The Ancient Magus’ Bride looks like it’s become an early favorite this season as Karandi and I review episode 2. If you haven’t seen our post on episode 1, you can find that here. Don’t forget to check out our Black Clover reviews over at her blog as well.
While remaining very much in the vein of introducing viewers to story elements and concepts by way of the several new characters Chise meets, this episode takes it a step further than the first. With the amount of new material being throw at the viewer, the series steps towards the shaky territory between intriguing and confusing. As every encounter still feels like a standalone experience, one can only assume that the info dump is crucial to understanding later events.
Those who saw the OVA will recognize Angelica, but here we learn what it is she actually does. As another character that knows more than the viewer at this point, her reaction at seeing Chise’s power is telling as the story tries to point out that our protagonist is prone to danger without giving away too much yet. The intimidating way Elias is made to appear when Angelica questions him about Chise’s true nature also suggests that there might be some reason to worry about her being in his care.
Simon’s almost intentional vagueness and the dragon rider’s mocking further point out that there is much more to Elias than viewers are aware of. All around, the curious dichotomy of danger and comfort that he represents is one of the more fascinating aspects of the series so far. As a show that is heavily centered around Chise’s experiences, it will be interesting to see how this develops.
There was so much to like in this episode and while WeekendOtaku has already covered a lot about the introduction of new characters and more information about Elias I think my take-away from this episode was just how rich this world is that we are being drawn into along with Chise. This doesn’t feel like a world that exists only for the story being told and it isn’t a world where occasionally the writer remembers to throw something magical into it. It is a world that feels like it very well could be real, is full of small and beautiful details, and we are ever so slowly getting more of a glimpse of how this world works and how the people in it interact, and that has so far been a truly delightful viewing experience.
Whether it is the grand and ostentatious magic of Chise’s first attempt at using magic or the smaller moments of a giant lizard thing crawling into her lap, magic fills the screen and the characters (other than Chise) respond to it as though it is as natural as breathing. These characters have pre-existing relationships and histories that Chise (and by proxy the audience) are only just seeing the edge of at the moment, but all these little moments have just made the world come alive.
Admittedly, I probably could have done without the slightly cliche apprentice gets abducted move at the end of the episode but the show is such a delight to watch that the slightly weaker story so far isn’t really a deterrent.
I was actually going to try to discuss the music this week, but clearly I’ve gotten sidetracked by shiny magic but I’ll just say that this is one of my favourite soundtracks so far this year and listening to this episode is an absolute delight. I am also really looking forward to how this show develops both its characters and the world as it goes forward.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Was it overstuffed with info or did it just feel magical? Let us know in the comments.