The Familiar of Zero
The Familiar of Zero (Zero no Tsukaima)
Publisher: MF Bunko J/Media Factory
Complete at 22 volumes
Sentai Filmworks licensed all 4 seasons of the anime
Seven Seas licensed the manga as Zero's Familiar
Louise is a noble girl who is terrible at magic, as her attempts usually result in an explosion. She is nicknamed "Louise the Zero" by her classmates, due to the inability to use any of the four magic elements. Early in the school year at the Tristain Academy of Magic, the second year students perform a special ritual where they summon their familiar, which serves as their eternal protector and partner, and is usually some sort of magical creature. But Louise summons Saito Hiraga, an ordinary teenage boy from Japan, leaving her totally humiliated.
Due to the sacredness of the ritual, Louise reluctantly accepts Saito as her familiar, but proceeds to treat Saito as any other familiar, only worse, making him wash her clothes, sleep on a bed of hay, and whipping him with a riding crop for little or no reason. The Familiar of Zero follows the adventures of Louise and Saito as they help their classmates and friends, while occasionally blundering into situations where they risk their lives to save one another. Saito tries to find a way to get back to Japan, but he also has a mysterious power that allows him to wield swords and other weapons to perform heroic feats. They also eventually learn the truth behind Louise's magic inabilities.
The Familiar of Zero is a forefather of isekai light novels (Japan started publishing it in 2004) before the genre became really popular. This series is unique in that the author passed away from cancer, yet left notes for a ghost writer to finish the last 2 volumes. I've watched all four seasons of the anime and I loved the relationship between Saito and Louise. Though Louise could be an overbearing tsundere and Saito a horny teenage boy, they (admittedly very slowly) change and realize how much they love each other.
I would like the novels to be licensed because it was a fun series with all the harem antics and ecchi moments you could want, and because I heard the anime changed/skipped/rushed through things from the books, so I'd like to read the whole story. I know it's unlikely to be licensed at this point as it's 1) a Kadokawa property, 2) it's a long series, and 3) the anime is 6 to 12 years old, but I'll keep wishing and hoping. Sometimes I wish Yen On had a digital-only line of light novels to pick some of these up, or maybe I'm just too impatient for Sam to make that miraculous partnership happen : )
I feel a Yen digital only could happen. That article about LNs had a Yen exec say the novels are selling better than some manga now. Yen does digital only manga too, so it’s not outside their wheelhouse.
@the-green-death Could you please give a link to that article?
@eternal-wanderer it was posted on the new series speculations thread: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2018/06/24/general/can-japanese-light-novels-remain-publishing-heavyweights/#.WzMaX4plCf2
I know Kodansha has some digital-only manga, but what series’ have YP done digital only?