By Justin D Williams
Suffering a tragic childhood and sold at an auction, Chise Hatori has little hope for a better life. But when a mysterious sorcerer named Elias takes interest in her aptitude for magic, he decides to make her his apprentice—and his bride.
Story – When I first read the synopsis of “The Ancient Magnus Bride” I shamefully put the anime into a category of another magic anime. I thought the show would be this happy go lucky magic anime adventure that we see time and time again. I learned a valuable lesson to say the least. Never judge a product by its synopsis. “The Ancient Magnus Bride” is a refreshing anime with a lot heart some serious adult themes, great performance and visually beautiful to look at. The first episode starts off with such a dark tone as we get a glimpse of our protagonist Chise Hatori. A young girl who sold herself into an auction at a chance for a better life after some various tragic events. For the sake of spoilers I won’t reveal what those are. However I will say that the anime does a great character study on how events like this will affect a young teenager. When we are first introduce to Chise she is defeated, alone and broken mentally. She has no will to live as she feels unloved and her insecurities you clearly see in the first ten minutes of the show are on display. It’s only when she encounters the person or creature depending how you view Elias that things start to change. Throughout the first thirteen episodes we get a nice character study on Elias and Chise. The relationship and dynamic of the two characters is great. When you get deeper into the episodes you realize how much they need each other. In a way Chise needs Elias because there is a feeling of emptiness. She longs for a family or for someone to show how much she cares. There is a great line she says in the series that really shows how much she really is longing for acceptance. “I don’t care if he thinks of me as a toy, and throws me out when he’s bored. It’s because he… even though it was only one time, said to me that I am his family.” The anime does a great way of showing a teacher and student relationship while managing to balance tones of the show. For a while the show can feel lighthearted as Chise does what teenagers do and rebel, not listen or get into trouble. Elias usually steps in just when the situation doesn’t get too dire. Some of these episodes are fun especially when the fairies are involved. However when it comes to learning more about Chise past the series gets dark and turns it up to the point you feel so bad for Chise. Overall “The Ancient Magnus Bride” is a great character story with a coming of age feel. The writing and dialogue are refreshing and the characters are relatable.
Voice Acting – The English and Japanese dub are really good in this show. Brian Mathis and Dani Chambers do great as Elias and Chise. Dani Chambers really displays that broken, hopelessness that the character really needs. Brian Mathis really has a great commanding dynamic voice that you feel who is really in charge. At the same time Brian is also delivers a more compassionate tone in his voice when the scene calls for it. Other cast members do great as well in their respective roles.
Animation - This is a gorgeous anime. I love their take on Britain and the fine use of bright and dark colors to capture the tone of the show. The cinematography is also great to see as well. There is great detail taken when it comes to the use of lightning in the scene. Even when we have rain it looks gorgeous visually. Character designs are unique but still have that standard anime feel that you would expect.
Music: The music works well lighthearted when it needs to be and great use of the strings and piano when it needs you feel emotion. The soundtrack compliments the theme and tone of the show very well. The opening and closing theme are also a pleasure to listen too.
Final Thoughts: “The Ancient Magus Bride” is a very well written, well acted and beautifully animated show. The first 13 episodes are engaging with some themes of hopelessness but have a light at the end of the tunnel. Chise is the heart and soul of the show and I think audiences will take a liking to her plight and her rise as she becomes the person she is to become. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this anime.
Order at Funimation