From Phoenix to Fox in a single episode.
The thirteenth episode of Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) has aired and I will bring you the recap and review of it as we begin the second cour.
The episode opens with a venture through the forest as a being’s words about the weight of being a Sleigh Beggy are interwoven with the previous flashfowards from the end of last season. Cue new opening.
The episode proper picks up right where it left off, with the Wooly Bugs in need of a good shearing since they’ve multiplied over the summer. They’re not Fae, but invisible animals that are still rather fond of Chise. Since their wool is perfect for magic and sorcery tools Angelica asked for some of the wool and the rest will make for a good pillow.
As Elias leaves to go get a bag, Chise laments that despite her desire to talk to him as soon as she got home she was unable to. She then stumbles onto a Wooly Bug that looks different from the others and it attacks Chise, so Ruth goes hellhound and breathes fire onto it… which does jack-all as it hatches an egg and they both decide to attack. So they’re pretty screwed until Elias drives them off and reveals they’re Snow Bugs that eats warmth and Summer is breeding time.
Chise is then taken to be warmed up in the greenhouse and Elias brings up how he was cold without her, leading to a discussion for once between a teen-girl who has trouble with saying what she want, Naturally, she awkwardly brings up the time he almost ate her. He wants to make that memory vanish with magic, but she stops him since she’s apparently okay with it since its a memory of someone important to her.
Thankfully, it trails off to a more reasonable discussion about how Elias feels he scares humans. Chise tells him then about how she had faced more terrifying things but her father always protected her until he vanished with her brother one night. Then things got hard and her mother eventually killed herself. Elias taking her in as family basically took away her fear about Elias being inhuman, but gave her a fear of losing him again.
Elias then brings up he can’t empathize with humans, but he wants to be able to. So when she brings up he was probably feeling lonely without her, it hits him well enough that he hugs her since he understands something new. Chise then relates him to a child in an adult’s body (which is awkward considering she basically a teenager he bought at an auction yet they were basically cuddling a minute ago) and decides to be his teacher when it comes to human things.
He then takes a look at her wand and mentions that the seniors bless the wands of the youth so they can continue their long journey. Chise then heads back inside to study magic until later in the evening, leading to a montage of Elias being visited by a spirit, a gremlin getting checked into a wall by Silky, and Chise making her first magic bird. The night comes and goes, leading to a shot of the scenes where the OAV took place.
The next day, Chise gives medicine to Simon. He reveals that Elias ended up giving him the same kind of medicine that she does before seeing himself off and night comes around. Chise is studying on fairy ointment when a guest called Ashen Eyes pops up, having come to celebrate Chise’s arrival after being alive for a long time. He does this by draping a fur cloak over her shoulders.
Elias breaks out the magic to skewer him, having recognized something was off at a glance, but the magic is nullified. It’s then revealed that the cloak turns her into a fox as the episode ends.
Now then, this episode begins the second cour and starts with not only that mysterious flash-foward but drops in some tasty hints of foreshadowing that I can’t spoil since I want to save it for you to learn as you go. So, I’ll only explain things as they happen.
Anyway, once more we reaffirm that Chise really is a teenager. She’s awkward in conversations and acts on impulse occasionally. Still, she loved her family, so losing her father and brother and then her mother naturally hit her hard, so its good to see her warming up.
Elias, likewise, has some level of growth as well since he learns more about his own emotions. That being said, his track-record of protecting Chise is looking poor right now. C’mon dude, twice in a single episode she gets attacked by something.
Which leads to Ashen Eyes, who is an non-human who uses exact words. By this I mean he explicitly states he didn’t intend to harm Chise, but then puts on a cursed pelt that changes her into a fox. That’s clearly Fae territory, but the way he smells of sand and his dress makes me thing that his origin is from the Middle-East.
Speaking of which, the fur pelt turning Chise into a fox isn’t an uncommon form of shapeshifting. Indeed, in shamanic rituals its though that the essence and spirit of animals are within their hides, so in wearing it over one self you are able to draw it out and become that animal. In Norse mythology, Freya had a Feather Cloak that allowed one to fly once draped over by giving them wings.
So yeah, she’s a fox for now. We know she’ll turn back, since the episode preview hints to events with the Leanne Sidhe and Joel once more, which takes some of the tension away. But I suppose its the first episode of the season and we don’t really expect it to last.