I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, and not getting stressed out over the holiday rush.
Things have been going fairly well, aside from the fact that I now need to pay attention to things manually, as I can still do the things that I enjoy doing.
A while back, I decided to cover a show that I had been interested in seeing for a while, and it looks like it is getting much closer to the halfway point.
Today, I will be reviewing another episode from that series, which called The Ancient Magus Bride.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
Ainsworth has been hit hard by what Renfred said and spends some time contemplating or anything else.
Meanwhile, Lindel concludes his story about how he met Ainsworth and what happened on their journey and shows Chise some choices of wood to start carving her wand.
Even though things can go up and down in terms of quality, that progression from bad to good take some time.
And after watching this episode, I can say that I kind of liked it, but still not quite enough to where I can say that it is anything better than ok.
Within the first few minutes of the episode, I found myself engrossed enough that I wanted to find out what was going on, though it was not really on a level in which I would only want to pay attention to the episode if I could.
Seeing as the staff at Wit Studio are staying fairly faithful to Kore Yamazaki's work, with only a few changes here and there, which is about the only thing that I can truly praise them for at this time, other than visuals, I kind of got what I was expecting, even if it was not what I truly wanted to see.
Back in the previous episode, things ended right around where Chise was learning a bit about Ainsworth's backstory, after being told by Lindel that she was allowing Ainsworth to tame her, and Renfred was chastising Ainsworth for doing nothing but letting Chise live there, finally ending with a scene of Chise being out in blizzard.
Upon seeing this, I was hoping that the staff at Wit Studio would finally starting taking steps to deviate from the source material because they have not been able to truly deliver something that great since episode 8, thereby making Kore Yamazaki's own work look terrible, and there are times where a faithful adaptation ends up being worse than truly making it your own, seeing as the method of grabbing a reader's attention is not entirely the same as how one would go about in grabbing the attention of television of movie fans because there is more than writing involved.
With the way the last episode ended and began, the hook needed to draw in viewers was there because it made me think that something had happened and the ending made me think that this episode would start leading into what was seen at the beginning of the last episode, where Ainsworth, or somebody who looks like him, looked up and saw something similar to the Aurora Borealis, after collapsing in the snow, and would have given me a lot of reason to continue on with this adaptation because it was the perfect place to start deviating from Kore Yamazaki's work.
Unfortunately, as I noted in my review of the previous episode, and I even expected, the ending scene of the last episode ended up being just a representation of what Chise would be like if she were led to ruin by just doing whatever Ainsworth wanted of her, and this episode started off with showing Ainsworth deep in thought, which was one of the few things that are different from the original manga, other than how some things have been moved around, either for the better or worse.
Yes, the way that this episode started up was not that bad, and does still kind of allow for things to wrap around to the point where Ainsworth is seen running through that blizzard and fighting wolves, but Ainsworth's conversation with Adolf Stroud and Renfred never came across as either shocking or intriguing as it was towards the end of volume 3 of the manga because the way Kore Yamazaki executed things made it seem like there was something more going on and that somebody might be after Chise, whereas those events in this adaptation just felt like Renfred was trying to get Chise away Ainsworth, which made it hard for me to understand why the staff at Wit Studio would start things off here, instead of immediately continuing the story from Lindel and seeing Chise get to work on making her wand, and ended up making it hard for me to invest myself in this episode.
If Ainsworth were completely removed from this episode, except for his appearance in Lindel's story, this would have been able to start things off well enough that I could say that I would have wanted to my complete and undivided attention, and I would have been able to praise them for delivering what anime fans want to see.
Sadly, the staff at Wit Studio decided that we needed to see Ainsworth deep in thought over what Renfred said and doing nothing else, before transitioning back to Lindel and Chise, and it ended up making the beginning of this episode to seem to be nothing more than okay.
Hopefully, the third quarter shows dramatic improvement in this area, because I want to be able to praise this adaptation as much as I can praise Kore Yamazaki's original work and find myself so enthralled with the beginning of each episode that I would not want to stop watching, even if the needs that we all must satisfy start to cause problem, but seeing as only one third of this quarter of the series provided the charm that I wished to see, I am not too certain that the staff can deliver when their mistakes that make episodes okay at best will start affecting the quality of the show, which is much of the last half of a series.
I also liked how Chise did not really need any rescuing this time around.
One of the things that I have seen people complain about whenever they see Chise is that she cannot seem to do anything on her own, which is understandable because of what she was like when she was introduced to us and the reasoning behind it that I brought up in my review of episode 7, and while that has been fixed a bit by having Chise gain more knowledge and start to become a little happier, it has never been enough to the point where one could no longer consider her the clichéd damsel in distress because she was still heavily reliant on Ainsworth.
However, in this episode, Chise seems to be in control of things now, though she is still certainly not capable of doing everything herself yet.
The best, and probably only, example of this occurs before Chise starts to carve out her wand.
In the morning after Lindel talked about his past with Ainsworth, Chise tries washing her face and the dragons come running over to her like a child that is happy to see one of their parents come home from work and their running into her sends her flying into the water, where she seems more amazed about what she is seeing than being done with things or wanting the pain to go away and then swims to the surface herself.
In the past, every time Chise is sent into the water, she just let herself sink further to the bottom because she thought that her misery, which had accumulated because of all the times in her life that her supposed family and relatives revealed that they did not want her, was going to end with her death and she had no reason to keep on striving to live, which made it so that the only way she would survive is if somebody came to her rescue, thus earning her the label of damsel in distress, even if it made more sense than either Kagome Higurashi's or Asuna Yuuki's moments of helplessness in Inuyasha and Sword Art Online respectively.
If the staff at Wit Studio had made it so that either Ruth or Lindel had to dive in save Chise, I would have been very angry. Not only the series start to look bad because the charm was fading away from the series quicker than it should have been, but it would also mean that Chise would not be growing into an actual human and made it so that I would not be able to look upon her the same way that I can in Kore Yamazaki's original work, especially because this is the episode that immediately precedes the halfway point of this adaptation.
Fortunately, that did not happen, and I can walk away truly satisfy with one thing that I got from the episode, as opposed to just giving some minor praise for at least showing some improvement, like how Lindel's conversation from the previous episode was only a little better than Angelica's chastisement back in episode 9.
The thing that I liked the most though was Lindel's display of magic.
Even though the best thing about this series is how Ainsworth and Chise grow, and possibly strengthen their bond enough to where one could easily see them get married, seeing as this is considered a romance series, the world that these characters are in is one in which magic exists and Chise is an apprentice to a mage, which means we need to see some magic presented.
Now, this is not something too many creators forget in our day and age, whether that be in things like anime and manga or in works of fiction originating from either the UK or the country where I live, as magic is a common thing in a lot of works of fiction, but many times, it just feels like it is there and something as mundane as brushing your teeth or the usual grind of work or the tools we use every day.
Because of this, the magic presented does not come across as special, because we just expect things to happen somethings or can explain it by say, “It's magic,” instead of being left awestruck and then saying that it really is magical.
Here, however, the magic seen as Lindel cast a spell really did seem like it was one of those times it which I found myself truly amazed to the point where I want to say that it truly feel like magic.
If I had to say why, it is probably for the same reason that the events leading up to the end of episode.
Yes, the magic found in this series is really well done in both this adaptation from Wit Studio and Kore Yamazaki's original work, which I am a bigger fan of than this adaptation, and is one thing that makes the series look great, but this is the first time that I truly felt like I was seeing any magic because the artwork, including the coloring, which made everything look almost as great as the best landscape photographs one could find, and the animation, along with some music that is good enough that I would want to get it from either Amazon or iTunes, were put together so well that I was in just as much of a state of awe as Chise and was able to get some strong feelings during the final moments of this episode, which seemed to be one of the most touching scenes I have seen so far, whereas the way that it was presented in chapter 17 of the manga did not seem to be that impressive and that took away from the exchange Chise and Ainsworth had at the very end of the chapter, though I would not that it was completely unsatisfactory.
In fact, the scene is so great that I would have liked to share the moment, which takes place during the last seven minutes of the episode, with you guys, but that would cause a bit of a headache since many of the people in the entertainment industry seem to have a problem with people showing scenes from the actual work, which is another reason I dare not do video reviews, other than the fact that I feel more comfortable revealing my thoughts through textual means, even with the massive amounts of errors and typos that plague my writing.
Maybe, there will be a day where I can do reviews the way that I would want and be able to take better advantage of the visual medium than most YouTube reviewers do, as I would like to become better acquainted with some software that I have access to, but until creators start fighting piracy the right way, such as distributing stuff without DRM and making the legal streaming and reading sites more appealing than the illegal sites, as opposed to just shutting them down and having their links removed from search results, I think it might be best for me to just stick to this format.
If the staff at Wit Studio had not made the magic in this moment feel so real or things like the background music were removed, I would have been given even more reason to stop covering this adaptation and focus solely on the manga.
Thankfully, the staff at Wit Studio did not do that, and that makes me feel like giving them my first major round of applause in what feel like years.
Hopefully, things can keep on improving from here on out, because I and many other fans of the series would rather be able to say with confidence that this was a good adaptation of a great series, but the staff at Wit Studio might just go bad down the drain again, so it might be a while before I can safely say that the charm of the series has returned.
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 attention was grabbed quickly, though not quite well enough for me to say that it started off well, Chise seems to finally find something to live for and was able to keep herself from dying, and that the moments where magic appear seemed to truly be magic, this episode was fairly decent.
Although I did like the episode, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about and stuff that can be gleaned from what I already said about why something was only okay, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.
As a result, there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there were a couple things to like, and that they were some positives that did manage to start moving thing more towards being good than just okay, this was definitely worth watching.
I mainly recommend this to fans of The Ancient Magus Bride anime, as they will be able to enjoy this the most, though fans of the manga will appreciate a couple of the things found in this episode.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, especially now that there were things truly deserving of a praise, instead of being noticed as a minor improvement, but because the episode after this one marks the end of both the second quarter and first half of the series, it might be best to either watch the previous episodes or read the manga first, so that one can get the full enjoyment.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please considering supporting me on Patreon or, if you really want to know where things will go 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 and possibly find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch.
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