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The Ancient Magus Bride Part Two UK Blu-Ray Anime Review

10 min read
The story continues and concludes as this unique pairing continues to make you confused, laugh and smile…

The story continues and concludes as this unique pairing continues to make you confused, laugh and smile…

What They Say:
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.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio has an English 5.1 Dolby Surround track and a Japanese 2.0 one which is the standard in most non-movie releases – with a pretty good dub and sub track, the sound is genuinely of a high quality with no problems synching with the subtitles as watched disc 1 in English and disc 2 in Japanese. Whilst the new opening isn’t as good as the first half, the music still settles well with the atmosphere of this mystery and folklore that the show portrays, putting it quite high in quality with no problems with it synching with the subtitles.

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in widescreen or fullscreen format with the show combining animation with a bit of CGI and continues to showcase England both in it’s accurate setting and more Arturian context (and no Fate/Stay night references at all…) combined with the fantasy of dragons and faeries, it comes out incredibly well defined and in your face with the animation with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in either language, no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, definitely in the top tier of Blu-Ray releases as it is one of those crispy, clear quality shows that you get with the more recent anime.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is very standard – each disc is the same with clips from the show playing in the background and your choices of Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Extras – easily select your popup menu from the show and no delays in selection so a standard Blu-Ray menu.

Extras:
Whilst not as many indepth extras as the first half, there are still some good extras on the second half of the set.

We have an English dub commentary for episode 21 featuring Kyle Phillips (Director), Skyler Macintosh (Stella), Tyler Carson(Simon) and Josh Grelle(Cartaphilius) – it is a general episode focus as they go into the dragons curse arc, as well as talking about the time line working on a 24 episode show (approximately 6 months), their favourite parts, discussing the English setting and the beauty of the show, whilst focusing on their characters, particularly Cartaphilius considering how complex he becomes and how his role changes the Elias/Chise relationship.

The other big extra (on disc 2) is an interview at Anime Expo 2018 with George Wada (President of Wit Studio who made the show) and Norihiro Naganuma (Director), a lot of questions are hurtled towards them as they talk about their thoughts of the Expo and being in America, what Magus Bride truly is about, messages they try and convey throughout the show, the artwork process, how the show differs from others, bringing the show to the West, the setting of England and adapting from the manga, amongst other things. Is quite informative overall if a bit short.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ancient Magus Bride was one of the series that caught my attention in recent times, and the fact it got licensed was a pleasant surprise and brought to the UK – especially with the series being situated in England, this was one of those rare series that seemed to focus on the accuracy and effort in research (magical beings aside ^^) – the second half continues on its way with the core villain and his methods showcased as well as his reasoning’s, Chise getting more and more lovable and badass through and Elias realising his methods may not always be the best…

I mean, sheep-like bugs – cute. Elias nearly eating Chise? Not so cute. The idea of Chise not wanting Elias to make her forget her memories, even the bad ones making her mentality reflect how grateful she is to him, but she also knows he isn’t infallible and this is something that continues throughout this half as she begins to teach him things as well…namely emotions and humanity. We learn that her parents had the ability to see spirits and demons as well which focuses on what happens later, but we begin to see more creatures interested in Chise – including a fairy named Ashen Eye who is a friend of Elias’ yet is interested in Chise because of how she ‘trapped’ many of its kind…so he turns her into a fox before Elias manages to save her (as he is lonely without her, the emotion of warmth coming to him). She connects with other characters as well with her new powers making things different – like with Joel, the old man who had a connection unknowingly with the Leana sidhe vampire girl which creates a sadness when Chise manages to get him to see her, and he gives his remaining life to her as she gave him hope to love. Unfortunately, the effect is that Chise is straining herself using magic….

Elias and the returning Oberon take her to the Land of Fairies to recover, where even there she is nearly killed by the doctor their Shannon as she apparently hates Sleigh Beggies. Chise manages to overpower her…but turns out was a trick to heal her as the cast of characters really are ones of two minds. One that doesn’t change and makes her so lovable is Silvie as when she is left alone, she remembers her previous life as a banshee but her role of remaining in that house for Elias – her reunion with Chise is just adorrraabbbblllee….

They celebrate Xmas (Chise going Xmas shopping with Alice makes me giddy, mistletoe kissing with Elias…makes his back tingle ^^) with a bit of background story on Alice’ past and she makes a new friend in a young girl named Stella who becomes more important in this half…

We learn Stella’s brother has gone missing but more strangely, she is the only one in her family that remembers him – so with Chise getting stronger in magic (helped by some presents she got for Xmas) they discover that Ashen Eye was behind this, and he manages to capture Elias as well but he is hoisted by his own petards as using the fox skin transformation he gave her as a trap he finds Elias’ scent and she saves Stella and Ethan with their memories returned. But what is most unusual is that Stella and Chises’ friendship is making Elias jealous and irritable to humans to the point that Chise is worried he might eat her, so asks Ruth to be ready just in case…just as the return of Cartaphilius appears along with Ashen Eye…

Cartaphillius begins to appear in Chise’ dreams as we learn about his past, as many of her friends tell her and Elias that Cartaphilius has stolen two dragons and wants Elias to find them. In a plot twist, one of the dragons is being sold at the same auction house that Elias bought Chise off. They go with Chise discovering some things, including a voice helping her and the dragons’ pain as it manages to escape and cause havoc, she manages to drain the magic of the dragon…but at the cost of her left arm being mutated and sealed by magical bandages. This absorption may cause her to die unless she goes back to the Fairy kingdom, but the voice she heard at the auction belongs to a witch named Mariel, who tells her she can cure her if she joins her and becomes a witch, as even Elias considers it as she may not have long to live…

However the big thing is when they learn there is no way they can save her curse, Elias for some reason begins to look for Stella…keeping in mind his agitation of her, Chise knows he is plotting something but when he captures Stella, he knocks Chise out as Elias figures out Stella is possessed by Cartaphilius…but at the same time he wanted to use her as a sacrifice anyway to save Chise as a life for a life…needless to say Chise is NOT happy and instead goes with Cartaphilius on the promise he won’t kill Stella. Here, you learn that Elias can be a monster, and him learning from Chise hasn’t gone as well as the other way round – and Chise may easily be a rare inversion of a Mary Sue – most characters do love her but she is smart, works hard and knows how to take risks but also learn from mistakes, something Elias hasn’t.

The final episodes are a battle both magically and mentally between Chise and Cartaphilius. Where we learn more of Cartaphilius wanting to die, he wants to switch Chise’ curse with his own – in contrast with Chise’ past and what happened with her parents, and her memories of her mother she confronts, this allows to see the humanity hidden in Cartaphilius, as she wants to see how he can stop him. With Elias realising he now has to be a better man, the race is one with Chise learnings of Cartaphilius’ past, his real name, and how he became immortal (which has actual biblical connotations’ which I was not expecting) and the two discover their pain, and how they are both similar yet different. Whilst Ashen Eye also returns to be a nuisance, with Ruth and Elias now in tow, the final confrontation is nigh…can Chise stay alive? Will Cartaphilius get his wish? Will it be a happy ending?

This is one hell of a series and one hell of a characters’ journey. Chise legit grows up and experiences growth, intelligence, power, pain, depression, destruction, emotions…everything through-out which was funny because at first it felt she was just there as a way for Elias to become more human. And that still happens, just the unexpected growth of Chise made this show even more engaging. There is a colourful amount of characters but the subtle villainy of Cartaphilius despite learning of his past means there is definite room for a sequel(manga I believe still ongoing). Chise growing as a mage as well as being a teacher of her own in giving Elias’ emotions, yet Elias despite his age still needs to grow up (there are even some surprising comic moments between the two when the animation goes into chibi mode) and the story takes pains in showing that.

I will admit some of the characters get lost in the shuffle – Ruth, Titania and Silvie I wish were in it more in particular – and whilst I liked characters like Stella who was basically the first human friend that Chise had who had no real magical powers (and was used as a good catalyst for showcasing Elias isn’t perfect and has both bad emotions as well as good, he just has the powers to make those emotions blood curdling), it does lead to a much more fleshed out villain in Cartaphilius with Ashen Eye being the eye behind the scenes so to speak. Combined with a lot of the scenes which add more knowledge to Chises’ world, the only weakness is perhaps that there are a lot of characters that many get lost in the shuffle and it becomes the Chise/Cartaphillius/Elias show.

Not that is a bad thing though as the development these three go through makes this an epic series to watch. Fantastic animation combined with a great voice track in both languages, a story that brings Chises’ development up to the forefront, emotions run ragged and a satisfying yet still open conclusion, this is one of the best series to have come out in recent years and definitely recommended.

In Summary:
Ancient Magus Bride concludes fantastically due to Chise’ improvement as a person and a mage, with Elias having to learn to control himself and his own emotions whilst aspire to be a better person, and the true story of Cartaphilius’ past. Whilst the big cast of characters do get lost in the shuffle, the focus is on our leads and they integrate with them in a great balance of fantasy, comedy, action and even a touch of romance (fortunately restricted as there is still some creepiness with that) – with new friends and enemies Chise has to deal with, the story goes through her growth, and concludes with a way that she earned her happy ending. Definitely give this a watch.

Features:
Episode 21 Dub Commentary, The Ancient Magus’ Bride At Anime Expo 2018: Interview with George Wada + Norihiro Naganuma

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: June 3rd, 2019
MSRP: £24.99
Running Time: 309 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PlayStation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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