200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 20

Chise saves the dragon at great personal cost to herself. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode and catch up on any you missed here.


Weekend Otaku:

I think this episode had more action than we’ve ever seen in the series and, for a show that really wasn’t built around that, it does a fairly good job. The sense of tension as Chise and the others moved to contain the threat was certainly there, and the way which she ends up having to act alone once again made sense from a character and narrative perspective. Even if the immediate danger was subdued early in the episode, as per the usual (it honestly didn’t need to be drawn out this time), the consequence was not quickly resolved for a change.

What did feel formulaic and repetitive though is Chise falling into danger once more and expending too much magic; which causes her to fall asleep so the events that unfolded have to be narrated to her. Though I did say that this makes sense for her character, I have to wonder if the show can find other ways to present her predicaments. Conversely, Elias keeps finding new ways to appear human. Whether it’s exploring a new emotion or drastically changing his behavior by reaching out to others for help, his character’s growth remains strong.

Elias holding Chise and agreeing to join the witch gathering

I had thought that the dragon’s kidnapping would provide the backbone for a longer arc, but it looks like Chise’s latest curse will fill that role instead. It seems like Cartaphilus wants her arm, which is an interesting way to keep him relevant outside of the one-off encounters he has with the rest of the characters. I’m eager to see what else he might try, as well as how Chise and Elias’ growing determination to save her life changes their dynamic.


Karandi:

While I appreciate that the lingering curse and Chise’s suddenly far shorter life expectancy have given us an ongoing problem to solve, once again we had a dramatic ending followed by all too short a follow up in the next episode (though at least this one did stretch past the opening credits). That said, all the introduced characters last week just ‘went home’ while Chise was sleeping so no real purpose in introducing most of them and I’m still not really sure what we gained from any of that other than another threat to Chise’s life (that was already pretty threatened just by her normal out of control powers).

Despite my overall pacing and plot issues with this show, this episode was actually well delivered for what it delivered. There was a suitable sense of exhilaration and tension during the show down with the dragon and the quiet moments where Chise and Elias reflected on the current status quo in the second half were quite affective. Plus, the witch could bring some interesting elements into the story provided she hangs around longer than three seconds and it does look like an actual confrontation with Cartaphilus is looming.

Image of Chise releasing dark magic from the dragon

Visually this episode worked very well with the first half being incredibly dark (and I’m not using that word to mean edgy or emotional – though that might be true – it was more a description of the basic colour scheme being employed. That contrasted very well with the second half of the episode that the snow covered fields allowed for the most part to be filled with startling white. The visuals of this show remain beautiful and on point and are definitely one of the big draws of the show.

I’m kind of hoping for a strong finish to this show. Something that brings things together and makes it feel like overall it was a satisfying journey. For while there have been individual great moments and some really emotionally affective moments, what this show hasn’t managed is an overall great plot. It certainly has a story and some of it is very good, but it would be hard to argue for the show on the strength of its plot alone.


 

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