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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Friday, October 27, 2017


As with the earlier MAYO CHIKI, the manga ZERO'S FAMILIAR could never be one of my mythcomics because it derives from a prose novel-series.

However, ZERO's has even less claim to symbolic density than MAYO CHIKI. It's an amiable enough comedy-fantasy, but it does not develop its mythic themes. I won't attempt to write a single essay on it here, but will include, for possible later reference, some of the notes I've made on the manga-series for my "superhero idiom" project.

OVERVIEW: In the extradimensional world of Halkegina, several kingdoms, all loosely modeled on medieval European domains, exist alongside real dragons and griffins. Aristocrats who can practice real magic rule the various countries. Young nobles, such as Louiss de la Valliere, attend schools to hone their mastery of magic, but Louise happens to be one of the worst students. When all students in her class are called upon to call up their destined familiara, Louise opens a dimensional gate to Earth. High-school student Saito Hiraga walks through the doorway and becomes bonded to Louise. (It’s later suggested that Earth and Halkeginia have interacted before, and that the two youngsters may be distantly related to a famous mage-and-familiar pair from the early history of Halkegina.) Louise is initially scornful about having a human being for a familiar, and treats him like a lowly servant, and sometimes as a dog, literally on a leash. However, the two teens become drawn to each other, and Louise becomes jealous if Saito even looks at another female. Both become involved in a battle against Reconquista, a rebel movement aimed at forcing Halkegina to serve one rule.

And my interpretation:

 Despite the comical “boy-meets-girl” plot-lines, the interaction of Louise and Saito—one a noble, the other a “commoner”—reflects a familiar trope in Japanese fiction: that of the lordly “daiimyo” and his faithful samurai, seen through the prism of “witch and familiar.” There are light S&M tropes in the relationship as well, though it’s noteworthy that Saito isn’t yanked into Halkegina against his will. Rather, he enters the dimension-doorway out of curiosity and boredom with the mundane Earth-world, and so in a sense he enters into the relationship willingly.

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