Chise Hatori, 15 years old. Lost, without hope, and without family, she is bought for money – not by another person, but by a non-human sorcerer named Elias. Though she hesitates, she begins life anew as his apprentice and future wife.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing a second season on Chise and Elias. I feel like the first season only just began the scratch the surface of their world and the complex relationship they have. We saw a lot of characters and interactions with different beings and cultures, but very little of Elias’ past and what Chise has to face as a Sleigh Beggy. I was hoping that a second dive into their world would answer my questions.
After working to help the Leanne Sidhe talk to her beloved Joel before he passed on, the binding on Chise’s ring shatters and she discovers she has pushed her body to the limit. To help her recover, Elias takes her to the land of the fairies, where time passes slower, to help her get the healing she needs. So far, all we’ve heard is that Sleigh Beggys are known for their poor health and their short life spans, but now Chise is being forced to face her own mortality, for her powers are becoming too much for her frail human body to cope with.
You’ll be relieved to know that the second season’s artwork is just as gorgeous as the first. Chise and Elias’ trip to the land of the fairies begins like something out of a Studio Ghibli film, with luminous flowers, winding paths and thick forests; whilst the autumn scenes in the human realm are beautiful in their simplicity, with the clear blue skies, crispy and detailed leaves and how the sun shines through it all. The exposition scenes are saturated with colour and truly breathtaking.
Things begin to get a lot more complicated for Chise as she begins to harness and use her powers more. She goes up against stronger, older beings whose powers are more mysterious; she begins to learn more about her magical acquaintances and their backgrounds and makes new friends through her adventures. But one of the most interesting things we see this season is how Chise is affecting Elias. The first season focused primarily on Chise’s development and adjustment to her new life with Elias acting as a guide and protector. This time, things seem to have flipped over. Elias finds himself experiencing new sensations and feelings that he can’t quite put into words, and Chise is helping him navigate this new emotional minefield of things like joy, concern and jealousy. I’m glad we’re watching the pair of them develop in their own ways and grow together.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride isn’t without its comic moments, either. I did have to laugh when Chise unknowingly put Elias to sleep for several days by unconsciously weaving her magic into the lullaby she was singing him. And then, to wake him up, ends up prising open his skull-like mouth to make him swallow something to open his eyes once more (if his skull has eyes in it, I guess). All of these scenes are done in a cute. cartoonish way where the art style changes significantly to reflect the mood – and it’s positively adorable. It even makes Elias look sweet.
If I was Elias, I wouldn’t trust Chise to do anything. Despite her fragility and lack of control of her powers she’s always rushing into things and taking crazy risks with no regard for her own safety. But it does make for some wonderful fantasy action and some bittersweet scenes. The Ancient Magus’ Bride is a beautiful emotional roller coaster that always has a new twist and turn on the horizon. I can’t wait to see how this one ends.