I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, and not letting the holiday rush get the best of you.
Things are going well, as my break has been peaceful, and I can still do what I like.
Earlier in the quarter, a show that I had been looking forward to seeing started airing and I have been able to stay current with its run.
Today, I will be reviewing another episode from that series, which is called The Ancient Magus Bride.
As I have given series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
While Chise was talking with Ainsworth, fairy comes saying that an old acquaintance seeks an audience with Chise, as well as get her a wand.
And when Chise arrives, she gets a chance to learn a bit about Ainsworth's past and hears some other words that would hit her hard.
While this series started off great, things have been feeling a bit off lately during the final two thirds of the second quarter to point where the charm seems to be missing again, but that does not mean that all hope is lost yet.
Unfortunately, I can only say that I found this to just be ok.
Within the first few moments of the episode, I found myself engrossed enough with what was going on that I wanted to keep on, though it was not to the point where I just had to watch it like many of the past episodes.
One of the most important things needed to create a good story, or even a television episode is to create a hook and/or lure.
Now, the way to create that hook can be accomplished does vary in a lot of ways, depending on the medium, the kind of story, or if there was a cliffhanger, but there is a big difference between an okay start and a great start and this was just an okay start.
If I had to say why, it is because it was a little misleading.
When the episode starts up, there is a blizzard going on and somebody is walking through it, with wolves howling, and this person seems to take care of the wolves, before they are seen collapsed and then look up at the sky.
A bit later on, after the opening concludes, the episode kind of picks up from the end of the previous episode, where Lindel's familiar comes to get Chise.
Even though this complete beginning was not really that bad, since it did grab my attention, I was led to believe that this would have been similar to the first few pages of the first chapter of Pandora Hearts or the first few page of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 3, where something happened and that I would be seeing what led up to those events, but it just went through the stuff that was mostly seen towards the end of volume 3 and a large part of volume 4 of the manga.
If the episode had gone like I thought it would from the way this began, this would have would have had that pull that I just wanted to see, and I would have liked it for being more different from Kore Yamazaki's work.
Unfortunately, the staff at Wit Studio decided to start things off like this, before picking up where last week's episode left off, and it only ended up being an okay beginning.
Hopefully, things will start getting interesting again, so that I could praise Wit Studio for doing more than providing great visuals again, because many fans of this series would like to say that an adaptation did it justice, if not surpassed it.
Then again, that time may have come and disappeared after the events of episode 8, so I am ready for a disappointing third quarter, as much as I hope things will improve in the third quarter of the series.
I also liked how Lindel tried talking to Chise about what she is doing and how she is acting around Ainsworth.
While this discussion felt so much more powerful in the third volume, which can be found on the page I linked to earlier, though there is a bit of a typo on my part, enough so that I would rank it right up there with what Shinichi Akiyama told Nao during the events of Liar Game when telling her about the importance of doubt, his words here seemed to have come across better than Angelica's and Chise's reaction was way more believable here than it was in the previous episode in that the subs Crunchyroll were worded a lot better to bring that through to the point where it seemed like it was doing its job.
If the way this moment was animated, subbed, and voiced just as badly as Angelica's moment in the last episode, I would have been greatly disappointed because this was the conversation that made me think that Chise was going to stop being overly dependent on Ainsworth and start to see some slow, yet mar, growth, and that would made it feel like Lindel's words have even less weight than Angelica's.
Thankfully, Wit handled things well enough that I could understand what Lindel trying to do, as well as Chise's reaction, which makes me want to give them a little applause for at least doing something right.
Hopefully, that feeling that something said or done has a lot power behind it returns to this adaptation one day, because the staff at Wit Studio has been able to surpass the emotional feels found in Kore Yamazaki's work and those emotional feels is what made this series so great before Wit Studio produced an anime adaptation, on top of all of the other things that Kore Yamazaki had done right.
Sadly, right now, it looks like the staff are still in some kind of slump that caused Attack on Titan to become one of the absolute worst anime to ever air, so I see this going from being a contender for anime of the year to just another series that failed to live up to its potential, even if I still have some hope that third and four quarters of the adaptation could redeem, and might consider only following the manga.
Still, the staff at Wit Studio do deserve some praise for doing a bit better than what they did before, because that will motivate them to do better than constantly criticizing them.
The thing that I liked the most though was how this episode ended.
While a great beginning had capture the audience's attention and giving them incentive to continue watching, the ending is just as important as the beginning because it gives the reader or, in this case, the viewer an incentive to keep coming back, and that was what this ending did.
Now it may not be like episodes 4 or 7, where there were major cliffhangers or some kind of big cliffhanger, because nothing major took place, but it still did a good job because it reminded me of how the episode began.
As I stated earlier, this episode starts off with a huge blizzard and somebody, who I want to believe is Ainsworth, due purely the character's appearance, is walking through the snow and is then seen dealing with wolves, before collapsing and looking up at the sky.
The season may not exactly be winter right now in the series, like the scene in the very beginning, but at the very end, before the credits roll, Chise is standing in the middle of a blizzard with a sad look on her face, like she had lost something.
Upon seeing this, I started to wonder if the events that were seen in the beginning were going to play out in the next episode, so that I would find out what caused Ainsworth to look up and see something similar to the Aurora Borealis, as well as what had happened.
Yes, considering how faithful the staff at Wit Studio have been to Kore Yamazaki's work, this scene may be nothing more than a visual aid to represent what state Chise would be in after being led to ruin, since Renfred does reprimand Ainsworth for doing nothing but let Chise stay there, but seeing as this scene played out after part of Ainsworth's backstory was covered, instead of before it, like in the opening chapter of volume 4, I am thinking that the staff at Wit Studio might try to do something different and deviate from the manga, which they probably really need to do, seeing as the preview for the next episode suggests that it will content following the manga.
If the episode did not end like this, I would have been more disappointed with it than I am, because it would have shown that everyone would be able to safely say that the high moments of the last half of the first quarter and the first two episodes of the second quarter were nothing but a fluke, and I would have to concede that I was wrong about them being any good.
Thankfully, the staff at Wit Studio did not do, and I can walk away with some satisfaction.
Hopefully, things will continue to end just as well as this one did, because that would be able to save this adaptation from the trash heap, and people would still be able to see enough saving grace to check out the original work, but considering how many times the staff at Wit Studio only changed things around a bit, instead of going in a completely different direction, I doubt that they will be able to end future episodes well.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I already talked about.
Because my interest was captured quickly and I was given some reason to watch all the way through, Lindel's words and Chise's reaction was a bit more believable than the exchange between Angelica and Chise, though did not come off quite as strongly as it did back in the manga, and that the ending made me think that things were going to be tied back to the beginning of the episode, this episode was fairly decent.
Although there were a few things to like, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, things that affect the series as a whole more than this episode, and things that could be gleaned from what I already said, nothing really bothered me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like, the fact that there was only one thing that really stood out made this only good enough to kill time.
I recommend this mainly to fans of The Ancient Magus Bride anime, as they will like this the most, though things are still not looking as good as they did before.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but I think it might be time to just switch over to the manga or just try out the series through the manga, since this anime adaptation is seemingly losing its charm.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to find out what happens next, buy a copy of the fourth volume from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series that many of us enjoy, even if I decide to only follow the manga, and possible find more worthwhile anime for you guys to see.
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