The Ancient Magus’ Bride Series Review: Magic Feels, Mundane Plot

The Ancient Magus’ Bride was a highly anticipated anime when it came out in the Autumn 2017 season. Now completed in Winter 2018, what are your final thoughts?

Review:

Having never read the source material for this one, I still managed to read an abundance of spoilers before going in and while watching it there were the inevitable comparisons between events in the anime and the manga. It is always an interesting experience watching an anime that comes from such a well known source and is so widely viewed as it means there are a lot of people covering it and expectations versus reality definitely play a huge role in those discussions.

Magus3c

For me, I reviewed this anime with Weekend Otaku on his blog week to week as part of our 200 Word Anime collaboration. It was a lot of fun getting to discuss our favourite and least favourite parts of the episodes and because we were reviewing it together I had a chance to consider what I wanted to focus on with each episode and whether I wanted to discuss something similar to Weekend or focus on a different aspect of the show. It means that for me I was a lot more observant and critical while viewing episodes because I needed to make sure I had something to add to Weekend’s thoughts rather than just echoing them.

Magus20a

Yet sitting back at the end of the season, I have to wonder what I thought of this anime overall. Despite so many of the issues I highlighted during weekly reviews, as a whole, I still think I really enjoyed watching this show.

The plot itself is pretty ordinary. Okay, only ordinary if you accept buying and selling people as ordinary and a land where dragons can live in a sanctuary and so on, but that is more setting and background for the story. The story really is Chise learning who she is and who Elias is and their relationship growing over the course of the season as they both reflect on who they have been and who they want to be. Pretty straight forward girl meets guy, realises she’s been putting herself down for too long and suddenly finds new lease on life; meanwhile, guy realises he’s a bit of a possessive jerk and promises to change. Just add in that the girl is probably going to die if she doesn’t learn to control her magic and the guy isn’t really a human or fairy but seems to be something in between.

Magus6c

But while the plot is average, and the pacing goes from too slow in the early half to way too rushed in the final arc, this show excels at creating its visual aesthetic and hitting the viewer with its emotions. While sometimes these are cheap ploys to draw out an emotional response, for the most part the emotional aspects of the show play true and really do resonate with the viewer. This is built through that slow pacing early on, through those fantastic visuals, and through a sound track that while it might not be the most memorable, manages to fit almost every scene (there’s one sequence where I found the sound missed its mark but otherwise I usually found the music very fitting to what I was watching and quite affective).

Magus4d

It also helps that Chise and Elias are such dynamic characters who are both growing throughout the course of the series. While neither one is going to end up on my ‘best character ever’ list, they are a pleasure to watch and their interactions are fairly magical, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Magus6d

The magic in the show is also a shining highlight for the series. It is truly beautiful and there is some really interesting magical lore being explored over the course of the season. While it isn’t as explained as it could have been, there’s clearly been a lot of love and research behind the magic in this story.

Magus23a

The support cast are also reasonably decent. Okay, they are fantastic, however the anime ultimately doesn’t have the time to give them all enough to do and some characters feel like they are introduced only for events that will come after this season is already over. While there’s nothing wrong with setting up future events, it kind of needed to feel like they had some purpose in this season other than waving at the audience and being acknowledge for existing.

Magus21d

Still, I would recommend giving this one a try. Some people found the slow pace early on a bit of a put off and let the series go, and that is fair enough. I certainly found the pacing to be an irritation early in the series, and the anime’s penchant for cliff-hanger endings was definitely not something I appreciated. However, give it a go. See what you think.

And if you’ve already watched it, I’d love to know your thoughts, so leave me a comment below.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2            Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Advertisements

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Part 3

Review:

I mentioned in my review of part 2 of this 3 part whatever it is (prequel maybe to the upcoming series) but this is a really stupid way to release something. The first part came out September last year and while I do believe I have a great memory, even I’m going to forget things over that span of time. So I started this part and then had to promptly stop the video and go watch the end of part 2 again because I couldn’t remember what had happened there.

Magus3a

Anyway, my comments from parts 1 and 2 remain. This is beautiful to watch and Chise’s story is adorable. It is a pretty standard story with the orphan girl who can see unusual things so is an outcast seeking refuge in the library and getting caught up in things, and the delivery is very slow and deliberate, but there’s so much respect being paid to the characters and the world that every minute of watching is a joy.

Magus3c

Really, this was a nice taste tester as I hadn’t heard of this before and there is the series about to start next season (which hopefully I’ll be able to watch) but that’s about all it has been. As fun and adorable as watching it has been, it is like we just got a tiny glimpse of a much larger world and story. By itself, it does tell a story, and it is an emotional one, but it really doesn’t feel like enough on its own. Still, worth checking out particularly if you are interested in the series.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Princess Principal Episode 9: East Meets West

Review:

We kind of knew it had to come along, an episode that focusses on the fact that Chise is actually Japanese and that there are different cultural expectations. Fortunately, this episode elicits more laughs than groans and actually manages to make for some great character moments even while it plays on some fairly obvious cultural clichés.

Princess9a

Of course, Chise is the focus of this episode and the narrator, bringing her unique view of the other characters to the forefront as well as highlighting the dynamics of the group. And again, this could have felt really trite and it is definitely a nod to the strength of the writing that this episode pulls it off and makes you feel you’ve gained a greater understanding of all the members of the team through this episode.

Princess9c

Still, the bully triggering the duel was a fairly clunky plot device, even if it was ultimately well used. As he isn’t a character we’ve ever seen before or one we are likely to see again, there was little emotional investment and you kind of knew that he was more or less a fly to be swatted (though it was still pretty satisfying when Chise landed that hit – despite the fact that I now want to know what her ribbon is made out of).

Overall, a fairly good episode in what has been a pretty great watch this season.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Part 2

Review:

This is a really silly way to release a show given part 1 came out way back in September last year, but hey, whatever. It just means you have to rewatch the first part to remind yourself what had happened before you can get into this. I still have no familiarity with the source material so I’m probably missing a lot from this story but that doesn’t seem to ruin the enjoyment. The mix of fantasy and reality is just kind of perfect and the story, while fairly tragic, is predictable but moving. It all works in a very mundane way with pretty visuals to glide over the slower moments.

Magus2b

Of course the story delivered in this part is pretty ordinary when you think about it. She’s given some basic rules for visiting the library and ultimately fails to follow them. Though, part of the blame definitely falls on the librarian given he explained nothing and all things considered I guess we’re not going to be given an explanation now. It’s one thing to have the story from Chise’s point of view and she is ignorant of the world of magic, but they are keeping the audience almost totally in the dark as to why anything is occurring which means events seem fairly random.

Magus2c

As I said at the beginning though, this is still a really enjoyable watch. It’s relaxing and slow and visually appealing and the characters are interesting even if not well explained.

It was absolutely ages ago but I previously did review part 1 of this. Really glad that a full season has been announced given how interesting the world is in this story.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride is available on Crunchyroll.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, please consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Part 1

Review:

I went into this knowing nothing but I saw it when looking at what was updated on Crunchyroll and thought it looked fascinating so decided to give part 1 a go. Kind of glad I did. It’s definitely slow moving but there are little bits of magic interspersed throughout which means that the scenes are never boring. While at first I found Chise to be a fairly bland character, by the end of this I genuinely felt for her and wanted to know more about her. I loved the study and the library in the forest. I would genuinely love to have a room like that (with or without the magic – just having that many books and that sort of space would be fantastic). Mostly the problem you end up with is this is a part 1 and so the story is just kind of starting when it ends. I will be looking out for part 2 because I’d like to know what happens next.

Magus1b.JPG

The Ancient Magus’ Bride is available on Crunchyroll.