The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

This is a review of the three episode OVA, that aired Sep 10, 2016 to Sep 9, 2017. I’ve been told it takes place at a different time than the currently airing series (although MyAnimeList calls the OVA a prequel to the series), so there should be no spoilers. Of course there will be spoilers for the OVA.

先ず [まず, mazu, firstly] I want to look at the title 魔法使いの嫁 – Mahoutsukai no Yome. 魔法使い [まほうつかい, mahoutsukai] literally means magic user. So anything from charmer, conjurer and enchanter, through mage and magus to sorcerer and wizard is a valid translation. The only objection I have to the translation is that if it’s once translated as “the ancient magus,” then it shouldn’t be translated differently in other cases.

So, where did this anime come from? It’s adapted from a manga. It was originally serialized in 月刊コミックブレイド [げっかんコミックブレイド, Gekkan Komikku Bureido, Monthly Comic Blade], a 少年 [しょうねん, shounen, aimed at young males] magazine owned by Mag Garden from November 2014 to September 2014, when the magazine was replaced by 月刊コミックガーデン [げっかんコミックガーデン, Gekkan Komikku Gaaden, Monthly Comic Garden]. It has been published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment – the eighth volume is scheduled for next year. The manga seems to be ongoing though.

I’ve read the first chapter of the manga. It details how the main character and the titular bride, 羽鳥チセ [はとりチセ, Hatori Chise, Chise Hatori], comes to live with Elias, the titular magus. I would guess that the first chapter is animated in the first episode of the series. (Which I haven’t started yet, so it’s just a guess, really.) Looking at the way the manga is drawn, it’s not so different from the OVA. In that it is true.

The OVA starts later, when Chise is already at home at Elias’ house in the English countryside. The main portion of the OVA is about Chise’s childhood, a story she tells Elias, Ruth (Chise’s familiar) and all the creatures gather around in the study. She briefly sets the stage with her mother’s last words and tells a story of a girl who could see “monsters” and didn’t know how to deal with her gift or curse. From the outside she looked odd, mumbling to herself, running from invisible enemies and in general behaving strangely. After being taken in by relatives she stumbles upon The Library of the Forest, which stands in the middle of the forest tended by a kind librarian. I’ll leave you to watch the rest of the story, if you haven’t already.

At the end of the OVA, there are still so many questions remaining, but I wouldn’t call them loose ends. It’s not like we need to know everything. But how did Angelica know about the book? Or was it just coincidence? Where do the monsters come from and why do they want to eat Chise? Et cetera.

And I want to learn more about the other characters too. Like Ruth seems to have a solid backstory. Silky, the housemaid, might be interesting too.

In the end I give the OVA 8/10 for a compelling story, beautiful animation and all the amazing little details (see all the screenshots). The whole thing just looks so precious in color and motion. It definitely strengthened my resolve to watch the animated series. They are both done by the same studio, so it should be a fine experience.

Have some cuteness to cleanse your palate after those monsters.

 

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