Warning: This Review Contains Light Spoilers.
The Ancient Magus Bride is a beautiful series that submerges into the dark pools of fantasy. Chise is a young girl who possesses untold power. The downside is the power also drains her body of life. After a terrifying childhood and loosing ties with her family, Chise sells herself at a magical black auction. Elias Ainsworth, an odd magus with a face of bone, purchases her in hopes of training Chise as his apprentice and bride. Chise’s life changes forever as she dives deeper into the dangerous and wondrous world of magic.
Wit Studio should be congratulated on the phenomenal job on bringing the scenery and the characters to life on the screen. Everything from the bright color choices to the subtle line art gives the impression of the anime coming from magic itself. The brilliance of this charming art lies within the details. Each scene is highly detailed and gives viewers a sense of a well-rounded world within the story. It is the mystery within the scenes that makes me want the series to continue. Small creatures full of fluff or funny looking eyes lurk curiously behind everyday objects. We quickly learn that in Chise’s world, there are thousands of strange creatures normally unseen except by a select fee named Sleigh Beggy. Chise’s gift of seeing all of her world’s creatures begins as a curse. Harmful and terrifying beings haunted her as a child and occasionally now in her teen years.
It is no wonder the characters made this anime worthy of the title of “Best Drama” from the Crunchyroll Anime Awards. Each character of the main and sub casts possess an enchantment that charms the audience into rooting for them. Chise’s depression and her power to overcome her dark past past makes her such a memorable character. Elias’ childlike curiosity about human emotions and his uncontrolled temper give viewers a reason to root for his success in becoming a better person. He tries so hard to comply to human society (to an extent) and to understand people as beings that his character is to be pitied instead of feared.
Sadly, the plot suffers with the lack of full character development. After the truth of her mother’s suicide is shown to both viewers and Chise, the story wraps up too quickly. Both Elias and Chise progress emotionally only to be pulled back. It’s not until the very last episode that we have an idea that the two of them will be just fine with their friends on their side. The quality of the gorgeous artwork and the unsatisfactory story proposes a problem with Ancient Magus Bride.
One of the great impacts Ancient Magus Bride has on the fantasy genre is the story that brings magic back to the fantasy genre. Creatures of both peaceful and evil nature inhabit a landscape alongside millions of people who barely realize magic exists. Chise’s lessons in reality are also taught to the anime’s audience. It is something to appreciate of Kore Yamazaki’s genius. Her original illustrations and story in the manga are closely represented in the animation. Perhaps the story will continue and we will see how far Elias and Chise’s education in both human society and magic will go.