The Ancient Magus’ Bride veers into new territory this week in more ways than one. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of this episode, and catch up here if you’ve missed any of our commentary so far this season.
Perhaps knowing how many questions there would be from the previous episode, this one uses its first third as a sort of epilogue to the events in Ulthuar. It satisfies some curiosity about what happened during the cleansing, but does so in a way that raises even more questions. Does Renfred have some genuine concern for Chise? Was his hand (lol?) forced by the same sorcerer that took advantage of Matthew and Mina?
Even among these questions the segment did address one of the more intriguing points from last week when Elias admitted to Chise that he is using her. His explanation about how she’s an experiment to further his own understanding makes clear just how far from humanity, and human emotion, he really is. The scary thing is that even this doesn’t unnerve Chise because for her the operative part of Elias’ explanation is that she is wanted and needed. More than that though, she sees something in him that he is probably not aware of himself.
This is expanded upon in the meeting with the Faerie Queen, Titania. While this portion of the episode stretches the show’s ability to otherwise shift emotional atmosphere very well (almost entirely due to Oberon), it highlights some important aspects about how Elias and Chise are changing. If Elias seems a bit awkward here, it’s likely he’s starting to experience sensations that were otherwise foreign to him. Even as the rock creature Spriggan repudiates the notion of Elias ever returning to the realm of the Faeries, his reaction to the passing mention of Chise bearing children shows that he’s moving closer to humanity without even realizing it.
The episode thus marks the future direction of the story in several ways. The prospect of Chise learning to value herself and Elias genuinely feeling love toward her is still a slow burn, but it’s one that I’m excited to continue watching.
Contrarily enough I actually really enjoyed the episode this week. Tonally some moments this week were a little bit inconsistent and there were a lot more ideas being thrown around as we moved from finishing the story with the cats, to the sorcerers, to Simon and Elias’ relationship, to Titania and Oberon, before getting yet more of the relationship between Elias and Chise, but I actually kind of enjoyed the different aspects and ideas.
One of the things I really loved this episode was the very short interaction between Titania and Simon. I liked that they showed the conflicting nature of their religions and beliefs without really belabouring the point or dragging it out. It was just one more detail in this world that helped to add to its overall credibility.
Elias remains mostly an enigma, and the more we learn the more questions I have, but he is fascinating so I’m more than happy to slowly learn more about him and also watch as his relationship with Chise develops. All in all, I had a lot of fun this week with the episode. It didn’t have quite the emotional impact of previous episodes but the world these characters inhabit feels so rich and vibrant and they themselves remain so interesting that I’m left with the sense of wanting to know more.
That’s all we had for this week. There was a lot to cover and plenty we didn’t have the chance to talk about in 200 (or so…) words, so please do let us know what you thought of the episode and if anything caught your attention in particular.
Be sure to check out Karandi’s blog as well, where we are also reviewing Black Clover.