Week 4 brings us another great episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride for Karandi and I to share our thoughts on. If you missed any of our previous episode reviews, you can find them here.
This show has done away with any question of my enjoying it by doing an episode with cats. I’m not a crazy cat person, I promise, but the cats’ authentic behavior and mannerisms, even while trying to hold serious conversation with Chise and Elias, was very entertaining to watch. The episode’s homage to The Cats of Ulthuar by H.P. Lovecraft was really interesting as well. We will have to wait and see if Chise’s role ends up matching the orphan character’s from the original source (fair warning though: anyone strongly triggered by animal abuse might want to steer clear when they start talking about the cat killer).
On a more story relevant note, we get to see a little more about what Elias plans to do with Chise. After last week’s episode where she was kept entirely separate from his task, this episode has her taking the lead in banishing the shadowy creature that threatens the cat kingdom, specifically because Elias “isn’t good at it.” Angelica’s lesson about the difference between mages and sorcerers quickly becomes relevant too as we meet a pair that represent the first real antagonists the series has shown.
We saw in the previous episode that Chise has mixed feelings about death. She’s visibly shaken after Mina asks her to kill them, and after she was confronted by the knowledge that her own death will come soon. Knowing that Elias has kept this from her may shift her perspective drastically, and at the very least encourages the audience to question whether or not Elias is really the good guy here. What his true intentions for Chise are, and how she may rewrite her destined ending as a Sleigh Beggy, remain very compelling points to keep me hooked.
This episode definitely did more for me than episode 3. While it isn’t as overwhelmingly emotional, the story seems far more focused and as Weekend Otaku points out several earlier points come back in this episode as this story continues to build a believable and functional world; a world filled with strange and compelling magic.
I also fell in love with the cats this episode and the way they interacted with each other and with Chise. Relationships as a whole seems to be something this show does well. It doesn’t seem interested in dumping a whole heap of unnecessary exposition on the audience but let’s relationships unfold naturally with the audience learning a little bit more about them as the characters interact. That’s probably what I love the most about Elias and Chise. They haven’t sat down and just summed up their life stories but we slowly learn what we need to about the two of them. There’s some real mystery about them and their motives but I kind of feel like we’ll slowly gain the answers we are looking for as each episode something new comes to light. Elias revealing he doesn’t like kids this episode was pretty funny as well.
Still, it is the magical aspects of this show that continue to draw me in and this week was no exception as Elias prepared Chise to have a go at performing a cleansing. While we didn’t actually get to see the end result due to an interruption that has some interesting implications for where the story will go next week, it was great seeing the setup for this.
Overall, I am really enjoying this anime and I definitely felt more invested in the story this week as more seemed to be happening even if a lot of it was set up for future events.
That’s it for this episode. We’re sure it hooked all the cat people, but if you’re not one are you still drawn in by the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to visit 100 Word Anime where we are also reviewing Black Clover.