It’s a stylistic improvement over its predecessors, with enough subtle changes around the character models to notice, and with more adventurous direction from Yuu Kou, who took over from Yoshiaki Iwasaki (before he was taken back on board for the fourth and final series). It tempers the gratuitous fanservice with bouts of genuine charm, likewise, there are moments of giddy humour and finely rendered action sequences, but when even the mid-episode title cards sport cleavage and panties, it’s hard to look past the seinen demographic.
The harem conventions have been duly plumbed, cherry picking some of the more obvious enablers, including the obligatory bathing episode, incidents involving love potions and body swapping and the beach bound OVA. When the most intriguing and amusing character is a talking sword, you know something is amiss. With sword and sorcery explored and utilised far better in more recent titles (Maria the Virgin Witch, DanMachi, Heroic Legend of Arslan) and funnier titles besides, Familiar of Zero doesn’t have much to convince those outside of its demographic to stick around. And even they aren’t getting anything the first two series hasn’t already covered.
Special Features: Clean opening / Clean closing / OVA ‘Seductive Beach’ / Trailers
INFO: FAMILIAR OF ZERO, SERIES 3: PRINCESSES NO RONDO / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: YUU KOU / SCREENPLAY: YURI KAWAHARA / STARRING: RIE KUGIMIYA, SATOSHI HINO, YUKA INOKUCHI, MAMIKO NOTO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW