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.
Like many others, I highly anticipated Mahoutsukai no Yome. Maybe that was my mistake, and I expected too much. But even anime that fail to live up to expectations usually fail them this hard.
So where did things go wrong? The plot? The characters? The worldbuilding? All of the above?
I’ll start with what I liked about Mahoutsukai no Yome. It’s beautiful. There were scenes that were, for a lack of a better word, magical. The soundtrack is also worth listening too.
But despite having high production quality and a magical world to explore, Magus Bride falls flat thanks to its dull cast and lack
The side cast is composed of characters with similar “blandly nice” personalities with few exceptions. If you described these characters by personality alone, you wouldn’t be able to tell most of the cast apart.
Our heroine, Chise, isn’t much better, which is really a shame. The story about a young woman overcoming depression through love and exploring a magical realm has great potential, but this supposedly traumatized girl ends up swapping overly dramatic and intimate backstories with every person she meets. It happens too often, which, in addition to losing its effectiveness, also makes it hard to believe Chise struggled to connect with people prior to the story.
She also makes a poor first impression. In the first handful of episodes, the only action she takes is selling herself into slavery. She barely even walks on her own. I get that she’s depressed, but a character is supposed to entertain, not act like a living blob.
Once she finally shows interest into something other than the 400+-year-old man-child who bought her, she grows more interesting, but falls into the same “blandly nice” personality as the rest of the cast.
Elias, our hero, has a personality at least, but it’s not one I’m a fan of. He’s a man-child who throws a magical hissy fit the second Chise talks to someone he didn’t tell her to. While the show does call him out for some of his more possessive behavior, it often gets played off as humorous instead of dangerous.
The show’s premise doesn’t do Elias any favors. He starts the story buying an underage girl and calling her his bride. I get that Elias doesn’t quite understand the connotations of the word “bride,” but the mangaka does. That is the connection the writers wanted the audience to make.
While I think people often overreact to this, since the story seems aware of the problematic aspects of Chise’s and Elias’ relationship, it takes all the mystery out of their relationship. It frames everything they do automatically in a romantic light, rather than leaving room for mystery, magic, and interpretation.
This might not have bothered me except that the entire show does this. Everything is so blandly obvious it feels like the producers are holding up cue cards to the audience saying “cry now” or “find this magical” rather than subtly guiding the audience or letting them make up their own minds.
Every single episode has some grand moment where the music gets big and characters exchange tragic backstory and Chise has some “magical” moment of character progression and on and on. This is fine if done once or twice, but it’s done so often it feels hamfisted rather than genuine.
The show also seems addicted to cliff-hangers. Characters how up and threaten Chise, only to reveal themselves as good guys within a minute of the next episode. It gets old quick and makes you wonder why these supposedly nice people wanted to come across as creepy kidnappers during their first impression.
I really wanted to like this show, but it lacks the magic similar shows like Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi mastered. In the end, when you look beyond the exceptional backdrops, stunning soundtrack, and excellent production, there’s just not much there.
The most disappointing anime I've watched this season. I've tried very hard to like this show but it did so many things wrong and honestly I don't understand the high score it has right now. If you're looking for something good just watch the OVAs.
Trying to be short, the show is a mess.
Most of the episodes in the beginning was the same rinse and repeat Chise getting into trouble.
Later on It feels like whoever wrote just thought of half interesting scenarios to put their MCs in.
The way they introduce characters for half of them to never appear again
really seems like they picked random
stories out of a jar and decided to go from there.
Even their attempts at comedy with the characters having cute faces weren't funny.
Also Chise and Elias they themselves being quite uninteresting despite their really nice character designs. They are supposed to be teacher/student, Chise being the "human teacher" and Elias being the "magic teacher". Except they barely teach each other anything, most of the time it's Chises actions that indirectly affects Elias. The story is all over the place not leaving enough room to see them together just learning.
Honestly if the show didn't have it's great animation and decent soundtrack it'd actually be worthless.
Opening a book and reading word by word is simple. Jumping into a story becoming part of its world while being enveloped by its ideas is a whole different experience. Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus Bride) has a way that make us see through its world, characters, and story. If you fancy yourself for a creative fantasy experience that blends between the lines of fiction and reality, then you came to the right place.
An anime adaptation of Mahoutsukai no Yome is pretty inevitable in the eyes of many fans who are familiar with the author’s work. Ever since we got the 3-episode prologue OVAs,
a full TV anime adaptation would bring in fans hunger for more. This TV anime adaptation focuses directly on the manga as it chronicles the life of Chise Hatori and guide the viewer through her experience. The life she once knew changed forever after meeting Elias Ainsworth, a supernatural being with traits of fae and humanity.
Jumping straight into this TV anime shouldn’t be a problem even if it’s the first time you’ve ever heard of this show before. The first few episodes successfully introduces the story along with a beautiful imaginative world. It shouldn’t take long for viewers to begin and understand the type of person Chise is. To describe her, Chise can sometimes be a normal teenage girl while other times feel like she’s not. She’s been through a lot in her life before meeting Elias and many events influenced her to develop a more subservient personality. She can also be a bit of socially awkward but if you look beyond that, Chise is really a person with strong heart and will to change people. Throughout the show, she changes herself too after meeting certain characters and experiencing a new life she’s never began to imagine before.
That brings in Elias, a supernatural being with mysterious origins. In the beginning of the show, he became Chise’s master after buying her at an auction event. Now you’re probably thinking…is this going to be a show about a master and a slave type of relationship? The answer is far from it as we see the depth of their relationship development. Despite being a supernatural being and not understanding humans, Elias develops genuine feelings of care for Chise while displaying human behavior. On the other hand, Chise begins to grow more confident of herself and accepting her role as an apprentice mage. Throughout the show, we can see how much she grows from an average teenage girl to a strong and dedicated woman. The loyalty she displays for Elias and her friends is admirable and throughout her experience as a mage, she learns much more about them and their world. This is what really gave me a favorable impression of the show. It’s how characters change and able to influence others while we understand them. In many ways, the story feels very human for the main characters. Teenage girls at her age tend to change a lot and whether it’s a good or bad thing can be a controversial topic. However, Chise’s change is displayed in ways that I can’t help but find inspiring. The show crafts her character from the beginning and capitalizes on her every action without wasting any time. Whether it’s meeting new people/supernatural beings, experimenting with magic, or battling her personal demons, she’s a character that you can’t turn a blind eye to.
Of course, this show isn’t just about Chise and Elias. While they are the main stars, Mahoutsukai no Yome does a lot to make the viewers get invested into its story. One of the first things people will find curious is the world setting. While there’s the modern setting of urban cities and streets, there’s also magic and a world with otherworldly creatures. Dragons, faeries, goddesses, and will-o’the-wisps are just a few to name. Possibly inspired by English, Scottish, or other European lore, it shouldn’t take long for viewers to recognize some of them. Furthermore, the show displays a wealth of magic with the many effects they can bring. It’s also interesting to note that magic in this show is considered a power that’s neither good nor evil. It’s used as a power that can have consequences or can really make a difference. At its most apex, magic can be extremely impactful that it can affect the story and change people in ways they can’t even begin to imagine.
Making a show like this takes a lot of risk too. Characters would have to at least make an impression that give viewers something to remember by. I can’t say this for all the characters but there’s definitely a list of them that people should take notice. These range from Chise’s familiar Roth to the beautiful vampire faerie, Leanan Sidhe. Chise encounters them in the story and makes her realize certain aspects about herself. However, there are also others such as Cartaphilius (Joseph) who can really bring out a side from Chise that she hopes others won’t ever have to see. The psychology and character chemistry between the cast isn’t just impactful but also characterizes their personalities. While there are probably some characters that will be more forgettable compared to others, the show still gets its priorities right to give viewers something to talk about.
As serious as this show may seem, it still balances between its light comedy at times so it isn’t just a moody story. When business picks up, you’ll realize how the author wants to make you feel. Other times, I feel like this anime really did a great job at capitalizing most of its ideas. As a manga adaptation, the show is mostly faithful at capturing the story without delaying or accelerating its plot. In fact, I think some scenes adapted from the manga looked even more impressive in the anime thanks to the modern talent of Norihiro Naganuma. Just be aware that the manga is still ongoing and with 24 episodes, it was inevitable that the anime would still leave out what’s ahead.
Adapted by Wit Studio, it feels like this show is a work of art. I don’t mean the type that you can see at some art gallery but more as a world that you can enjoy freely with an open mind. The beautiful world consists of many elements from modern fantasy such as enchanted forests, land of dragons, and to a more civilized city. Visual quality exceeded my expectations as there were no episodes that I found lazily made or sloppily animated. The character designs also takes time to accept but is creatively crafted. The most noticeable character to land eyes on is Elias. He has no human characteristics and looks like a creature you’d imagine from some dark fantasy. Other creatures in the show may look more familiar but fulfills its fantasy expectations. Adapted from the manga, they consist of characteristics that is incredibly faithful. Oddly enough, Chise is possibly the most normal looking character despite being a bit of an oddball. With her signature red hair, green coat, and necklace, she’s definitely the type of the character you can easily accept.
Matching its artistic elements, the soundtrack also brings in great value such as the OST and theme songs. The first OP song “Here” by JUUNA is masterfully crafted to showcase the potential of the show with its style. Similarly, both the ED theme songs capitalized on its fantasy setting. Unfortunately, the second OP song dropped the ball and didn’t manage to hold a candle compared to the first with reused footage. However, the OST manages to fully capture the thrilling feel of this adaptation. Some scenes adapted straight out of the manga is what I had pictured would be and with the music, it made it that much more alive. Character voice mannerism is also easy to take notice with characters such as Elias, Cartaphilius, Titania, and among others.
Every book has its meaning and intentions. For a show like Mahoutsukai no Yome, jumping into the story and world is like reading the text and realizing what the author wants us to know. Throughout watching this anime, I learned a lot about the characters and what it means for someone like Chise to experience her new life. The world setting remained committed to its premise while avoiding the mistakes of going overboard. While I can’t say this anime is for everyone, it definitely manages to elevate the heights of a fantasy tale.
“I don’t care if he thinks of me as a toy, and throws me out when he’s bored. It’s because he… even though it was only one time, said to me that I am his family.” Chise Hatori.
The fall 17 anime season was a very interesting season for anime as we got a lot of shows that were actually good for the most part. Sure it that season had it stinkers like Ousama Game The Animation and Juuni Taisen but what am trying to say is that Fall 17 anime season reminded me how great the Fall 14 anime season was in terms of shows.
However out of all the shows from the Fall 17 there was one show in particular that I had eyes ever since I watched the trailer it and that anime is Mahoutsukai No Yome or The Ancient Magus’ Bride in English.
When the first episode came out I watched it and while I liked it I thought the show was missing something in particular. After that I decided to watch the prequel OVAs and I loved it because not it was a lovely OVAs series but it I found that the TV was missing and it was Chise’s past aka her early life where it showcases how Chise became the person that she was in episode 1 of the TV series. Soon after I decided to watch Magus Bride weekly subbed along with some episodes dubbed and after watching all 24 episodes of Magus Bride I have to say this. The Ancient Magus Bride is not only one of the best animes to come out in the last 3 years but the show quickly became one of my all-time favourite’s animes.
So what made this anime so special?
You will soon find out.
The story of Ancient Magus Bride follows a girl named Chise who sold herself into slavery due to her not feeling wanted by her relatives. When all hope was almost lost a tall masked gentleman named Elias Ainsworth bids 5 million for the girl and outbids every other bidder in the room. Soon after Elias wins bid he takes Chise to her new home in rural England where she can begin her new life as an apprentice and future wife for Elias.
The story of The Ancient Magus Bride is absolutely brilliant in every way possible.
It's one of the best comings of stories I have ever seen period. It's was very well told, it perfectly showcased the rise of fall of Chise life in the new world as an apprentice and her journey from start to finish was very satisfying to watch as she's stars to find value in her new world and her own life.
Ancient Magus Bride is absolutely fantastic at presenting its world. Everything in its world feel alive has a purpose and it repents London perfectly. After experiencing the same old, boring JRPG, MMO fantasy setting that we all have seen before. The world for The Ancient Magus Bride feels like a breath of fresh air. If you though the Ancient Magus Bride is great at establishing its world than the worldbuilding is fantastic as it gives amazing attention to detail has been put to this setting from the food that they eat which is very British, the creatures races, the train sets from the First Great Western train to even the station itself that represents London Paddington Station. I know am diving in too about detail but it's these small that make the world of Ancient Magus Bride real and unique. I don't want to see an anime where for example having a British setting with anBritish cottage and some dude giving out Udon instead of Fish and Chips.
The small things in this show can mean a lot for your setting because it can give the setting more meaning compare to many throwaway Isekai shows like In Another World With My Smartphone and Knight’s & Magic. As a Londoner I was glad that the show managed to treat the city with London and the country of English with respect.
The pacing in this show is brilliant. Sure it may be too slow for some but keep in mind that this is a coming of age story where shows like this like to take time to establish the world, setting, themes and characters in a great and mature way. If only I can say the same thing to a certain shounen anime from the fall 17 done byStudioPierrot but we will get to that certain show another time.
Anyway, the show knows how to pace itself well to a point where the viewer can got invested with all the events that the show has to offer.
The first half of The Ancient Magus Bride is mostly a well-told collection of stories that meant to the new world that Chise is currently living as well as establishing the characters and Chise eventually growth. The second half, on the other hand, is more serious and darker especially the last four episodes where the show does a complete 180 with its tone. The first half and the prequel OVAs may have some dark moments but they are tamed when compare to these episodes where literally shit got real pretty fast. Both half’s were great but I personally preferred the second half overall due to it being more darker natured as well new themes and topics that completely changed the tone of the series not to mention some of the themes that were explored in the first half now have a darker edge to them. Speaking of themes let’s talk about quickly go through some of some of them now
One thing that I adore about The Ancient Magus Bride is the theme and messages.
Themes of hope, fate, rebirth, living, and especially love were well explored to where some of those themes link well with each other for example in episode 3 Chise visits a dragon who is ready to pass away.
Another thing that I love about themes in this show is how it showcases the downfall of characters where they don’t fully understand love, value and life. Two great examples of this are fully showcased in episode 21, 22 and 23 which I won’t mention due to spoilers. This show also does a great job tacking serious topics such like being curse where there’s nothing you can do about it and you can’t simply remove the curse that is inside you even if you decide to cut your legs or arms off.
The last thing that I want to talk about this the pedophilia controversy with Chise and Elias. Guys there is no pedophilia in this show plus the creators never even tried to glamorize pedophilia. If you watch an anime that features a lot of pedophilia that also features incest go watch Eromanga Sensei and enjoy the pedophilia as its glory as well being on the FBI watchlist.
Am sorry I had to bring this up because shit like that always infuriates me.
Overall the story of The Ancient Magus Bride was fantastic. It’s was well told, well-paced, it established its setting perfectly and the themes and messages were well handled and treated with respect
Like with the story the charterers are brilliant as well-being likeable and well written.
I start with the main female protagonist Chise who is one of easily one of the best female leads I have seen in any anime. I honestly love this character from start to finish. She may appear to be a bit dull character at first but as the series progresses she greatly grows as a character that you can sympathise with.
Also, the one thing you should keep in mind is Chise is a tragic character where after the events of the prequel OVAs before episode 1 she was suffering from depression to a point where she sold herself to slavery.
Seeing Chise grow as a character was a great experience as she was very determined to keep on living.
Elias is also a great character. Just like Chise he’s is a flawed character where he doesn’t know the true meaning of love but as the series goes one he learns more about love and how it can it affect others. Like with Chise as the series goes on he quickly became a great and loveable character on his own right.
The rest of the characters were pretty great and enjoyable to watch as well severing they propose of the story very well.
Overall the characters in Ancient Magus Bride were brilliant and enjoyable from start to finish.
Where do I begin with visuals because this show visually is an utter masterpiece?
WIZ Studio did an awesome job with the production side of the show
The characters designs are amazing and well detailed and on top of that use of colour palates for the character designs is splendid and it makes the world even more presentable.
The camerawork in this show is brilliant. Everything from the basic mid shot, close up shots, wide to the establishing shots. Plus the contrast and lighting in the show were amazing.
The actual animation is top notch. It flowed well as being very consistent throughout its run.
One thing that I adore about the visuals is that is almost identical to the Prequel OVAs because usually, the TV series would be inferior compared to their ova counterpart but I was surprised of how great the TV series compare to the OVAs prequels.
The last thing I want to mention is the Chise Phoenix Segment from episode 12. That segment was honestly beautiful as it was very well animated and it perfectly symbolized Chise growth as a character as she now been reborn in her new world.
Overall The Ancient Magus Brides is a visual masterpiece of art.
The soundtrack for The Ancient Magus is absolutely beautiful. This is one of the few shows where every single track and I mean every single track in the show was amazing and fits with the tone of this series.
My favorite track from the soundtrack is the one played in episode 3 Liberoara. As soon as that track/insert song I started to tear up because we the audience such as myself were about to witness an end to a life of an ancient dragon.
The first opening Here by JUNNA is a fantastic opening theme that perfectly fits with the first half of the show. Not to mention is catchy as hell.
While the first opening theme was fantastic the second opening on the other hand was pretty underwhelming at best. Not only the song itself did not fit well with the nature of the second half but visuals were terribly placed and timed. The final nail in the coffin that it literally feels like a badly made AMV where you can literally make it on Sony Vegas Pro or even PlayStation 4 Share Factory
If you hear the second opening theme do yourself a favor and skip it at all cost because it’s honestly not worth it.
On the other hand both ending themes Wa –Cycel by Hana Itoki and Tsuki no mou Hanbun by Aiki and Akino were equally good in they own rights.
Now for dub vs sub.
To be honest they are both amazing on they own rights but I personally prefer the dub overall.
For her first role as the main character, Dani Chambers did a fantastic job at voicing Chise as she has a lot of subtlety and personality to her voice. She's easily the best performance of the dub overall.
Brian Mathis is great as Elias as he able to sound like ancient magician perfectly despite Elias being unable to show expressions as he has no proper face.
9/10 one point taking off due to the terrible made 2nd opening.
What a wonderful series. I was honestly shocked at how amazing this series was from start to finish.
The story was wonderful and well told. The pacing was brilliant, the themes and messages beautifully executed. The characters were all great and very enjoyable to watch. The visuals were outstanding and to top it all up the soundtrack and voice acting for both languages were top notch. The only bad thing about the show overall was the second opening theme with was unfortunately pretty bad and should be skipped but that didn’t ruin the show for me that much. It just didn’t work. Besides that this show is a masterpiece that should not be missed by anyone.
On my Little Witch Academia TV review I mentioned that it was my favorite anime of 2017 well after watching all 24 episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride it now completely stole that spot of favorite anime of 2017 and pushed that anime to 2nd place.
This show represents everything that I love about anime.
When this show gets a collector’s edition on Blu-Ray I will definitely buy this masterpiece so I can experience it again.
With all said The Ancient Magus Bride is not only one of the best anime to come out from this decade but it's one of my favorite’s anime series.
If you haven't seen this series please go watch it on Funmation as well being the Blu-Rays once they come out.
You won’t regret it.
Final Score 9.5/10