Note: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: The Ancient Magus’ Bride Part Two
Anime Studio: Wit Studio
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Released: June 3rd, 2019
Extras: Episode 21 Commentary, Interview with George Wada and Norihiro Nagamura at Anime Expo 2018
Chise’s bond with Elias grows stronger by the day, while all around her, things take a turn for the worse. Not only are the fae and beings of lore meddling in her life, but her recovery time is increasing after each use of her power. All caution is thrown to the wind; however, when one of Lindel’s dragons is captured, and the rescue attempt puts Chise’s life in grave danger. Now, the only thing more horrifying than Joseph’s plan to use Chise, is Elias’ plan to save her.
If you read my review for part one of this series, you’ll know that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the second half of the season. Now that it’s arrived, I am happy to say that it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, everything that made the first half of the season so enjoyable is still present here. From the stunning animation (courtesy of the ever-excellent Wit Studio) to the beautiful soundtrack, from the characters to the overarching plot, it’s a remarkably consistent series from start to finish.
I’d actually say that this is a stronger collection though, thanks in a big way to the story progression. Much of the two discs is, as with the first release, split into smaller stories. These are enclosed tales that provide a good mix of simple entertainment and little nudges in terms of character development, especially as it pertains to Chise and Elias’ relationship. By and far though, the six-episode run that rounds the story off is the best of the entire series.
This arc sees Chise and Elias dealing with issues that start off relating to dragons, but soon takes in everyone from a coven of witches to the immortal Cartaphilius. The whole thing not only builds up the lore of the world, but also sees both of our leads showing very different sides to their personalities. Best of all, by the end of, not only has Chise grown immensely, but the whole thing comes to a satisfying end. In an era where not everything gets a clear conclusion, this is excellent to see. Plus, the joint teacher dynamic between the two protagonists – which itself leads to a focus on mutual growth – was a joy to watch.
That’s not to say that the other stories told aren’t worth your time though. My favourite was probably the episode where Chise is briefly transformed into a fox, and we get to see the end of the story between Leanan Sidhe and Joel. Meanwhile, the various appearances of the Fae were equally as interesting, and the wooly bugs we encounter in the first episode are absolutely adorable.
While there are plenty of happy sentimental moments during the episodes, the tragic tone of the first release also remains. In particular, the flashback to Chise’s early childhood and the resolution she reaches with her Mum is so sad, but so well done. Some of Elias’ action during the final arc also fit this darker side of the series.
In all, this is another stunning release. It improves upon the already excellent first half of the series, and provides even more of the fantastic animation, storytelling, and characters. This is an easy 5 out of 5.