Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) Episode 1 Review

It’s here! It’s finally here!
The first episode of Mahou Tsukai no Yome has arrived!

If you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that I’ve been covering the 3-episode OVA special known as the  Mahou Tsukai No Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito  (The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting A Star) OVA  while waiting for this anime.  If you haven’t, then you can see the firstsecond, and third episode reviews here that serve as a sort of prequel to this series. The information there covers some light spoilers, but it’s still worth a read.

Now, onto the episode recap.

Recap

We open with Chise signing herself over to be auctioned in a bidding for various supernatural entities as it cuts away to a mysterious figure who enters the auction as well. He immediately offers to buy her for 5 million pounds right off the bat, double the previous offer, and declares her his apprentice. All while stepping onto the stage as though he owns it.

They’re taken into a reception room where the exchange is made and her new owner tells her to stand tall and look forward as they head off to the Lobby. On the way they pass by various containers filled with supernatural creatures and beings, all while Chise hears herself being referred to as a Sleigh Beggy. It is then, when they are alone, the two formerly introduce one another as Chise Hattori and Elias Ainsworth.

Elias refers to her having the Sight as being fortunate, but then we get a brief glimpse into her past and see why she insists that she’s never been fortunate. He tells her she’ll learn to be someday before giving us our first look into the magic (oh, it’s so pretty) as thorns wrap around them and they’re suddenly at a very nice home in the countryside on the outskirts of England that will serve as her home too.

That was her first introduction to magic, which is important since she is now a mage’s apprentice. Or course, the look of amazement on her face as he shatters her chains with a touch of his fingers is contrasted by the look of shock when he brings her into the bathroom and tosses her into the bath so she can clean herself up. Alone in the bathroom, she is soon joined by faeries who fawn over her until she’s done.

She then gets the chance to ask Elias some questions and learns more about herself as a Sleigh Beggy. She is someone who can attract magical things and see them, bringing both fortune and misfortune to her. With some tutelage she could be a great mage, but there are other options available to her if she so chooses.  He then bequeaths her with an adder stone to protect her before sending her off to bed.

One of the faeries (or neighbors to be polite) comes and takes her on a midnight walk insistently as Elias watches over her in private while commenting on it being a good lesson for her. During the walk, we learn that she was taken in by multiple relatives but she couldn’t really get along with them. Then the colors dim and the music slows to a crawl as the Aerial reveals she’s basically being kidnapped to be taken to the Land of the Faerie.

Chise nearly gets pulled in once reminded she doesn’t have any family left,  until she remembers that Elias offered her a place to belong and referred to her as family. So even if he plans on throwing her away at some point or using her as a toy, she’s staying with him until he tells her otherwise.

Then Elias pops up and shoos them away. He doesn’t scold her, but tells her that she should depend on him. Also, on the way back he just so happens to drop the line that he’s also hoping that she’s be his wife at some point. I’m pretty sure that should have been mentioned earlier, but it makes of a great cliffhanger as the episode ends.

Review

Okay, I’m clearly not going to be unbiased here since I loved the manga series even before the anime was announced. You can see why though, right? We have a story where a girl who was born with a gift had reached a point where she was willing to throw everything away finding a place she can belong, where we see magic in the modern era being tucked away and faeries actually living up the legends passed around about them. And it looks gorgeous the entire time.

Chise’s personality is well-defined right off the bat even if you don’t watch the OVAs beforehand. She’s someone who’s clearly depressed and downtrodden from the bags under her eyes and how she holds her head down, willingly selling herself to anyone who will take her as an alternative to suicide, and being unable to grasp her own worth when Elias bought her for so much or the Aerials called her the rarest of treasures in the land of the Fae.

However, she does get a measure of development when she decides of her own free will to stay with Elias because he offered her a home and family. Regardless of whether he was using her as a toy or not. That speaks poorly of her self-esteem, but it’s an improvement over what she had before.

Elias’ personality is also pretty well-defined upfront. Right after buying her, he tells her to look up and not down at the ground. He may have bought her, but he doesn’t seek to hold some sort of superiority over her and doesn’t want her as some kind of doll. He even calls her family and offers her chances to reconsider she wants.

That being said, he does pat her on the head and call her a puppy (even citing the adder stone as being a collar and bell), speaks of her helplessness, and how he’d need to teach her. Not to mention when he was getting ready to bath her. So from that we can draw the conclusion that he doesn’t see her as his equal, but more of a child at best.

His epithet, the Thorn Mage, is also apt given that thorns are the means by which he uses the teleportation magic. And while they don’t specify what he is, his appearance and the Aerial calling him half-baked indicates he is straddling the line between them and human, if the fact that he wants to make her his wife is any indication.

We also see the Fae living up to their myths when it comes to spiriting people away. They lured her in so easily until she was right at the gate of the Land of the Fae, and there wasn’t an ounce of malice in their attempt. They adore her, but the gifts they have in mind aren’t always to the benefit of the recipient.

And all of that was in the first episode. Now that’s just great.

Chise will no doubt remember this lesson.

So, overall, it was an amazing first episode. It’s so pretty, the music was on the point, and I got everything I wanted… well, except the fact that Silver, the quiet girl, doesn’t get much development just yet. But, first episode and all.

Next episode looks great too and I can’t wait.

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