MyAnimeList Rating: 8,25/10
Genres: Slice of Life, Fantasy, Magic, Shounen
Studio: Wit Studio
Author: Kore Yamazaki
Seiyuus: Atsumi Tanezaki, Ryouta Takeuchi, Kouki Uchiyama
The world is filled with various things which cannot be understood by logic and things like that will always be there. Unfortunately, there is a distance that separates us to know that thing such as the nature of the world with other dimensions. Every story, especially a historical story on each culture, has an impression of whether it’s a myth or there are various things that have occurred but we cannot feel it. The rest of “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” is a fantasy anime introduces a magical world filled with magic about its characters and stories. This is not a Walt Disney classic movie like “Beauty & the Beast.” Even though it reminds me a bit of “The Shape of Water,” this anime doesn’t focus too much on romance but it’s more than that. Since the 3-episode OVA prequel made me amazed to the gorgeous fantasy world because the environment seems to start to the world apart from out of context which focuses on the narrative about Chise’s flashback, “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” is indeed one that I always anticipate for because it fit with my expectations.
Chise Hatori, a 15-year-old Japanese girl, was sold for five million pounds at an auction to a tall masked gentleman. Abandoned at a young age and ridiculed by her peers for her unconventional behavior, she was ready to give herself to any buyer if it meant having a place to go home to. In chains and on her way to an unknown fate, she hears whispers from robed men along her path, gossiping and complaining that such a buyer got his hands on a rare “Sleigh Beggy.”
Ignoring the murmurs, the mysterious man leads the girl to a study, where he reveals himself to be Elias Ainsworth—a magus. After a brief confrontation and a bit of teleportation magic, the two open their eyes to Elias‘ picturesque cottage in rural England. Greeted by fairies and surrounded by weird and wonderful beings upon her arrival, these events mark the beginning of Chise’s story as the apprentice and supposed bride of the ancient magus.
The OVA seems to introduce additional flashback stories in the middle of the story that will later relate to the TV series. It’s not a problem because you don’t get what the context is unless you read the manga first. Yet I ‘m still amazed at the premiered of the first episode and has an emotional narrative even though I don’t know who is it or who is that character. So, the TV anime came in the fall of 2017, until it’s finished airing in last March this year. The story follows Chise Hatori, a teenage girl who is different from all other children. After the death of her mother, she was exiled and hated by many people because of her strange attitude and could see other things which ordinary people couldn’t see. After she sold herself to the auction of slaves, Elias Ainsworth, a mysterious creature supernatural bought Chise in Elias’s hands. A complex yet deep relationship between the slave and the master is grown or you could just say, the teacher and student. It’s not one type of show where it shows between a slave and master who are so taboo or otherwise but it’s about knowing more about the unlimited world sphere of fantasy, knowing more about who Elias is in which just a children or Chise who is trying to understand why she could survive until now regardless of her mother who hoped her child would never be born.
Wit Studio is known for one anime that always overhyped at the first premiered and especially if it wasn’t “Attack on Titan.” In addition to the anime, Wit Studio also worked on other popular anime such as “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” and “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.” Last season, they also worked on one of the romance anime, “After the Rain.” One aspect that is so fascinating is the beauty of this anime from all aspects, especially for the art. It’s not the type of fantasy show like isekai or some shit like that. Or a show which the main character stuck in the video game and the main character doesn’t know what to do. At least, “Little Witch Academia” is also one which quite interesting with together with “Land of the Lustrous” with an ambiguity world of 3D. The visual is so beautiful that consist of a world inspired by the fiche stories that are so cliche. You can find the world of dragons, the world of elves, the world of fairies, witches, and of course, the dark world of fantasy itself. In this aspect which I most expect, the art is such an incredibly gorgeous. You can look whatever you want, whatever your viewpoint is focused where because the details feel like you can make it as a desktop wallpaper either where you pause it. The design of characters are quite interesting and at least in the form of an art sometimes chibi when it comes to the humor. Even though it’s not a comedy anime, the humor at least can overcome the tone just a little so it doesn’t need to be too serious in depth.
The soundtrack seemed to make me interested especially when entering into the world itself. The artistic element that combines the sound so that it fit with the visual itself is so well-crafted so, it stays in the style itself. The first opening theme song “Here” by JUNNA reminds me of Sawano Hiroyuki featuring other artists and it’s such a potential point from the song itself. The ending theme songs are suitable for the fantasy world even though a few spoiler mentions without any context are not needed especially the second ending song that will bring together with the setting in the last episode. The second opening theme song is also the same as JUNNA. Both are memorable with fantasy themes that combine rock and the theme itself. The voice actors are also showing their manner little by little. Elias with his emotionless voice, Chise with her flat voice but sometimes out of character, and some various characters.
One thing I like about this anime is the used of settings in the modern world and the fantasy world. The same as “Little Witch Academia” but “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” uses it in the countryside of London, England. Some of the locations also describe the cultures there with the streets, buildings, and hallways at night. This anime doesn’t really show who is the good or bad guy. All the characters in this show have their own way, whether it’s Cartaphilus, Elias, or other sub-plot characters. The most focused here is indeed the relationship developt between Chise and Elias. Elias was just a child who still didn’t really understand the feelings of other creatures but he could at least still understand the strange feelings he could feel but didn’t know what are those feelings. Chise who tried to learn magic to become one like Elias grew little by little and became an inspiration for others. Therefore, Elias who seemed to be his magic teacher and Chise seemed as if his human teacher helped, believed, and understood each other. My minor problem with both of them is Chise. Maybe without Elias too, she couldn’t do anything because I always saw how he often relied on Elias without being able to do anything. However, I understood in the end how she would be able to understand and think further about the decision she would choose without hanging to him.
While they both share with each other, there is much variation of characters. One of them, which at first I thought she was just emblazoned in there, was Silky. She doesn’t talk too much, doesn’t give too much emotion, and doesn’t participate too much in the story. It’s like she just represented in there as if it just a painting. However, I also go further and understand it with her own impression through her flashback, but it’s just giving her character in just a few minutes in one episode. It’s not one of the most uncertain but there is some impression of her character. There is Ruth who became the first familiar for Chise. Ruth is just one side character who focuses on the beginning but participates in creating the stories with Chise. There isn’t much I’m talking about but it’s one that must be noticed.
In addition to these characters, there are characters with each sub-plot where Chise becomes the chemistry and aspiring of these characters. There is Redcurrant as the vampire who tries to be the one of the person she has been watching, the dragon who understands the deepest feelings of Chise, a young woman who feels guilty about her husband who always pays attention to her circumstance, and her mother who feels guilty at the end which is quite a bit spoiler in it. The other characters who mostly have an important role in this anime are Cartaphilus which brings out a huge influence on Chise’s character. Since he also has one of the darkest and depressing flashbacks from the others, Chise understands more after seeing further about him, why he became like that, and the reason he did it. This reminds me of the “Undertale” Pacifist route which is quite emotional yet the same as. That is one embarrassing comparison that I never thought but it was like that. So, please don’t attack me. Although some just become a marker for the main character to increases the potential, other characters are forgettable but provide a broad view of the characters themselves.
As one of the most anticipating anime after is finished, it’s so hard to follow it in a marathon or forced way. I can’t say that I don’t like this anime nor do I like it. The pace is slow even though I know this is a slice of life anime in general. Sometimes, I just can’t keep up with the story. Salute to the author who gives a world which can be felt, a world which always in its balance. The humor sometimes funny but sometimes out of nowhere which I just feel quite awkward but sometimes makes me laugh a little. A 24-episodes anime like this is already quite satisfied to give a magic touch from the author to the viewers. This is not one of those which is quite long, but “Lucky☆Star” is one of the slice-of-life anime that has 24 episodes. But, it’s pretty stupid to compare it with the two anime that have similar but not the same genre.
“The Ancient Magus’ Bride” has another meaning from the story itself. A fantasy world which is widely inspired by folklore from various worlds such as dragons, fairies, the tree of life, witches, and things related to them. The story is just a little to explain what important points are in the anime. The characters so much become aspiring to the main character and don’t always focus on the relationship. There is so much that can be taken from this anime which is the representation of life and death, becomes an inspiration to many people, to understand the meaning of the characters, and others. However, the world created in here is one that is so much expected for fans whether they reading the manga, watching the OVA from the beginning, fantasy fans, or the casual but it might be a bit difficult for them. This fantasy folklore-inspired tale is so different from other fantasy anime or manga. It’s not isekai crap, the character is drawn to another world, or the mainstream things which are in the circle but “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” is more than that.