The Nihon Review Forum

The Nihon Review Topic Discussion => Anime => Topic started by: HuuskerDu on October 07, 2017, 01:47:58 PM

Title: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: HuuskerDu on October 07, 2017, 01:47:58 PM
1:

This is everything I had hoped it would be. The setting, the tone, and the characters all provide a marvelous sense of wonder and mystery.   

Wit Studio is doing a worthy adaptation, particularly with the shot composition and backgrounds.

In a recent interview (http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-feature/2017/09/15/meet-the-woman-behind-the-ancient-magus-bride) Kore Yamazaki explained her creative process in writing the manga, "I don't know if I'm thinking of the plot development consciously or if it's just flowing out of my head. I think of the direction for myself, and the characters talk to me as I'm writing the story."   That is the best kind of writing.  (Yamazaki's other major work is Frau Faust (https://www.amazon.com/Frau-Faust-Vol-Kore-Yamazaki-ebook/dp/B07591Q129/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507408673&sr=1-1&keywords=frau+faust), which is also worth a read.)
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Pebble on October 07, 2017, 10:21:59 PM
1:

Quite entrancing, actually. I expected this to feel overly familiar to western fantasy, honestly, but it doesn't ... or at least for the most part. They say this show evokes a sense of wonder and such, but by now we've all seen enough of these creatures, and this aesthetic, that this isn't wondrous in a surprising way. I woudn't really use the word wonder to describe this.
This is familiar enough that we all have had practice transporting ourselves to this kind of world. This feels like one of those wishing well children's stories, except vastly more mature.

This is comfort food of the highest degree. In a very odd way, it reminds me of when I first watched fullmetal alchemist, actually.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 09, 2017, 01:01:06 AM
1:

Hm, I think the OAVs kind of ruined something for me on this.  I don't remember there being any silliness in those exhibition episodes, but here we have a couple of moments with some off-model faces designed to show more lighthearted moments and... it was jarring.  If the manga was like this, okay, but I'm not sure I like it.  I was hoping for a pure straight laced modern fantasy, I guess.  It isn't a deal breaker, it just bugged me a bit.  I'll get used to it.

Obviously this world is supposed to be alien and abnormal to us.  The auction they were at was not just for magic beings, and Elias was recognized for the unusual sort he actually was, though he was known.  So magic is a known commodity, but as Elias mentions, it is rare now.  The auction itself was already foreign enough, and though human slavery and underworld antics still exist today despite all of our best efforts to stamp it out, it remains the providence of those in power and money to continue to operate outside the rules because they can.  Without this, though, Chise wouldn't find herself in the fortunate, albeit disturbing, situation she's in now.

As for the show, it is gorgeous, and full of atmosphere.  I'm loving the little bits and pieces drizzled everywhere by the animators in the backgrounds and the side shots just to give us things to look at.  There is a lot of creativity going into this, and a lot of love, so I'm happy I get to see it.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Pebble on October 09, 2017, 07:48:54 PM
I don't remember there being any silliness in those exhibition episodes, but here we have a couple of moments with some off-model faces designed to show more lighthearted moments and... it was jarring.  If the manga was like this, okay, but I'm not sure I like it.  I was hoping for a pure straight laced modern fantasy, I guess.  It isn't a deal breaker, it just bugged me a bit.  I'll get used to it.

This is the bit that reminded me of fullmetal alchemist.

Except that, unlike FMA, I think there is a good reason for this silliness to be here, because since this looks to be something of a coming of age story, ostensibly Chise's rehabilitation from being a tortured recluse should be a big part of the show's structure, and I don't think a humorless approach helps that story element.
In fact this show is "slice of life" in a more classical sense than we understand for anime, in that there is an underlying story told through largely episodic, "mundane" events. They aren't 'truly' mundane because magic, but they are part of the everyday pedestrian realities of Elias' life.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: The Big Guy on October 09, 2017, 11:26:02 PM
To jump on that train a bit, it also does work in endearing Elias to the audience by turning him into a giant moeblob. I imagine a chunk of the potential audience for this manga/show were turned off by Elias' giant skull for a head, so by putting him in SD form it adds levity to a character that could be unnerving for some.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 10, 2017, 12:49:50 AM
No amount of super deformity is going to make that thing not creepy.  I know that, part of the point, is that we're supposed to eventually not worry about it as we get to know Elias and his "humanity", which actually makes it worse in my opinion to go goofy with him.  Let him be strange, weird, and let the audience deal with it over time.

Meh.  I'm just whining.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 14, 2017, 11:48:27 AM
2:

This is more like it, though that bit at the end there sure escalated quickly.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: AC on October 17, 2017, 09:43:02 PM
1,2:

Very charming.

The one thing I notice about this show is just how deliberately slow and muted the pacing is. It certainly takes its time to set the atmosphere and tone of the show, and some viewers would think that this show is too slow. So far, I'm okay with it; in fact, it's kinda nice. The cast? Charming. Chise's interaction with Elias is kinda cute, especially with the occasional moe scenes that are timed amazingly well. It's basically a very likable cast; I don't think I can hate anyone in this show.

There's only one thing I'm worried about, and that's the interaction dynamic between Chise and Elias. Most certainly, this show has the 'damsel in distress' vibe and Elias is basically the knight in shining armor (and a bone for a head). If this show is all about this, it's going to be a one-sided affair like many other fantasy romance shows... and that's terribly boring.

The only way this show can save itself is when Chise learns to fend for herself. I like how in-your-face and real Chise is, and that's a good sign. But this show's pacing is really slow, so any potential development between Chise and Elias is going to take ages. Patience is the name of the game here, I guess.

I'll stick around for a while. Not sure if I'm that invested in this show just yet.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: HuuskerDu on October 18, 2017, 12:33:27 AM
2:

Ditto what AC said about the pacing and charm.  I like the fact that it is set in modern London, which gets juxtaposed with Elias - a rare throwback to an earlier time.

I do have one irritation regarding a certain aspect of Chise's backstory.  I'm okay with the fact that that Chise has had a sad, Dickensian Great Expectations type life growing up.  And I'm fine with the fact that she has had lots of painful life experiences.  (She sees invisible monsters nobody else can see so she spooks people.) But at the start of the ep we see a flashback of the suicide of Chise's mom from the prequel ep 1.  Mom says, "I should never have had you" and then deliberately jumps out a window in front of her own child. No mother would ever do that.  Now, perhaps a teenager might conceivably do it to spite his own parents, but a mother to her own child?  Oh come on, this is SNL Miles Cowperthwaite stuff, not Great Expectations, and it really took me out of the story.

My other irritation was the scene with the 'priest/pastor' (huh?), which was tin eared beyond belief.  "If only God or his son [sic] would write us a letter or two" (!?)  Do your research, people.  (At least the London architecture and skyline looked about right.)

Otherwise I have no real complaints. Between the prequels and these first eps we now know Chise pretty well, but we still know very little about Elias' background. For example, why does Elias have a freaky looking antelope skull head?   Is he a human laboring under a curse?  If so, can the curse be removed somehow (e.g., with true love's first kiss a la Shrek)?  If he is not a cursed human, then what in the world is he?   A lot of questions still need to be answered about him.   And we still need to learn more about this Sleigh Beggy thing. 

This is a slow burner so we might have to wait a while as facts dribble out. (Caution: I think some answers might have been spoiled too soon in the prequel, which was published rather late in the manga series [Volume 5], so it might be better to watch this series first and then go back and watch the prequel later.)
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 18, 2017, 01:13:41 AM
I don't think that last part is necessary, about watching this first before the OAVs.  For starters, the damage is done for me, but even still while the prequels were fascinating and charming, much like this show so far, I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from that which would be problematic for future watchings here.  The dog guy?  That Chise actually does successfully learn magic?  I mean, is any of that really a big secret at this point?  I don't think the OAVs revealed much at all, frankly, except that it told a side story that was influential on Chise's younger life, though she didn't know, at the time, just to what extent that influence might foretell of her older life.  Even now, at this point in the story, Chise hasn't quite put two and two together (part of that is probably because the author didn't think of it until later), but she's also someone who has seen some shit, so maybe she doesn't really put much stock in her experiences.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: HuuskerDu on October 18, 2017, 02:42:09 AM
One major question that got spoilered for me was...

... Elias' identity. Elias said that while he was Chise's teacher, she was his. He said her job was to teach him about how to be human.

That statement blew all of the curse/Shrek theories out of the water.

It also killed plot twists like "I'm actually your cursed father/brother/uncle/3rd-cousin and I took you in to make amends for your sucky life."
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 18, 2017, 12:58:39 PM
I figured that was metaphorical more than literal.  It is also ironic if you think about it.

It still works either way.  These first couple of episodes show us that Elias doesn't have a great understanding of human behavior, but I have taken that to mean that he's been a recluse so long, and so involved in the magical world, that he doesn't know how to interact with other human beings.  He may not be human, and the bride thing might be an allegory to the idea of a monster becoming human if they take on a wife, but somehow I doubt that.  If we look at this in a similar vein to the Harry Potter world, the wizarding world was more or less ignorant of the muggle world, something I still don't quite understand considering how closely they reside together, but it works similarly here.  It also stands to reason that the only human Elias interacts with on a regular basis is the priest, who is kind of a prick, so not exactly a great example of humanity either.

Anyway, I took it to mean getting him to act more human in a metaphorical sense.  These first couple of episodes show he has very little understanding of feminine modesty, personal space, social constructs and manners, and so forth.  For all of his power as a mage, he's a pretty shitty human being.  Chise isn't exactly the best human being either, because her experiences have made her almost a misanthrope herself, but somehow she's come through it without a scathing rebuke of humanity in general.  I suppose that part of her, the old "if you've never known kindness, it is easy to be kind to others" kind of philosophy, might be what dries this, but I still don't think it is literally making Elias a human being.

Of course, if it is, meh.  It can be both.  It seems odd to me that we're given Elias in all of his monstrous form at first, which in other literature would be something you take with a grain of salt.  The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, for example.  They could pull the Ol' Switcheroo on us and have him actually BE as monstrous as his form, but I don't know.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Pebble on October 20, 2017, 05:19:06 PM
2:

This ending theme is pretty godlike.

The last 30 seconds of this episode felt rather rushed in contrast to the otherwise slow pace of the rest of the show. It would likely have been better to push that draconic abduction stuff to the beginning of next episode.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 21, 2017, 02:55:56 PM
3:

That was pretty damned fantastic.  I actually found myself getting swept up in the emotions of the Uil's passing.  I guess the director was going to make the audience feel what Chise couldn't.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: AC on October 21, 2017, 10:09:02 PM
3:

That was really beautiful.

I really like Chise's character. She may still be a damsel in distress (for now), but her phlegmatic and passive demeanor makes her very different and... well, real. Perhaps it's the resultant of her not-so-happy childhood and that makes her an emotional shut-in, and right now the show is about her growing up and introspecting.

And yes, I do feel like traveling to Iceland now.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Equilibrium on October 25, 2017, 12:25:23 PM
3. The dream of flying around was beautifully expressed here and i wanted more 5/5

Looking forward to this a lot more now. The OVA was brilliantly told and excecuted but the first 2 episodes didn't hit me that deep. Don't get me wrong they were really good but... i wanted the hit i got from Made in Abyss first episode to go like WHOOOOOOAAA... And it wasn't until this episode i got it so....not complaining here anymore:D
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: AC on October 30, 2017, 02:19:54 AM
4:

The greatest episode of all time... because of CATS.

It's disappointing to see Chise being the damsel in distress yet again, but now there's an interesting development in her relationship with Elias. It's never really clear what kind of relationship they have, and more so for Elias's fascination towards Chise. Plus, for the record, her being as a Sleigh Beggy has never been explained so Elias has been keeping Chise in the dark since they first met. Why he intends to marry her too, that remains a mystery.

It's clear that Elias doesn't engage in this cleansing ceremony because one, he's 'not good at such things' (my interpretation: dealing with supernatural problems with emotional complications); and two, his specialty lies in shadow. Come to think of it, everything makes sense now.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: HuuskerDu on October 30, 2017, 10:28:18 PM
4:

Kitties!

The queen cat (a drop-dead gorgeous orange Maine Coon with heterochromatic blue-green eyes) says to Chise, "What mother fails to protect her own child? It would be unthinkable, at least to me", causing Chise to recall her mother's suicide, and while I am happy that the story has acknowledged that act was a literally unthinkable thing for a mother to do in front of her own child (and therefore I will retract my complaint about it), it still does not explain why she did it.  Is her suicide connected to the Sleigh Beggy?  But if SB is something that powerful and that bad/nasty/evil from mom's POV, then why didn't mom throw Chise out the window? Why herself, and why do it in front of her own daughter?

Then we see Mina and Matthew, who are clearly a loving couple, and yet something dark and nasty appears to be at the center of their relationship. Mina whispers to Chise that she needs to kill both of them "for our sake".  Chise asks herself, "How did they end up the way they did?"  It feels like the answer is somehow connected to why Chise's mom felt the need to jump.  (The title 'Everything must have a beginning' also hints this.)

Renfred calls Elias Pilum Muralis ('wall spear') - a long square pole with two sharp tips carried by Legionnaries in the Roman army that when stuck in the ground helps form a protective palisade around their encampments.  (Presumably it has something to do with Elias' nature?)
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on October 30, 2017, 11:30:19 PM
I would assume it is part of Elias' inhumanity.  He's hard to get close to, or stays guarded.

In any event, I thought the story of Mina and Matthew was obvious.  She's dying, she whispers to her cat if the cat can spare a bit of its life for her, sorcerer in town, all of a sudden Matthew is killing cats.  He was probably fed some bad info, and maybe kept it up in revenge when it didn't work to save Mina's life.  Now it is all darkness and tragedy.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on November 04, 2017, 08:32:47 PM
5:

So, now that this is over, why is the only thing I'm taking away from this that I don't like Chise's answer?  They asked her if she wanted to be free, and her reply was... utterly pathetic.  Because Elias showed her acceptance and kindness for the first time in her life?  I can understand being skeptical of what these two strangers are saying, especially since one of them is doing so HOLDING A ****ING KNIFE TO HER NECK... but at the same time, that being the reason is just ****ing stupid.  She's acting like a victim of Stockholm Syndrome or some other mental disorder.  That isn't a healthy thing to say mentally or spiritually.  Nevermind that she's only known Elias for a little while, and has experienced first hand what kind of a ****ing weirdo he is, and she doesn't fully understand him or trust him.  Yet here we are, that's her answer.

It is way too soon in the series for her to be confident in staying with Elias.  I would have rather she just said flat out that she can't trust what these people say.  I mean, knife to the neck, crushing a fairy... who would believe these two clowns?  They seem like antagonists, not helpers.  Not liberators.  But for that to be the response.  Blargh.

Whatever.  Episode was brilliant otherwise.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Pebble on November 05, 2017, 08:30:03 PM
5:

Chise is a very well conceived character, though I think the tone of the show doesn't really convey how messed up her thinking is. She seems to belong in a much darker work than this.

It is way too soon in the series for her to be confident in staying with Elias.  I would have rather she just said flat out that she can't trust what these people say.  I mean, knife to the neck, crushing a fairy... who would believe these two clowns?  They seem like antagonists, not helpers.  Not liberators.  But for that to be the response.  Blargh.

I think you're missing a point here: this girl does not think or behave in a self-preserving way. The dragon explicated that fairly clearly. She sold herself into slavery, and its only a happy coincidence that Elias is so amiable. In some respects that is an act of (at least spiritual) suicide already. She cant be someone's priceless child, so in her mind its only a short step down to be worth an actual sum of money, and be someone's priced slave/wife/etc. She doesn't plan to leave Elias simply because Elias bought her, and that is the contract she entered in. Being confident in staying with Elias was never even the question.

Safety, trust, a future, all that stuff means **** all to her. All she cares about is some notion of value or worth, but she has let her concept of worth become so degraded that she is satisfied with being used: as long as she is Elias' possession, she can be a shiny possession worth 500million pounds, in a very literal sense. It is important that she says "I belong to him" regarding her relationship with Elias, and not something like 'I trust him'. She doesn't really trust him, but she doesn't really care, and she doesnt expect people to understand this distorted sentiment.
The very last sentence "watashi wa itsu shinun darou?/when am I going to die?" strongly (if inconclusively) hints that Chise believes what the sorcerers said. The 'darou' indicates an expectation that her death is going to happen (well obviously it will) but really the placement of the sentence is so obviously designed to insinuate that she believes the sorcerers.

This is why the structure of the episode seems a bit busted. It begins with Chise saying "I belong to him [Elias]" (watashi wa ano hito no mono desu) which is usually an expression of hopeless love in shitty Japanese love songs, but ends with Chise kind of tentatively guessing that Elias might* actually being a good perch. If she made that declaration in the beginning of the episode to mean she was staying with Elias because she trusted him and all that, then there is no reason for her to be ambivalent in these last sentences.

*there is definitely a 'kamoshirenai' in that last sentence.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: AC on November 06, 2017, 07:17:54 AM
5:

Got to say, even when I could see Matthew/Mina's story from a mile away, the execution and ambiance were magnificent. Even the horror was well-done; even other horror shows couldn't pull off a scene like that.

Too bad though; the show still isn't doing a good job in making Chise anything more than a damsel in distress. I get what she's saying, although it doesn't come off quite right. I still get a hint of Chise's suspicion towards Elias; she trusts him but not wholeheartedly. Then again, Elias hasn't always been that straightforward with her. There's always a secret about him that Chise doesn't know yet.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on November 13, 2017, 12:33:15 AM
6:

No, I still don't like Chise's attachment to Elias, especially how much it seems to have blossomed into something more.  I know this is a josei manga, so I should be used to this, but **** me.  Anyway, we now know that Elias isn't human after all, well not completely.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: HuuskerDu on November 15, 2017, 08:01:41 PM
MAL and Wikipedia list the manga under the shonen demographic.  (I agree it feels more like josei.)
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on November 15, 2017, 08:20:25 PM
If this is shounen, I don't know what shounen is anymore.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: Gadget on November 16, 2017, 06:32:48 AM
???Huh??
What is so 'Shounen'? Is it because the manga was publish under Monthly Comic Blade, which Wikipedia call it a shounen manga. Looking at the stuff Monthly Comic Blade publish, I think is a mix. But it has more of Seinen or josei stuff. Like Psycho Pass was more josei than seinen. Just because there is a girl an magic does not means is shounen.
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: gedata on November 16, 2017, 05:40:24 PM
who gives a shit?
Title: Re: The Ancient Magus' Bride
Post by: TypicalIdiotFan on November 16, 2017, 05:52:29 PM
THIS IS ****ING IMPORTANT!  SUPER SERIOUS!  THE WORLD WILL END OTHERWISE!