As we enter day 4 of the 12 Days of Anime and today I’m turning my attention to someone far more mysterious and supernatural than the Princess Ani from Dame X Pri. However is being mysterious enough of a character trait?
I guess that’s something to be discussed while we are looking at Elias from The Ancient Magus’ Bride.
I really wanted to love The Ancient Magus’ Bride when it began. I loved the three episode OVA that came out prior to the series and I think that really elevated my expectations, that and the hype surrounding the title. Ultimately, the anime works and is certainly aesthetically beautiful, you could lose yourself in endless screen caps of it and in the music, but the plot itself and even how the characters are presented at times remains fairly ordinary. Not bad mind you, just not particularly good and certainly not as strong as the other elements.
However, today I want to look at Elias as a character because he was quite the intriguing figure throughout the anime and one who I don’t think was given enough time, or enough scope to really be all that he could be. In the end, the idea is more interesting than the execution. Now, I haven’t read the source though it is on my read list for that eventual someday, so my views here are entirely constructed through how Elias is presented in the anime.
In the beginning, the air of mystery surrounding him worked in the anime’s favour. He was this mysterious figure steeped in magic who swept in and took Chise under his wing when she was at her lowest. However, this character type only works with the understanding that as the plot progresses we will come to understand him and see him in a different manner.
While The Ancient Magus’ Bride most definitely gave us some back story on Elias, actual emotional connections with him were few and far between and far too many of them were buried underneath his relationship with Chise. While that was really a fundamental part of the story it meant that Elias as an individual was neglected and only the Elias in relation to Chise really got to progress anywhere. There seems like there’s a lot more to his character but it just never had the time to go anywhere.
By the end of the anime series I still feel like I don’t know Elias as a character. He’s still that mysterious figure with one foot half in the world of magic and one foot firmly in the human world and trying to guide/help Chise to navigate her own path, but who he is and what he actually wants remains very much something surrounded in mist. Which is a shame because I would have loved to get to know him more.
It is possible that this is all there is to the character, but it seems more likely that with time constraints and everything else, his character just didn’t get the chance to really go anywhere. I do know that one of my main disappointments as I look back on the show is that I never really felt like I got to know what Elias was all about.
So here’s to Elias and the hope that if the anime gets a sequel his character gets the fleshing out it deserves or at the very least a little bit more revealed to help the audience to connect with him or understand him more.
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The Ancient Magus’ Bride ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
4 thoughts on “12 Days of Anime Characters – Elias”
I like in part because he doesn’t really get what being human is about while at the same time he is growing to be more human. It’s a delicious tension!
I loved this anime, particularly for its beautiful artwork. But I had a lot of problems with elements of the story, and was torn between admiration and disappointment in the creator’s interest in and understanding of a completely foreign pantheon of gods and concept of spirituality. I addressed these misgivings head-on when I reviewed the series, which seemed to make others uncomfortable, especially my aside on human trafficking. I still see that review as one of my best-written and most personally revealing, but it remains one of my least popular (coincidence, perhaps? Surely!).
I really just wanted the anime to do more with its setting and ideas. It introduced a range of fairly confronting issues but really only dealt with them superficially or in passing. I think I just wanted more from it in general than it was willing to provide and ultimately having high expectations for the show ended up leading to me feeling a bit disappointed by what it delivered.