12 Reasons Why You Should Watch The Ancient Magus' Bride
The Ancient Magus' Bridge, which debuted during the Fall 2017 anime season, is one of the best anime to air in recent years. It follows a teenage girl named Chise Hatori who sells herself at an auction because her family is gone and she has nowhere to go. Elias Ainsworth, a mage with a cow skull for a head, purchases her because he wants to teach her to refine her incredible magical powers. From there, the two forge a relationship that is focused in part on magical education, but mostly on mutual emotional healing.
If you're on the fence about whether to watch this anime, this article will detail why you should watch The Ancient Magus' Bride. It features stunning art, music, and animation, finely developed characters, an engaging plot, and so much more. It's well worth your time - and now it's time to find out why.
- 194 VOTES
The Art Is Gorgeous
If you watch anime for aesthetics, you shouldn't miss The Ancient Magus' Bride. This anime features lush, detailed backdrops that are as visually pleasing as they are beneficial to the magical world the story establishes. Chise visiting a group of dragons would be exciting enough without the exquisite art to back it up, but the art supports the story. The character designs, background music, and animation are equally on point. If you're looking for an anime that is truly a work of art from every possible angle, look no further than this one.
- 263 VOTES
The Villain Is Fascinating
A story is only as good as its main villain, and Joseph does nothing if not deliver. When he first shows up, he's a creepy menace who doesn't appear to care about anyone other than himself. Much like Orochimaru from Naruto, he does unethical experiments on other people in order to change his own lifespan - but unlike Orochimaru, Joseph is trying to end his own life after centuries of immortality. His body is rotting from the inside, causing him agonizing pain that he cannot escape from. All of this happened because he tried to heal someone with the same curse by allowing them to fuse with his body - essentially, his overwhelming desire to help someone else cost him his quality of life and eventually drove him to commit evil acts he never would have considered at the start of his life.
When Chise has her final confrontation with Joseph, viewers see him through her compassionate eyes - she understands fully what led him to stop caring about other people, but understanding doesn't mean accepting. The two of them ultimately work together to combat both his curse and one that Chise suffers from, leaving them both in the position to heal and move on.
The series doesn't end with Joseph being humiliated or destroyed but understood and helped - while still being held responsible for his, at times, heinous actions. Chise helps him, but not so much that she destroys herself in the process. Successful villain redemption is a delicate balancing act, but The Ancient Magus' Bride gets it absolutely right.
- 361 VOTES
There Are Mythological Underpinnings
The Ancient Magus' Bride is based heavily on actual mythology. The protagonist, Chise, is a sleigh beggy - a creature from Gaelic mythology. The girl is a conduit for raw magic and can cast powerful spells that weaken her. In Gaelic lore, though, a sleigh beggy is a slightly irritable, naked faerie, similar to the Ariels, who follow Chise around, hoping to taste her magic.
Other characters also have major mythological connections - Elias is likely based on one of several biblical figures, while Ruth, Chise's canine familiar, could be based on a figure from Scottish folklore called the cu sith, or fairy dog - which may have also served as an inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles. Other characters are based on Shakespearean figures, such as King Oberon and Queen Titania. When Chise is in Japan, the mythical creatures are yokai, which shows that the creators are making an effort to make their myths and stories culturally relevant, even when they take liberties with the actual content.
- 471 VOTES
Chise Is An Atpyical Protagonist
Most anime protagonists are resolute, strong-minded people who have a specific goal in mind that they're working toward. The same does not hold true for Chise Hatori. At the beginning of the series, she's emotionally shut down, has no meaningful bonds with anyone, and has no specific goals beyond finding someone who wants her to be alive. Characters with huge ambitions like becoming the leader of a ninja village or finding buried treasure have their place, and their goals can be a great way to drive a story, but it isn't the only way.
Chise starts off as a character who is too depressed to set goals for herself, but as she forms bonds with others, she finds small things that she wants to achieve, like improving her own magic skills, and living a harmonious and peaceful life. Not every viewer finds extreme ambition relatable, so it's nice to have a series with a different kind of protagonist.
- 583 VOTES
Found Family Is A Major ThemePhoto: Studio Bones
The bonds between biological family members can be beautiful, but what happens when your blood relatives are unsupportive or even abusive? Sadly, this is the reality for many people, but that doesn't mean that they can't have meaningful bonds. That's why stories about found family - people you choose to build familial bonds with - are so important. Chise starts off the series alone but ends up surrounded by people who love her and work to help her see herself as worthy of that love. Whether it's her romantic relationship with Elias, her human/familiar relationship with Ruth, her equal friendship with Alice, or her ultimate willingness to pass on her warmth to the series' villain, Chise builds herself a new family, to replace the biological one that didn't provide for her needs.
- 649 VOTES
The Side Plots Are CompellingPhoto: Studio Bones
Though The Ancient Magus' Bride has a compelling main story, it takes some time to warm up, and is broken up with side plots that serve to establish and broaden the magical world and develop the characters. A particular story may not contribute to the larger plot, but it still serves a purpose, and still holds the viewers' interests. Often, stories that seem like they aren't connected to the larger story come back later.
For example, an early arc about a man who started killing cats in order to save his wife's life, introduced the main villain, Joseph, who manipulated him into doing this in the first place. It also underscores one of the ultimate messages of Joseph's arc: you can't hurt others just because you yourself are hurting. It's not clear what the arc's role is until later, but it's still intriguing without that knowledge - and even more so once you see the connection. The same can be said for most of the other side plots.