Hey it’s ya girl, Miranda, making her debut as the first guest writer for Entertainment Review Project. The blog runners here have been kind enough to allow me to write the review(s) for The Ancient Magus Bride: Those Awaiting A Star.
For those who don’t know, The Ancient Magus Bride is a manga that is currently going through publication. It is about a 15-year-old Japanese girl named Chise who willingly sold herself as a slave after the abandonment and neglect of her family. She is bought in England by a creature who is neither man nor fae nor beast. He declares that she will be his apprentice in magic as well as his bride. Together they learn about each other and the world around them.
The volumes take quite a while to come out, so I assume to appease the fans, they are releasing an OVA for the series set sometime in between volume 4 and 5. It must be noted that when I first watched the episode, I didn’t know this, and was very confused and bitter about the story. I’m glad that that’s the case, otherwise this would be a very angry review.
Due to the nature of the OVA, I think it’s safe to assume that there will be some slight spoilers, you have been warned.
The story starts off very slow, showing us some domestic scenes between Chise and the family she has now built around her, Elias, her mentor and fiancée, Ruth, a Black Dog who has become her familiar, and Silver Lady, a silky, which is basically a home maker. I love every single one of these characters, even Silver Lady, who doesn’t have a single line, both in the anime and source material, but still oozes with personality.
While Elias and Chise’s relationship is very strange, it feels incredibly genuine. Although he declares that she’ll be his bride, they both take the relationship very slowly, and while he is her magic teacher, she is his human teacher, as his existence is a mystery, even to himself.
I especially enjoyed the scenes with Ruth. We see his human form more, and his more playful side. Plus the animation where he transforms is enchanting.
The story picks up when Chise finds a book that Angelica, a fellow mage friend, had sent her when she sent Chise materials Elias had ordered for her education.
The book, funnily enough, is a book that Chise had read long ago when she was “still alone”, and triggers a flashback to Chise’s life in Japan. It was after her mother committed suicide, and after a failed attempt to kill Chise, that she was passed from family member to family member, as none of them wanted to care for her. Each one claiming she was strange, because she could see things they could not.
The art style is pleasantly similar to the source material, offering stunning visuals, and the scenes where they show off their magic is eye candy for my soul. Living in the English countryside provides a lot of charming scenery of green hills and open spaces, and is all the more interesting when the scene shifts to Japan, where it’s tight and claustrophobic, as well as terrifying. Yokai are already scary looking, and many are perfectly fine with having a human in their diet, so you can only imagine what it’d be like for a young child.
The voices they cast for almost everyone is perfect. Almost everyone. Elias’ voice, in my opinion, was a little off. When I imagined him talking, I heard a deep gruff voice. It’s not awful by any means, just not the voice you’d expect to hear from a creature that has a deer skull for a head. Or is it a goat skull?? I’m not entirely sure.
The music was charming, and I’m waiting to get my hands on that ending theme, I’m not sure if it’s in Celtic, Japanese, or some hard to understand English, but it’s really pretty.
It’s somewhat a cross between Natsume Yujinchou and Howl’s Moving Castle, bringing the whimsical curiosity, and heartbreaking loneliness together. Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I highly recommend watching it, though I’d probably read the manga first, or else you’ll be really confused.