A young witch hires a Beastfallen tiger man to be her bodyguard and occassional (involuntary) bed during her quest for her stolen grimoire.
Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho/Grimoire of Zero is a classic quest fantasy, which is unusual in anime. The first episode is mainly setup, with a meet cute when our nameless tiger man protagonist — on the run from a murderous witch — lands in the soup of Zero. She saves him, he runs away when it turns out she’s a witch as well, then she shows up again to steal back her soup. Long story short, she recruits him for her quest to get her grimoire back and the end of the episode has them setting out together. What makes all this fairly standard setup sparkle is the interaction between the Mercenary and Zero, who hit it off immediately. It’s hard to do this sort of banter well, to have two people snipe at each other without it coming over too spiteful or too artificial, but this episode managed to keep a light, funny tone to its banter.
The light tone of the interactions between Zero and the Mercenary does clash somewhat with the grim and gritty background it is set against. We’re in a world were witches are real and persecuted by an almighty Church, burning them to death. So far, so Catholic, but while I’m feeling sympathetic to the witches, at least some of them do seem objectively evil. Meanwhile there are also the Beastfallen, human/animal hybrids created by witches and which occassionally pop up among normal humans, as in the case of our tiger man Mercenary. Who seem to be hunted by humans and witches both from what we’ve seen from the Mercenary’s background. It feels inconsistent with the lighter, cuter mood between Zero and Mercenary. How the show will reconcile this will be interesting to watch.