200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 11

More of Elias and Lindel’s past is revealed, and Chise is asked to reflect on her thoughts as she begins crafting her wand. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of this episode and catch up on any posts you might have missed here.


WeekendOtaku:

This episode acts kind of like the second half to last week as we see Lindel’s story about Elias continue. Chise’s task of creating her wand, like most of the narrative arc this show has presented, is once again merely the backdrop of ideas and thoughts being presented. Last week I talked about how the show played with the themes of warmth and cold. This week, ‘reflection’ is used in a few ways to explain Elias’ nature to the viewer.

Understanding what Elias is has been a long process for Chise and viewers alike. While this episode doesn’t provide a clear answer either, it shows how his appearance and behavior are somewhat tied to the feelings around him. The child in the village was afraid of him and he appeared as a demonic shadow. The townspeople reacted violently towards him and Lindel, and he resembled a predatory beast in retaliation. When Chise sees his literal reflection in the water, she sees a gentle being. This gives more weight to the idea that she’s the one who can bring out the warmer and more human side of Elias since she has always seen him this way.

Image of Elias' reflection in the water among flower petals

At the same time, we see his dangerous side emphasized more in her absence. His attack on the townspeople was frightening even to Lindel, and his casual yet worried admission that he probably drank human blood before shows that he may never have inherently valued life. It’s also strongly suggested that he killed the bird Renfred spoke through to admonish him. These small hints are a further warning to viewers that Chise may not be entirely safe in his care since his sense of morality seems to be a conscious effort of will rather than a subconscious guide.

I’m not sure we need more hints about this after seeing his fight with Cartaphilus, but it could be that they’re setting all this up to show some rift between him and Chise. For the moment though, Chise is only able to regard him as a comforting presence. It will be interesting if some part of the wand making process actually gets her to confront these feelings and the fact that their co-dependence might be doing more harm than good.


Karandi:

One thing I took away from this episode was that this show doesn’t really intend to have a set explanation for the rules of magic that it employs. While it certainly draws on multiple sources for the ideas behind the magic being used, each mage we have met has their own real approach to magic and the non-explanation of how to make a wand kind of confirms that this show isn’t particularly interested in any fixed magical system. That was something of a disappointment given it now leaves space for the narrative to overcome more or less any problem through ‘magic’ without the viewer being able to question that assertion.

Image of Lindel casting a spell with yellow swirling light

Still, it isn’t as though having rigid rules for magic would make this any better as the show maintains its strong focus on the characters and emotions. Which led me to the conclusion this week that while the world this story takes place in is beautiful, the world building remains somewhat shallow as the audience is barely given an outsider’s view of the world of magic. That isn’t to the detriment of the show however as it more than makes up for the deficit in details through its presentation, but it is something I was hoping would be expanded on and it is becoming increasingly clear that this isn’t something the show is intending.

To focus specifically on this episode, the conclusion of Lindel’s story about Elias was quite interesting even if Chise’s reaction was more or less expected at this point. The only real criticism I have of this episode was that the second half felt a little bit stretched.


 

That’s all we had for this week. What do you think about the contrasting ways that Elias is presented? Are you disappointed that the magic isn’t very well explained? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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