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Mahoutsukai no Yome – 02 »

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Here」 by (JUNNA)

「April Showers Bring May Flowers」

(Special thanks to Pancakes for helping me out with capping this episode!)

To have called Mahoutsukai no Yome a safe bet would be a masterpiece of understatement. If anything this show is the ultimate anime lock for me – not only is it based on a manga I know well and enjoy, but I’ve actually seen the first three episodes thanks to Crunchyroll’s theatrical screening (“Anime Movie Night”) this summer (and the prequel OVAs to boot). So while this was the best premiere of the season so far (and likely, period) that fact was pretty much a given.

Yamazaki’s Kore’s manga has had an interesting journey to television. The manga is both massively popular and massively acclaimed (it was nominated for the Taisho in 2015), but rather than jump straight to the inevitable adaptation there was an intermediate stop – the three-part prequel OVA (which I reviewed), mostly anime-original. I think those OVAs, if a bit unevenly, did their job well – they brought some color to the heroine’s background without giving away too much about what was to come (and told an interesting side-story to boot). But now we’ve arrived at the main event – a straight depiction of the events in Yamazaki’s manga. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

As we meet her, Hatori Chise (Tanezaki Atsumi, who has already proved herself an actress of considerable range and depth) is apparently selling herself into slavery. There are hints of a dark and unhappy past for this young girl, and of a point where she’d seemingly given up on life. She surrenders herself to the hands of Seth Noel (Suwabe Junichi) and what looks to be a sort of occult auction – Chise can clearly see things other people don’t see, but even she’s never seen creatures of this sort. But Chise is the main draw, even if she doesn’t understand the reason why. She draws considerable bidding, but when Elias Ainsworth (Takeuchi Ryouta) drops a 5 million Pound bid, that seems to put an end to things rather quickly.

The matter of just what Chise is – and what we should call her – is an interesting one. The official English manga releases and the CR subtitles refer to her as a “Sleigh Beggy” – which is actually a thing, a type of faerie from the mythology of the Isle of Man. But Yamazaki uses what would be Romanized as “Slay Vega” – maybe just because she liked the sound of it, but probably in reference to something like “lonesome star” (which will resonate with OVA viewers) or “child of night”. I don’t think Yamazaki-sensei ever intended the Manx “sleigh beggy” to be used so I’m not going to use it. In any event, a slay vega is what Elias refers to as a “queen bee” – they draw the interest of faeries and other magical beings, who in “helping” them sometimes do them harm. Most slay vega cannot see these creatures but Chise, as one who can, is even more rare and precious.

The emotional and mystical elements of Mahoutsukai no Yome always exist side-by-side, just as the worlds of human and faerie do. This notion of a child ostracized and lonely because of their ability to see supernatural beings is a familiar one to anime fans of course – most famously in Natsume Yuujinchou, and I think the two series do overlap thematically. Chise’s loneliness and isolation are the reason why Elias’ surprising kindness – he even refers to her as “family” (and also “puppy”) – has such a profound impact on her. He tells her she’s going to be his apprentice and brings him (through magical teleportation, much to her surprise) to his country home “west of London”. And to the lonely and emotionally-scarred Chise, this place seems like a veritable paradise.

The relationship between Chise and Elias is complicated – and he’s a mysterious and enigmatic figure, not only physically. Even in his kindness there’s something remote and alien in his bearing that Chise picks up on, and his insistence on bathing Chise (perhaps the one surrender to animanga cliche in the premiere) and casual mention that he intends to make the girl his bride are socially odd, at the very least. His house also hosts Silky (Endou Aya), the mostly-silent figure who keeps house for Elias, and is surrounded by faerie folk who prefer to be called “neighbors”. They take an immediate and keen interest in Chise as a slay vega – no doubt this is the reason Elias equips her with an adder stone (which he later admits is a “collar and bell), a precaution which comes in useful when the faeries take Chise on a midnight stroll in the forest.

This is a wonderful premiere, and Mahoutsukai no Yome is a fascinating series. The manga has significant flaws in my view, but also an undeniably “specialness” to it – it’s magical in every sense. The series takes its exploration of European (mostly British Isles) and Japanese mythology very seriously and gets the details right, but ultimately it succeeds best when it focuses on the emotional power inherent in the premise. Wit and director Naganuma Norihiro have done a wonderful job adapting it from the OVAs onward, delivering some of the most beautiful anime we’ve seen in recent years. Even right down to the ED, beautiful and cinematic, Mahoutsukai veritably screams out “not like other anime” – that specialness from the manga really carries over. Truthfully all Naganuma had to do was not screw it up and Mahoutsukai no Yome would have been quite good, but he seems to be doing considerably more than that. This should be one of the best series of 2017-18.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Wa -cycle-」 (環-cycle-) by (Hana Itoki)

Preview

October 8, 2017 at 5:43 pm
39 comments »
  • October 8, 2017 at 6:05 pmyoloalchemist

    There is something to be said about how immersive this anime is already. From the scenery porn to the music (the composer’s MAL profile doesn’t have anything on him beside this anime and its OVA) to the character interactions (and their seiyuu performances), to watch this on a computer screen would be a disservice. This is one of the reasons I’m thankful Crunchyroll has an application on game consoles. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, this is gonna be such a cathartic experience.

    http://randomc.net/image/Mahoutsukai%20no%20Yome/Mahoutsukai%20no%20Yome%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    Oh and, never underestimate how charming comically skulled Elias is XD

  • October 8, 2017 at 6:08 pmTakala

    Im screaming like a little fangirl right now about this show. Been waiting a longtime for it too

  • October 8, 2017 at 6:16 pmyoloalchemist

    Everything about this anime is freaking immersive. I don’t know about anyone else, but this is gonna be a cathartic experience for me.
    Oh and, never underestimate how charming comically skulled Elias is XD

  • October 8, 2017 at 7:36 pmLittle Tangerine

    OMG THIS SHOW.

    I haven’t had my inner bits become tingly in a loooong time. Sorry, was that TMI?

    Elias’s voice just melts into my eardrums. When he talks, nothing else matters. Kinda reminded me of Baron’s voice and mannerisms from Ghibli’s “The Cat Returns”.

    • October 8, 2017 at 7:53 pmguardian enzo

      I agree, Takeuchi Ryouta is perfectly cast here – just how I imagined Ainsworth. Tanazaki Atsumi is spot-on as well.

  • October 8, 2017 at 7:54 pmJohn

    Show Spoiler ▼

    (This is pretty borderline, but I’ll err on the side of caution – since there’s no way a new viewer would know whether it’s a spoiler or not – Enzo)

    • October 8, 2017 at 7:56 pmyoloalchemist

      Dude, spoiler tag.

  • October 8, 2017 at 7:55 pmmangaka-chan

    This is one of those stories that doesn’t blow me away; rather, it enchants me, wrapping around my shoulders like a comfortable blanket. Just about everything in this first episode hits the mark. I knew we wouldn’t be getting the level of animation the OVAs got, but what I saw here was more than acceptable. My only qualm is that I feel like the OP sequence could’ve been a little more abstract instead of relying on glimpses of the plot. A part of me enjoy seeing some of the key moments I look forward to, but I was hoping for something a little more dynamic to suit the music and be less of a spoiler for people who haven’t read the manga.

  • October 8, 2017 at 8:03 pmSmokex365

    The OVA’s did a great job of making you care about Chise. I couldn’t help but smile anytime anything good happened to her. That alone would get to to continue watching.

  • October 8, 2017 at 8:22 pmDave

    Slay Vega

    Learnt something new. “V” isn’t part of the standard Japanese alphabet, yet there’s now an almost unused character for it. Usually you’re taught to replace V with B when you spell foreign items in Romanized Japanese.

    • October 8, 2017 at 8:27 pmguardian enzo

      “V” is complicated…

      There is a Katakana representing V – which makes sense, given that it’s the syllabary for foreign words. When words have a “V” sound it is meant to be expressed using Katakana, even if most Japanese people will pronounce it more like a “B”. Since it seems very likely the mangaka intended to use the word “Vega” (the star) specifically, I think that’s the most accurate way to write it out.

  • October 8, 2017 at 9:24 pmWorldwidedepp

    Ainsworth

    Seems like illya has an famous surname

    • October 8, 2017 at 11:18 pmyoloalchemist

      It’s Einzbern for Illya actually. Instead, Ainsworth Show Spoiler ▼

      in the Fate/ Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya manga/anime.

  • October 9, 2017 at 1:29 amZJZJ

    I’m really happy for this. Upon reading the season preview, I couldn’t wait at all and started reading the manga (you guys did a good job, huh :P), and ever since I’ve been looking forward to the anime. The atmosphere of Mahoutsukai no Yome is just really good, like a true fantasy story that draws you into their wonderful world. The first episode didn’t manage to capture all the things of the manga that really drew me in – but that’s only because we’re still kinda at the intro. But I’ve only heard good things about the episode so far, and it makes me a really happy person. Alongside Kino no tabi and Kekkai Sensen, I’m definitely going to enjoy this season.

    About the 3 episode “prequel”… I watched and loved it, and it doesn’t really spoil that much if you watch it first (I watched it after the manga), but I’ll still recommend people watch it after at least a few episodes of the main series. I think that’ll make it overall more enjoyable.

  • October 9, 2017 at 2:27 amyoukai

    God between this and 3-gatsu next week, I’m going to wait every saturday like a little kid waiting Christmas day.

  • October 9, 2017 at 2:28 amyoukai

    Also, I love the opening song but they sure put a lot of spoilers in there…

    • October 9, 2017 at 9:09 pmyoloalchemist

      Good thing they don’t have a context to them then, at least not yet. Will safely avert my eyes from now on.

  • October 9, 2017 at 2:29 amShrubbery

    This should be one of the best series of 2017-18.

    With this kind of praise from Enzo, it’s pretty much a given this is going to be an excellent anime. Very much enjoyed the first episode and already can’t wait for next week!

  • October 9, 2017 at 2:54 amJayDrink

    One episode in and this is already the contender for Anime of the Century.

    2018-2099 needs to bring something special if they want to beat Mahoutsukai no Yome.

    (Honestly I expect this to win Anime of the Millenia 900 or so years from now, but we won’t be here to witness it.)

  • October 9, 2017 at 5:00 amOnion Warrior

    The word “Gorgeous” perhaps is still an understatement when it comes to Mahoutsukai no Youme, aka The Ancient Magus Bride. My lord god, this series is definitely 2017′s greatest masterpiece of all time. If KyoAni’s Violet Evergarden would premiered this year, Magus Bride will definitely rivals the series, on par (and its just the first episode!)

  • October 9, 2017 at 6:41 amAngelus

    …his insistence on bathing Chise (perhaps the one surrender to animanga cliche in the premiere)

    I was surprised that the nudity in that scene in the anime went further than in the manga, often these days it’s the other way around. I did toy with the idea that perhaps they were trying to reference the scene of Asuka in the bathtub in Eva episode 24 because she and Chise had both given up hope, but decided in the end that was a bit of a stretch.

  • October 9, 2017 at 7:24 amSkarfang81

    What a fantastic first episode – I really did need something to follow up on Made in Abyss this season and I think ive found it.

  • October 9, 2017 at 7:48 amBakanekokun

    Saw the premiere at AX2017 where they let us see the first three episodes and was blown away. I have been waiting for a series that is so complex, so in-depth, so align with emotions and psychology like the other gen series like Fullmetal, Bepbop, etc.

    • October 9, 2017 at 8:30 amGuardian Enzo

      Since I saw the first OVA preview at the A/X 2016 panel I knew this was going to be amazing visually. I hadn’t read any of the manga at that time, but the look just blew me away. When I.G/Wit really throws their weight behind a show, they can deliver visuals on par with anybody in TV anime.

  • October 9, 2017 at 8:26 amerohakase

    Am I missing something? I didn’t see anything special about this at all? It just seems like a run of the mill shoujo so far. I’m not saying I’m dropping it but I don’t see it as the next coming of Jesus like so many people seem to be seeing.

    • October 9, 2017 at 11:54 amZJZJ

      As a manga reader who REALLY loves this manga, I liked the episode, but also wouldn’t say it was that great yet except for introducing the world/characters. I really like the wonder and fantasy feeling, world, and character relationships – none of which we are shown more than a little glimpse of thus far. But I’m sure you’ll like it more in the episodes to come. I’d say the 3 ep prequel was any indication of how nicely they can tell a story while capturing the feeling of the manga, I think we’re in for some great times.
      About the runt of the mill shoujo – I think I will have to disagree. It is definitely not your normal cheap romance anime – I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that romance is hardly the focus at all, despite the title. It doesn’t seem aimed at young girls either – things can get messy real fast in a way I wouldn’t expect of a typical shoujo. Hope you stick around for more eps!

    • October 9, 2017 at 12:20 pmWanderer

      It’s not a shoujo at all, actually. See MAL – Genres: Slice of Life, Magic, Fantasy, Shounen

      • October 9, 2017 at 12:36 pmerohakase

        Well, if it plays out like a shoujo, which this definitely does I’d say it’s a shoujo regardless of what tags you put on it.

        But yeah. I think it could have potential. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as generic shoujo as Shirayuki was so I’ll give it a shot.

      • October 9, 2017 at 2:21 pmGuardian Enzo

        We get entirely too hung up on demographic labels, but I don’t think this series especially plays like a shoujo. I don’t think it plays like a shounen either as it happens, but that generally corresponds with whatever magazine a series is serialized in. And Monthly Comic Garden is a shounen magazine.

  • October 9, 2017 at 1:03 pmTarage

    I’m very glad they kept in the ‘chibi’ moments.

    I’m REALLY hoping they animate Silky’s diary ala OVA or something.

  • October 9, 2017 at 4:56 pmClayton Barnett

    Slay Vega = Death Star

    Sleigh Beggie = the big sack behind Santa.

    Good Lord, what were the translators thinking…?

    • October 9, 2017 at 5:51 pmHanabira.Kage

      That’s Baggy (or Baggie, if you so prefer). Bag =/= Beg.

      And slay means kill.

      As Enzo mentioned in the main post, the Sleigh Beggy (or Sleih Beggey) is believed to be a kind of fairy that inhabited the Isle of Man. The name and folklore are Celtic in origin, so it’s not surprising that things might be spelt or pronounced differently.

  • October 9, 2017 at 8:09 pmOby

    Even though I’m glad about all the enthusiasm, manga-readers might want to restrain themselves from overhyping MnY and not causing the expectation of the anime-only viewers to skyrocket only to be disappointed later on. I’ve seen this many times where source-readers’ overhyping actually caused the opposite effect on quite a number of newcomers.

    I’ve read the manga myself until a certain point and more or less know how good-yet-flawed the story is. So, I’m a bit uneasy watching people selling this anime like The Second Coming or “anime of the freakin’ century” to newcomers. If you want to “sell” this adaptation, you gotta temper the newcomers’ expectation, not raising it to unfathomable height.

    • October 9, 2017 at 9:06 pmyoloalchemist

      Good point, but I think I knew what I signed up for when I said it’s gonna be a cathartic experience for me. Even if the story is gonna have flaws, as long as it’s executed like this, then it’s gonna be great in its own way. It’s like what another comment here said “This is one of those stories that doesn’t blow me away; rather, it enchants me, wrapping around my shoulders like a comfortable blanket.”

  • October 9, 2017 at 8:22 pmboingman

    Was that fairy voiced by Chiwa Saito? Sounded like her.
    Interesting first episode.

  • October 12, 2017 at 3:54 pmRenasayers

    Although the Anime is good, I have my doubts about Chise’s voice. And the “fairy” with the harpy foot trying to lure the heroine to another demention–I hope that thing doesn’t come back.

  • October 14, 2017 at 3:07 pmWorldwidedepp

    Ep 02:

    Sorry, i will sound harsh. But i have no ill meanings. I just do not hide my truth behind flowers.. or my flowers have thorns

    The OP Music, need an redo.. the “Speed” is all over the place

    the Piano Background solo Music in some scene do not fit at all, until it got “help” from the other instruments.. Perhaps they should try to use typical instruments for England or Ireland (mostly the “magic” smells like Ireland folktales)

    So, this Music still not fit well with the Video

    Audio and Video talking about each other but not together.

    • October 14, 2017 at 4:56 pmyoloalchemist

      I disagree. Piano can never go wrong with anything.

  • October 16, 2017 at 8:44 pmlunascha

    Does anyone know the difference between this one and “Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito”? I watched whatever the first link showed up and I ended up watching a completely different first episode than this post lol Still loved it! And I’m going to watch this version as well but I love everything about this show.

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