers of Zero.

I still don’t understand completely. Does the party care what happens to the Sorcerers of Zero? I mean, I would assume that they do, but a lot of these scenes don’t make sense unless they’re perfectly fine with wiping out the witches. In addition to Thirteen’s blood contracts, there’s also the magic erasing spell to consider. If Zero gets rid of the Sorcerers’ magic right as they’re storming the castle, the Sorcerers should get completely annihilated by the knights defending it.

They’re probably going to be at the center of the magic circle? Send everyone!!

What happened to that magic carrier pigeon system that these guys had? Why haven’t the witches attacking the main characters told these guys that their princess is in another castle? They can totally see that Thirteen is in the magic circle with Zero.

Why start the spell if you need Albus to finish it? Sigh…you’re probably going to tell me “they believed that she would show up right when she was needed, so they started without her”. I’ll just sit here and grumble by myself…

I guess Albus is finally doing something.

While I understand that public opinion for Thirteen isn’t exactly favorable, it seems a bit odd for Albus to say “I’m not going to burn any more witches” as she burns a witch. But I guess I get what she’s going for…

I still don’t get how this denial of magic stuff works. Did the witches just develop a new way to cast magic to circumvent the denial of magic? Is that why it’s only temporary? And how does this in any give this kingdom any kind of “resistance” to magic? I guess it’s just because people can’t cast magic in certain ways or something.

Haha okay this was pretty funny. I’ve missed scenes like this.

I would have much preferred to watch Mercenary and Zero travelling the country to eradicate magic over what we saw in this season. This stuff feels like a cheap precursor to the real stuff.

Final Score: 6/10

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 11: What am I missing?

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This episode was just frustrating to watch. There were a couple of interesting revelations, but I didn’t come out of that episode with a very good impression. I think a lot of it has to do with a general “is that all there is to it?” response to everything that gets revealed. Anyway, next week’s episode is the ending, and it seems like we have a determined plan for the main characters. Let’s see how it goes.

I guess they made it a point to show that Zero and Thirteen diverge on the incantation for this spell. Since Zero is the creator of magic, I’m assuming that she changes the spell based on her knowledge of the underlying nature of magic.

I literally have no idea what’s going on with this magic battle. Thankfully, there’s some convenient mouth blood to tell me who’s winning.

Here’s what I don’t understand. If Zero rejects all magic in Wenias, how does “spreading the knowledge” again allow the Sorcerers of Zero to regain their magic? Don’t they already have that knowledge? Also, Albus is unintentionally proposing that the Sorcerers of Zero should be the sole authority deciding who gets magic and how it will be used. Maybe she’s just trying to trick the Sorcerers of Zero into following her plan, but it seems like a questionable idea at face value.

I get that Mercenary isn’t supposed to be that smart, but this reveal doesn’t feel like much…

Eh…I’m willing to grant you this cheap laugh. Fine.

I’m a bit conflicted about this scene. On the one hand, I think it’s a great revelation that Zero purposely put mistakes into her grimoire in an attempt to control its power. On the other hand, I didn’t really need to see a flashback of the first scene in this episode just to point out the fact that the incantations were different. That was pretty noticeable the first time I saw it.

Well, that was easy.

Is this just a convenient way of giving the Sorcerers of Zero a way to find Albus as she attempts to set up the giant magic circle? Why does Albus even hold out the map if she doesn’t need it? The other possibility is that she’s now lost without the map, but I’m hoping that’s not the case.

This might be a weird question, but where the heck did the Sorcerers of Zero in this scene go? They were surrounding Holdem and Albus before they were restrained by vines. They never appear again for the remainder of the episode.

I wasn’t going to say anything when the gem camera was first introduced, but this scene has forced my hand. Before Albus tests the camera with her hand, she is clearly angled away from Thirteen, but he is still somehow the only person on the projection.

Huh…I wasn’t expecting Thirteen to show remorse.

Also, you know what might be fun? What if the novice witch who started the plague was Albus?

What does this prove? Even if Thirteen annuls Albus’s contract, every other contract remains. Even if the Sorcerers of Zero are currently hunting Albus, I’m sure she still feels devoted to them. It’s not like she would eradicate them all by killing Thirteen.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 10: The master plan

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I think my complaint with this week’s episode is the same thing I said last week. Characters seem to appear for no reason and do things only to be tossed aside after that happens. And while I don’t think Thirteen is a convincing antagonist, I will admit that he was at least set up as the antagonist. I still don’t understand how the blood contract works, though. Presumably, the contract is the reason that witches disintegrate when they try to attack him, so how are they going to be able to kill him? I’m assuming he doesn’t expect them all to come attack him one-by-one and disintegrate. Anyway, I guess next week’s episode is the big finish. I have no idea what will happen in the final episode of this series.

That’s very discreet, Mercenary.

Yeah, that makes sense! Plus, you have gravity on your side! We’ve even seen Mercenary fall down the cliff once already.

I’m willing to accept that Zero is still upset about Mercenary’s unwillingness to return her feelings, but she sure does go through a spectrum of emotions in this scene.

Thirteen’s not very creative with his traps, is he? It almost feels like this could have been foreseen…

I haven’t been keeping track of the distinction between “sorcery” and “magic” in this world. I’m pretty sure Zero created magic, so is Albus suggesting that they deny all magic and then spread it again? What does that accomplish? Is she just saying “we’ll do it better this time”?

I was pretty sure that Thirteen was Him, but I couldn’t accept that everyone in the Sorcerers of Zero could follow someone they had never seen. Since Thirteen was obviously an enemy of the group, I expected that most of the Sorcerers of Zero would know him as the Sorcerer of the State. If this series wanted this reveal to hit harder, they could have at least given some form of justification for a group that could follow a nameless leader.

I’ll admit that using the blood contract to trick the witches into killing themselves is clever. However, it makes the Sorcerers of Zero even more idiotic if they swore a blood contract with someone they’ve never seen.

This is some series “old guy ex machina”.

I think this scene is meant to show that Thirteen isn’t truly evil, but I dunno how willing I am to agree. The witches in the cave leave a big hole in this argument. How did they die if Thirteen claims innocence? Also, I would have been more willing to accept that the Sorcerers of Zero were themselves responsible for all of the horrible things they did if we hadn’t just seen them receiving an order from Him. You expect me to believe that Thirteen never gave similar directions?

This might be the one part of the episode I didn’t mind. Mercenary uses his head for once and uses the limited information that Thirteen gave him to beat him. I don’t even mind that Mercenary basically gives away his plan while he’s figuring it out. Anger is a difficult emotion to control, so Thirteen probably didn’t even realize how much he was being manipulated.

Sigh…I guess this has the same amount of validity as Thirteen’s statements.

This scene seems familiar…

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 9: Picking up the pace

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While I understood some of the reasoning in this episode, a lot of the plot developments seemed really sudden. I can see why Albus might be on board with eradicating magic now, but the change seemed a bit abrupt as a reaction to a random comment from Mercenary. Similarly, the plan is devised and put into action without much discussion. It’s almost like the series is rushing towards an ending. And if Zero rejects all magic, do they still need the Grimoire?

Also, I don’t mind the rivalry between Mercenary and Holdem, but I wasn’t a big fan of how it was presented in this episode. At the rate the series is currently going, we could be moving towards an actual resolution, but we’ll see how it’s handled.

This is going to be an annoyance in the future, isn’t it? Also, this initial discussion about Albus makes it sound like she was just faking her gender to hide her identity. It also made it sound like she naturally looked androgynous, so this was easy to do. That’s as minimal as an explanation could get. Surely there’s more to it than that.

There’s no way the Grimoire is in the hands of some random mob character, right? Do we even know any other characters that could have the Grimoire?

If this mysterious “Him” turns out to just be some dude, I’ll be very disappointed. They’ve been pretty guarded when referencing Him and it’s not like there are many characters in this series.

So…the big plan is a giant transmutation circle under the kingdom. Where have I seen this before? Either way, this plan seemed to come out of nowhere.

Weird…this handles the inconsistency I noticed from last week, but it still doesn’t explain why Mercenary seemed to react in pain. Was he just reacting to the sight of it?

How are they going to get back to that place if they were teleported to this city? I guess Holdem followed them, so it can’t be too far.

I’m not sure I like the mirrored banter between Holdem and Mercenary. Also, didn’t these guys hear the witches say that they can’t harm Mercenary? What was that guy even going to do?

I thought we were done with this guy. Honestly, I was expecting them to say that Mercenary was attached to Zero enough to allow for the divination, but I guess they couldn’t set him on fire.

Wait, they’re already starting on the giant magic circle? I’m guessing they’re not planning on getting more than two circles done before Mercenary rescues Zero.

Why did Albus use chalk for the first circle when it’s apparently so important to make these circles hard to erase? It’s not like there weren’t trees available.

These guys go from ally to enemy really quickly. How did the mysterious “Him” even know that Albus was trying to dispel all magic in the kingdom? Did I miss something?

Mercenary seems to be having fun.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 8: Time to question everything we know

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It looks like this series is dead set on keeping our merry band of travelers together if they’re adding wolf guy to the mix. The revelation this week was kind of an interesting scenario. It’s not like we made a bad assumption…the series explicitly told us otherwise despite our suspicions and then went back on it. I feel like that’s just a frustrating form of misdirection. There could have at least been a second character that could plausibly be Sorena’s granddaughter to lead us off the trail. But when you drag on long enough, you eventually run out of other options. Meh…maybe I’m being too hard on this. What did everyone else think?

This scene might have been funnier if Mercenary hadn’t called this guy “Mister Wolf” in the scene directly preceding it. Now it just looks like a bad gag.

Well, this explains a lot.

This is such a casual way to become a beastfallen. Are we even sure he was being serious enough for this to qualify as his own will? It almost sounds like it was a joke that eventually became serious. He barely knows Sorena.

It looks like we need to give the wolf guy credit for bringing Mercenary and Zero back together.

Is healing something that can only be done once? Can’t Zero just do it herself if it’s incomplete?

The scene switches between the beastfallen conversation and the witch conversation is probably meant to indicate that the conversations are related. I mentioned last week that there’s a theory that Albus is Sorena’s granddaughter, which is seeming more likely with Holdem’s flashbacks. I wonder if there’s supposed to be a link between “Him” and Thirteen as well.

Yes, Albus is Sorena’s granddaughter and we need to emphasize this by capitalizing the entire word.

Haha this line…just…wow.

I know the hypocrisy has been pointed out by Thirteen already, but I want to emphasize that Albus is calling his fellow witches to battle here in the name of peace and harmony. Yup, this makes a lot of sense.

Wait, did Mercenary light the bomb on a random torch? Okay, I have to admit that’s pretty cool.

How exactly does Zero’s charm work? Mercenary took a bite to the arm and a punch to the face, but they don’t seem to be transferring over to Zero.

You want Mercenary and Albus alive, but you’re sending assassins? You know what that word means, don’t you?

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 7: Trust issues

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I think I like the episodes like this one that focus on Mercenary and his daily troubles more than the ones that focus on the politics of the witch society. It’s interesting to see how Mercenary’s world has been shaped. That being said, there was a surprising amount of reused content in this episode. I have no problem with flashbacks that seem relevant, but I didn’t really understand what they were adding in this episode.

Also, Thirteen still doesn’t make sense. Does he really just want to keep Zero locked up in a cage? He seems pretty obsessed with the idea that Zero should still be in the cave. Why? What would make him think like that?

Yeah, I’m pretty depressed too, Mercenary. The first two minutes of this episode were in last week’s episode.

Those darn witches are taking all of our food!

I guess the show knows how much we want to see how Zero and Mercenary’s fight is resolved. Just look! They’re right back to focusing on how the beastfallen are treated!

Was anyone else bothered by how abruptly this cooking scene started? It was over before I realized what was happening.

Honestly, part of me was expecting this tavern girl to be Zero in disguise. Maybe I put too much value on eye color…

I think it would have been nicer to see more scenes like this before Mercenary betrayed Zero. We’re shown why Mercenary might have trouble trusting even the nice gestures that humans offer him. It’s really hard to blame him for having some form of doubt when dealing with someone as mysterious as Zero.

Seriously? There’s another flashback in this episode?

Aren’t these witches similar to the ones that attacked Mercenary in the first episode? Were those just rogue witches? I guess it’s not important.

I think this conversation illustrates what I was assuming last week. I don’t really get the sense that Zero is upset with Mercenary…she’s probably just hurt.

I was going to say something about the lack of wound on Mercenary, but this protection spell seems to explain that. I’m a bit worried about this, though. I guess there’s still time for Mercenary to realize that Zero was devoted enough to him to protect him, but this feels like something he will find out when he reunites with her. How are they going to motivate him to search for Zero again?

I think there’s a message in here somewhere about heavy stereotyping encouraging people to follow the negative stereotypes. Maybe they’re trying to say that the beastfallen wouldn’t necessarily resort to allowing their rampage to run wild if people didn’t constantly reinforce the idea that they can’t control themselves.

I’ve seen the theory that Albus is actually Sorena’s granddaughter and his current role in the story is making me really want to believe it.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 6: Something about betrayal

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While I still think there were some problems, I liked this episode more than previous episodes. The dinner scene was pretty interesting because it finally gave us some more information about the world and the characters. I liked how it cleanly divided Albus’s views that witches should be protected from humans from Zero’s views of coexistence. In short, Albus favors one side, whereas Zero tries to be truly neutral. Thirteen’s conversation with Mercenary also had its fair share of good points.

As for the rest of the episode, I found it kind of frustrating. I just wish we had seen more hints at Mercenary’s doubts before this episode. It felt too much like it was something that get brought up right before his talk with Thirteen just so they could get him to betray Zero. Also, I’m still not convinced about Thirteen as an antagonist. Maybe I’m just not convinced that the main characters are going to be split for too long, so I wonder what exactly Thirteen is trying to accomplish.

Guys, your attacks aren’t even touching anymore.

They’re friends now? I probably should have expected this.

Mercenary claims that he can tell that the food isn’t poisoned because he’s an animal. Is poison detection a common trait for animals? Did he sniff it out? It would be nice to know just what the extent of his animal nature is.

I’m curious about this joke. Is it common folklore that cat tongues are sensitive to heat than those of humans? That would make this joke a lot better. Also, the scene right before this one seemed to be a play on the notion of eating dessert last to avoid spoiling your meal. There are a lot of inside jokes in this scene, which makes me wonder how many I missed. But that aside, it’s pretty entertaining for what is otherwise a fluff scene.

I agree with Thirteen. I was wondering last week why the Sorcerers of Zero simply rejected the rogue witches instead of stopping them from using magic for evil. For example, they could take away a rogue witch’s magic. However, to be fair to Albus, the random flashback we saw last week did clearly show the Sorcerers of Zero pleading with the state to stop the witch hunts. I don’t think it’s safe to assume the Sorcerers of Zero will always use violence to defend themselves from humans.

Well, I’m glad to finally learn all of this stuff.

What exactly is the end goal? Do witches never write anything down? I don’t understand how destroying the Grimoire accomplishes anything at this point now that information has been distributed.

I can see this as a reasonable line of thought, but I think it still qualifies Mercenary as the dense light novel protagonist.

Yup, this is definitely not suspicious. I can understand why Mercenary might be flustered at hearing that his nightmare might finally be over, but I feel like you should still be suspicious that it’s happening so easily.

This scene is pretty cool. We see the normal Mercenary in the mirror and then the camera pans out to show a presumably brainwashed Mercenary with different eyes. It’s as though he was figuratively (or maybe literally) trapped in the mirror.

I don’t think it’s fair for Zero to expect Mercenary to have no doubts. However, I’m assuming that she’s just hurt right here and isn’t being completely rational herself, so I understand.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 5: Witches have too many enemies

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Maybe it was just me, but I was surprised that this episode didn’t really feel like much. This should be the point where the story ramps up, but a lot of the scenes felt wasted and the dialogue was a bit confusing at times (I’ll be more specific below). Also, Zero and Thirteen are supposed to be legendary-tier witches and their battle was just the two of them yelling at each other and crossing streams. Still, it’s nice to finally learn more about the world and feel like the series is actually going somewhere, so I can’t completely discredit this episode.

Now that I think about it, this is really the first time magic in this world has been explained since Zero talked about the difference between magic and sorcery.

Given Mercenary’s heavy prejudice against witches, I’m surprised that this is the first we’re hearing about rogue witches.

Wait, I’m lost. Did the looters steal the magic from the rogue witches by taking the jewels on their collars? Is that what Zero was referring to earlier? Or did the man walking through town do it? It looked like he was disintegrating them, so it doesn’t seem the same.

I actually don’t mind the necklace from that little girl coming into play here. It’s a nice touch. Plus, the dog has been pretty cool so far, so I like giving it a good ending.

Oh, I forgot that they’re looking for that. I guess I just didn’t expect it to be here anyway.

Albus just became their leader? That was…random.

I mean…I probably could have guessed that from the fact that the rogue witches didn’t get disintegrated. The problem is that the episode hasn’t really done anything so far to convince me that the Sorcerors of Zero weren’t the ones that killed the rogue witches. It would have been as simple as saying “the Sorcerors of Zero would never take away a witch’s magic” and I would have been fine with it.

Nice entrance, buddy.

Maybe I’m just being picky, but this scene didn’t really feel like a flashback for a while.

So wait…does this guy just overly worship Zero? I can’t tell whether he hates her or respects her.

Uhh…where have I seen this before?

Throw something at them?

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 4: Kissing is complicated

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Looks like the travelling portion is over. I liked the way this episode started and the themes it seemed be pushing, but the second half of the episode felt like it wasted a lot of time. I get that the “merry travelling” parts were meant to make the ending more impactful, but a few of the scenes seemed to be rehashing things that I could infer from the montage scenes. I will say, though, that the use of rocks right after Mercenary hit one of the witches was a cool thing. I hadn’t really been looking out for stuff like that before now. Anyway, since we’re finally at the town that’s supposed to house the Grimoire, it looks like the story is starting to move along. Wonder how it will go.

I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a joke that Zero’s curse won’t work or that it’s pointless (either because Mercenary knows that she’s bluffing or because it doesn’t change anything).

Haha Mercenary and Zero look so messed up in this scene. Anyway, there’s probably a message about race in here somewhere. Mercenary acknowledges that most beastfallen have a crappy upbringing and have become unstable as a result, so he perpetuates the stereotype of the dangerous beastfallen to help protect the kids. I can’t really decide whether I think this is a good thing or a bad thing.

There’s something a bit off about this statement, but my interpretation is that Zero wishes that the world was more black and white…that humans could be more easily put in the “evil” bucket. It just feels weird that she adds two conditions on it. If she had said, “I wish you weren’t human”, then it feels a bit more natural. It just feels like there are too many qualifications here.

Haha I laughed a little bit too much at Albus’s false attempt to cover his eyes.

Huh…I must be kissing incorrectly.

And they’re friends now.

Mercenary is surprisingly dense. Well, he’s a light novel protagonist, so maybe it’s not that surprising.

Using this scene as a transition to symbolize Mercenary giving Zero another hit to the head is a nice touch.

This isn’t the first time this episode that a witch has produced a flame in front of Mercenary. Is he just stubborn about sticking with his own methods or what?

Again, why is this conversation happening now? When they were taking shelter from the rain, there was a clear moment where Albus summons a flame with magic and Mercenary tries to copy the technique. So why does this conversation seem like it’s such a new idea?

This weather is way too ominous for a lighthearted return home.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 3: Something about clothes

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Okay, I think I’ve been approaching this series incorrectly. In the first episode, I didn’t want to say that I got the feeling that this series was a lot like Spice and Wolf because I wasn’t sure yet, but I think the combination of the first three episodes has convinced me enough. It’s a similar concept where there’s a clear goal in mind for the two main characters and they travel together to reach it, but each episode doesn’t really give you much of a sense that they’re making progress. Instead, the series focuses more on what’s going on in the places they visit, except in this case it’s more socially-focused rather than economically-focused. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, but it’s different than what I expected. In fact, it’s arguably a good sign if I’m getting the same sense.

Uh huh, sure. So is this episode Mercenary-focused or are these introductions just random?

An entire introduction about the beastfallen and no mention that there are types. Or is this guy asking about the species of animal? If so, he’s too blind to be doing his job.

I’m actually going to side with Zero on this one. Claiming that the witches are Mercenary’s slaves saves them on the admission cost, so it’s a practical idea. It’s kinda messed up that Mercernary hits her for it later.

Aww…Mercenary’s such a good guy. In case you haven’t already figured it out. I’m not sure this was needed.

Goal!

I was completely expecting there to be some hidden value in the old outfit or something. This guy’s thirst was a bit too suspicious…but it turns out he was just being horny. Go figure.

Surprisingly, Zero answers “yes” to this. I’m assuming it’s meant to highlight her intense naivety because the alternative is that this is put here just to tell the audience about this beastfallen attribute. And they wouldn’t do that, right? Of course, this conversation is immediately followed by a scene showing a beastfallen that looked a lot like he was going to eat a human, so who knows?

Sorry, I have to nitpick here. While this is a funny gag and all, it’s clearly here just to be a gag. It’s barely dark in the scene before this and the next scene is the group going down to eat dinner. If they had forced Albus to eat while tied up, then it might have had some continuity, but as it stands, it makes no sense to tie him up at this time.

This is new.

While I don’t doubt that someone who hates witches as much as Mercenary does would know how to identify a witch, I’m curious how that works. What are the identifiers of a witch? I kinda doubt we’ll get any explanation, but I’m still curious.

I honestly expected more from this fight given how much they hyped it up. When you break it down, Mercenary mostly stood still while the other guy was quipping.

Okay, I’m guessing that this face just means that Zero will sleep on Mercenary again, but holy crap that face looks really dangerous.

Bit of an overreaction, don’t you think?