Anime Review: The Ancient Magus Bride Episode 3

October 21, 2017

chise petting dragon

I hope that everyone is had a good week, and enjoying a
relaxing weekend.

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

This month, a series that I was kind of looking forward to
seeing air finally started being broadcasted on one of the sites that I have a
subscription with, and I decided to cover it during its run.

Today, I will be reviewing another episode from 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 captured by dragon caretaker

Ainsworth has received some tasks to care of, albeit reluctantly,
and he and Chise head towards the location of the first thing that needs to be
taken care of.

However, before
the two reach their destination, Chise is snatched up by a dragon, a species
thought to no longer exist, and she meets another person who knows her
mysterious teacher.

Lindel, the dragon caretaker.

Even though the previous
episode
really impressed me, unlike the pilot,
that does not mean that things are on the up and up, especially because the
show is just starting.

And after seeing this, I can only say that it was okay.

Like the last episode, I found myself quite engrossed in this
episode to the point where I kind of did not want to stop watching it for any
reason, though it was not to the extent of its predecessor.

While I was kind of hoping to see things be a whole lot
better, due to the fact that many anime fans know to give anime more than one
or two episodes, things seemed to be good enough to lure me in a bit and keep
me wondering what exactly is going on.

If I had to say why it did a good job of pulling me in
initially, it was because it did what was expected of it and started off where
the previous episode left off.

Back in episode, after Ainsworth received a request to look
into things, we see Ainsworth and Chise head off towards their first
destination, and before they get anywhere, a dragon appears, snatches Chise up
off the ground, only to end without being given too many details, which made me
want to see this episode right then and there, just to see what would happen.

In this episode, it starts up with Chisel being dragged off
by her captor, and the intrigue of what exactly he plans to deal with her had
me on the edge of my seat.

Now, a writer or a group could have handled this cliffhanger
in multiple ways, such as the way this episode starts off or have it start by
having Ainsworth trying to search for her, but for an audience's attention to
be captured quickly, the writer or writers, as well has directors and other
staff, need to remember who the protagonist is and what kind of story is being
told.

In the case of this series, the story revolves around Chise
and her journey, at least at this point in the series, and as such, I would
have definitely started things off by showing what is happening to Chise after
the events of the last episode.

Likewise, the staff at Wit Studio are creating these
episodes, and that decision ended up making it really easy for me to jump right
into things, even though it had been a week since the airing of the last
episode.

If they had started things off differently than what was
seen here, I would have likely felt disappointed, because the staff would have
forgotten that Chise was supposed to have the most focus at this point in the
series, and it would likely cause a few problems as the episodes progress from
here, seeing as the content presented is still mostly that from the volume and
this series, like the original magna, starts off from Chisel's perspective.

Fortunately, they did not do that, which makes me feel like
giving them a little praise for doing something right.

Hopefully, the staff at Wit Studio can still make the right
decision in the future episodes, as that would be the only way to give
newcomers a good impression of a series that does deserve the recognition it
gets, but because of the terrible track record that they have right now, I just
need to remind myself that things could end really badly, like they did for Attack on
Titan
.

I also liked how Chise is starting to find happiness in her
new life.

When Chise was first introduced to us, she seemed to be a
very broken individual because nobody seemed to really want her around and she
was even treated pretty poorly by her peers, thus leading her to have a sad or
empty expression a lot of time, and I was left wondering just how Chisel would
begin to develop.

Even though she has not grown all that much during the
course of this series, which is to be expecting during the first eighth or so
of a series, she seemed to have truly begun to become much more human than she
seemed to be towards the beginning.

This change starts to become more prominent when Chise talks
to a dragon that is on its deathbed.

After playing a bit with the young dragons, Chise goes and
looks at a dragon that looks like a bunch of rocks and the dragon starts to
have a conversation her, saying that she should not envy the dead, reminding
her that Ainsworth may not have found an apprentice if she died, and even
offering to show her the sky through his memories.

Seeing the conversation and the flight via memories, it felt
like Chise was seeing something truly amazing and having a pleasant
conversation, and there was actual happiness to be felt from her, though not
enough to make me have any of the happy tracks from Clannad play through
my head.

As much as I still find the magna to be superior to this
anime adaptation, as my interest was captured right from chapter 1, whereas
this anime did not grab me until episode 2, this particular moment stood out
more in this episode because I could actually feel like she was becoming
happier, whereas the magna counterpart of these events just seemed to gloss
over things.

Now, some of you guys might be wondering how there could be
such a huge difference, seeing as there is not too much different between Korea
Yamazaki's work and Wit Studio's adaptation so far, but, other than the fact
that there are limits to what can be with any medium used to present a story,
it all depends on how believable and realistic things feel.

In our society, we have a huge belief that we can be happy
by choice, because my elders keep trying to tell me that things will only be
great as I think they will be going into it, or smiling even when you feel
unhappy.

However, people cannot just become happier or more content,
just by trying to change their outlook on things.

For example, let us take a look at Kotomi Ichinose from Clannad
and what she had to deal with.

Towards the beginning of her story, she seems to be a shy
person who really does need to come out of her shell, as opposed to somebody
that is mostly introverted, and Tomoya tries to help her find some friends, but
after something happens that triggers something in her, making her say that she
will be a good girl over and over, she starts pushing people away and starts to
secluded herself, because she blames herself for the death of her parents and
she was left to suffer through it alone.

While Tomoya, who was her friend from childhood, and the
adults did not exact leave her alone at first when the trauma started, only
giving up when the adults realized they lost her emotionally and Tomoya's guilt
kept him from visiting her long enough that he forgot her, Kotomi was suffering
from these feelings for so long that if Koromi had started feeling better
immediately better after people checked up on her upon the recent events,
things would not have really felt that believable in a series of stories showed
the importance of family and what it is, unless Kotomi were going to commit
suicide, as those that do attempt it can show extreme mood changes, according
to a page
on the Suicide
Prevention Lifeline website
.

Likewise, in this series, if Chise finally found her
happiness and started smiling a genuine smile that could only come from
somebody that had found true happiness after this encounter with the dying
dragon, I would have been mad, because Chise being happy with her life would
have felt just as unbelievable to me as if Kotomi Ichinose had not pushed
Tomoya and the others away after she was tormented by the past.

This is only the beginning of the series and that means that
any moment of happiness is one that needs to be small, and because the staff at
Wit Studio had extended things out a bit more than it was in the original
source, it makes me think that they understand that enough that I want to give
them a bit of applause.

This is exactly how a small moment of happiness should be
executed and they really delivered.

If the staff at Wit Studio working on this anime can keep
doing things this well, my opinion of them might changed from the lousy excuse
of a studio that I view them to be right now, and I would be more willing to
check out more of their work, as well as show people why this series is so
good, and that is what I hope they will bring to the table, instead of giving
me more reasons to wonder how they will ruin this series.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this episode
felt like a breather.

While many people watching this series would be expecting
something big to happen, due to the kind of cliffhanger that ended the
previous, and I kind of did as well, even though I already know what will
happen because I follow the magna, things can be become quite boring if every
episode were focused on action or progression.

The audience needs to get to know the characters during the
course of a series, and if things just keep happening on a constant basis, the
characters will not be able to be fleshed out to the point where we can
actually care about them and want to continue on with things.

In the case of this episode, nothing really seemed to
happen, other than Chise beginning to find happiness in her new life, but
things seemed to be mostly alright and I just felt like I could relax, knowing
that not every cliffhanger will signify that something bad is going to happen,
because the characters did get some more time to be fleshed out and relax a
little, before things start to happen in the coming weeks.

If things had just kept on happening, I would have been mad,
because Wit Studio would have been presenting this as something that it is not,
instead making it seem like more of the typical anime and and magna out there.

However, because they did not do that, I feel like I can way
a bit more time before the content that is truly new content for this
adaptation gets released, and I feel like giving them some bit of applause for
allowing me this time to relax.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that could stand on its own.

Because my interest was grabbed quickly, and Chise felt like
she was becoming a little happier, as well as the fact that it felt like a good
breather, before things truly get serious, this was a relatively decent
episode.

Nevin reacting to Chise's curiosity.

Although I liked the episode, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
there were only two things that really bugged me.

First, this episode felt rather boring.

Now, some of you guys might be wondering why I am
complaining about an episode feeling boring, especially since this show just
started, but just because a series is still in the beginning portions, it does
not mean that it can get a free pass until a quarter or so of it has been
released.

In the anime community, there is something called the
3-episode rule, or, more accurately, guideline. According to this guideline,
one is supposed to give a series a chance to impress them within the first
three episodes and, if they are not impressed after those three, they stop
watching it.

Even though this rule is not exactly perfect, as was
explained in a video published by
Tristan Gallant on YouTube, there are many people that follow this rule like
their life depended on it, and I would have dropped this series right here and
now if I had followed that rule, because the pilot failed to capture my
interest and this episode did not seem that exciting.

The first few episodes need to give people reason to invest
their time in the show, and that is not what I am getting here.

If I had to say why this was the case, it would have to be
because the way this episode was handled just made things feel mundane, because
there was too much focus on Chise and things just felt ordinary, when all of
this should have felt incredible and fascinating.

Avid readers and television fans might be aware that not
everything in life is a new adventure and exciting, but they use these various
mediums in which fiction is presented to escape reality for a short time and
relax, and in order to do that everything must seem interesting, regardless of
whether something is actually happening or not.

When things are interesting, regardless of whether they
might be mundane events or not, the audience feels like they are having fun and
they would be willing to continue to follow a series.

For example, Spice &
Wolf
may seem to be a boring to many people, due to its slow pacing and
dialog being the thing that moves the story along the most, making it feel
boring, but the way that Isuna Hasekura wrote many of the volumes, those
seemingly boring events were actually engaging and interesting, which helped to
give the series a unique feel, when compared to how many times mundane events
happen in American television.

This episode in particular was one that I was expecting to
have that fun feeling, in addition to getting the feeling that Chise was
starting to find happiness, but I just felt like my time was being wasted as
much as watching titans go on a rampage in Attack on Titan.

In fact, even though I absolutely hate Attack on Titan,
I would much rather be watching that if I did want to waste time than seeing
this.

What the heck, Wit? I thought you guys were turning things
around, but this is the second time I have felt bored by watching this episode,
and you guys have utterly failed to make me feel as engaged as I was by the
second episode.

If you are going to continue to make two episodes
unimpressive or okay episodes surround one good one, I do not see how this
series can be good enough to bring it more fans to the series, and it makes me
feel sad.

Hopefully, the staff at Wit Studio can get their act together
in the future episodes, because this is anime that I want to like with every
fiber of my being, but I am just given more reason to complain, and that will
only turn people away.

Unfortunately, with their rather poor performance, I am not
too sure that they can turn things around.

The thing that I hated the most though was how this seemed
to end on an unnecessary cliffhanger.

In the world of fiction, there is a need to utilize
cliffhangers, because they are the easiest way to make a reader want to find out
what will happen next, and they can add some more mystery to a work.

However, this is only the case when it is either a good
cliffhanger or one that is really needed, such as the first installment of a
series of event that will span multiple episodes or books, because they were
executed well.

For example, episode 2 of this series ended with Chisel
being taken away by somebody riding on a dragon, who seemingly has nefarious
purposes, and it makes the viewer want to find out what this guy has planned
for Chisel, even though I and all the other fans of the magna know that he will
not hurt her, which is why that episode ended so well, other than the fact that
Ainsworth and Chise were traveling to the dragon den at that moment.

On the other hand, in this episode did not seem to be an
episode where anything big happened, as there was mostly conversation and Chise
got another small moment of happiness, but this episode ended with Chise
collapsing to the ground, as if she went through something major.

Yes, Chise does expend a lot of magic, which has been noted
could cause her to faint or even die, and she was not feeling the greatest
after the conversation with Nevin the dragon, but this event was not that big,
compared to what will happen later in the series, and, by having Chise faint, I
thought something major was going to happen.

Chise and Ainsworth's business was complete at the end and
this stop even felt like only a little side trip, yet the staff at Wit Studio
decided to put in something that felt like a cliffhanger.

If I were to handle this episode, I would have ended it like
it did in the magna.

In the magna, after Nevin becomes a tree and Ainsworth says
they would come back to get her a wand, Chise says she is not upset over
Nevin's death, since she barely knew him, and it ultimately ends with her
looking off somewhere.

Even though she does say that she feels dizzy in thoughts in
the original kanga, which does lead me to think that she would collapse like
she did in this episode, the ending felt more satisfying, because it felt like
things were indeed over and that it was time to move on to other things.

Here, however, because Chise collapsed at the end, I got the
feeling that the next episode would continue into the beginning of the next
episode, before concluding the events that transpire in the first volume,
though the preview for the next episode does make it clear that Wit Studio is
about to wrap up the first volume.

As I stated before, I am not expecting a perfect frame for
frame recreation of the manga, but I do expect the people working on the anime
how to end each episode in the best possible way, but the staff working on this
episode completely and utterly failed in this department.

Is it really that hard to figure out how to end things
properly, Wit? If the original creator can do it, it should not be hard for a
team working on an adaptation of said work.

However, because the episode ended in a way that was worse,
just like the pilot episode, I am not too sure that I want to see what was not
presented in Crunchyroll's special screening that occurred earlier this year.

For now, I will give them more time to improve, but I will
not be surprised if things end up getting worse.

Thankfully, nothing else bothered me to no end, so I can
just leave things be, and stop ridicule a series that I consider one of my
favorites.

While there was not too much wrong, the issues that did crop
up were bad enough to possibly cause another black on the series, pushing it
towards the negative end of okay.

Despite the fact that there were a few things to like, the
two greatest negatives outweighed things enough to make this episode seem like
a waste of time.

I only recommend this to fans of The Ancient Magus Bride,
as they will be able to find the most enjoyment from what is present.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, but
with how dull the episode seemed and that it had something that seemed like an
unnecessary cliffhanger, it might be best to skip this episode, as it might not
give the greatest impression of this series.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to get best impression of
this series, buy the first volume from Book
Depository
, so that I can continue following a series that many of us enjoy
and possibly find other worthwhile anime to watch.

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