Book Review: The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 11

The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 11 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, especially now
that the seasons have officially changed.

Things are going pretty well, as I can still do what I like.

Quite a while ago, I was finally able to put in orders for the
titles I follow, though one or two are still not available for preorder in my
preferred format, and one of them recently arrived, which means that it is time
to get things in gear.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is
called The Ancient Magus Bride Volume
11
by Kore Yamazaki.

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

After having entered the college, things seem to be
happening behind the scenes, as many parties have their eye on either Chise,
Ainsworth, and another fellow, but things are still somewhat peaceful at
Ainsworth’s place.

However, after finding out that some people in the church
are not pleased with Simon and Chise gets a chance to meet Lindell’s mentor
personally, more things start happening both inside the college and outside it,
with each party having secrets of their own.

While I was a little displeased with the previous
volume
, thanks to the fact that there were some pages I could not read very
well, things were not bad enough that I would want to walk away from this
series, though that does not mean Seven Seas Entertainment made anymore
mistakes, so I have to stay on guard.

And after reading this, I must say that I really liked this.

From the moment I opened up this book and started reading
it, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for any
reason.

As I have said countless times before, one of the most
important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, because the
beginning is supposed to transport the audience to another world, thereby
giving them that temporary escape that they desire.

While there are many ways that this can be accomplished,
depending on the genre and the medium used to present a work, The Ancient
Magus Bride
, like many other manga, is published as part of a serial
publication, which means that things need to pick up in a way that makes sense,
based off of how the previous installment ended.

In the last volume, Chise and Ainsworth made a return trip
home and somebody came for Simon, while he and Ainsworth had a meeting, and
Chise suddenly disappeared on Stella, who has another meeting with Ashen Eye.

Even though these events were not quite as interesting as
the other things going on in that volume, and the questions I had that seemed
more interesting to me, I still kind of wanted to know what was going on, which
meant that things had to pick up right where these events left off did, which
was exactly what had occurred at the start of this volume.

If things had not started off like this, I would have been
very disappointed because neither Kore Yamazaki nor the people working at or
for Mag Garden never really leave people hanging, though the release schedule
this series sees does kind of leave me confused from time to time, even if it
is better than the Railgun manga’s release schedule, and that would have really
hurt the series overall.

Fortunately, Kore Yamazaki and Mag Garden, or the people
they had put this volume together, chose the best way to have this volume start
off, which makes me want to give them a good round of applause.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to start off just as
well as this one did, but considering that volume
9
had a horrid start, I am ready to pounce when the time comes.

I also liked how readable the volume was.

While previous releases from Seven Seas Entertainment tend
to be laid out and formatted well enough for easy reading, such as A
Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 14
, and the second
volume
of the Astral Buddy side story, the previous volume in this series
seemed to really let me down because I had a really hard time reading all of,
as I have already mentioned, making it feel like I was missing things.

Even though this volume does not contain any double page
spreads, unlike the two titles I just linked to, which would obviously
guarantee better readability, it is still nice to know that I am getting everything,
as I should, so I can notice things, as well as follow along with the progress
of the story and the growth that Ainsworth and Chise go through.

This is what I and any other reader expect and want to see
from a professional releases, because layout and formatting is just as
important as the story being told, and if things were combined into one image,
like they were in volume 9, I would have just went hunting for online scans of
this series, thereby unfairly punishing Kore Yamazaki, who I think really does
deserve my money for the work she puts into this series, even if she has messed
big time once.

Thankfully, Seven Seas Entertainment did not do anything quite
as bad as they did before, which makes me want to give them applause for doing
a good job.

Hopefully, Seven Seas future releases for this series are as
good as this one, especially when they encounter more double page spreads, but
seeing as the people working for Seven Seas Entertainment are only human, I
would not be surprised if they slip up again.

Another thing that I really liked was how we start finding
out who the seven shields.

After Chise and Ainsworth return to the college, she
encounters some fellow students and one of them mentions the seven shield,
noting that they are not one of them, though Rian is one of them, and gives a
basic gist of who they are and specialties.

Even though I would have very much preferred to find this
out as the current arc progresses, seeing as Kore Yamazaki is making me think
there is quite a bit going on already, by fleshing out Simon’s backstory and
showing the exchange between Stella and Ashen Eye, among other things, it was
still nice to find who they consisted of and such, since this is not
necessarily the same kind of series as Pandora Hearts, where there is one big
mystery to be unraveled over the course of a series.

If this moment was not included in this volume, I probably
would have been fine with it, as it is something that can only add to the
mystery of what exactly is going on, but seeing as Chise and Ainsworth are
going to be likely dealing with multiple parties this arc, I cannot really see
things going well if Chise were left completely in the dark.

Fortunately, Kore Yamazaki decided to at least fleshing some
things out, which makes me want to give her some applause.

Hopefully, things will continue to be like this in what
feels like will be the longest arc of the series yet, but seeing as most of the
events that have taken place have been short, I am not too sure Kore Yamazaki
is really up for the challenge.

The fourth thing that I really liked was how Ainsworth
viewed Chise came up.

One of the things that I have heard from people say they do
not necessarily like, at least among those that have been turned off by the
series, is how Chise could ever fall for somebody that bought her off an
auction block, wanting her as a spouse, setting up a stage where romance would
typically blossom.

While this kind of situation that they believed to be the
case, considering that it was it took a while before we found out Chise was the
one who sold herself, does happen from time to time, according to an article by
Carl Nierenberg on Live Science,
which claims the phenomenon is rare enough that it cannot really be understood,
the big difference between many individuals who have experienced it and Chise
is that Chise has pretty much given up on life and does not really value
herself in the early parts of the story, leaving her empty, whereas many of the
people who suffered from Stockholm Syndrome likely valued their lives enough to
do what it took to keep on living.

However, when it is revealed in this volume just how little
Ainsworth understands humanity, seeing as Chise told Rahab, Lindell’s mentor,
that she was Ainsworth’s bride and finding out she never really explained that
kind of relationship to Ainsworth when he stayed with her, I was really
interested in finding out what Ainsworth really meant and his true intentions.

Later, after Chise asks Ainsworth himself what he meant when
he asked her to be his bride, Ainsworth asks Angelica and Renfred questions
regarding the relationship of marriage.

Now, this is not something that is necessarily out of left
field to me, since it has been established early on that Ainsworth does not
really understand the ways of mankind, and I was hoping that it would come up
some day, but seeing it happen right now was a little surprising to me, enough
so that I get the feeling that this series will likely end soon.

If this was not brought up, I would really have a hard time
believing that Ainsworth really does not understand human beings all that much,
because it would suggest that he had enough knowledge to know what marriage is
and really make the series less interesting, beyond seeing how Chise and
Ainsworth grow and develop as characters and how their bond strengthens.

Thankfully, Kore Yamazaki remembered that Ainsworth is not
the typical kind of guy found in fictional works targeting women and that she
introduced him as somebody that does not understand humans, rather than
somebody who works outside social norms because of how inefficient and
impractical they can be, and that makes me want to give her some applause.

Hopefully, these developments will see some more growth in
Ainsworth as a character overall, because that will help the series end on a
rather high note, as I and many other fans of the series would like it to, but
seeing as there is more going on in this arc than just Ainsworth and Chise’s
relationship, the fruits of these developments might take some time to appear.

The thing that I liked the most though was how much more
mysterious things became.

Throughout my time with this series, I had the feeling that
this series was only focused mostly on character development, with the intrigue
centering on how the characters will grow, which is what Kore Yamazaki intended
from the get go, according to a briefing about an interview in a post
by Patrick Frye on Inquistr, and I was
truly interested in seeing how things would progress, as well as excited to see
the kinds of adventures Chise and Ainsworth would have.

There was almost no overall mystery of anything, which makes
sense, considering how short many of the arcs have been.

However, when this arc started up, I found myself even more
intrigued than before, because there are so many questions going through my
mind, though none of them are really that deep, and they just keep cropping up
in this volume.

After a brief description of the seven shields and who they
were, one of Chise’s new acquaintances says that he is leaving his family, one
of the seven shields, not wanting anything to do with them anymore.

Later, when the not so surprising reveal of a gorgon being
inside the college, the, called Rian, asks Chise’s roommate is coming, she says
that his family had something to do with something that happened, likely the tragedy
that was mentioned in the volume, before she joins the fray, with the volume
concluding with the discovery of a fellow student, who was likely keeping an
eye on things.

Upon seeing and reading through these moments, I found
myself wondering what was going on and if the student was acting for the seven
shields or one of the other parties that are making moves of their own.

If something like this did not occur in an arc where more
than one person was obviously making moves, I would have been kind of
disappointed because I had high hopes for this arc, and make these events seem
to be smaller than I was given the impression it would.

Fortunately, Kore Yamazaki remember that this was not just
some minor event, and that makes me want to give her some applause for a job
well done.

Hopefully, this arc becomes event more interesting as things
progress, because that is the only way this arc can end up being as good as the
past ones, but I would not be too surprised if things become a little dull.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything
else that I particularly liked, at least any that stood out as much as what I
talked about.

Because my interest was capture quickly and held right up to
the end, Seven Seas made sure things were readable enough that I did not feel
like I missed anything, the seven shields were discussed, a major moment for
Ainsworth cropped up, and things became more mysterious, this was a fairly
decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, 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
to really hate, unless one wants to be real nitpicky, this was definitely worth
reading.

I recommend this mainly to fans of The Ancient Magus
Bride
, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this is worth giving a try, but I
would recommend reading the previous volumes first to be able to really enjoy
this.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or if you would
like a copy of the reviewed title, please buy
The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 11
from Book Depository, who offers
free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue
following this series and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys to
check out.

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