The Ancient Magus’ Bride series review

Chise Hatori is barely past childhood when she finds herself orphaned and alone. Her supernatural gifts make her frightening to others, and she is on the brink of suicide. She is captured by a shadowy organization that gives her the opportunity for indentured servitude in a different life. But the buyer who shows up…

Elias Ainsworth has lived on the outskirts of London for centuries. His origins are not well known even to him. While he is a mage he is prone to making mistakes, and his many supernatural acquaintances – and the local priest – keep an eye on him. In return he functions as a kind of private investigator. He is able to hide his frightening appearance for brief periods of time. He travels to Japan to ‘buy’ Chise as his apprentice, and possible eventual bride.

Chise, it turns out, is gifted with immense powers, but equally cursed with a fragile frame so that her own power is the greatest threat to her life. Her kind tend to live short lives, often exploited by others who want to use their power. Ainsworth is determined to find a way for her to live a normal lifespan and manage her gifts. But it is a tightrope walk, and he often becomes a danger to her without realizing it.

In the series they go on many adventures together, meeting both kind and malevolent supernatural entities. In the first episode, Elias seems wise and in control – even feared. But we learn that his network of friends regards him as a bit of a fixer-upper. They look out for him, guide him, as much as they depend on him. He is a very complicated character.

Elias Ainsworth and Chise Hatori from The Ancient Magus Bride

Superficially the series seems like “Beauty And The Beast,” but Chise, possessing the ability to see hidden things, is not frightened by his appearance; not even when he is transformed by rage into an even more monstrous form. She behaves as if her indenture is a large improvement over her former life in Japan, and in some ways it is. Her life had been full of terror and trauma, but she has learned a thing or two along the way. She makes friends with dragons and ancient beings, is protected by an utterly loyal demonic dog, and becomes as much Ainsworth’s keeper as he is hers.

Subs not dubs: I know I sound like a broken record here, but watch it in Japanese with subtitles. The original voice acting is superb, and the dubbed sound track is kind of weak.

The story is charming and romantic in the beginning, while the dangers to various characters become apparent as it progresses. The action picks up considerably in second season. I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, but we enjoyed it a great deal. Available on Blu-Ray and on Amazon Prime.

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Older technology guy with photography and history background