May you rest well, Nevin.
The third episode of Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) has aired and I will bring you the recap and review of the episode as we dive into the mystery of the Dragon’s Nest and that of the mage who kidnapped her. Now, onto the episode recap.
We open to Chise arriving in a land of green and stone within the maw of a dragon, being told by the mage atop it that they would arrive soon. A brief flashback reminds us that this is the dragon’s nest in Iceland and the dragons are on the verge of extinction, like the mages. The dragons were supposed to be docile since the more violent ones were weeded out, but Chise being kidnapped naturally leaves her confused on that aspect.
We get an amazing scene of plenty of young dragons running before Chise gets tossed into the water and starts to sink. Whens she finally surfaces, she runs across a giant stone dragon that’s going blind. The mage explains that he’s an Uil Dragon that’s dying, with his decaying body giving birth to plants that will become the source of a new forest. And when asked why he brought her, he explains that he heard from the aerials (the little faeries that tried to kidnap her) about her since rumors spread like the wind with them, before telling Elias he can come out of her shadow.
Some things are quickly clarified after Elias has some spirits dry Chise off. The mage’s name is Lindel (also known as Echoes) and he’s the caretaker of the land, preventing ordinary folks from wandering into it. He’s also known Elias for at least 300 years, and is apparently older than him enough that he calls Elias a brat.
The dragon hatchlings then urge Chise to play with them like puppies while the adults go off and talk business. She eventually wears them out before having another talk with the large dragon, called Nevin. The hatchlings explain that soon he’ll be turning into a tree, which all Uils do upon death.
Chise looks around and realizes that several others have done so already. However, the dragons don’t fear death in the same manner humans do since they live their lives to the fullest so that they have no regrets. Chise then has a flashback to her younger days, including one where she was thinking about committing suicide, which Nevin tells her that its fortunate that she didn’t as she had been projecting the memory into him inadvertently.
He then does her a solid and shows her a memory of him flying that spans over the land while the adults watch on. Nevin dying at this point means that he’ll be the last of the old dragons to pass on, while Chise could very well be the last generation of mages. They then also reveal that Chise’s status as a Sleigh Beggy means that she won’t last three more years if Elias doesn’t teach her well.
Nevin then encourages Chise to keep living before the memory comes to an end and Nevin thanks her while he turns into a tree. He hopes that when she needs a wand she’ll make one out of his branches before bidding her farewell. Chise still feels envious of the peaceful way he passed before passing out herself at the end of the episode.
So this episode expands more into the world-building with dragons, of all things. They are creatures of magic on the verge of extinction, much like mages, because of human expansion. And with the death of Nevin, its very likely the hatchlings will be the final generation.
We also learn that Chise being a Sleigh Beggy means that she will very likely have a short lifespan unless she receives proper training and others will be after. So not only is she well-sought after, but she’s hamstrung in terms of lifespan because of it. And that’s not even factoring in the obviously suicidal tendencies she has due to her past (again, OVA for the win).
Animation-wise, the Dragon’s Nest looks so pretty that it captures the beauty of nature. From the dragons becoming trees to the underwater dive that Chise took. And then there was the memory of Nevin flying that was so well-scored by music that I nearly had tears in my eyes as he turned into a tree.
Lindel doesn’t have much about him revealed beyond the fact that he’s a caretaker for the dragons and a mage of several centuries. But from his dialogue with Elias you can pick up that these two have known each other for a long time and there’s an almost parental connection between them. He chides Elias when he doesn’t do something essential promptly like warming up Chise, then tells him to take care of her so that she remains safe, while also pestering him to spend more time with him.
Anyway, next episode looks like we’ll get to see magic cats and some kind of sequence where things pick up even more, so look forward to it.