Although this is a magic show, it is miles away from what you are used to, even with the mediæval flavor. It is a land where man and beast live. It is a time where common folk are in fear of witches and the Beastfallen. It is a situation where the Beastfallen are in fear of others, despite their size and numbers. This is the world of the “Grimoire of Zero” (“Zero kara Hajimeru Mahō no Sho”, or “Starting the Magical Book from Zero”).
We meet Mercenary. That’s not his real name, but that is what he is called and it helps that it is his profession. It might confuse things if he was known as “Baker” or “Candlestick Maker”. He was born this way and is actually a white tiger. He is also quite good at what he does. He may come off as a bit of a jerk, but that is more of a defense mechanism to protect himself from other jerks and to keep from getting too close to people, as he is a marvelous commodity.
This is a bad time to be a witch. One of the most famous, Sorena, was burned at the stake for creating a plague that killed many. Mercs, as well as other people, are in a blind hunt to kill all witches. However, as a Beastfallen, his head is very valuable. He might be good with a sword, but his head would fetch a pretty penny (or whatever the currency used around here is. Teeth?) While being hunted down by bounty hunters, he is rescued by Zero, that youthful witch up there. They enter into a pact: he will protect her as she hunts down a grimoire that helps witches with their magic. In return, she will give Mercenary a potion that will make him human, The series is their trip to find this book, but it becomes much more than that.
We start to see a caliber of relationship grow between these two, more than just two folks in a mere contract. Zero likes to sleep upon his stomach, as he is furry and soft. He tolerates a lot from her and a later companion, Albus. But since he has dreams when he becomes human, he keeps it all in check. Have no illusions, though; this land is dangerous and fraught with peril, as some kind of Superwitch is about, bent on destroying all.
This is a series populated with odd and eccentric characters, like some weird clothes-sniffing merchant and a dapper wolf bodyguard, but that doesn’t distract or detract from a really good series. We do throw in a caliber of over-arching overlord, Thirteen (I’m sure he changed his name), who is not as he appears and this puts everyone in this land in great peril, but you get the feeling that this person is holding back and you will learn all of these dark and dirty secrets. And the obligatory ending holds out hope for a second season. But, much like life, that is uncertain. Still, see it while you can.
Now, I really enjoyed this show and liked watching it unfold slowly. Binging will speed things along for the front half of things, but the arrival of Thirteen make for tough sledding for the end. I say, not, but it can withstand such a frontal assault, should you choose that option.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Great animal designs)
Plot 8 (Strong on-the-road approach)
Pacing 7 (Some slack times)
Effectiveness 8 (Consistent story-telling)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeing 7 (I would prefer you didn’t)
Overall 8 (Despite a bit of a fade at the end)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Enter into a contract with me.