The Ancient Magus’ Bride

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

The Ancient Magus' Bride anime cover art featuring Elias and Chise
The Ancient Magus’ Bride Cover Art

Overview

The Ancient Magus’ Bride was one of the anime from the Fall 2017 season that was expected to be a huge success. It just finished on Saturday since it was a two cour (roughly 24 episodes rather than roughly 12) anime.

While I enjoyed the first half of the series immensely, I felt that it dropped off in the second half. I can’t exactly pinpoint one thing that led to this but the series just somehow lost its wonder for myself and some others I’ve talked to about it.

I’d like to say that making it a two season anime rather than a two cour anime would have solved the problem, but I honestly don’t know if that’s the case since I can’t pinpoint what went wrong. In any case, one place where we can see the difference between the two halves is in the OP animations.

The first OP has some OP original animation, meaning that it includes animation not seen in the rest of the series. When it does use animation from other parts of the series, they are all from things that are going to happen in the first half of the series and so it serves as a hint of what’s to come.

However, the second OP does away with original animation from what I can remember. Instead it’s (almost) entirely scenes we have already seen from the first half of the anime. There is no more original animation and no more hinting at what will happen in the future. It’s little things like this which can show how an anime changes over time.

Despite the anime falling off in the second half, it did have a good story and I enjoyed the characters for the most part. The general plot is that a 15-year-old girl with nothing left to live for decides to sell herself on the black market where she is bought by a mage to be both his apprentice and wife.

There is also a three episode prequel to the series which tells a story from Chise’s childhood before she is sold to Elias. I actually thought that this short prequel was better than the series itself.


Characters

Chise is a 15-year-old girl with no family left. Her Father left her and her mother when she was a child and took her younger brother with him. After a while, Chise’s mother couldn’t take care of her any more and she ended up killing herself.

After this point Chise is sold to Elias at a black market for mages. The reason he pays such a high price for her is because she is what is known as a Sleigh Beggy which is a human who is capable of using an extreme amount of magic. However, all that magic tends to kill the Sleigh Beggy in the end because human bodies are fragile.

Elias is a mage as well as a pseudo-fairy. He is not human and his origins are also unknown even to those of the fairy realm. Although he is centuries old, he appears to be one of the younger mages due to the others referring to him as a child.

He is also known as the Thorn Mage due to his use of thorn-covered vines in much of his magic. Elias also has the ability to change his appearance to that of a human or his “true form” which is more of a monster; however, most of the time he is in-between.

There are many different reasons for Elias’ purchase of Chise. He wanted a bride as well as an apprentice, but he also wanted a human who could teach him about humans and their emotions. It’s also implied by others that he wanted to study her since she’s a Sleigh Beggy and use her as a test subject.

While Elias is Chise’s magic teacher, she is also his teacher as well. She teaches him about the complexity of human emotions since he wants to live in the human world and not in the world of the fairies.

While those are the two main characters, another notable character is Ruth, Chise’s familiar. Ruth tends to take the shape of a large black dog, but he also takes the form of a human boy who appears to be roughly 18 years old.

As her familiar, Ruth’s emotions are connected to Chise’s so he is able to understand how she feels better than anyone else, which Elias occasionally uses to his advantage. Ruth is also very protective of Chise and sees her as a surrogate for his sister who died when they were younger.

The final character I’ll mention here is the one who serves as the primary antagonist for the series, Cartaphilus. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot so all I’ll say about him is that he seems to enjoy causing others pain and suffering, but he does have a purpose for doing everything he does even if his reasons are twisted.

My favorite part of the second half of the series comes near the end when we get more backstory on Cartaphilus.

Elias and Chise from the anime The Ancient Magus' Bride
Elias and Chise

Conclusion

In the end I gave The Ancient Magus’ Bride a 6/10 and the prequel a 7. For the first half of the series I had it at a 7 as well, but as the second half kept going on and I was losing interest, I bumped it down a bit.

While I prefer something with more to it than just plot, such as action, or comedy, or lovable characters, Magus Bride seemed to be very much about the story. This can be good, but with the pace of the show being rather slow, the 24 episodes seemed to drag on for a bit too long.

This is probably why I have the feeling the series would have worked better as two separate seasons maybe a year apart rather than a two cour season. A nice year break would have made it so I didn’t get as tired of the series.

The first OP for The Ancient Magus’ Bride is available here.

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