There’s so much to love about Ancient Magus' Bride but their entire relationship is predicated on:
1) an older non-human man buying a 15-year-old girl at an auction (in other words, human trafficking),
2) calling her dehumanizing things like “puppy” right after she was sold and acknowledges she’s a “child”,
3) invading her privacy and trying to touch and bathe her without her permission (and no, he understood what he was doing to a child was morally reprehensible as indicated by Angelica),
4) telling her she has no choice in matters but is “free to reconsider”,
5) calling him his bride, and
6) her being FIFTEEN goddammit (pedophilia).
Chise and Elias are terrific characters in their own right but their relationship is marred by their creepy creators’ bad writing. So many things Elias says reeks of things predators would say to their victims and romanticizing it is gross. He even admits outright that he's grooming Chise and "raising" her to be perfect for him. If a creator is incapable of making a character ANY other way other than a predatory man who says predatory things and a child, that's bad writing. They also didn't need to write human trafficking and continue to portray it in a way where he "saved" Chise; that's not how human trafficking works and glorifying it is despicable.
It's such a shame because the animation and world they created is really beautiful, the music and sound department did a superb job, and I personally have a weakness for jersey devil skull monster boys. Minor characters are also intriguing and complex, often times more than the main characters. My score for this anime was saved by all of this. Had it focused solely on Elias and Chise, the score would have easily been a 2 or 1 because the story itself begins to drag and get boring around the 6th episode. If you jump into this without watching the "Those Awaiting a Star" OVA, Chise is even more watered down and underdeveloped as a character.
Ancient Magus' Bride is more like a collection of fantasy scenarios that the creator put into a jar, shook up, and sequenced in the order that came out of the jar. The anime keeps introducing characters only to abandon them within the next couple of episodes and the beautiful environments that came with those characters. I'll finish this series, come back to delete this review, and deliver my final verdict but editors need to do something about their creators with some kinda creepy lolicon. Get creators who aren’t afraid to create protagonists older than 20 instead of underage ones whose lack of world experience is taken advantage of by predatory adults.