「None So Deaf as Those Who Will Not Hear 」
Mahoutsukai no Yome has quality to its construction that I quite admire – that is to say, it often plants little seeds in one arc that will grow, flower and bear narrative fruit later (sometimes substantially later). While this isn’t especially common you do see it in really good series from time to time, Hunter X Hunter being the one which leaps most prominently to mind for me. This style of storytelling tends to make the entire narrative arc feel more cohesive (sometimes you don’t even notice that), and lends a feeling of substance even to chapters or episodes that don’t seem to have all that much happening in them.
This was one such episode, certainly. After the rather dark and frantic nature of Cartaphilus and Isabelle’s arc, a respite was needed – and this episode gave us that. It was a reflective one right from the beginning, with Ruth trying to adjust to his new surroundings and Chise worrying over Elias’ self-imposed exile to his room (for two weeks and counting). Silky shows herself to be rather parental towards Chise here – clearly worried when she disappears into Elias’ room for a while (and she would have been even more so, if she’d seen inside) and chasing Chise out of the house with a wad of bills when she senses the girl needs a respite from what’s become a depressing routine since she and Elias returned.
It’s on this trip that Chise and Ruth (whose human form has shrunk rather dramatically – so as to more easily move around with Chise, he says) run into Angelica, who accompanies them into town for a shopping spree. Angelica clearly hits on a sore point when she (with alarming bluntness) tells Chise she may be getting too “dependent” on Elias. Angelica’s heart is in the right place here, and she’s known Elias a lot longer than Chise has – but for Chise, Elias is one of the very few people in her life for whom she’s ever been able to feel dependency. Surely, telling a child who’s never truly had a home not to get too comfortable in a place they’ve come to feel at home is an awkward thing.
Elias is having issues since his transformation when facing Joseph, no question – and as usual, he’s less than forthcoming with details for Chise. What isn’t usual is that Chise is starting to feel restlessness with this – as her feelings for Elias grow more profound, she resents that he’s not willing to trust her with the truth even when she shows that his fearsome true form doesn’t scare her. Eventually Elias does leave his room, but to sneak out of the house in the early morning, leaving behind only a note not to follow him. Elias may be old and in many ways wise, but clearly he doesn’t understand Chise’s heart yet.
Chise and Ruth go looking for Elias (I don’t think he’s in there, Ruth), naturally – and on this search they stumble onto something altogether different, an old man tending a rose garden at his cottage. He introduces himself as Joel Garland (Umezu Hideyuki) and invites Chise and Ruth in for tea, but they’re quite taken aback that around his shoulders is a busty and scantily-dressed fairy (Hayami Saori) that Ruth identifies as a Leanan sídhe – a Celtic vampire legendary for bestowing inspiration on its male victim in exchange for his blood and life force. Nothing at all about this situation seems normal – an old man such as Joel is useless to a being such as the Leanan sídhe, and there’s no evidence that the normal exchange is taking place.
This is one of those scenarios where as a manga reader, I have a duty not to go into too much detail – so I won’t. And soon enough the narrative trail moves on, anyway – after Chise has read Joel’s short love story about his rose garden, Ruth telepathically informs her that he’s found Elias in the woods north of their house. And there Chise finds him, half-submerged in the pond and surprised to see her in the woods at dusk (again, clueless as to a girl’s heart). Something has changed between these two, clearly – and Chise is afraid not of what Elias becomes when he loses control, but of his unwillingness to confide in her. That will take a back seat for now, though – Lindel intrudes on the moment as he has a wont to do, and summons Chise (and Elias, by necessity) back to the Land of Dragons…
The author is weaving a wonderful tapestry of a story. Each new chapter adds new threads and colors. Who or what Elias actually is is becoming even more of a mystery. I understand how frustrating it must feel to Chise also. To be an apprentice, a bought object,slave, wife? To be in love with, beholden too, attached to a being that is not human, a monster, or is maybe above human? She finally has a place and person that wants her but she knows little about him or if he even cares about her in the human sense.
Animation and the backgrounds in the village were especially nice this time.
Joel Garland’s part of this episode was nice change of pace after having to deal with some of the darker aspects of the overall story. His being able to see his fairy lover because of Chise actually had me choking up a bit. Very well done.
Well, I’ve got my answer as to why Ruth looked different in the OVA’s. Very logical explanation.
Oh, and I have to say something about how well the background music enhances the show without being obtrusive.
Got to go read this section of the manga now since you’ve piqued my interest.
Everything you just said :-). While I don’t eagerly await episodes for this series like I did with Made in Abyss it is a nice weekend watch show and the pacing is great. They know when to ramp it up and when to dial it down. I am still concerned about the points of having Chise as a recurring damsel in distresss and I hope it moves beyond that when the stories progress further. Curious as to why the fairy is hanging around the man – she said she can only love if she drinks his blood but she hasn’t so is she breaking her own rules and not knowing it? I too am no tempted to read the manga.
Good review – loving this series!
With 24 episodes and its great story-telling,
can’t wait to see how it all turns out (I do not
have the manga).
I love how the story is progressing compared to the manga (another two chapters this episode!), though I feel they are cutting a few things however…
Why can’t Chise buy anything specifically for Silky? I don’t think it’ll be explained later on but just in case, the answer is:
Show Spoiler ▼
I’m surprised that Chise just tells Joel that she’s “not good at reading”. In the manga she says…
Show Spoiler ▼
Also in the manga, Ruth actually tells Chise that he shrunk because it made sense for him to be around her height.
Show Spoiler ▼
Gotta love this show. Looks like a look back into the past in the next episode!
Ha, my Guts was also right. There are some Vibes from my favorite Studio in this Anime, and it is not an bad thing. They took it and made its own. Also i heard in some Video Blog, this Anime here bring back the Magic in the Magic Animes.. Well, the viewers still longing for nature Landscapes.
Seems like there are still audience for that, like Mushishi, Flying Witch and others (non-magic) “Villages” Shoots
Some Non-magic “Villages” shoot i mean:
Non Non Biyori
>I’m surprised that Chise just tells Joel that she’s “not good at reading”.
Now if she’d said ‘I’m not good with books’, that would be understandable after her OVA.
Maybe it’s just my filthy shipper’s heart giggling over the fact that Chise’s dogboy happened to pick a form close to Chise in age this time around?
It’s been years since I read a little of the manga; I didn’t recall Angie being there: perhaps for good reason… that scene was incoherent. First, Chise must stop thinking she can rely on herself! Trust in your new friends! Seconds later… how dare you take refuge in yourself & your new-found security! Do what you want!
That was either shitty writing or lousy translation.
I’m looking at the anime’s textual staff on this fail.
I didn’t think it was that bad.
Angie seemed to be saying ‘rely on your friends, but don’t pin EVERYTHING on Elias. Keep some things for yourself, too.’ Because, uh, it’s cute Chise doesn’t mind Elias going black-murder-minotaur there, but the guy obviously has his own issues. I could very easily see Elias hurting Chise without really realizing it.
Well, Trust is nor build overnight with switching an flip. It needs time, patience and love
You know I really feel this is one of the series that truly represent Anime in all its glory. I dare say this is what Anime should be. I am not saying other titles are not great compared but, when you want to really emerse yourself in another graphic entertainment Mahoutsukai no Yome is one of the better titles to do so. I knew after the first episode I would be too captivated to question every little odd moment.
The mystery of Silky, this Banshee is oviously the comic relief, even though she creates her own comedy with dry humor with the circumstances she is in. If viewers forget about Mahoutsukai no Yome at least they will remember Silky, for her quiet, gentle and dry humor nature.
I didn’t under understand where Angelica was coming from? The young will always be dependant of those who have the means especially when the young have been passed around time to time. I felt that Angelica was expecting too much from a teen even if she is a Sleg Beggy.
Elias, so Mr. Perfect isn’t all perfect, under that stotic cow skull hides some anger management issues. Who would have expected Elias to snap, I thought he would just perform a spell to push Joseph back but it was a your dead moment.
please mark your spoilers!
silky’s origin it’s something I been refraining of reading ahead.