“The neighbors.” That’s what we sometimes call the spirits, gods, and magical beasts who still dwell in our world. Fire fairies flit about with red embers of joy and mischief in their eyes, while a solitary centaur strides elegantly through the snowy woods. There are many of these “neighbors,” and if you want to make it through this magical experience alive, you must not anger them. You may be eaten, spirited away to another world, or struck with a curse, depending on the type of neighbor. So be careful, young mage. Respect the neighbors.
Welcome to Anime Rants. After five years, the second season of The Ancient Magus’ Bride has finally started airing. As a fan of the first series, I couldn’t be happier to see the return of this unusual fantasy anime. In this article, I’ll review the first three episodes of season two.
Episode 1: Live and Let Live
Chise begins attending a “college” of sorcerers at the request of Stroud, who wants to study her. As a Sleigh Beggar bearing two curses, she is a fascinating entity. Elias doesn’t like the idea of Chise going to the college, but he allows her to do it on the condition that he will be on the same campus as an associate instructor.
On her first day in the college, Chise meets the medic, a female caterpillar-like creature named Alexandra Heath. After that, she goes to the dorms and meets some talking cats, who ask her to choose one of them as her dorm guide. Chise chooses Rose Lynn, the cat who represents students with free spirits. Rose Lynn leads Chise to her dorm room, where she meets Lucy Webster, her cranky new roommate. Meanwhile, Elias and Stroud encounter the sorcerer Renfred, who hates mages. His spiteful attitude toward Elias has not changed.
With her new uniform on, Chise is ready to start classes. (Ruth is with her wherever she goes, by the way.) Alice texts her and asks her to come to the training room, but Chise isn’t sure where it is. On her way to try to find it, she sees another student in the garden about to pass out. Chise catches the other student just before she falls. What now? To be continued.
This first episode of the new season was quite enjoyable for me. Twenty-four minutes passed by in the blink of an eye. The magical setting and sense of wonder is just like it was in the first season, and I love it. I’m rather disappointed that Chise has barely aged since last season. She is only sixteen. As an American, when I heard the phrase “college,” I had hoped it referred to higher education for young adults. It’s fine, though. At least this way, we haven’t missed much.
So, how is Chise doing now? She healed up from the wound she got from Joseph and she’s gaining more strength every day. She is also learning to live with her curses. The dragon’s curse on her arm is not causing any issues. However, the curse of immortality from Cartaphilus has caused some changes. At times, Chise now experiences memories from Joseph/Cartaphilus, including scenes from a thousand years ago. She has also gained more awareness of malice and a sensitivity to being watched. Despite the changes, however, she’s still very much herself.
It was great to see Chise doing so well and trying out this new experience. Additionally, I was happy to see some development for Elias. He learned a new emotion: the feeling of being afraid of Chise’s anger. This newfound fear teaches him to stop hiding in the shadows to observe when she would rather be alone. The slow humanization of Elias has always been fascinating to me, and I can barely wait to see further progress.
Episode 2: Birds of a Feather Flock Together (Part 1)
The girl who passed out in Chise’s arms soon wakes up and explains that she suffers intense anxiety. (I’m not sure if that was the reason she fainted, though, or if there was a different cause.) Chise gives the girl some calming tea and potpourri before going on her way. She meets Alice before long. The older girl has cut her hair and formed a contract with the Will-o-the-Wisp fairy from season one. But the two friends don’t have much time to talk since it’s time for class. Alice takes Chise to her classroom and gives her some encouragement.
Chise’s class is taught by Professor Narcisse, who gives an inspiring introduction to the concept of sorcery before beginning to teach Latin. After it’s over, Chise and Alice are called to Elias’ classroom. There, they demonstrate some basic mage ability for the sorcerer students. Alice’s performance was too powerful, but Chise did excellently. Elias brought with him a bunch of fire-fairies for the students to practice with, but most of the sorcerers do poorly. One child insults a fire salamander and would have been roasted to death in return if Elias hadn’t stepped in for a rescue. By the end of the class, only a few of the kids are still brave enough to be interested in magic.
Alice and Chise meet a male student named Rian shortly after the chaotic magic class. He seems like a very serious boy, but he’s not harsh. In fact, Chise feels relaxed around him. Or rather, she felt that way until Rian suddenly asked her teach him to be a mage. That’s where the episode ends.
Allow me to share a few thoughts. It was great to see Alice again, as she was probably my favorite supporting character in the first season. She looks great with short hair. Speaking of supporting characters, many of them were introduced or at least shown in this episode. There’s Veronica, Beatrice, Rian, and others. I’m not sure how many of the students are important to remember. It’s slightly overwhelming. Other than that, the second installment was excellent. The part where Chise lit the candle with magic was beautiful. I’m curious to know whose face Elias was using for his human form. And that’s not the only mystery afoot. Who was spying on Chise in the medic’s room, and why?
Another great aspect of this episode was the information about sorcery and how it compares to the magic used by mages. Both studies involve magic, but sorcerers generate power within their bodies, while mages borrow power from the fairies and other mythical creatures. Sorcery also focuses a lot on acquiring knowledge compared to mage training, which focuses on compatibility with the fairies. I love good world-building in fantasy media, so this information was greatly appreciated. That’s all for episode two.
Episode 3: Birds of a Feather Flock Together (Part 2)
Rian, Alice, and Chise encounter Tory, who is Rian’s guardian and teacher. Meanwhile, Renfred lectures Elias about classroom safety. Afterward, Elias and Chise go visit the cafeteria, guided by Rian. They meet many other students there, including the cute twins, Jasmine and Violet. The nervous green-haired person is named Zoe. All the students seem to like Chise and Elias except for Zoe, who can tell that Elias is not human; and Lucy, who refuses to socialize with anyone.
After the first few days of school are over, Elias and Chise spend time relaxing together. They also harvest the pumpkins from the garden. When Chise goes to wash the pumpkins in the stream, Joseph comes to see her. I was under the impression that Joseph was permanently asleep, but apparently, he wakes up at times. Also, he doesn’t eat or expel waste, and remains unaged. I’m not exactly sure of the details of Chise’s arrangement with Joseph. But she tells him she’s going to keep his cursed eye for a while longer. Joseph goes back to sleep.
When Chise catches up to Elias, he is with Stella, who is here for a visit. Elias volunteers to harvest the rest of the pumpkins and tells Chise and Stella to walk back to the house. Things are going well until a fog moves in and Chise and Ruth suddenly vanish from Stella’s side. They have no idea where they are. To be continued.
I don’t have as many thoughts on this episode as usual, but I’ll mention a few things. I like most of the new characters, though some may be hard to keep track of. The teacher, Narcisse, is beautiful and charming. Initially, I thought I would like Zoe, since I typically enjoy the more gentle, feminine boy type of character. However, so far, I’m annoyed at him. What’s the big deal if Elias and Chise aren’t human? They are clearly sentient and intelligent. I do understand being a little bit afraid of Elias, but Zoe has no reason to avoid Chise.
There are a few things I’m curious about in this episode. First of all, why is Lucy so convinced that everyone will become enemies after graduation? I don’t get that. Secondly, there’s still a lot I don’t understand about Joseph / Cartaphilus and his curse. I may need to look up some information on the wiki to get a clearer idea.
On a final note, I’m relieved that Elias has gotten over his jealousy and no longer has a problem with Chise and Stella being together. We wouldn’t want a repeat of his jealous temper tantrum from last season. That wraps up everything for the third episode.
Thank you for reading~