I seem to have a knack for choosing to read manga shortly before an anime adaptation is announced for the same series. This has happened on several occasions including Kuroshitsuji and Kimi ni Todoke. The most recent series to fall under this category includes the popular manga Mahou Tsukai no Yome or The Ancient Magus’ Bride written by Yamazaki Kore. For the Summer 2016 anime season, a 3 part OVA for the season premiered. In response, I went about rereading the available chapters for this review.
The titular characters Chise Hatori (the bride) and Elias Ainsworth (the magus) are an incredibly strange duo. Having come into contact through peculiar means, the two quickly become enraptured with one another and struggle through their relationship while simultaneously figuring out their feelings on a personal level. It’s strange for me to try and articulate what it is that makes Chise and Elias’ story so unique, aside from the fact that the world that has been built around them is fascinating and beautiful. It can certainly be called a love story, but even then, the emotion known as love is brought into question. So much of their interactions would point to the fact that the two are in love, but the fear that they each have when dealing with these emotions prevents them from being honest with one another. It’s also fascinating to consider how their love is displayed, as it is vastly different from the usual formula one sees in love stories (and to a further extent shoujo manga).
These weirdos’ relationship aside, the world that the two exist within is mind numbingly gorgeous. A lot of what is hard about fantasy anything is how the world is built, whether or not it can/does hold together logically, and how it is explained to someone (presumably the reader) who exists outside of it. Much of what is presented in this series (the creatures, the way magic works, etc etc) takes some degree of inspiration from previously existing works. The one example that immediately comes to mind is the Queen and King of the faeries, Titania and Oberon, both of which can be recognized from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (though Shakespeare was known to find references for his work elsewhere also so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was not the origin of Titania and Oberon). This collision of works helps to further enrich the world created by Kore, giving a story and life to parts of Chise and Elias’ lives that would not be further examined otherwise.
I’m completely in love with this series as it stands. As it has yet to be completed, I hope that the series continues to enchant me and other readers alike. If you’re interested in this sort of manga, I highly suggest getting a hold of it to read for yourself. It is currently being serialized in Monthly Comic Garden, an online database of Japanese manga. Manga volumes have also been released in English stateside.