200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 19

In an attempt to save the dragons captured by Cartaphilus, Chise turns to an an old acquaintance. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of this week’s episode, and catch up on any of our reviews you might have missed here.


Weekend Otaku:

Though recent episodes have felt more like one shots, exploring themes rather than significantly progressing the story, this episode went almost completely in the other direction. The story begins this week began by answering for certain what became of the baby dragons, with Cartapilius’ heinous plan providing the most narrative-driven episode viewers have seen since his first bout against Chise.

To rewind a bit, I was surprised to see the show go back to something we saw at the very beginning (coincidentally, I re-watched the first episode with a friend just one day prior) as Seth reentered the story. His helpfulness was a little odd, but I thought Chise’s idea to reach out to the auctioneer was a clever way to find the dragons. We, as viewers, knew all too well what was happening to them, though. Having been introduced, and even formed emotional attachment to, these dragons in previous episodes made watching what unfolded all the more painful. This sets the tone for the kinds of challenges Chise will likely face as the story progresses.

Image of Seth and Chise standing in the auction hall

Of course, the episode is not without the more abstract themes we have come to expect. Elias and Renfred’s discussion about maturing and choosing your own path underscores the rapid and more frightening developments we see. Next week’s teaser also refers to a “too high” price that must be paid to save the dragons, and I’m hopeful that it means some of the show’s more serious themes will come into play as we move into the latter half of the season.

As a side note, considering this show’s fondness for literary references, Cartaphilus is the name of the “Wandering Jew” of Christian mythology in the Flores Historiarum (read more here) who was also called “Joseph.” It may just be coincidence, but his long lifespan does hint at some deliberate connection.


Karandi:

That certainly took a darker turn, though it isn’t the first time this series has plunged into some fairly heavy (and slightly unsettling) events. This episode for me really felt like they were trying to set up a grand arc to take us to the end of the season, though with this show it is just as likely to bring the conflict to a close within five minutes of the next episode and move on to something else again. I really hope it doesn’t take that path and that it does give this current story with Joseph meddling with the dragons and Chise taking an active role in trying to help them the time it needs to properly develop both the events and the characters.

Chise’s dream sequence confused me a little because I’m still not quite sure what the intention behind it was. However, one thing I do count on from this show is that it will come back to such points later and while explanations may not be immediate, all events eventually link in to the greater narrative. The cohesion of this series has been wonderful even if the pacing has at times been a little off.

Image of Cartaphilius crawling over Chise with empty, bleeding eyes

Though, Elias’ reluctance to help also came as somewhat of a surprise. While it isn’t his business and he stands to gain very little from it, he has previously involved himself in other affairs after being asked by people to do so. The only thing I can think is that he really doesn’t want Chise mixing with Renfred and while there are certainly hints of that we haven’t exactly been given a reason why just yet.

All and all it was an intriguing episode with a lot of possibilities but as usual time will tell whether the show uses these to best advantage or not. On a personal note though, I hope that people who essentially torture and experiment on baby dragons do not get a redemption story and do in fact get a taste of their own medicine.

 

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