Light Novels: Zero no Tsukaima (Zero’s Familiar)

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 1, 2008 in Comic Books |

Light Novels: Zero no Tsukaima (Zero's Familiar).jpg

Most people know about anime and manga, but a new wave of Japanese popular culture is just starting to hit the United States: the light novel. The light novel (literally “raito noberu” or “ranobe” for short) is similar to a young adult novel in the United States, but it also has a little twist: manga-style illustrations are littered throughout the books. So now that you know what light novels are, here’s one of our Ten Light Novels That You Need To Know:

Zero no Tsukaima (Zero’s Familiar)

Everyone loves a good fantasy story, especially when it adds in a lot of comedy and romance. Such is Zero no Tsukaima, which takes place in an alternate universe at the Tristain Academy of Magic.

Don’t write the series off as a Harry Potter rip-off just yet! Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière is a second-year student with the nickname “Zero”— because that’s her approximate success rate in casting spells. Second-year students are made to cast a spell that summons their familiars, but while everyone else summons cats, dragons, and other creatures, she somehow summons a boy from our very own Japan— Saito Hiraga.

Embarrassed, Louise mostly treats Saito like a dog. However, when Saito appears, a series of runes that read “Gandalfr” appear on his hand, which may signal that Saito and Louise are destined to be a legendary pair of fighters. In the meantime, Louise is what we call a “tsundere” character; she may act like she hates Saito, but she actually adores him. Unfortunately this means she’s incredibly jealous, and Saito has a bad habit of falling in with other attractive women, including the Princess Henrietta, the maid Siesta, and Louise’s classmate Kirche.

Written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Eiji Usatsuka, Zero no Tsukaima has reached 13 volumes and two side stories in Japan. A manga adaptation of the series began in 2006, around the same time that the first season of the anime aired, with a second season airing in the summer of 2007. A third season has been also been announced. The anime has hit a snag in its US release, however; it was licensed by Geneon, who has suspended all releases for the time being.

The novel series has been licensed for release in English by Seven Seas, who plan to release the first volume in 2008.

Gia Manry is a Portland, OR-based professional writer specializing in pop culture/entertainment writing. Read up on more of her work at or hire her at

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