Anime Review: The Ancient Magus Bride Episode 2

Chise waking up

I hope that everyone is having a nice and relaxing weekend, no matter how it is being spent.

Things have been going fairly well here, as I can still do something that I enjoy.

Recently, I found out that a series that I have been a fan of was going to start airing this month, and I decided to cover it while it was airing.

Today, I will be reviewing another episode of that series, which is called The Ancient Magus Bride.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Chise & Ainsworth talk while walking

After being taken in by Ainsworth and realizing that she is indeed welcome in his place, Chise seems to be adjusting fine to her new life.

However, even though her new life with Ainsworth may seem to be peaceful, a trip to take care of some errands seems to create some complications, as Chise finally takes her first steps into the world magic, and Chise is about to experience an adventure.

Angelica Barley

While the pilot episode did not really grab me that much, though it contained mostly events from the first chapter of the manga and seemed more satisfying than Crunchyroll's screening, the series is not bound to be terrible.

And after watching this episode, I must say that I really enjoyed it.

From the moment that I started watching this episode, I did not want to stop watching for any reason, though I have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

Unlike the first episode, where I was trying to find out where things were going, in spite of being quite familiar with the series, this feeling seemed to be a bit more genuine in this episode.

If I had to say why, it would have to be because WIT executed things better, but having things start off a bit slow, yet made in interesting.

Due to the pattern of pilot episodes of many series out there, regardless of whether they are anime or not, being terrible, those that prefer to be entertained might be willing to give a series more of a chance, but viewers still seek to be drawn into a show and given reason to watch, which means that they must find it enjoyable and there must be plenty to like in the beginning.

Of course, even though the way to catch a person's attention is not necessarily the same for each of every medium, the thing that remains the same is that the audience perceives it to be interesting, instead of dull, and WIT had utterly failed to do that with the pilot episode of, by taking away some mysteries and executing the episode in a very poor manner.

Here, however, the staff at WIT gave me enough time in this episode that I felt like I was getting to know the characters and even started to explore the world a bit more, as well as make me feel like I was in another world.

This is what I wanted to see from the very first episode of this, because it was the only way that things could have been even remotely interesting, yet WIT did not seem to deliver anything like this until now.

If WIT had delivered all of this back in the very first episode, I would have been way more satisfied with their adaptation, and it would have also come across as one of the best pilot episodes I ever saw.

Unfortunately, because they failed terribly with that episode, they had to make up for things with this episode, and there are some people that would not have been as a patient as I am.

Still, that does not change the fact that the staff that WIT has working on this series did improve things before it was too late, and I feel like giving them a bit applause for alleviating my fears that this might be yet another Attack on Titan.

Hopefully, things will keep on improving from here, as I, and many other fans of the series, would actually be glad if more people could learn why this series could be so great, as opposed to something that gets bashed as much as DBZ or Sword Art Online.

I also liked how there seemed to be a lot more to laugh about in this episode.

Even though it was quite understandable that there was not too much to laugh about in the previous episode, since this series is not necessarily a comedy series, and the humor here is not necessarily unique to the series, or even anime and manga in general, WIT studio seemed to execute things well enough that it seemed to still be pretty funny, and much more so than they were in anime.

Regardless or whether one is reading a book or watching a movie or television series, the audience wants to connect with the characters and actually feel like those characters are human beings, which means that the characters themselves need time to be fleshed out.

In the world of anime and manga, this is done through moments of comedy and slice of life, and if WIT had taken out the moments of comedy in the series, the characters themselves would just feel like they are missing something, thus leading the series further towards a path that would make it look just as bad as Attack on Titan was.

Fortunately, WIT had kept in the comedic moments, and it truly feels like I am now in the world that Kore Yamazaki that I grew to enjoy just as much as many of Jun Mochizuki's work.

WIT Studio may not have impressed me too much with how this series started, or even the other series that they adapted into anime, but seeing how they were able to deliver quite well in the comedy department for two straight episodes, I feel like giving them a big round of applause.

If they can keep this up in the future episodes, WIT Studio may be able to change my impression of them from being a studio that may be worse than what A-1 Pictures is perceived to be into one that appears to know what they are doing, much like I was not that impressed with Isuna Hasekura until I actually read the Spice & Wolf series.

Then again, seeing as how they did a horrible job in the areas that matter in Attack on Titan, my fears could ultimately prove right and this series will end up just as bad, so I must be as prepared to berate the staff for doing a horrible job as I am when I see Gosho Aoyama deliver a terrible case in Detective Conan.

Still, they do deserve to be praised for what they did right, just like everyone else, as that is what helps motivate a person to continue to improve, and I hope that I would not have to put them down so badly.

Another nice thing about this episode was how magic was getting explored.

Now, some of you guys might be wondering why magic would be so intriguing, as there is hardly any work of fiction out there that does not have magic present, but, just like many other things found in fiction, there are ways to do things in which they are unique.

The audience, regardless of medium, want to have some feeling that what they are watching or reading is unique, even if the way things play out is just more of the same, and knowing that magic was going to have some kind of role in this series, I found myself wondering just how the magic in this world works, and the fact that it was finally getting explored at last made me feel like I was watching something that was not yet another Harry Potter or some other series that uses magic.

In many of the series out, we, as the audience, are expected to immediately know how it works, or just accept the explanation that it is just magic and we do not need to know how it works, much like how members of my church believe that God has called the people leading them into their position, even though there are things out there, such as information contained in a post published by Alan Rock Waterman on Pure Mormonism, that suggests that it was not God that made things the way they are today.

However, Chise, the protagonist of this series, is completely new to magic and, like many of us, believe it to be nothing more than sleight of hand or something does not exist, though Chise knew that she was not a normal individual.

Yes, she is not quite as skeptical of things as many of us in real life, beyond the fact that she lost her faith in people and does not value her life, at this point in the series, but that does not change the fact that she needs to learn magic, and that feeling that she is actually learning to use it in this episode gives it its unique vibe, when compared to other works of fiction that feature magic.

If the staff at WIT that put this episode together had forgotten about this aspect of the series, I would have been disappointed because part of what makes this series feel so different from the rest would not be found in this work, which have given me more reason to just forget about this anime and focus only on the manga.

Fortunately, they did not do that and I feel like I am being drawn to the series more, which makes me feel like giving the staff at WIT studio another good round applause.

This is what both fans and newcomers want to see from a series, and WIT Studio is finally able to deliver something that makes me proud that I had invested my time into it.

Nice job, WIT, you guys should be proud that you have finally delivered something that does not feel empty, and if this keeps up, there might be some potential to match or surpass Kore Yamazaki's original work.

The thing that I liked the most about this episode though was how this episode ended on a cliffhanger.

One of the reasons that I was not impressed by the first episodes was because there seemed to be a lack of a cliffhanger, because, instead of ending the episode right at Chise's reaction to what Ainsworth said after taking her into his arms, the episode ended by zooming out and showed some scenery.

By doing that, it felt like the series had already concluded and I had little to no reason to continue on into this particular episode, as I was not wondering what was going to happen next, like I did in the first chapter of the manga, ultimately leading to my great disappointment.

Here, however, the episode ends with questions that need to be present at the end of practically any episode or chapter in a series like this.

This is the correct way to make a reader or, in this case, viewer feel engaged with a work, because it gives them reason to continue on, and by having an actual cliffhanger like this, I want to watch the next episode right now, even though I technically have already, thanks to the fact that Crunchyroll screened the first three episodes in theaters where I live.

If the staff at WIT Studio had ended this episode like the last one, I would have dropped this immediately, as they would have continued to make this series look worse than it is, and I would put them in the same trash bin that I threw John Grisham into.

However, because they did not do that, I feel like singing the word hallelujah over and over, with a light shining down, as I possibly thank the heavens that the staff working on this anime might be competent enough to deliver a good anime.

I would have been much happier if I could give this kind of praise for something that truly does seem to be worthy of being called a masterpiece, but I guess I will just have to settle for just being happy that they can something right and hope that they do not mess things up even more, which I still expect them to do.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that would not spoil things too much or could not stand on its own.

Because I feel like I was truly engaged in this episode from beginning to end, even more so than wanting to find out what is going on, things were still pretty funny, and that the episode ended in way that actually made me want to watch more episodes, as it had a real cliffhanger, this was one of the best anime episodes I have seen.

Chise with a curious look

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, as it is still early in the series, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, enough so that it felt like the staff at WIT Studio upped their game, and nothing majorly wrong, this was definitely worth watching.

I recommend this to practically everyone, whether they want to see something new or are already fans of The Ancient Magus Bride, as it delivers things that most people would be able to enjoy, but if you already made up your mind that all anime is trash, then it probably would not change your mind.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buy a copy of the first volume of the manga from the Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series that we all enjoy and possibly find other worthwhile anime for you guys to watch, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.