「Any Port in a Storm」

Having some experience with the source material for Mahoutsukai no Yome, there have been a few arcs that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing adapted (principally this one and the “Kingdom of Cats” arc).  It’s not because they aren’t good – quite the contrary, in fact.  It’s just that mangaka Yamazaki Kore pulls no punches when she goes dark, and while it doesn’t happen all that often, she can go very dark indeed.  There’s no despair fatigue to blunt the impact as is the case with something like Devilman Crybaby – when Mahoutsukai goes for the throat, you really feel the cut.

Such is certainly the case with this arc, which was teased by last week’s (weekly) cliffhanger ending.  We spent a good deal of time getting to know dragons young and old in the early days of this story, and they all made a big impression in their own way – both on Chise and the audience.  So when dragon children are kidnapped by poachers – still worse when they’re shown to be working for Cartaphilus – it certainly sets a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  This is not going to be pleasant, that much is obvious – though just how unpleasant it turns, and how quickly, may be a bit of a shock.

As always, Mahoutsukai finds time to drop in a few interesting teasers about the mysteries of the story – like the mention that Chise is officially dead in Japan (not to mention Chise musing on whose face Elias “borrows” later in the episode – but we’ll get to that) – while it lays out the plot.  As Chise lies asleep, Mikhail is in London working with a pair of students – Adolf Stroud (Suzumura Kenichi) and Tory Innis (Konishi Katsuyuki) – to try and prepare to track down the missing dragons.  As it happens these two are college students – but this too is a teasing reference to something deeper in the story, a college whose nature Elias seems keen not to share with Chise.

Chise, meanwhile, has a rather disturbing vision/dream where she meets Cartaphilus in London.  He seems not himself – his memories not fully intact, roiling in agony from his stolen arm – but his nightmarish visage is enough to finally wake Chise from her two-day repose.  The full cast from the college is there, along with Lindel’s Selkie familiar, and it’s clear that they’re all very keen on bringing Elias into the rescue effort.  This is a pattern we’ve seen repeat itself numerous times – Elias would just as soon mind his own business, but is more or less forced to help by Chise’s insistence.  And given her relationship with the dragon children, there’s no chance Chise is going to be persuaded to sit this one out.

The path of least resistance is to simply purchase the dragons when they come up for auction, and to this end Chise enlists the help of Seth, the agent who brokered her sale to Elias.  But this is going to take an enormous amount of money – more, perhaps, than even the combined wealth of the college and the money Seth tells her she (and Elias) is owed from her own sale.  There’s another offer of help, too – from a mysterious woman who catches Chise’s ear when the auction seems to be going badly, but is invisible and inaudible to everyone else.  Elias, meanwhile, has taken on a form which gives us an insight into his inner thoughts that’s considerably more informative than his usual visage.  It’s quite a revealing development for his character in many ways.

In the end, though, all this takes a back seat to what’s happened to the dragon child – and we’re spared none of the gut-wrenching depth of his despair.  From being experimented on by Cartaphilus to being bound and manhandled in a cage, the creature has been driven to madness by terror and pain – and Chise is able (whether she wants to or not) to share his emotions.  We’re not told the exact details of how the dragon’s transformation happens – whether this is something all magical creatures are capable of it driven to it, or only dragons, or whether it may be a result of Cartaphilus’ experimentation.  But whatever to cause, it renders the auction price moot quickly enough – and leaves an enraged fire-breathing dragon rampaging in London (it’s as if Boris Johnson were mayor again).  Rarely in Mahoutsukai has the potential for tragedy seemed to exist on so many levels – and to be unavoidable.




  1. i’m an anime-only watcher so its possible i’m wrong about this but am i the only one who was reminded of Elias when the dragon transformed?

    The black sludge, black fur, red eyes, skull face. The dragon looks almost exactly like Elias did in his rage form. This could be a slight hint into how Elias came into existence?

    also, Alice should only wear a suit from now on.

    1. So Elias is basically evolved corruption, that used to be a Coyote (because he has coyote skull). This kinda makes me think Elias is whatever Cartaphilus is trying to replicate but failing. Cartaphilus got double personality going by the looks of it, perhaps even more than two considering he’s immortal and probably went insane hundreds of times by now. He might have been the one who created Elias in the first place but completely forgot about it due to mental instability.

      1. Interesting conjecture about Elias. I wonder if we’ll find out who created him and why.

        Cartaphilus got double personality going by the looks of it,

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  2. I agree that this is going to be gut wrenching to watch, but a lot will be revealed so skipping it isn’t an option if you care about the story. Remember too that Cartaphilus has two dragons and we haven’t seen what became of the other one.

    I seem to remember that dragons mature at very different rates depending on their natures and desires. This one obviously has been pushed to the limit.

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    1. Unfortunately, we already know in this episode what happened to the other dragon…
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      1. perhaps they made sexual fake powders from his organs. Like they believe that an shark fin can be like some kind of viagra. Or albinos have some sort of the same in Africa..

  3. I loved this episode, though a part from the manga was cut that I wanted to see. It wasn’t that integral to the plot so I’m fine with it…it basically detailed the phone conversation between Chise and Seth…
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    Also the exchange between Chise and Elias when the latter refused to help…I felt that the concept wasn’t explained properly. Not sure if it was the translation or the source material not being clear…
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    For clarification into the College looking up Chise’s record, since Chise is legally listed as deceased in Japan, they had to create a new record for her since she is now residing in the UK. Probably partly because they would like her to attend (or be a guinea pig for) the college, but also because it helps for general things. Who knows, a constable might stop her in the street and ask for identity papers and she won’t have any…Adolf also tells Renfred that he sent quite a few messenger birds to get Chise’s input but none of them ever returned…

  4. I’m actually a little frustrated at how much manga content the anime’s been cutting when it comes to Joseph; at first I was wondering if Wit Studio was just excising the parts of the source text that had awkward real-life implications but now I’m just crossing my fingers in hopes that they’re not changing his whole backstory to make an anime-original ending lmao. Anime-only viewers might want to check out the manga version of chapter 33 if you’re curious, because the dream sequence with Joseph was originally a lot longer and gave him and Chise both some neat character development.


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