「One today is worth two tomorrows」
I try not to write many late night posts these days, especially on series I really like, as I don’t think I can really give them my best most of the time. Still, it’s that sort of a weekend – this season is so back-loaded that Saturdays especially pose a real challenge especially when other responsibilities call. I’ll do my best but I don’t think I’ll really do Mahoutsukai no Yome justice in the process.
I think you can see after two episodes what all the fuss is about with this series, both the manga and the anime – it’s not a mass-produced model by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a show that’s full of interesting images and ideas, a fairly serious piece of work – the kind of anime that shows off what the medium is capable of. We’re still very much in the introductory stages here, seeing this strange new world through Chise’s eyes (in an almost literal sense, given the narrative style). But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to talk about.
One of the first things Elias does with his new apprentice (and/or fiancee) is take her to London (after a little magical cosmetic surgery) to meet his equipper – because as everyone knows, a mage needs equipment. If you’re an enthusiast for this sort of this sort of detail this ep was just an appetizer, but Angelica Varley (Kaida Yuuko) is more interested in teaching Chise a few tricks of the trade with the help of her familiar Hugo (Kuno Misaki), a Vodyanoy water spirit (we’re heading to Eastern Europe for that one). Angelica is a mage too, with a specialty in creating the tools of the trade, as well as gizmos that run on magic as opposed to electricity.
There’s a lot of enchanting stuff in the sequence in Angelica’s shop, starting with the adorable fairy monster that takes a rather cat-like affection to Chise (she’s a magnet for these sorts of creatures, obviously). But there’s important exposition here too, especially as Angie teaches Chise the difference between magic and sorcery. It’s an oversimplification as she explains it, but that’s appropriate given Chise’s inexperience – and it’s a very important underpinning of Mahoustukai’s mythology. Sorcerers are, as Angie tells it, basically scientists – but mages are the real deal (and increasingly rare). They borrow the powers of faerie to perform miracles – but at a potentially great cost (as Angelica demonstrates).
A gift like Chise’s is not one to be taken lightly, as evidenced by the results of Angelica’s first magic lesson, where she hands Chise a crystal and tells her to imagine her favorite flower and will it into existence. There’s a lot of subtext here (the power of memory generally, and Chise’s memories specifically) but in practical terms Angie is quite taken aback by the dramatic results – what was to be a single flower has instead become a field of poppies.
When Elias and Chise arrive home, they find Simon Collum (Morikawa Toshiyuki) waiting for them at Elias’ doorstep. He’s both priest and pastor at the local church, and while it isn’t explained in detail it’s clear that there’s a long-standing – and not entirely friendly – relationship between mages and the church in Britain. Elias provides medicine which Simon uses to treat the villagers, and does “errands” for them – but clearly resents the notion that he’s being managed by the church. The relationship between Elias and Simon specifically seems similarly strained – though where Elias is concerned, it can be hard to tell his true feelings on the matter.
The final moments of the episode are quite literally a whirlwind change, as Elias whisks Chise off to Iceland (not on a train this time, you can bet) to check up on the local dragons. The moment his back is turned one of the aforementioned dragons sweeps Chise off up in its jaws and takes flight, bearing her away from a stunned Elias. This dragon has a rider, and he’s played by Namikawa Daisuke. And he knows exactly who both Chise and Elias are as well. I’m inclined to agree with the dragon rider, Elias isn’t very careful – though in this case, that’s to the benefit of the story…
That cliffhanger was unfair :’( But a good world building episode. With 24 episodes, it seems Mahoutsukai is taking its sweet time developing things. But that’s no reason to make things too slow with no big events happening. So that cliffhanger was appropriately placed.
I am however confused about Chise’s mother. One moment she seems to care for her daughter, the next, the cruelest thing she could do to her. So which was it? I feel like something is still missing with her. Maybe later episodes will shed some light on that.
I don’t know if you’re quoting someone, but it does matter. A caring mother doesn’t just flip a switch and decides her kid is an abomination without a good reason. Like I said, something may be missing.
I forgot the / to close the blockquote tag, so I guess I was quoting myself. People’s circumstances change and switches get flipped. A good reason? How about mental illness. And you don’t need to think your child is an abomination to want to let it go. If you disagree then I suggest that perhaps you haven’t seen enough of the world yet.
Mental illness or otherwise, you can’t deny that it wasn’t fully explained in this episode why Chise’s mother did what she did, and as mangaka-chan said below,
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Shouto’s mother in My Hero Academia was given a reason why she did what she did to her son (mental illness as it happens), so it’s not like something like that can just be left to the imagination and be done with. So, with all due respect, don’t jump the gun next time and assume someone hasn’t seen enough of the world yet. The world doesn’t run by that oversimplified way of thinking.
HOnestly, while an explanation can be helpful, I didn’t feel it was needed with her mother at all. If you look at Chise in the various scenes we’ve seen, there’s a clear timeline. The poppy field scene she was very young, so her mother probably hadn’t realized yet how strange her child was and like most mothers, though sadly not all, she liked her daughter.
As Chise grew and her strangeness became more apparent, her mother became more and more frustrated and tired of her daughter, so she did what she did.
I watched the first episode of the prequel OVA on accident (didn’t realize there was a prequel ova and thought I was watching the series) and there’s a scene of her aunt (I think) complaining to her husband because Chise had been refusing to eat her food and wandering around silently looking like she’d been beaten. It’s easy for us to sympathize with Chise since, as viewers, we see what she sees, but as someone with children in my care, I actually found myself looking at it from the aunt’s point of view. You take in a kid, you try to do the right thing, and the kid refuses to eat your food, won’t talk, and is generally strange and unpleasant for no reason that they’ll explain. It’s perfectly understandable that you’d get sick of it. I assume the same happened with her mother.
Now, we may get an actual story reason, and that’s fine, but if we don’t then I think the mother losing it over having such a strange and frustrating daughter is more than enough explanation.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty more cliff hangers in the future. I love Ancient Magus Bride for it’s slide-of-life moments but it’s dramatic moments also don’t disappoint.
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There are lots of things missing with her mother. It’s not even clear if that first scene of Chise in the flowers with her mother is real or just what she wished life was like with her mother!
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(just a little too specific with manga info – GE)
Personally I don’t think the fragments of Chise’s mom that we see are just Chise’s imagination.
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There’s plenty of mothers that loved their child dearly until they found out they were gay for example. So it could make sense that her Mother ‘flipped’ after learning about the magic stuff.
That’s one of the possibilities, and it would make the most sense. But what if her mother was already aware, and she flipped because of something else? In a world as magical as this, I wouldn’t bet on just one possibility.
That giant axolotl (or whatever it is) is so darn cute.
It does look like an axolotl, doesn’t it? I just can’t figure out why an axolotl would appear in that context.
Real-world axolotl are kinda ugly looking, so props to the animation team for making it look cute (the cat like behavior probably doesn’t hurt).
You can’t tell me that’s not cute:
It kinda reminded me of Mitty (Abyss).
You can see I’m still not over that series.
Oh Mitty………!!!! You just had to mention Mitty!!!
Yup, it was very cute (and that picture of a real-life axolotl was cute too, unfortunately you can’t hug real life axolotls )
Please remember to put any forward information from the manga behind spoiler tags (and that includes hinting), thank you.
I marathoned the first 2 episodes and can’t wait for the next.
IMHO, everything is done right – the ecchi humour, the story,
pacing and the art, animation, voice acting, and music work
so well together in this series.
I love how we’re told she’s something special (Slay / Sleigh –
jury’s out with that one), but we know as much about what she
is as she does about herself. She’s not used to being treated
as different good; it’s always been different evil with her.
So, she’s beginning to see herself in a different light and we’re
right with her in this journey. I like that Anime writing style.
So happy to hear it’s 2-cour. Gonna be a great watch when it’s cold out!
The whole fiancee thing is kind of off-putting without any explanation….that is until Elias’s human faced appeared…..damn girl! You are so lucky! If you don’t take Elias as his wife then I’ll take it as his husband (not to say his actual skull face is bad, in fact its pretty cute/endearing….but his human face…nuff said)! But no really, the dudes in this show are good-looking, and I do like the fact that they’re older than your typical attractive “highschool student characters”
Seems like Chise is some kind of “Cat Mint” for the Fairies and Spirits, and they can not wait to lend her their powers
Admittedly, Chise doesn’t seem to give a damn about what happens to her when she sells herself into slavery (what else can you call it when you wind up in chains?), but who got the money? It seems she basically sold herself for nothing and that organization got all the funds. That’s almost more depressing than being suicidal.
It was a bit strange to see Elias’ human face but starting to grow on it. Even when he is in his “bone” face form, I still see his human face.
There’s still so much unanswered questions but definitely love this anime so far and I think it will be my favorite of the season.
Somehow, Elias’ antelope-skull head is strangely cute…
When the in Future of this Anime are no Black times, then i got hooked
Pacing is right, Nature is calling at every screenshot and an calm tune so far. Yes it create its own Magic that i want to continue to watch
please continue to entertain me in your own language, Mahoutsukai no Yome
But do me a favor, do not introduce drama with an big wood club, all of a sudden.. I know she is a rare “precious” treasure in the Mage world, that surly someone would kill or die for…
But then, they will use her like an gigantic magic Booster an battery on two legs?
Yes, the “light” is stronger then the “Darkness”, the shadow it produce is still thin
Something that slightly bothers me when watching this episode (and reading the manga), is why was Chise so surprised when Elias told her they were in England in the first episode? Granted that Chise is Japanese and the flashback of Noel suggesting she sell herself took place in Japan, but the beginning of this episode shows her in a plane with Noel flying to the UK, and the auction took place there too.
When Elias tells her they are “…West of London, in a rural area of England”, she seems very surprised and is like “E-England?!”.