Anime Review: The Ancient Magus Bride Episode 4

woman lying in bed looking at cat.

I hope that everyone had a good week last week, regardless of what happened.

Things have been okay here, though a few problems did arise, but I can at least still do something that I can enjoy.

Recently, I decided to follow a series that I had been waiting to see air, so that I could judge it better than what I got from the special screening earlier in the year.

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 meets a strange person underwater.

After exhausting herself in the dragon's den, Chise wakes up and finds herself and Ainsworth on a train ride to their next destination, the kingdom of the cats, where they come across something that could threaten man and beast alike.

However, even though Ainsworth thinks that this will be a simple task to handle, at least simple enough to let Chise dabble with magic, other people seem to have objectives of their own and have also started to move.

Molly, king of the cats.

Even though the first three episodes were not that great, with only one of them being pretty good, a series might take a bit more than three episodes to become interesting, so it may be worth it to stick with it a bit longer.

And after watching this episode, I must say that I quite liked it.

From the moment that I started watching the first few minutes of the episode, I found myself engrossed in things enough that I did not want to stop watching for any reason.

Unlike the previous episode though, where things pick up from the episode before, this one was more like episode 2, as it slowly eased me into things and really felt like it was the start of Chise and Ainsworth's next adventure.

If things had picked up immediately where the last episode ended, I would have been angry as the events that felt like an unnecessary cliffhanger would have really been a stupid cliffhanger, and things would have felt rather slow, which would have made this series look even worse.

However, because things started out right where Chise and Ainsworth were heading off to their new destination, my interest in what was happening was closer to that of how Pandora Hearts managed to capture my attention in the first chapter, as I had no idea what was going, even though I do have extensive of future events.

This is the best way to start things off when the previous events had obviously concluded, and because Wit was able to deliver, I feel like giving them a little applause.

They might not have impressed me too much with earlier episodes, or even some of their other titles, but if they can maintain consistency in being able to make the initial portions of journey interesting, then this series would not end up as a complete and utter failure, and that is what I hope to see as the series moves forward.

Then again, there is still the chance that this anime would not be able to live up to the quality of the original work, so I would have to be ready to throw this into the same bin that I put John Grisham into.

I also liked how this did not seem to be yet another set of events that was just and done kind of thing.

While Wit did try to do this with the last two episodes, where episode 2 ended with Chise being abducted by a dragon and episode 3 showed the rest, which did end up annoying a few people, as chapter 2 of the manga probably ended on a somewhat better cliffhanger of Simon introducing himself and Chise found herself in the jaws of a dragon in chapter 3, it did not seem like it was just done so that the staff at Wit Studio could have another moment that one could call a cliffhanger.

Ever since the airing of episode 2 of this series, which I think was an example of a moment that the staff at Wit that worked on this series did a bit better than what Kore Yamazaki presented in the manga, though not necessarily perfect, because it only made things seemed to be just as interesting as they were in the manga.

Unfortunately, they were not able to truly deliver in this aspect until this very episode, which surprisingly finished out the first volume, and it really made it hard for me to want to invest myself in this anime any further than what I saw back when Crunchyroll screened this in theaters.

However, because this episode ended things in a somewhat similar way to how the manga ended, with a enough differences to show that the staff working on the anime are definitely making their own decisions on where to take things, instead of making each frame exactly like it occurred in the manga, which some people probably thought when I said that I would have ended both the pilot and the third episode like those events concluded in the manga, I actually feel excited for the next episode that will air this coming weekend.

If they had ended it exactly like how the first volume did, which concludes with Renfred wondering why Ainsworth was suddenly giving him the time of day, and guessing that Chise, who was taken hostage, might be an important test subject, I would not have been too happy, because the staff at Wit Studio would have seemed lazy and my excitement would not be that high, as I could just pick up and read the second volume, as well as the fact that the staff have a hard time making this series just as enjoyable as the original manga, if not as superior to the original as Pierrot's adaptation of Yu Yu Hakusho was to Yoshihiro Togashi's work.

Fortunately, that did not happen here, and had me wondering what exactly he was talking about, as Chise realized that Ainsworth may be hiding something about her, and that made me want to see the next episode right now, though I now have to wait, just like everyone else.

This is the proper way to deliver a cliffhanger, and because the staff at Wit Studio had actually made a good decision to extend things out a bit further, I feel like giving them a good round applause.

Hopefully, the staff at Wit Studio can keep this up level of quality, as fan of the series, like myself, want to see this anime give a good impression of the series, instead of making it seem like it will be another Attack on Titan.

Another thing that I liked how Chise was finally getting a lesson in magic from Ainsworth.

While Chise did get some kind of magic lesson in the second episode, Ainsworth barged in, angry about the lesson for reasons unknown, and it made me wonder why he would stop it, other than the fact that he would not have been aware of what Chise already learned, as well as think that she probably would not be learning magic after all.

Here, however, since Ainsworth is having Chise deal with the problem, even though he has the knowledge and capability to do it, it seems like Chise really is not going to be an apprentice in name only and that she will finally learn how to control her magic, which Lindel told Ainsworth was life threatening, if things remained as they were, and I am even wondering whether she will have use magic to fight later on or not, which has yet to be answered in the manga either.

This series may be getting closer to how impressive Kore Yamazaki's work was to me when I first decided to try it out, but now that I am starting to get questions that I had while reading the manga, things do seem to be heading in a good enough direction that my impression of those working at Wit Studio improves from how unimpressed I was with a series that might become yet another DBZ, which went from looks of admiration and liked to being regarded as a piece of trash, though still liked by a lot of people, and that deserves even more applause than before, as I am given even more reason to stick with this anime.

The thing that I liked most though was Chise and Ainsworth are finally dealing with their first real problem in the series.

Even though there have been a few troubles, like Chise wondering whether or not she really belonged with Ainsworth, before remembering that he tried making her feel welcome, the two never really encountered any true adversity while dealing with the tasks handed to them, which made things seem like they just be a quest of the week kind of formula, where things are not truly explored and that they would just have a grand time.

However, because somebody showed interest in what Chise and Ainsworth were trying to cleanse, things became way more interesting than if this series was about how Ainsworth and Chise strengthen their bond to the point where they fall in love with each other.

This is why I find the series to be so interesting, and by bringing some basic questions, it can garner a bit more of an audience than just those who follow the manga, though I cannot say that this will be what is needed to truly pull people in, since I do have some biases of my own because I have been a fan of series before this anime adaptation premiered.

Hopefully, things will only get better from here, by increasing the difficulty that Chise and Ainsworth might deal with, and, even with my current contempt for Wit Studio, I am sure that the staff at Wit Studio can deliver, since they have not disappointed me in delivering this most basic necessity of a good series or story.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added in with what I already talked about or discuss without spoiling things too much.

Because things started off well enough to capture my interest and maintain it right up to the final minutes, Chise is finally getting lessons from Ainsworth, and that they are finally having troubles completing their tasks, with a cliffhanger that was better than what was seen in the original, this episode was fairly decent.

Chise holding fairy, before performing magic.

Although I did like the episode, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as a few annoyances about the terms the Crunchyroll subs are using, 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, such as how it had a somewhat better cliffhanger than was found in the first volume of the manga, and nothing really hurt it too much, this was definitely worth watching.

I would recommend this mainly to fans of The Ancient Magus Bride, as they would find the most enjoyment from this episode.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, as there is not too much that could make one lost, but it might be better to see the previous episodes or read most of the first volume of the manga before watching this.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you cannot wait to find out what happens next, buy a copy of the second volume from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series that many enjoy and find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.