RogerBW's Blog

Mahoutsukai no Yome 21 October 2018

2017-2018 modern fantasy, shounen manga adaptation, 24 episodes: AniDB. Unwanted orphan Hatori Chise is bought at auction by the monstrous magician Elias Ainsworth, to be his apprenticeā€¦ and his bride. vt The Ancient Magus' Bride.

There are some very obvious issues of power asymmetry and consent there, which the anime deals with by completely ignoring them. (Also ignored: why Ainsworth wants a bride in the first place.) This is eight volumes of manga compressed into about nine hours of video, so maybe that sort of detail got lost in conversion; I have to review the show I watched, not the show plus a bunch of extra information.

What I watched was a beautifully-drawn setting of (mostly) rural England as imagined by Japanese artists who have probably never been there, plus properly inhuman fairies, dragons, and other strangenesses, and plots that are rather on the bitty side, not so much episodic as seeming to skip over large chunks. It's certainly possible to keep track of what's going on, but it's hard work at times, since some episodes deal with just a short series of events while others are clearly skipping through or past significant events. Character designs are solid and readily recognisable, though, and while I don't normally notice soundtrack music, here it's very effective at setting a mood.

So it's strange, and disjointed, but that fits the magical strangeness of the tales being told; many characters get less time than I'd have liked, and perhaps a pure anime production would have shrunk the cast a bit, but they're all interesting. The pace of story-telling is sometimes perversely slow, and this certainly isn't an all-action show, though it has its share of fights. It demands a certain amount of engagement, but also rewards it.

No sequel has been announced.

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