Elias takes it upon himself to save Chise’s life and makes a decision that creates a wide rift between them. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode and catch up on any posts you might have missed here
This episode, like the last, surprised me in a lot of ways. Cartaphilus taking over Stella’s body, Elias intending to sacrifice an innocent person to satisfy his own wishes, Ruth actually helping him, and Chise choosing to part with them toward some nebulous end were all unexpected turns. Interestingly though, these events fit nicely into the way these characters have been portrayed thus far and work to express a prominent idea.
That idea, and the theme that stuck out to me most, was the importance of self determination. The very beginning of the episode has Adolf telling Lindel that he was a half assed failure because he couldn’t follow the path he chose (to become a mage). Time and again the faeries throw this insult at Elias because he couldn’t be either human or faerie. If being unable to choose your path equates to failure, it’s easy to see why Chise rebelled the way she did even when Elias had been a source of safety and stability for her all this time.
We’ve seen Chise maturing this way for some time now, and while this turn of events was clearly meant to introduce a source of conflict in her relationship with Elias, it does fit naturally with her character growth. Chise has finally realized that she can’t negate her own agency and leave everything to Elias. Do her words “I can’t be with you as you are” mean that Elias may yet understand this lesson before the end as well? It will be interesting to see how they play with this concept through the end of the series as it really does feel central to Chise’s arc.
While this arc has not gone in the direction I thought it would, I must admit that this last episode was one of the most compelling to date. The show has always been at its best when showcasing magic and Chise and Elias’ relationship and this episode put both of those two elements front and centre with plenty of positives from both.
I will however suggest that the entire part with the witches felt like it was introduced only for the sake of a potential future development with the witches and while one of them may have slipped Elias the note that inspired his independent action to save Chise, this plot point could have come about any number of other ways. It very much felt like a dead-end side-quest at this point in the story and to be honest was kind of the low point of the episode as momentum was practically gone.
That said, the rest of the episode really delivered a dramatic and interesting viewing experience that really plays on the nuances of the characters we’ve seen develop over the course of the series. If we could get a bit more information about Joseph and his motives this could be a very satisfying arc to end the series on.
Reblogged this on 100WordAnime and commented:
Weekend Otaku and I review episode 21 of The Ancient Magus’ Bride. We’re near the end of this season and I think we’ve both had a great time with these reviews. Anyway, if you missed it, be sure to hop on over to Weekend’s blog and check the post out.
As mentioned, the events of the episode were surprising but fitting with the characters. Elias’ blind devotion to Chise would of course lead him to do something so vile, though I kept wondering if he really intended to do so (and I think the animators wanted us to wonder exactly what he was up to until the reveal). I like that the episode, and maybe the beginning of this arc (?), begins with splitting Elias and Chise up—it’s what we least want as an audience, but perhaps was Elias needs most.
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I do remember wondering during the episode exactly what Elias intended to do. The show does tend to play some scenes up for dramatic effect without it ultimately coming to something serious, but in this case they did reveal a rather heinous proposition. Though, are we meant to feel a little better knowing that Stella had been taken over?
Elias and Chise having to deal with things independently is, I feel, a big part of their development. The next episode may drive home that point but this is the sort of impetus these characters need to get past the limbo state they find themselves in. Most of all, Chise needs to develop a sense of purpose that isn’t defined by Elias, even if the title of the show suggests otherwise.