I mean, you probably shouldn’t be calling other people monsters when this is a thing. Stones and glass houses and all.
The fifth episode of Ancient Magus Bride Season 2 has aired. In it, there are a lot of reveals and a lot of lore. So much so that I’m going to be busy explaining it all.
Let’s get into the Recap and Review.
The episode opens with a return to the College, where Chise overhears Lucy talking to someone on the phone before entering their room. Chise can’t help but think that she’s scary over the phone, more so when Lucy tells her she hates the hesitant way she speaks since it reminds her of someone else she hates. Chise figures she reminds her of Joseph, looking out for her in her way even if rude.
Chise’s first class is Pharmacology, but on the way she runs into one of the twins who brings up the Webster Tragedy by accident. After class, Chise heads with Rian into the cafeteria where Zoey avoids her. Isaac explains that he’s in charge of teaching Zoey and then lore dumps the Seven Shields of the College for Chise.
They’re the seven families that founded the College, with the St. George twins belonging to the Hunters, Victoria Rickenbacker belonging to the Doctors, and Rian Scrimgeour belonging to the Protectors. They built it because they were concerned sorcery would die away because of how many of their kind died during the great war, as a means of preserving their knowledge. Rian’s family are like bodyguards, though he is specifically leaving his home behind.
Then Chise brings up the Webster Tragedy and Rian gets serious, but lunch ends before they can explain anything. Chise then runs into Lucy and Zoey, but when the latter ignores Chise’s attempt to reach out to him, Lucy removes his earphones since it pisses her off when people ignore others. That causes Zoey to rant that she doesn’t know what Chise is and calls her a monster… even as his hair turns from normal into snakes when Rian and Isaac catch up to them.
We then get a flashback to Zoey’s parents telling him that he’s special before he runs off. Chise sends Ruth after him as Isaac reveals those weren’t headphones that he was wearing. They were earmuffs, meant to help him cope due to having hypersensitive hearing and being unable to filter out auditory information. Hearing that, Chise goes to apologize and Isaac chases after her while Rian brings up that Lucy is the one responsible for this incident given she’s still holding the earmuffs.
They head after Ruth and info dump that Zoey is a Gorgon, a family name that once belonged to an old god from Greek Mythology. In the past, they were hunted down for magical reagents and now they are considered something of an endangered species. Isaac is surprised that Zoey was one because normally they don’t speak the same language as humans due to having a different vocal range and their eyes are capable of immobilizing those that look at them.
Along the way, Philomela spots the four running into the private gardens. Sound and scent are muted so it makes tracking Zoey harder for Ruth until Chise touches her nose to his. They find him and he questions if they came to mock him for being a failure, but his snakes lash out at Chise until Lucy puts the headphones back on his head and apologizes. That done, she asks why was at the College.
Zoey explains his father sent him there. He was a sorcerer who was researching demi-human language and met Zoey’s mother, who was part of a secret Gorgon settlement. They laid an egg that had Zoey in it and he hatched from it, but because he’s mixed race he has trouble remaining stable between human and snake. Not to mention he’s strongly affected by lights and smells and sounds, so he needs that gear since without them his hair tries to turn into snakes.
Since Zoey was constantly told he was weird even in the village, he was afraid humans would be even worse. His dad told him that the College would be the perfect place to make friends. And he would be able to do his fieldwork in peace since he wouldn’t have to worry about his son, which the other students state that all sorcerers are like that as researchers. He then asks what Chise is, because to him she doesn’t feel human.
Chise comes clean about her having a Dragon’s curse, which was what he was smelling that was so strong. Since Gorgons are believed to be descended from Dragons, they get riled up around them. That’s why he kept getting annoyed, as he was barely able to hold it together and she comes along smelling like catnip. He then picks up another scent but Lucy ends up calming him down about his snakes, citing they have a beautiful color. Zoey realizes his father’s wish for him to have an opportunity to meet new friends is coming true a lot sooner than he expected.
So to reiterate, Zoey isn’t there to become a Sorcerer. That’s a human thing and he doesn’t consider himself one. Since it’s meant to be a secret, Rian offers to forge a contract that would enforce a vow of silence, which becomes necessary as Ruth catches Philomela spying on them. Rian figures out that because her family specializes in intelligence gathering they were making her do that even in the College and it’s explained that she’s his second cousin.
Philomela doesn’t intend to sell the information, but she doesn’t feel she has the right to refuse to give it if someone asks. So Rian goes through with the contract spell that will burn your throat and fingers if you try to tell anyone. Chise doesn’t order her to keep silent, but instead requests it as a friend, which seems to move her.
That done, Zoey apologizes for ignoring Chise until now. Lucy, on the other hand, doesn’t trust people like Philomela since her entire family died because of people like that. Rian then goes to Jasmine and tells her not to bring up the tragedy again before they get into an argument about family obligations, with Jasmine bringing up that not all of them can leave their blood behind like him.
Violet ends up comforting Jasmine that they can always find a master and run away if things get bad. After all, Elias said they have the aptitude to become Mages. They can make as many escape routes as they needed.
Mmm…. so much delicious lore wrapped up in twenty minutes. We learn several important facts that need to be unpacked. We’ll start with the Seven Shields since a good deal of them are involved with Chise’s circle of friends.
These are the seven families that established the College after the War to prevent sorcery from dying out. I believe it’s World War II because I know from the Silver Yarn book (Ancient Magus Bride LN that follows the first one) that several sorcerers were working behind the scenes on both ends and a lot of them died. Each of the departments is named after one of them.
Violet and Jasmine are of the St. George lineage, which is classified as the Hunters. I can imagine that they are part of a faction that would hunt down supernatural entities, as Zoey even brings up that hunters still go after his people even now when they are a protected species. The fact that they are both contemplating escaping from their family leaves me thinking that things aren’t going great for them (see the changes section for more details).
Meanwhile, Rian is of the Scrimgeour lineage that sounds like it’s out of Harry Potter. They’re trained to be bodyguards or protectors, with them still seeing work because sorcerers constantly get into fights and need to be protected. Though, unlike the twins, he’s all but stated he hates his family name and wants to leave it behind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that he smells of rust is because of his family taking measures against supernatural entities and it stuck, but that’s speculation. It also explains why he’s a stickler for rules and does things by the book, like a Contract spell to enforce silence.
His relationship with Philomela is also brought up in that they were second cousins. He knows her well enough that he picked up what she was doing and why, and even warned her about being silent when caught would cause more misunderstandings. I can only imagine that based on Philomela’s demeanor and her reaction when confronted by Lucy that she knows her family is a lot darker than the others, or at the very least they’ve got their hands in some nasty things. The fact that she answers Veronica, who is one of the Seven Shields, brings up more questions about her as well.
Lucy’s past is also slightly revealed. There’s someone who she talks to over the phone but is prickly with. But her keeping her distance from others and her abrasive attitude comes from the Webster Tragedy, which saw her entire family wiped out. Her being cordial with Chise and Zoey likely stems from the fact that they aren’t affiliated with the Seven Shields or even intend to become Sorcerers. They’re both here to learn and adapt, but they already have other things in mind.
Zoey is also an interesting case on paper. He’s a half-human, half-gorgon, meaning he’s split between both worlds and feels isolated from both sides. He can’t control his different aspects and because his human half isn’t accustomed to his gorgon half, he struggles with hyper-sensitivity to all his senses which makes living very difficult for him.
That’s Chise’s entire early history as a Sleigh Beggy. The main difference is that his parents didn’t abandon him, so he didn’t get bounced around to different families who couldn’t help her because they didn’t have the Sight. Zoey’s parents gave birth to him as someone special and dedicated themselves to at least making an opportunity for him to find happiness and make friends. They have no regrets and love him, whereas Chise’s mother was pushed to the brink after her father ditched them while taking her baby brother.
Moreover, Zoey explicitly doesn’t consider himself human. Even when Lucy brings up some of the instructors crossing that line (like the caterpillar nurse), Zoey states that they are human in contrast to him and Elias. He considers himself more of a unique Gorgon who can’t even control his Mystic Eyes, unlike normal ones. I’d like to get a look at his biology in contrast to a normal Gorgon, but that’s probably pushing me into mad-scientist territory.
Anyway, looks like the next episode is covering Alice’s relationship with Renfred and she’s going to visit Chise’s home. Good times.
Changes from Manga
There is some information left out due to the compression of the source materials, but I know based on the next episode preview they’re covering the stuff about Renfred and Alice (which is about two or three chapters worth of content) so I will bring up the other stuff they skipped from Chapters 54 to 58: “First Impressions Are The Most Lasting (II) – Better Bend Than Break (III)”:
- Elias is speaking with Angie at the start of the chapter asking how long it had been since she married her husband and why she decided to. It’s a secret that she honestly never told her husband, following up on their discussion that didn’t happen in the anime due to event shuffling.
- On the way to get changed for class, Chise runs into Rose Lynn and she reminds her of the King of Cats back in Season One.
- Lucy brings up that Chise wasn’t at the College over the weekend and so Chise explains that she likely won’t be sleeping in the room with Lucy since she goes back home every day due to the backroads she and Elias can take.
- The reason Chise thinks that she reminds her of Joseph is that he’s the only other one who tells her to her face when she makes them angry.
- Jasmine reveals that Lucy transferred here halfway through the primary course, rather than how most of them are enrolled since childhood.
- Rian explains that most of the sciences transition into sorcery as you advance into higher classes, but most of them are still mundane since they have to integrate themselves into the rest of society. Even if they don’t become sorcerers, they find jobs that use their talents like becoming craftsmen or even using their skills to amass wealth in a normal company to keep doing research.
- Rian’s family could also be considered magical mercenaries rather than just guardians (like Alice), as sorcerers who can take up arms are always in high demand. Most sorcerers are researchers first and foremost.
- During the walk with Lucy, she explains that she sees Chise as a coward who is nice for all the wrong reasons and thinks it’ll turn out fine as long as she suffers quietly. That’s what reminds of her someone she knows (the person on the phone with her).
- Zoey wonders when he started hating hearing the words that he’s special because his father used to tell him that no one had hair and eyes like his. Even though he loved him very much and was a lot like his mother.
- Part of what motivated Lucy to chase after Zoey was because Rian pointed out that she doesn’t make friends, but she also made it a point not to make enemies either.
- During the search, Rian gets a bird’s eye view by using sorcery to adjust gravity affecting his body so that he could jump up into the trees. Isaac notes that his family’s specialty was the modification of the body but he made it look too easy.
- Chise uses her enhanced sense of smell to find Ivy, noting that it was a soft smell that flows like water but it’s not wet and it rustles like dry leaves. Basically, showcasing her sense of smell while Lucy finds something about her odd as she does so. Chise also notes that Lucy is trying to be soft with Zoey as an apology, in contrast to her normally prickly self.
- Zoey explains that his father and mother became friends after they met in the Caucus Mountains, and around the time they finally learned to understand each other’s words, she laid an egg. There were no others like him and he rarely even left his house because he was so weird compared to them. He was brought up being told to hide what he was from humans as well due to how valuable Gorgon’s parts are, especially when he can’t control his eye powers.
- Lucy asking him if he wanted to become a sorcerer after she asked Chise earlier tipped Chise off that she was trying to figure out what’s important to people.
- Ruth brings up that Philomela had been stalking them from the moment they left and was the one who probably spied on her earlier at the nurse’s office and her room. This references how she told him to memorize the scent in the manga compared to the anime.
- Both Chise and Ruth note that there’s a strange smell coming from Philomela that isn’t normal, even if it’s faint. Chise can also smell fear when she brings up that she can’t refuse if ordered, indicating that she was likely conditioned to not refuse any order given.
- Isaac explains that the great families are all a big cluster of intermarriages, mixing bloodlines for magical power and politics. Rian specifically used to play together with her when they were children.
- Rian’s contract spell is relatively lax since it only affects you with a burned tongue or fingers if you snitch. Lucy felt it didn’t go hard enough like cutting out the tongue or fingers, which he states would have a higher reagent cost compared to this version.
- The Contract spell specifically only covers a single secret, so they chose to have it cover Zoey’s secret instead. Chise was fine with this as her condition isn’t relative to her safety compared to Zoey’s.
- Isaac notes that something flowed out of him when the spell was cast, with Rian explaining that it divided the cost of the spell between them equally. He also notes that Philomela (who did not react to the spell being invoked similarly to him) was easily the most untrustworthy person there.
- After the contract is made, Lucy brings up that since the staff all knew about Zoey they could have just asked them to place a spell of forgetfulness on Philomela instead of the contract.
- Chise quietly tells Philomela if she gets pressured about the secret then she can tell whoever asks about her Dragon Curse, as she knows it’s scary being used by someone else without any say of your own. As she does this, the panel showcases the dragon being tied up in a cage, symbolizing the memories of the dragon who cursed her and referencing how Joseph intended to use it.
- Philomela thinks to herself that silence, acceptance, and obedience are all she is allowed to do.
- The discussion between Jasmine and Rian reveals that the Seven Shields are divided into houses that have futures and those that don’t. Specifically, Scromgeour, Nightingale, Forsyth, and Hoenheim have a future because their goods and services are in constant demand. But their house is a relic of the past that isn’t needed anymore.
- St. George is named after the dragon slayer, and their family has protected mankind from beasts since time immortal. But, as referenced multiple times throughout the series (including the discussion with Simon about the Church that was skipped), a lot of the monsters of legend no longer exist or have made themselves lesser (like the Dragons in the sanctuary) and even Werewolves and Vampires have been absorbed into humanity (see Gabriella). They are obsolete in contrast to Scrimgeour, who protects sorcerers from other people.
- Rian specifically tells Jasmine to be more careful because it might paint a target on her back, since stuff like the slaughter happens all the time. Jasmine points out and that’s why they usually have Guardians (see Alice and Renfred), and the Websters were just unlucky but it’s over now. However, Rian also notes that as long as even one person is still alive (Lucy) it might not be over after all.
Because they’ve cut out the parts with Alice and Renfred to better focus on getting this arc out of the way, as it was mixed with the reveal about Zoey, I suspect the next episode will condense that down to better fit. If there are any major changes, I’ll bring them up.
Until next time.
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