By Erika Suarez
The Ancient Magus Bride delivers an intriguing fantasy love story between Elias, a Sorcerer with demonic features, and his fiancée Chise. This forceful relationship becomes unsettling to watch after Chise is bought in an auction and taken in by Elias as his new apprentice and soon to be wife. Everything feels sudden and new for the young apprentice when she is entranced by an enchanted world of magic stirred in with Celtic Mythology.
In the first episode, we are introduced by the mysterious Sorcerer Elias where he attends a private magical auction (more like a slave auction) to purchase Chise for her rare abilities. It raises a lot of questions for the people in the magic world because Elias keeps to himself behind closed doors and hasn’t appeared publically for years. Its hinted that the inhuman character has a gloomy background and we’re just left with much more questions about his dark past when we go deeper into the season. Confusion rises when Elias treats Chise as a student, pet, and partner so we’re not sure what she really is to the Sorcerer. When Chise leaves to the Country of Dragons to retrieve her wand, Elias begins to miss her but with knowledge of his lack of empathy or any kind of human understanding gives us false hope that he can love her and this uncertainty can get a bit frustrating. This unsettling feeling towards Elias fades away when he is reunited with Chise and he displays a comfort humor and care for Chise’s well-being that warmed my heart. Behind that monstrous and boney face there seems to be a kind and affectionate soul.
While we have little knowledge of Elias and where he’s from, we gain some background on Chise that makes up for the unanswered questions in the anime. We learn that she gave her life away to a slave auction only to be bought by a demonic and in some way, she was freed and given a place she can call home. She grew up unwanted by her mother that later committed suicide and no family wanted to take her in. Chise was taunted for her ability to see things that no other human can see. When Elias took her in, she felt wanted for the very first time and develops feelings for the emotionless Sorcerer. We see her progression from being a sad and broken girl into a kindled mage with life in her eyes and begins to find herself.
Putting aside all the romantic aspects of the show, it delivers much more than that in the midst of this magical world. A Cat lover’s dream is the Kingdom of Cats where a cat as King exists and all the felines have to ability to speak. Behind this kingdom is a haunting story about a man who consistently murdered cats and was stopped and killed by the previous cat king. Fortunately, the story ended in victory for all the furry felines. The events that occur during the show get a bit grimmer when Chise encounter’s a Chimera mixed with half girl and half spider that once was the beloved owner of Ruth, the black Shepard dog (known as the Black Grim) who becomes Chise’s familiar. In this same scene, we see Elias’ true demonic form when he is tested by a troublesome sorcerer that goes by the name Cartaphilus and things become a lot more interesting at this point and would say is the most memorable in the anime.
You get past the strange concept of a girl being engaged to a fleshless being and then clearly see two broken souls with dark pasts that we are eager to watch grow and learn more of. You learn to like them. Not for their characteristics, but for their actions and growth as characters. This love story is no ordinary one like the cutesy fairy tale romances, but it doesn’t make it any less of a romance when we feel for that anticipation to see Elias and Chise open up to each other.
The Ancient Magus' Bride - e.01-13
Creator/ Writer: Kore Yamazaki
Director: Norihiro Naganuma
Studio: Wit Studio