I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, regardless of how it is being spent.
Things have been a little weird, but good, as I can still do the things that I like.
A while back, I decided to cover a show that I had been expecting to air for some time, and that means that I need to keep myself busy, so that I do not fall too far behind.
Today, I will be review another episode from that show, 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.
With the matter of the cat kingdom settled, Renfred and his partner leave, as if nothing had happened, and Ainsworth's curiosity is heightened when he notices something about Renfred.
However, before they can do anything, Chise collapses from exhaustion and she enters a deep sleep that many believe will only take time to deal with, but the fairies have once again shown interest in her and the king and queen come to visit her place of rest.
Even though the series has been looking good right now, after the hiccup that occurred with the first three episodes, there is always a chance that things could very well turn south, especially when the first quarter is about to conclude.
Fortunately, that has yet to occur, as I can safely say that I kind of liked this episode.
From the moment that this I got into the first few minutes of the episode, I found myself so engrossed in it that I did not want to stop watching for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human on the planet.
If I had to say why it was able to do this so well, it would have to be because it kind of picked up right where the previous episode had left off.
While the previous episode did not end on a cliffhanger per se, as the events of the cat kingdom were pretty much wrapped up, it still ended in a way in that there was more content to cover because Chise and Ainsworth was still in the cat kingdom and Renfred was still around at the time the corruption was cleansed, which did make wonder what was going to happen next, though I did not get the strong urge that I needed to see this episode any time soon.
In this episode, things back up a bit before Chise cleansed the corruption, though she was still inside it, and we are shown a conversation between Renfred and Ainsworth that goes from why Ainsworth is not taking better care of Chise and why she is important to him, to Ainsworth asking about Renfred's arm and who took it, only to be interrupt by seeing the aftermath of Chise cleansing the corruption.
Even though this series of events was covered in volume 2 of the manga, it seemed to work better here than it did in Kore Yamazaki's work.
In the second volume of the manga, after Chise had been taken in by the corruption, the conversation between Ainsworth and Renfred takes place, mostly word for word when comparing Crunchyroll's subs and Seven Sea's translation, and when Ainsworth asks about Renfred's arm, Kore Yamazaki inserted the figure of a person we do not know and then immediately goes into the vision that Chise saw during the events of the last episode.
By doing this, Kore Yamazaki made me think that this flashback was going to have some significance to Renfred and how he lost his arm, as well as how this newly seen character comes into play, but he is never seen during Chise's vision and it ended up taking away some of the possible feels of Chise deciding to cleanse the corruption instead of erasing it, though I would not say that it was totally devoid of any feeling.
Here, however, since Renfred and Ainsworth's little conversation was saved for this moment, my attention was grabbed quickly, making me wonder what was really going on and if this was not the end of Chise and Ainsworth's troubles, instead of making me think that the vision of the past was important to fleshing on Renfred.
When incorporating visions of the past or flashbacks, the time that they occur can be very important, as they can feel unnecessary or pointless if they are shown at the wrong, or, in the case of Railgun's Sisters arc, which occurs in volumes 4-7 of the Railgun manga and episodes 2-16 of the Railgun S anime, can make what is currently happening be mystifying, and even though J.C. Staff did not really make the best decision of when to show Accelerator's flashback, the staff at Wit studio working on the anime adaptation of The Ancient Magus Bride made the smart choice of cutting this moment out of the events of the last episode and putting them in here.
If they had done what Kore Yamazaki did in the manga, I would have been a little disappointed, as I would have neither the satisfying end of the last episode or great start that this episode had.
Fortunately, that did not happen, and it makes me feel like giving the staff at Wit Studio a good round of applause.
Hopefully, they can continue making good decisions of when to move things around or cut things out entirely, because that will make sure that this series is one worth following and even create a possibility of this adaptation becoming another Yu Yu Hakusho, where the anime adaptation ends up being better than the original source.
Then again, I need to continue reminding myself that the staff at Wit Studio are only human and they could easily turn this into another Attack on Titan, so I must be ready to berate them when needed.
I also liked how Ainsworth started opening up to Chise, once she found out that Ainsworth had yet to tell her that she would die in a short amount of time.
One of the things that I liked so much about this series, before Wit Studio decided to turn it into anime, was how both Chise and Ainsworth grew over the course of series and were learning from one another, which gave focus to how they bonded.
When this adaptation aired, I wondered if that aspect of the series would be presented in this adaptation, as studios get a lot of leeway over how a series is adapted to the television format, according to what Yoshihiro Togashi mentioned back in Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 10, and I was kind of wondering if this would fail just as badly as Attack on Titan did in making me interested in the series, and was worsened by how Ainsworth was not as mysterious in the anime as he was in the manga.
However, just when it seemed liked the staff at Wit Studio forgot about the romance portion of this series, Ainsworth seems to have a touching moment with Chise, who asked about her death, by talking about himself and saying:
I'm a half-baked—neither human, fairy, nor spirit.
I've lived for a long, long time and seen many humans, but I still don't quite understand them, including you. I can comprehend your thoughts, but I can't empathize. I can understand the reasons behind your tears, anger, and laughter, but I can't make them my own.
I bought you because it was advantageous for me. That's all. Because you had nothing, and you could not part from the non-human that is me.
I let you hear the words that I suspected you would want to hear, and gave you shelter, food, knowledge, and attention. I thought I might learn something if I raised one of you myself.
In many works that are found in the romance genre where females are the protagonist, male characters seem like these almost perfect people, which allows me to see how women could fall for them, but they still come across as too perfect for me to be able to see these male characters as actual people.
However, because this series is aimed at a male audience, and a younger one than the target audience for either Boku Dake ga Inai Machi or Girls' Last Tour, as well as those that value character development, Ainsworth cannot be like all of those other male characters, and these words help to solidify that Ainsworth is much more human than many other males in fiction and has his own weaknesses.
If this moment was cut was the adaptation, I would have been mad, because the Ainsworth that I and many other fans of the manga have come to like is a very flawed individual, in spite of his vast knowledge of magic, and Ainsworth would have come off as way too perfect, almost to the point of being the stereotypical star detective of a detective novel, and even alienate the male fans of this series.
Fortunately, the staff at Wit Studio remembered that this series was originally targeted toward males and made sure to make it clear that Ainsworth was not a perfect hunk, which makes me feel like giving them another good round of applause.
Hopefully, things stay consistent in this area, as it would allow the people getting introduced to this series via the anime to see what fans of the manga see in this series, and it would definitely qualify as being one of the best anime yet, but, just like how A-1 Pictures dropped the ball towards the end of the anime adaptation of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, the staff at Wit Studio that are working on this series could make a grevious mistake somewhere, so I will hold off on calling this series the best anime of the year, let alone season.
Another nice thing about this episode how there was quite a bit to laugh about.
While the humor in this episode was not that unique, when compared to either the rest of the series or anime in general, they were executed well enough that they were roughly on par with the same scenes from the manga.
The funniest of those scenes occurs towards in the end of the episode.
After Chise and Ainsworth leave the cat kingdom and return to England, Ainsworth goes to visit Chise in a forest, wondering when she will awake, and then the fairy king and queen come onto the scene and the king, called Oberon, uses magical energy to awaken Chise.
However, when Chise awakens and sees Oberon, whom she does not know, holding her hand, and seemingly flirting with her, she runs to Ainsworth after he says good morning.
While I did kind of laugh at these events, which are found in the antepenultimate chapter of the second volume of the manga, I felt like laughing a bit more here because these events were animated, instead of still images in panels, so I did not need to generate those movements in my own mind.
Other than the fact that both Chise and Ainsworth are characters that grow over the course of the series, fans of the series really enjoy the humor, as it helps the world and the characters feel a bit more realistic, and gives the audience a bit of a break from the monotony of this series.
If the humor that Kore Yamazaki had put into her work had been omitted from this series entirely, I would have been really disappointed, as I would have felt like something was missing and this would not be the same series that I grew to enjoy before its anime premiered.
Thankfully, the staff at Wit Studio are not butchering the series beyond repair and are able to make something on par with Kore Yamazaki's work, which makes me want to give them even more applause.
Nice job, guys. This is how you deliver a good anime adaptation and the staff at Wit Studio are finally delivering.
The thing that I liked the most though was how this episode ended.
Even though the ending was not a cliffhanger that was as big as either the one found back in episode 4 or the cliffhanger ending of Erased Volume 5, as the main event was finally over, it made me wonder what was going to happen next.
As this episode ends the first quarter of the anime adaptation, I was kind of expecting an ending that would be satisfying enough that I could just set this aside, and wait for the next episode to arrive, but, instead, I got questions about what was going to happen that I wanted to have answered right away.
If I had to say why there was a huge difference, it would have to be because the way things ended was truly different from the manga, and in more than just adding in things from the next chapter or volume, like what occurred back in episode 4.
In the manga, after Chise was woken by Oberon and Chise and Ainsworth talked to Simon, the chapter ended with Chise trying some pudding and saying that it was delicious, which resulted in a nice closure for the events that had happened so far and gave a good place for the reader to take a break, before starting on the final two chapters of the second volume.
However, in this episode, after Chise tried the pudding, the scene changes to a graveyard in the sunset and then ultimately ends by showing a guy thinking about somebody, as if something had just happened.
While this ending was not exactly as good as the one Kore Yamazaki put in the manga, this ending makes me wonder if this is Chise and Ainsworth's next destination and what is exactly going on to make this character seem to be so sad.
Just like readers, anime fans want to be given a reason to tune into the next episode, whether it is by cliffhangers or through other means, and if there is no incentive, they might stop watching the series together, and the staff that Wit Studio has working on this anime seem to understand that quite well, by giving a hint as to what is to come, though it should not be too much of a mystery for fans of the manga.
If the episode had not ended like this, I would have been okay, as the way the manga ended would have been good enough to close out the first quarter of the series, and this would have still been a decent episode.
However, because Wit Studio ended it like this, I feel like giving them a major round of applause, as I want to watch the next episode right now and see how they will adapt the end of the second volume, as well as see if they finally name the character that has appeared in two episodes so far.
Unfortunately for me, I have got to wait for the next episode to arrive, just like everyone else, so I will just have to be patient, as I know that events in this adaptation are not exactly frame for frame recreations of the same events in the manga.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added in to what I talked about already.
Because my attention was captured quickly and held right up to the end, by making it seem like there was something else going on and holding off certain events until later, Ainsworth opened up to Chise a bit and revealed that he was the perfect guy that any woman would want, there were things to laugh about, and the ending has me excited to see more of Chise and Ainsworth's adventures, this was a fairly decent episode.
Although I liked the episode, there are some issues.
However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, nothing really seemed to bother 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, and nothing that caused any major annoyances, this was definitely worth watching.
I mainly recommend this to fans of The Ancient Magus Bride, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, especially now that it is revealed that Ainsworth is not exactly perfect, but it might be best to watch the other episodes first, as things can be quite confusing without the knowledge of what has happened already.
If you liked the review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you are anxious to find out what happens next, buy a copy of the second volume of the manga from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following a series that many of enjoy and possibly find more worthwhile anime to watch.
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