Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) Episode 21 Review

Elias has never been more terrifying.

The twenty-first episode of  Mahou Tsukai No Yome  (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)  has aired and I will bring you the recap and review of this episode.

Recap

The episode opens with Elias expounding on his thoughts of how long he’s lived and contrasting how the humans have constantly accepted him while the fae have pitied or feared him. But Chise was the one who touched him the most, thus she has a special place in his heart.

We then cut to the neighbors , where they’re speaking of the rumors about what happened in London with the dragon. Aerial, one of the ones who tried to kidnap her and helped during the case with Mina and Matthew, overhears that it was Chise. Thus she rushes back to visit her.

Meanwhile, Alice is assisting Adolf due to the fact that he hasn’t had much sleep since the Dragon incident. Lindel, speaking through Merituuli, apologizes for exhausting him with all of the work he’s doing. It’s then made clear that Adolf has a guilt complex due to not being able to become a mage and be useful to Lindel before finally falling asleep.

Chise and Elias both sleep in the same bed to access the meeting with the witches on another plane of reality, bringing them into a misty forest where they meet Phyllis, the high priestess of the coven. Needless to say, some facts get dropped like Mariel having her come there to use Chise’s dragon power in an attempt to save Phyllis from her own curse, which isn’t going to happen, so the meeting is ultimately cut short. However, Mariel does whisper in Elias ear that only a life can replace another life, meaning they could push the burden of the curse on someone else to save Chise.

Elias decides to follow up on that advice after confirming to Ruth that both would choose Chise over anyone else and has an Aerial (not the one Chise uses) lend him its ability to see and smell the wind. He then uses that to find Tory and use him to get inside of the College for some information, in exchange for showing magic before running into Simon. The priest notices that Elias has actual drive to accomplish something for once in the last decade. Unfortunately, said drive has led to him running into  Stella and giving him an ominous air as he leans over her.

Around this time, Aerial pops in to check on Chise after hearing those rumors. She notes Chise’s scent and chides her for not coming with her in the first episode so this wouldn’t have happened, but Chise feels that things will change for the better soon. She then notes that Elias is planning something despite agreeing to work with her and Ruth is in on it, so she wants to ask a favor to be paid later on.

As if to prove her fears, Elias and Ruth conspire to sacrifice the 10-year old child to save Chise.  They then knock Chise out with magic so she sleeps through it all, but Nevin (or rather her memory of him) comes to the rescue by explaining that she has the ability to wake up despite the magic if she desires to do so. She takes his advice and stabs herself to wake up and goes back home to find that Silky has been made to wait outside.

Meanwhile, Elias and Ruth get an unpleasant surprise when Carta calls them out using Stella’s body about planning to sacrifice her. He rightfully points out that if he’s a monster for using others for his own expense then so is Elias. Then he plays innocent and rats Elias out to Chise about the curse transfer and she gives him a really dark glare before chewing both Ruth and him out.  Especially after Elias pulls a fae on her about never giving a promise and that he was jealous of how Chise looked at Stella.

Having Aerial distract Elias, Chise then runs after Stella and finds out that Carta is possessing her. He then gives her an ultimatum, come with him and get a means of warding off her death or refuse and Stella dies. Since her hands are forced, she decides to go through with it after ditching the Hag Stone that Elias gave her since it has a tracking spell on it.

And so the episode ends.

Review

This episode covers chapters 38-40 of the manga, meaning we’re on the verge of catching up. I can’t help but wonder if the studio and manga have exchanged notes on the ending so they’ll be unified, or if it really will be an anime-exclusive since they haven’t branched off yet.

But this episode drifted into some dark territory as we cover what everyone will do for the ones they love. Mariel attempted to use Chise. Elias attempted to sacrifice Stella. And Ruth stood aside and let the prior happen. These are normally good individuals, yet all of them do some sketchy things because they have someone they want to save no matter what.

The moments of silence were powerful, building suspense for what was happening and how far they’re willing to go is terrifying, yet you understand why they do this. I mean, sacrificing a child was going a bit far, more so since Elias also did it because of jealousy and it was getting two birds with one stone. But I understand it.

The look of betrayal in Chise’s eyes were heartbreaking, and the justifications he used were those that he was so against. In the end, she couldn’t even trust her own familiar and had to rely on Aerial to have an ally she could trust. The people closest to her shattered her heart.

And then there’s Stella. The poor girl lost her brother, then got possessed by Joseph, and then nearly got sacrificed. Give her a break already.

We also learned a little more about Adolf and his relationship with Lindel. The former wanted to be a mage like Lindel but couldn’t for some reason and so he feels an immense amount of guilt. It’s similar to how Chise feels an immense amount of guilt for the situation with her mother, both of which are factors neither could control and causes them pain they won’t run from.

Lindel is also essentially bound to the land of Dragons until a new caretaker is found or the dragons go extinct. He doesn’t seem to mind it since he wasn’t one for embracing the modern times, no doubt due to his previous experiences. But its at times like this he has to rely on others, which put Chise and Adolf in their current situation.

Overall, it was a great episode and I can’t wait to see the adaption of Chise’s past coming up.

Differences in Materials

The first is that we learn that it was Lindel’s master, Rahab, that prepared the land for the dragons to stay on. That means that Lindel has been the caretaker of dragons from the very beginning.

The second is that Adolf isn’t a Magus or a Wizard. He’s abnormal, but he doesn’t have the talent to do either one, so he feels that if he can’t do mundane things like paperwork he has absolutely no worth.

The third is the process by which Chise and Elias enters the dreamscape with the witches. There’s a ritual involved using the full moon, lilies, and rosemary, and the dreamscape they entered is explained as being another layer on top of reality. Elias relates it like how when humans dig into a hill they’d only find dirt, but for Fae and Mages, they’d find the Anthill.  There are just some layers in reality that only certain people can interact with, with that meeting place being one of them.

The fourth is is the meeting with the coven. In the manga, the other witches (one of whom is male since they don’t really mind gender) get flesh out a little and its established that Chise would have joined to break the curse but would have left to be with Elias once more. We also get more details on how their magic works.

Living among humans, they share their thoughts and emotions. Their wishes and emotions, when happy, can bestow blessings, but can become curses when they despair. They use fortunes and such to lead people away from curses, or sometimes take them into themselves to seal them away.  Curses also return twofold to the one who cast them if they’re careless.

The fifth is the Aerial that Elias summoned. He intended to get the one who commonly appeared with Chise, but the one he called forth was a new one since she was away at the moment. That Aerial brings up that Chise is the favorite of the one who later appears, which is because while there are other Sleigh Beggy, Chise is the only one who actively talks with her  and cares for her. That was also why she was willing to help her against Elias and Ruth without a contract, which ended up getting her hurt.

 

The sixth is the reason that Elias went to the College. They had the book on the ritual that Mariel told him about, but only someone with higher status could access it. Hence he went to Tory, who lets him read a copy of the Testament of Carnamagos (the original is in the U.S. Branch). We also get some more explanation on the differences between magic and wizardry.

Wizardry aims to take an art that relies on inborn talent (magecraft) and turn it into something more structured and logical. Instead of accepting things as they are, they search for the why behind them. They look for roads that lead to new laws of how the world work and hack reality like computer. It’s basically an equation, building up flows of magical energy by swapping them around like a puzzle, whereas magecraft is like song and needlework or flowing water.

Tory finds wizardry too orderly, whereas magecraft is indescribably beautiful to him. He also relates Elias’ magic while being covered in thorns like “sleeping beauty slumbering in her castle amidst the thorns”. In short, he gets really excited around seeing regular magic because its so mysterious.

The seventh is that Issac, the male witch, snitches to Phyllis  that Mariel told Elias how to deal with the curse when none of the rest knew specifically because Elias isn’t human and therefore wouldn’t hesitate to use it. Considering they teach how to deal with curses to help people, that’s a big no-no.

The eighth is the scene where Elias puts her to sleep and Nevin. Elias can’t put her under immediately like Chise because he doesn’t have the talent for it, hence part of why Chise can resist falling asleep instantly. It’s also why Carta managed to move Stella’s body easier, since Elias didn’t knock him out along with her.

The ninth is the scene where Chise relates Elias to Carta, recalling that Elias said he was a monster for not caring who he hurt as long as he got what he wanted. Chise is heartbroken and so she calls for the favor she asked of Aerial instead of making a contract since she knew Elias would feel the binding.

And that’s about everything.

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