Series: The Ancient Magus’ Bride, #1
Translator: Adrienne Beck
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Pub. Date: 2014, 2015
Genre: Shounen Manga, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
I first learned about The Ancient Magus’ Bride anime from akidearest, but I decided I would watch it when it becomes available on a platform I have access to. Then I saw the manga at my library and checked it out. The recommendation I heard for the anime was that it gives you a sense of wonder and tells you just what you need to know for current events and feel there’s still more to the fantasy world, and the manga delivers on that too.
What is Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride about? Chise Hatori is an orphan who sees things others can’t and has been put up for sale at a slave auction. Sold to a mage with only a skull for a head, she is introduced to a magical world that exists within our world. She will meet other mages, fairies, and other fantastic creatures while getting an introduction to what it means to be a mage.
I love the world building. Since this is the start of what I expect to be a wonderful series, it does a fabulous job of making you curious about the world and care about what happens to these characters. On top of that, each character and element of the world is beautifully drawn.
For anything else that has a creepy edge or function, it is still beautifully drawn with an eye to wonder. The speech bubbles also add to the fantasy in that they belong to different creatures. I also like that names for specific creatures and certain spells are in bold so that you know to remember it.
The characters themselves are interesting. Chise grew up in a cruel, unloving environment, but she is still kind-hearted. She has a bluntness in humor that’s similar to Haruhi Fujioka of Ouran High School Host Club. Her exploration of the world and general maturity makes her more interesting than some characters who are constantly in awe of what’s around them or are mostly on the offensive about it. Then there’s Elias Ainsworth, the bone-headed mage who purchased her. No matter how traditionally creepy-looking he is, he is kind and a little absentminded to some things he should’ve explained. He is also smart and protective, but it’s in a much kinder way than would be expected. The way everyone talks about him and to him makes him more endearing. Even though the Yamazaki says she wanted Chise to be more emotive, I think she and Elias show plenty of emotion, and those tiny changes in illustration make it so clever and expertly done. The other characters, who play parts in smaller arcs, are drawn in great detail and have these life stories that make me want to invite them to dinner and talk more.
What makes this story better is that there are essentially two and a half to three small arcs completed in the story. It’s a good introduction to a series, and it makes me want to keep reading. There’s a cliffhanger, but I think it’s manageable and understandable. Now I need to get my hands on the next book.
If you like fantasy with beautiful worlds, I recommend you read The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol. 1.