Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Ancient Magus' Bride

Normally by the end of a show I'm pretty sure i know how i feel about the overall.
That is probably why this show perplexes me.
24 episodes and i'm still not sure what i think... So lets break it down.

The story follows Chise Hatori, a teenage orphan who can see spirits.
Considering the parallels to my fav show Natsume yuujinchou you would think that this would automatically make me favour the show more. However...
After trying to jump off the roof of the school building she is approached by a man who owns an auction. he convinces her that instead of dying why not sell herself to someone who can make use of her gift.

She ends up being bought by a Magus who is tall like a giant and has a head made of bone and horns on either side of his head. He informs her that he wishes to teach her to be a magus as well as make her his bride.

The story then ends up being more episodic. We learn more about what Chise is and why she is considered so special and rare to those in any of the magical fields. We see her try to use her powers without destroying herself. We see her try to grow a backbone after being such a doormat for so long. Above all else we see her trying to figure out how she fits into this family dynamic.

This show, on face value has everything I love in it.
Stunning Visuals.
Interesting world building.
Amazing Music...
And yet I still find myself on the fence... and I think i can pinpoint a few reasons why.

1. I really don't think Elias and Chise have a healthy relationship. It gets better as the show goes on but it still feels like Elias is a bit too controlling.
About 3/4 of the way through the show I saw a video essay by Lindsey Ellis that mentioned there could be some similarities between the romance in this and the romance in twilight but one is universally panned and the other is ok.
For me, I had never thought about the similarities but having it pointed out that that really made things click into place for me. Both give me that same somewhat creeped out vibe cause there is such a shift in the power dynamic...
When the show is loosely based on this one relationship and you can't really bring yourself to enjoy that then it gets harder to like the show overall.
Now as I said, it gets better... Chise grows a backbone and I really started to enjoy the show but then...

2. It ends in a way where Everything is resolved.... but also nothing is resolved.
Every main plot thread in the series is tied up in what feels like breakneck speed at the end. No loose ends, everything is good... But it feels like they haven't been able to tell their story.
Now from my research the manga still seems to be ongoing so perhaps they just wanted to finish everything in a way that both allowed for another season but also didn't disappoint if that second season never happened. I just feel like you have this great setup of Chise being both powerful but fragile and it never really amounts to anything. Perhaps this is the case in the manga, i haven't read it but in the anime it mostly felt like things were happening to Chise instead of Chise driving the plot....

3. One of the plots early one deal with cats in a way that almost made me drop the show.
Much like Natsume this show can get deceptively horrific, it does not shy away from difficult subject matter but on more then one occasion I felt it pushed it too far and that makes it really hard to enjoy the show. It's not enjoyable to be thinking "what horrors are you going to blindside me with".

I don't know if there is enough story for it but I do hope that one day we get another season... currently it feels unfinished and rushed.
I want to like this show I really do, as mentioned before the possibility for a cool story is there, it just feels like they have side stepped it. The visuals are stunning and I will probably get the OST as soon as I can cause the music is great.
And I want to be clear I didn't hate the show... but I just didn't love it either.

Anyways thats really all i have to say on this show... I think I have a couple of shows ending shortly however i didn't end up watching too much this season. next season is looking packed though (hopefully this time i'll remember to post my first impressions BEFORE I talk about the show ending~)

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