The series comes to a close as Chise makes a fateful decision to defeat Joseph. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode, and check out the rest of our coverage of The Ancient Magus’ Bride here.
This series has remained true to form through the very end, capping off the story with an episode that had some of the same problems we have seen all season but plenty of the strong emotional messaging we have come to expect as well. As an ending, “Live and Let Live” isn’t a perfect package, but that in itself is representative of this story.
To start with the issues, the episode did feel rushed as I expected it would. This was inevitable given how much there was left to cover, but I think that it did a rather good job where it chose to spend a bit of extra time. Elias’ unleashed magic was very impressive to see and I can appreciate how the episode tried to touch back on some prominent characters even if the touches were brief. The final scene could have been more emotionally impactful if the buildup didn’t feel so hasty, but the interactions between Chise and Elias in those moments were so true to character that I can’t help but enjoy how it was portrayed.
A few key moments in that scene spell out how important the idea of compromise was in the finale and the series as a whole. Joseph wished for death but has to instead live out the remainder of his life albeit now freed from his immortality curse. Elias and Ruth wanted to rid Chise of the dragon curse, but end up helping her keep it in check by taking on Cartaphilus’ curse instead. Elias admits that he may never live up to Chise’s ideal, but she accepts him wholeheartedly with the promise that they will work through their differences. For a creature like Elias who was never accepted as either a person or a fairy, it’s the greatest form of love to be accepted despite his flaws.
Seeing Chise make that choice, now armed with the full understanding of what a life beside Elias means, was a great capstone for her character arc. Having the “wedding” scene framed to be so similar to the first episode also helps to serve the same purpose for the series as a whole. There is plenty that was glossed over and more the show could have covered. It wasn’t a perfect story by any means, but in keeping with the episode’s theme, it found a “sweet spot” I was more than enough to be happy with.
I will admit, I really liked how the story gave Chise and Elias some closure with the faux wedding scene to nicely tie up the loose ends. Some shots even mirrored the first episode when Elias first bought Chise and yet within the new context showed how much the pair have changed in these 24 episodes. If you are after the feels and are happy to see Chise not necessarily get a ‘happily ever after’ but at least a ‘content for now’ conclusion, this episode will most definitely bring this series to a nice close for you.
And yet, I had this nagging feeling during most of the episode that so many other stories were forcefully thrust out of the way for us to achieve this ending. We know nothing about Ashen Eye or what he was actually up to. His dismissal of Joseph/Cartaphilus as boring at the end might be telling of his motive but really, this was a completely unexplored facet to the story. Which, given the fairly prominent role in the final confrontation that he played seems somewhat of a mistake for the story.
When you add in that Alice and Refred literally got to run onto the screen, shout Chise’s name, and then were completely ignored and never seen again you start to get the feeling that everything outside of Chise and Elias’ personal stories essentially got cut off at the knees in order for the story to come to any kind of conclusion at episode 24.
That said, and if I stop nitpicking at the story for a moment and just embrace the beauty of this show, this final episode was exactly what it needed to be. Emotionally and visually stunning with a central pair of characters we’ve come to care a lot about over the course of the series reaching an understanding that has been built up through facing the trials they have together.
This is the final 200 Word Anime for this series and I must say I’m very sad to see it end. Thanks Weekend for having me on your blog and hopefully we can do this again sometime.
That’s all for our review, and as Karandi mentioned it’s the last of coverage of the series for 200 Word Anime as well. It’s been a great experience to work with her to review this show as well as Black Clover last season. She’s been a fantastic partner and I echo her sentiments about working together to review another show sometime. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the series, but do let us know your thoughts and if you would like to see similar 200 Word Anime features in the future.
Thank you all for following along. It’s been a lot of fun!