200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 16

Immediately after being warned by Elias to tell him when anything is wrong, Chise runs off on her own to solve a Christmas dilemma. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode and catch up on any of our reviews you might have missed here.


WeekendOtaku:

Karandi pointed out in our last review that this show has been more about the ‘feels’ from the start. Sure enough, this episode had just a few moments of story movement whilst mostly focusing on interactions. It looks to inject warmth into an otherwise cold occasion, using the task of gift giving as the wrapping of an episode heavy with character moments.

As was the case with Silky last week, the show devotes a good bit of time to exploring Alice’s past and offers some explanation for her attachment to Renfred. Continuing to push the similarities between her and Chise, we come to see a sympathetic side to Renfred; once again that raises questions about the mages’ distrust of sorcerers. Why he decided to take her in is a mystery (he’s probably not curious about humans like Elias), but the deeper look into Alice’s life is effective in creating sympathy for them and makes me want to know more about Renfred. Whether or not we actually get more depends on how important his story is for Chise, as she is still very much the focal point.

Image of Renfred consoling a young Alice

The rest of the episode is rather fluffy, but that’s not uncommon for the recent tenor of this show. Elias’ understanding of gift giving was humorous, but sweet, in how proud he was of his latest creation (does Anjelica just have a closet full of bears now?). The “cliffhanger” and teaser for the next episode promises to make more use of Ashen Eye, and from the looks of it his character won’t be as fleeting as the Horned God and Dark Lady were in this one. Given how traumatic Chise’s childhood was, I’m really interested to see how she will react seeing another child terrorized by otherworldly forces.


Karandi:

This was really quite a sleepy little episode which worked well at helping to give Alice a more fully realised character but did little more. That doesn’t mean it was poorly done because it was actually quite a delightful Christmas themed episode. Chise and Alice’s interactions were suitably charming and Chise realising she actually has someone similar to her that she might be able to talk to was very well done.

I felt a little bad for Ruth and Silky given Chise bought Elias a present but didn’t get one for either of them. It makes sense given Chise wasn’t really thinking about gift giving at all until her encounter with Alice, but while it makes sense it might have been a very sweet moment. Which kind of brings me to Chise and Elias’ relationship which seems a little stalled.

Image of Chise opening a big teddy bear gift with Ruth and Elias

Early on there was some fairly good progress at these two making in-roads to understanding each other but recently they’ve kind of settled in comfortably to their teacher/pupil relationship where there is certainly warmth and connection but also a necessary distance. This is made really clear with the mistletoe moment in this episode where Chise first kisses Elias and then turns to Ruth as well.

All and all, I enjoyed this episode but the plot remains fairly slow moving choosing instead to keep its focus firmly on the feelings.


That’s all we had for this week, now tell us what you think. How did you like the Christmas interlude and Alice’s story? Do you feel like Chise and Elias are growing as a couple? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to check out Karandi’s blog for more from her.

6 thoughts on “200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 16

Add yours

  1. So there was a nice cross-cultural thing happening here, and one I think Japanese audiences might see more than we do. Because Christmas is more a romantic holiday in Japan, it would make sense that Chise doesn’t think of giving gifts to Elias (with whom she has a complicated relationship—certainly not one like the typical bf/gf!) or to her other housemates. But she lives in Britain now, where the holiday is celebrated differently. Chise is experiencing so many adjustments, from hateful household to loving one, world where magic is always fearsome to one where it’s wondrous and able to be manipulated, friendless to full of friends, and also east to west. I’m eager to rewatch this one a year from now, during Christmastime, and see if it helps put me in the spirit with it’s focus on a western Christmas, as anime typically doesn’t do that for me (nor is it intended to).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a very interesting thing to think about, and it didn’t even cross my mind. When you see Christmas in other anime, it’s often depicted in Western style, despite the setting being in Japan. To see this series take into account the cultural differences and play it off how foreign everything else is to Chise as well is really very smart. Nice observation!

      I do wish this episode would have come out around Christmas. I don’t really observe the holiday myself, but having an episode themed around it loses some of it’s luster when it airs a month after the fact.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It certainly does! I’m a little conflicted that way—way back when, during a time I watched more anime, Christmas episodes weren’t super common. Now so many shows have them, but we’re subjected to watching them in off-season. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

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