200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – episode 5

Elias and Chise continue their adventure in the kingdom of cats with more of the lovely visuals The Ancient Magus’ Bride is becoming known for. Read onward to see what Karandi and I had to say about this week’s episode.


Weekend Otaku:

This was another strong episode, though not for the reasons I predicted last week. Chise escapes trouble pretty early on, with the antagonists (who had been built up quite a bit) were dealt with off screen. Likewise, the concern that arose over the virtue of Elias’ motives diminishes as well. These might have been missteps in any other series, but this episode remained captivating because it still had everything I’ve grown to love about this show.

Chise explaining that Elias was the only one to consider her as family

Chise’s statement about what Elias means to her sums it up rather nicely. Regardless of his intentions, and who is telling the truth, he gave her a place to belong. It’s such a simple sentiment that echoes the main theme of the series and reveals the drive behind her actions. Furthermore, focusing on her experience with the cleansing and not Elias’ battle with the sorcerers keeps the perspective of the series consistent. Like her time with the dragons, it’s about discovering this world of magic through Chise’s eyes.

Plot-wise the references to The Cats of Ulthuar remain loose, but the changes made to the couple deliver the theme of the episode. With Mina the unwitting victim of the deceit played upon Matthew, we better understand her request to have Chise erase them and memory of what happened. Chise’s solution, in keeping with the heavy use of flowers as a theme, instead transports them to a field of wild nemophila (is she a “flower” mage to Elias’ “thorn” mage?). I’ve only found one resource that confirms my thinking, but where the recurring poppies represent sleep and death, nemophilla are said to convey forgiveness. It’s a fitting end for the tragic couple whose love doomed them but ultimately inspired Chise to preserve their memory.


Karandi:

I was honestly a little surprised at how dark this episode became with the cat murders, the betrayal and deceit, and of course Mina’s unfortunate end. Actually, we kind of knew that the events were horrific but I hadn’t expected them to show us the full play through of how it went. I expected that we’d get a few more details about the past but would see more of what happened between Elias and the sorcerers but this show kind of did exactly the opposite.

Matthew sitting before a puddle of thick goop

From an emotional point of view, this was a great choice. Right from the beginning this show has been about hitting the audience hard with the feelings Chise is either experiencing or observing rather than progressing the plot in any kind of hurry, and the choice to reflect on these past misdeeds and deal with the fallout really fits well with that tone. On the other hand, I’m kind of disappointed that the sorcerers turned out to be so ineffectual at injecting any kind of lasting tension into the show as they essentially backed off once Chise had her moment of revelation and Elias came to her side and then any further developments either didn’t happen or happened off screen.

Overall though, this episode brings us more of what makes The Ancient Magus’ Bride such a great watch. More beautiful visuals, stunning magic, thoughtful emotional exploration, and just enough intrigue and wonder to keep you hooked on the sometimes elusive plot.


 

That’s all we had for this week. How is the story working out for you? Are you eager to see more of Elias or was Chise’s first foray into magic just what you were looking for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

10 thoughts on “200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – episode 5

Add yours

  1. I completely agree with what Karandi wrote. The direction that this episode went into was a pretty big suprise. That scene with Matthew and the axe in the shed was quite dark, and not something I would have expected in this series. I’m also still not sure about Elias. I don’t trust him. Can’t really put a finger onto it as to why, but it’s just a gut feeling. I do agree with the fact that the beginning of this episode could have been handled a bit better. The villain that was set up was gone in almost the blink of an eye. I do wonder if we have really seen the last of him though. Great post 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This series seems to play with a lot of different tones, from majestic to horrific, as it guides us along. Generally it’s pretty clever about how it guides emotional response and communicates those feelings without having to spell it out. I don’t think it will stop getting dark, but yes I didn’t expect it to be so graphic.

      I don’t know what I might have changed about the beginning of the episode, but I think it kind of makes sense given what we know about Chise. Even if the situation seems sketchy to an outside observer, she has no relative sense of “safety” that would allow such worries to change her behavior. Elias is the only thing she has.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True enough. I did not think it would turn this graphic either, but I did not mind it at all. It’s always nice when a series does something completely unexpected 😀
        Yeah. I think you are right about that. It’s what Chise said as well, Elias is the first one to accept her as “family”. I’m just worried about what his motivations are, but I guess we will have to wait and see 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While it is a bit disappointing that the Sorcerers were sort of pushed off to the side so easily, I think it was bound to happen since they only struck from the shadows during episode 4 (namely when Elias wasn’t by Chise or was too far away). Perhaps they have to resort to such means since they fear his power. Once Chise got away and Elias rejoined Chise (he couldn’t have done so earlier since there was a literal knife at her throat), they were very quick to turn tail. So quick that they sort of just disappeared.

    Anyways, I wouldn’t be surprised if they showed up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The surefire way to make accurate predictions: Wait until the next episode before replying 😛

      Yes, they came back, so no surprise. I was wondering if they even needed to though, considering the only plot thread we really have is Chise’s expiration date as a Sleigh Beggy. Still, it looks like these sorcerers have a part to play yet, so the time spent on them wasn’t wasted.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great series, great episode, and great catch with The Cats of Ulthuar. I doubt that’s the last we’ll be seeing of the sorcerers, and suspect the one from the past will probably play a fairly large role somewhere down the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I didn’t have to try hard to catch that one. The town was called “Ulthuar” in the show. You really did call it when you suspected the sorcerer from the past was going to be important. I wonder just what his relationship with Renfred is.

      Liked by 1 person

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