Like a lot of people, I have been taken into the realm of this great anime like the rest of us. I am not sure if I see and appreciate it like everybody else I know is enjoying it, but there is something special that makes me watch every week. To me, Ancient Magus Bride builds some many things from the bones of a shoujo anime. Why do I mean by bones? For starters, the show is centered around a young, but cute female character by the name of Chise Hattori. A female character that has all mighty power and has a lot of attractive male characters, and some magical creatures, after her for special reasons. There is also a little bit of a Beauty and the Beast thing here too. Still, there is a lot of things that make it more than a mere shoujo anime. (Not that being a shoujo anime is a bad thing at all) It’s incredibly grounded, because everything has a cost. Just like in Fullmetal Alchemist, there is a rule of equivalent exchange being put into play here. If you haven’t seen the series before, there will be spoilers from this point. I recommend that you stop now if you are one of those people.
Let’s look at our protagonist. Chise has had a hard life ever sense she was young. Her mother left her at a young age and Chise’s father didn’t want her either. Because of this, she was adopted by a family that didn’t like her. Because of this trauma, she thought of herself as someone nobody wanted and sold herself to slavery in hopes of finding someone that would want her. Luckily, she did and her owner is the best and maybe even the worst, at times, thing that has happened to her. Still, that is only one part of her backstory. At that same time, she has been followed around and tormented by shadowy magical figures beyond mere human explanation. Since nobody else she was around ever saw them, many people thought that Chise was crazy. Of course, seeing these figures was tied to her magic. Magic that, despite being all powerful, will eventually kill her. Her new owner/master told Chise that she was called a Sleigh Beggy. Some one that generates the most magic ever. The main weakness here is that Chise will eventually die if she doesn’t learn how to control it. Thus, we have our plot. People and different species that want Hattori for her special properties.
Elias, the beast to Chise’s Beauty, is interesting too. For starters, Elias is not exactly human. Before understanding his backstory, I always thought he was a human wearing a dog mask with horns. Turns out that is not the case. He is a creature beyond our normal human understanding. Something that is made out of shadow and can take any size that he wants. Still, he is very childlike. Even if Elias is much older the Chise, he doesn’t fully understand what it means to be human yet. Feelings are still something foreign to Elias that are beyond his comprehension. That was until he bought Chise that is. Thus we engage into a much friendly form of equivalent exchange. Elias teaches Chise magic and the reverse will be possible for hattori teaching Elias what it means to be human. A very good set up for a touching love story. There is one aspect that I want to cover though, his form. When Elias got angry when Chise was hurt, he transformed into a monster form that took him out of balance with himself. It took him a long time to be able to become the form that he was, which is what I find interesting. Over use of magic and forms has a cost here and I like that very much. It made me think that there really is something special about this show that needed to be shared, which is why I am writing this post.
Then there is the magic system. I know that there are different types of magic users that handle magic in different ways. Magi, Sorcerers, Artificers, and I’m sure there is much more. Still, I’m not equipped enough to fully handle all the specifics about that. Especially when there is a great post by Irina that explains the magic of The Ancient Magus Bride better then I could ever do it. (Please read this one) Still, I can’t help but find the magic interesting. Especially when using it either comes from creatures who can help the users channel their magic or the casters themselves. The different options are something unexpected for me. Still, exhausting oneself through magic is entirely possible. Especially if you are a sleigh baggy and have so much power running through you that it can kill you. Limitations add so much to a series guys. It’s an easy way to add extra tension. Oh, and fight scenes. I like how the characters are grounded (actually on the ground) when fighting each other. It really adds so much to the visceral nature of The Ancient Magus Bride and guarantees that we can feel the weight of the characters as they move around. So, you can say that AMB is grounded physically and metaphorically.
Lastly, there is the world. Oh man, I cannot describe to you how much I am in love the world of this series. I mean seriously, I don’t think I can do any of that justice in text form at all. The world of The Ancient Magus bride is beyond magical. I would call it something like Harry Potter’s world, but with a hint of even something more that makes it extra. (Probably because most of Harry Potter is usually stuck around a magical castle while Chise is allowed to explore their world with Elias.) We see so many things on Chise’s journey like the land of the dragons, a land that is secretly controlled by cats, interesting grave yards with strange monsters, and even just the forest outside of Elias’ house. Fairies in that forest , you know, which makes sense. People with magical abilities probably want to be around areas that have magic around them. That makes sense to me. Anyway, the amount of magical creatures and locations is so cool and makes this world believable. I know I want too live in it.
I wouldn’t call The Ancient Magus Bride perfect. Especially on an emotional level. It’s really powerful and all, but I think the fact that it airs on the same day as March Comes in like a Lion doesn’t help it. Especially since March is a little stronger when it comes to emotional strengths. Still, Magus Bride being second to March is far from being a bad thing. Besides, Magus Bride has a lot of things that March Doesn’t. Magic, a great and multi-dimensional love story, and an interesting world that sells all of them. The Ancient Magus Bride has a lot of attention paid to it and all that good stuff, but it deserves so much more then it’s given right now.