The cavalry arrives.
The twenty-third episode of Mahou Tsukai No Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride) has aired and I will bring you the recap and review of this episode.
The episode opens with the immediate aftermath of Chise going off with Carta from Elias’ point-of-view. He gone monstrous in trying to find Chise after she’d left, releasing a roar that rots the land around him in fury, until Spriggan shows up with a few others like him. Spriggan calls him out on calling himself a mage only to turn into something far removed from both fae and humans when a younger looking Titania shows up to call him a pitiful child.
She explains that this part of her is a branch, split off from the original in order to speak to him. She cites that Elias is like humans, but the way he loves others is like the fae as her husband, Oberon, arrives. Both Queen and King offer to help him find Chise, but tell Elias he shouldn’t ever take his eyes of her since humans die quickly and he should have made it so she never could leave.
The creepy faces they make pretty much spell out why this is a bad deal, and Elias pulls himself together to reject their offer. Even so, Titania has still extended her branches because she still considers him and Chise beloved children so they’ll trace through the land and find her. Thorns and branches extend to cover every inch, passing by Angelica, Simon, Ulthar, Redcurrant, Lindel, Silky, and Alice, who has a rather strong reaction as the Will-o-Wisp pops of her shadow talking about favors owed. Then we cut to Mariel, who gets called out for what she told Elias by Phyllis and told to go help fix the mess she caused.
After that we go back into Chise’s journey into Joseph’s mind where we find him as a young boy digging graves. He’s called a witch and feared by the people of the town he lives in, so pretty much what you’d expect from people of the time, when he hears a voice calling out for help. He tracks it down to someone who has been partially buried and finds a man there who he takes home and tries to treat.
Said person is Cartaphilus and every inch of his body hurts, leaving him to beg for help endlessly. Joseph seems enthusiastic at first to help him, but as it goes on and he gets constantly tormented by the people around him, he becomes desperate to find a way to do so. He wants to leave the village that doesn’t appreciate him and travel together with Cartaphilus, but since Carta can’t get better he decides to become one with him and… well, you get it.
Joseph ended up inheriting the curse and suffering for it as a result. He traveled, seeking help for the pain in the same way his predecessor did, but he ended up being even more monstrous as he took body parts from those he could, even the ones who extended their hand to him in help. Worse, he learns that his curse can’t be undone and he got it for throwing stones at Jesus, which he naturally feels is a little disproportionate since it means they can’t be saved no matter what.
Then Chise snaps out of his memories and Joseph gets pissed because he had just forgotten his memories. He then tries to rip off Chise’s arm when the cavalry arrives to ruin his day. He sets loose his chimera to fight while lamenting that this is the best that things have gone for him in centuries before calling up wraiths to hold them off why he escapes. Chise naturally goes after Carta while Ruth follows, but Elias needs a pep-talk from Renfred of all people to get going.
Carta moves too quickly for her to catch up, but comes across Mariel, who transforms into a bull to give her a lift. Riding on top of her, she tells Elias and Ruth to help her in order for her to forgive them. Then Chise catches up to Carta at the fountain seen in the ending credits as they play.
This episode also covers parts of chapters 41-44 of the manga, this time centering around the other people in Chise’s life and the confrontation with Joseph.
First off, we get even more introspective into Elias. As Titania states, Elias is part fae and so his perspective at times falls into that. The way he loves humans is still the way they do, so much like them it can be overbearing and one-sided. If he’s going to have a future with her he’ll have to at least try to change the way he thinks, and that means no more pulling things off like he did with Stella.
Second, we get a look into the enigma that is Joseph and Cartaphilus. Joseph got crapped on because he was the son of a gravekeeper and rumors had it that he was a witch, so the moment someone relied on him for the first time in his life he jumped into it and refused to leave them alone. Sound familiar?
That’s right, he’s just like Chise with Elias. He was family to him, but his inability to help him leaves Joseph frustrated since the first person he tried to help can’t be saved. So he decides to just merge with him and everything went to hell. Chise can’t help but pity him, or at least feel something for him given how she could probably see in his memories everything that transpired.
The scene where various people that Chise met felt the presence of them passing by was excellent as well, and serve to remind me part of why I love this series. It’s because you can tell each and everyone of them has a backstory to them that you just don’t know. Mariel’s past with Phyllis is one that I’d like to explore someday, along with what happened to Chise’s brother and father.
And then there was Alice’s reaction while Renfred was clueless until Blue Flame popped out, along with the offer it made in the end, leaves me wondering if Alice happens to be a nascent mage. It even looks like she’s about to get a contract made out of it. Sequel following her anyone?
Anyway, it was a great episode, having caught right up to where the manga is. But it was rushing things again slightly and that means some things got left out.
Differences in Materials
The first is that the scene with Mariel is given some more details. She makes magical charms and such, like an item to draw away bad luck, that she sells while listing it as a “massage” as far as payments go. She also feels as Elias and Titania pass by, and at first denies being responsible for what happened until Phyllis reminds her that it’ll weigh on her soul.
The second is that Joseph’s past is elaborated on a little more. He’s actually from a line of magus, with healing and necromancy (the ability to speak to the dead) having been passed down his family line through generations in that land, making it hard for him to really speak to the living more than the dead.
The anime also toned down that beating that Joseph got somewhat, because these guys broke into his home to beat him since the farming was going bad this year and guess who they blamed for it? When they saw Cartaphilus, they mistook him for a corpse and used that as even more justification for knocking him about. Joseph wanted to leave that winter because there was barely any crops stockpiled so if they didn’t leave then they really could have died.
The third is about the wraiths. These things were born from as many materials as he had chimeras, meaning there were a lot of then. Coming into contact with them for too long damages the soul, so they kind of needed Blue Flame to deal with it.
The fourth is that Chise isn’t aware that Elias is in her shadow until she orders Ruth to get inside and finds that he can’t. That makes her angrier again and tells him not to apologize unless he means it, but she needs his help. She also doesn’t get why Mariel was upset about her curses getting worse.
The fifth is the transformation magic used. Mariel explains that witches can briefly turn into animals, but its complicated and they’re not as good at it. Simply running while carrying Chise exhausts her to the point of passing out after she nearly runs down Joseph in an alleyway, whereupon Chise converses with him a final time before telling him that she can relate to him, but dragging her friends into this and meeting the people he’s hurt means she can’t let him keep doing things as he has.
So she tells him that’s why she’s going to destroy him as the bindings on her arm come undone.
And that’s about everything.