Book Review: The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 15

The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 15 cover.

I hope everyone is doing well and managing to survive the current
situation we are in.

Aside from being in
a situation I expected to crop up sooner or later, things are going
well, as I can do what I like and have freedom to experiment.

Awhile back, I
looked through Amazon’s catalog to try and keep up with the series
I follow and managed to finally place a preorder, which recently
arrived, meaning that it is time to get off my butt.

Today, I will be
reviewing that title, which is called The
Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 15
by Kore Yamazaki.

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

Everyone is on high
alert while trying to seek out a missing grimoire that is said to
very dangerous and Chisé’s school has gone into lockdown for their
protection.

However, these
safety measures are putting students on edge and things may take a
turn for the worse when bonds begin to change and questions start
being asked.

Seeing as how this
series still has not had that many rough patches as of late, I am
still finding myself wanting to give in more to the desire to blindly
praise this series, but, as I said in my review of the last
volume
, that would just disgust me.

After reading this
volume, I found that I quite liked it.

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

While this kind of
hook can be achieved by a variety of ways, depending the genre and
the medium used to present a work, this series, like many other
manga, is published in a serial publication, which means it has to
pick up in a way that makes sense based upon where the previous
installment left off.

In the last volume,
Chisé and her classmates encountered a strange man, while everyone
else was worrying about finding a missing grimoire, and the final
panels featured this strange man and another teacher saying that
Chisé and the other are about to be taught a very valuable lesson,
which intrigued me quite a bit, though looking back now, it is
obviously a lead in to some sort of training regime.

In this volume,
things start off with two people joining on the search for the
dangerous grimoire, adding two more pieces to the board, which has me
wondering just how powerful this grimoire is.

Even though seeing
this beginning did not particularly sit well with me, as the only
real ways this volume could have started off better was to
immediately go into the training period, either by showing the
students do things or just picking things up right where things left
off, it still did draw me in by returning things back to the mystery
going on and just what would happen later on when all the involved
parties would eventually clash, leading me to want to keeping
pressing on through the book.

If the first chapter
of the volume had started things off differently, things could have
possibly been better, but seeing as the hunt for a particular
grimoire is at the heart of this arc, I doubt one of the better ways
to start off this volume would have really worked out that well,
seeing as there is no reason to. have any kind of training moment,
except for Chisé’s reckless actions in the past, which might have
really hurt the quality.

Fortunately, Kore
Yamazaki and Mag Garden, or whoever they had compile these chapters
into this volume, decided to start things off in a decent enough way
to make things interesting, even if I would have preferred to see
something different.

I also liked the
training period that did eventually happen.

In many anime and
manga, when characters go through training, they always end up
learning new techniques and increase their strength, playing into the
typical DBZ scenario of every enemy is stronger and/or tougher than
the last, with everyone set back to zero or level 1, if you want to
think of that way, and there is almost nothing in other areas where
the characters actually had to learn things, like much of Goku’s
training in the original Dragon Ball or how Genkai’s
training sessions in Yu Yu Hakusho, which
carried over on over in Hunter x Hunter.

Seeing
this, I find myself rather bored these days when one encounters the
stereotypical training arcs in anime today, preferring more to see
the likes of Mikoto Misaka and Kuroko Shirai analyzing things and
coming up with a way to win by interesting ways of using their
powers, though those too can get tiring.

Here,
in this volume, when we finally get back to where the last volume
left off, though it was not exactly quite as long of a wait as I
suggested earlier, we see the strange man explain the purpose of the
lesson, which is to give the students a fighting chance against the
enemies lurking about.

After
the explanations are done, one of the students speaks up, asking if
they are going to be using alchemy to fight back, though with the
jargon mentioned in this volume, I’m leaning more towards calling
it sorcery than alchemy, and why they were asked to manifest weapons
and the teacher replied by grabbing the student’s neck and
explaining the weaknesses of relying on the idea, before throwing
them into the training ground.

I
really liked this moment because it not only feels like an actual
training session, where the students are forced to handle a situation
in which magic cannot be reasonably used, but it really reminds me of
we in our society believe that if we come up with something new or
conform to the things we know that we can solve a particular problem,
when the best solution may lie elsewhere or, in the case of
homelessness, cannot be solved.

If
Kore Yamazaki had gone the typical route of having the students learn
a new magic that can handle the situations that may arise in the
future, I would have been really disappointed, especially because the
second
volume
featured Chisé having to deal with a threat before she
really started learning actual magic, which was already a step above
the typical manga fanfare, and would have led this series into a
downward spiral towards generic trash.

Thankfully,
Kore Yamazaki was able to keep moments like this closer to the
realistic and believable line that had been established back in the
early volumes, which makes me want to give her a good round of
applause for a job well done.

Hopefully,
this remains in the series as it continues to progress, as it will be
able to maintain the breath of fresh among the rest of the manga
world that I tend to find,but because Kore Yamazaki and those doing
their best to make sure Kore delivers the best work that she can, I
would not be surprised if the series starts to tumble in this
department.

Another
thing that I really liked was how complicated things have started to
become at the college.

One
of the things that kind of annoys me about this series is how
simplistic things seemed to have been, with the biggest complications
coming from human beings and our feelings.

Now,
some of you guys in the know may be shaking your heads, thinking that
is usually how things are these days, and that would be an
understandable reaction, but that excuse is only really good enough
in situations where the human component is not necessarily the
problem but more so adds to it, seeing as we really do complicate
things.

However,
unlike most other events, which were complicated because of Chisé’s
emotional state and/or recklessness and only had some minor
interference from other parties, this arc was introduced with actual
people behind everything and, in these cases, as well as what has
been revealed so far in the story, seeing humans complicate so much
is actually to be expected, such as hesitating to drink something
given to you when your family or tribe discourages it.

By
having moments like this in a situation in which it is not exactly
known who the enemy is, though there maybe hints of one possibility
occurring, with what has been seen, it helps in actually raising the
tension to be found here in the volume, making me wonder if somebody
will be revealed to be a spy or possibly betraying the people they
were originally allied with.

If
things like this did not happen, I would likely be a little
disappointed because that would make things way too simple to be
believable when dealing with other human beings, especially
teenagers, and I would have likely been given reason to give up on
this series.

Fortunately,
Kore Yamazaki remembered that we, as humans, tend to complicate
things so much and decided to add that in as part of the conflict
being presented, which makes me feel like giving her another good
round of applause.

Hopefully,
things like this will remain in the series, as it will help maintain
the believability of the series, thereby keeping fans engaged, but I
would not be surprised if this went right out the window.

The
fourth thing I really enjoyed was the presence of a test of
courage
.

Now,
some of you guys may be rolling your eyes, going on about how there
would obviously be a test of courage moment, due to it being in every
anime and manga in existence, but in this volume it felt like a bit
of a new experience.

If
I had to say why, it would likely be because this series takes place
largely in the UK and the test of courage, with the seven mysteries,
tends to mostly be a Japanese thing, though I am definitely aware
that I am not familiar with all the cultures in the world, so I can
definitely be wrong in that category, and Chisé’s classmates are
all from a place in the UK, which means they have not really had much
experience with the stereotypical seven mysteries that anime and
manga fans are familiar with, which helps to make this feel like a
new experience, rather than something that is expected as the beach
episode and the hot springs episode in anime.

Not
only did it help that Chisé was the only Japanese student at the
college, but it also help that the season was different too, which
helped to make things feel a little more unique, even if one can
still sigh and say, “Here is the seven mysteries episode.”

If
Kore Yamazaki had decided not to implement a test of courage moment,
I think I would have been alright with, especially considering that
this series has not fallen to the point of putting out a beach
episode or hot spring episode, which are as just as clichéd, but I
doubt that things would be exciting if the students did not mess
around.

Fortunately,
Kore Yamazaki let the kids be kids and engage in some fun, even if
some of that fun might not really stand out to many people as it did
to me.

Hopefully,
Kore Yamazaki can keep making these otherwise cliché moments have a
unique feel, much like I want to encounter a work of fiction that
feel unique in spite of not being unique, as that will help keep
people engaged with the series, and possibly bring in new fans, but I
would not be surprised if moments like this begin to feel as generic
as they tend to be in other manga.

The
thing that I liked the most though was how things ended.

Aside
from how begin, one of the most important things in a work of fiction
is how things end, as the ending is supposed to leave the audience
with a feeling of satisfaction, if it is either a standalone work or
the final installment in a series, or wanting more, if it is an
installment in a series.

And
in this book, I get what feel is a great ending.

During
the test of courage, we see what the pairs are up to and the
conversations they have, like Philomela being told that Rian, who got
upset at her earlier in the volume, thinks if he can do something
that anybody can, and when we finally get to Chisé and Veronica,
Chisé wonders if she can do something for Philomela, to which she
says that she does not wield the kind of power Chisé or anybody else
thinks and the final panel show Veronica looking back into the past
while beginning to tell Chisé of a supposedly minor incident.

From
her words to Chisé and how she begins her transition into a story
that will likely be picked up in the next volume, I get the feeling
that this story is going to be pretty important, especially because
the volume ends just as the story is about to begin.

By
ending things like this, I not only want to get the next volume as
soon as I can, and if I am able to, considering my current situation,
but I am also intrigued in finding out if the story will be as
significant as it is being suggested.

If
Kore Yamazaki had not ended the final chapter of the volume like this
or Mag Garden, or whoever they put this volume together, decide to
end things with a different chapter, the ending could have been a
little better, but I am not as sure of any oher decent ending as I
would be with a volume of Detective Conan.

Thankfully,
things ended in a decent enough way that feel like giving Kore
Yamazaki and everyone else a good round of applause for job well
done.

Hopefully,
future volumes will be able to end just as well as this one did, but
I would not be surprised if I encounter a volume with a rather bad
ending.

Outside
of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly
liked, at least that could not be added in with what has already been
mentioned.

Because
the beginning was good enough and eventually did pick up on the
previous volume’s cliffhanger, which ended up feeling like a breath
of fresh air, in comparison to what often goes down in anime and
manga, characters started making things complicated in a believable
manner, the test of courage felt fresh, even though it was still the
typical thing found in manga, and the ending did its job well, this
was a good read.

Although
I liked this book, there are some issues.

However,
aside from things too minor to talk about, such as typos, and
something that I keep complaining about in digital releases of this
series happening that seemingly goes unheeded, nothing really seems
to bother me too much.

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

Considering
there was more to like than hate, though there is something still
bothering me that I feel would be nothing more than beating a dead
horse, this was definitely worth reading.

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, but I suggest
reding the previous volumes first, to be able to get the full
enjoyment.

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 for yourself, buy
a copy of The Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 15
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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