Well, this is surprising, huh?
Due to a few concerns, I was going to wait before getting a few more titles to read, but I decided to go my local Barnes & Noble and got a book that came out this month.
Today, I am going to be reviewing that book, which is called The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 5 by Kore Yamazaki.
As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.
An old acquaintance of Chise has come looking for help, when the person that acquaintance loves is nearing death, and Chise is determined to give them aid.
However, that choice may cost Chise her life because she has to use her own magic to do it.
I really enjoyed this book.
From the very first moment, that I opened up this book, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I have to fulfill the same needs that everyone else in the world has.
You guys may be saying that because I have been a fan of the series from the first moment I got acquainted with this series, which was back in November of last year.
However, it takes quite a bit of skill to pull a reader into a work and not something that everyone can do, nor will everyone pulled in like this, regardless of the writer's skill.
In fact, even the stories that I have written and feel are not that good have pulled in quite a lot people, though I would not say it is at the kind of level that would put me within the ranks of well-known writers like Stephen King or Agatha Christie, which was never my goal to begin with.
In the case of this work, Kore seems to be showing great promise in her ability to write, and the fact that she has continued to be able to do this for 5 straight volumes, I want to give a round of applause.
Hopefully, she'll be able to keep up this pace, so that she can reach the same respect that Hiromu Arakawa and Jun Mochizuki gets, though the former seems to be working on quite a few works at the same time right now.
I also liked how Chise has grown to be a bit more stubborn in the same kind of capacity that we humans can be stubborn.
Throughout the early portion of this series, Chise has always followed Ainsworth's advice and obeyed his commands, rarely, if ever, doing things of her own accord.
Here, however, Chise has shown that she is determined to help those who ask her help, in spite of the risk to her life.
While I would pretty much frown upon this, because it is kind of dumb to overwork yourself for the sake of others, I am glad about it here, because she is taking what Lindel told her back in volume 3 to heart, and she must learn things for herself to gain what she never really had when she was young, except for a few small moments.
This shows that she has really grown as an individual and makes me want to see where she will end up, once she is up to the same level of mastery of magic that Ainsworth has.
It was also nice how Chise and Ainsworth traveled to the land of the fairies.
If I had to say why this was a nice thing to see, it is because it accomplished two things.
First, we find out a little more about Ainsworth, in that he is half fairy.
This make me wonder about how he came into being, especially seeing as how one human that was handed over to the land of fairies ended up no longer being human.
Maybe, this will be answered in later volumes, much like how Oz Vessalius was officially confirmed as the true B-Rabbit while Pandora Hearts was still running in Japan, but with how Kore Yamazaki introduced things in this series, I hope that will be something that I could not possibly think of doing, or at least be able to do so with my current level of imagination, which many people, including myself, believe is the foundation of what we call knowledge.
All I can do is sit back and see if Kore can deliver something as good as I expect her to do, based on what she has delivered so far.
The other thing that makes this trip interesting is that Chise goes through some further growth.
For most of Chise's life, she has never wanted and that grew to a point, where like Oz Vessalius before being chastised by Elliot in Pandora Hearts Volume 6, she no longer cared whether she lived or died, which is probably why she took so many risks, without thinking of the consequences.
However, when she meets a doctor in the land of the fairies, she is attacked by said doctor and ends up fighting back, in order to live.
This might be a natural reaction in almost any human, who knows that their own life is in danger, but this incident seems to have given Chise the spark that she needed to keep on living and shows that she herself is becoming much of a person.
If she did not fight back, it would have ended up being a disappointing, because she would not have grown from the person that she was at the very beginning of this work, and made me less likely to want to see Chise succeed than I do right now.
Taking all of this in account, I am really glad that Kore put this in as part of the story and makes it a very important step in the journey that Chise has to go through, and it makes me want to go over to Japan right now and let her know how good of job she has done, though that probably will not ever happen because my Japanese knowledge is very limited and I only know what is say in French to check if somebody can speak English.
There were two things that caught my interest the most though.
First, I really liked how Kore tied myth in with how magic items work in her world.
In many stories involving magic or items with some kind of special property, the items seem to work regardless of locale in the manner that one would expect them to work, meaning that an item that is powerful in one region of the world is just as powerful as anywhere else.
Here, however, when Chise wonders if what she is learning can brought over into Japan, Ainsworth says that what he is teaching her there in England only works in England and places that have similar legends to those found in England.
I am not too sure about you guys, but this seems like a very interesting spin on how magic works and makes me wonder if Chise will ever learn about other elements that work in a fashion similar to what she is learning and even gives me a few ideas of how interesting it would be to see some foreign body try out their skills in England.
Then again, seeing as this story revolves around Ainsworth, Chise, and their relationship, I doubt that such a thing will occur, but it still neat how Kore decided to not make one set of mythology to apply to the whole world.
Still this makes me interested in finding out if Chise with learn about the many different legends of the world while this series runs its course.
Good job, Kore Yamazaki, you have already surpassed the creativity of many other writers out there, especially the well-known ones that I have been acquainted with where I live.
The second thing that I liked the most was how quickly this book was released.
While releasing books one after the other in rapid succession will not create great work all the time, there are downsides to having to suffer from slow release schedules, such as waning interest of current events, like in the case of Detective Conan, or things could be easily forgotten, which can happen with the yearly releases that A Certain Scientific Railgun gets.
Seeing as Seven Seas has caught up to the Japanese release of this series rather quickly, I was expecting them to slow things down to the point where this series would also only get one volume a year, much like how the aforementioned A Certain Scientific Railgun gets new volumes one year after publication in Japan.
However, this book was released in March in its home country of Japan, according to a page for the series on Wikipedia, and this volume was released just this month, according to both the same Wikipedia page and the Barnes & Noble link that provided at the beginning of this post.
With how quickly these volumes are being released, I have no incentive whatsoever to look for online scans, aside from checking for possible missing content, in order to keep up with this work at all, and I wish that Seven Seas released the Railgun volumes this quickly as well, though I would still end up waiting a year for the next volume, because there is only one new volume of A Certain Scientific Railgun every year Japan, according to the Railgun volume list found on the Magical Index wiki.
Great job on not making me wait too long, Seven Seas, because this makes feel like supporting you more in the future, though it might not be as much as if all your titles were available digitally, since I am running out of shelf space over here.
If more manga publishers were like this, and more titles get simulpubbed, there would probably be a near zero rate of what is called the piracy problem.
True, getting releases to align almost exactly over the whole world is not going to mean that everyone is going to buy the volumes or subscribe to service that legally, but those that do not pay even when it is that widely available will most likely never be convinced to change their ways.
Besides, in the real world, there is no way to achieve either 100% or 0% of anything, nor can any possible outcome of what you do have a 0% or 100% chance of happening, otherwise I would have been the most popular person on the Internet, which I know I am not.
Still what Seven Seas has done is truly remarkable, since there does not seem to be any missing content.
Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked.
Because the book was able to retain my attention while reading and Chise seemed to have grown quite a lot, as well as the fact that Seven Seas released this only a short time after its Japanese release and there are unique aspects to magical properties of items, this was very enjoyable.
Although I liked the book, there are some issues.
However, aside from things too minor to bring up, such as typos, nothing really bugged me too much.
As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
Considering that there was a lot to like about this book, and there was nothing majorly wrong, this was definitely worth reading.
I recommend this to people who want to see good character growth and fans of The Ancient Magus Bride.
As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but to really enjoy this, I suggest reading the other volumes first.
What are your thoughts on The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 5? Did you like it or hate it? Do you like how Kore Yamazaki is making things only as strong as they are considered by legends in their region or do you think that she has made a terrible choice? Is there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.
Use an app on your on phone (e.g. Scan for Android) to capture the image above. If successful, you should be taken the web version of this article.