Learning to Live Again: Ancient Magus Bride Review Owl’s prompt for July
This month’s OWL prompt was for “Mentors” and the prompt goes as follows…
Throughout our lives, we might have encountered someone that we admired as a role model or has guided us in some life dilemma. This mentor could be a teacher at school, a coach, a boss or team leader at work, or a family friend. Whoever it is that person positively impacted your life. For this month’s OWLS topic, we will be writing about mentors or mentorships in anime and other pop culture media. Some topics we will be exploring include how a mentorship impacted a main character’s life, the types of mentor relationships a person could have, and/or personal stories about mentors or mentorships.
Almost immediately, I knew which anime I wanted to do…
Mahoutsukai no Yome or The Ancient Magus Bride.
The amount of mentors in this anime is almost overwhelming. It overlaps and becomes integral to the story.
The protagonist of the story is Chise Hatori who is the apprentice and future bride of Elias Ainsworth. Her father and brother abandoned the family when she was young, and her mother committed suicide in front of her. Feeling unwanted by her relatives, she sold herself into slavery so that she didn’t have to worry about anything.
This is how Elias purchased her. Abandoned at a young age and ridiculed by her peers for her unconventional behavior, she was ready to give herself to any buyer if it meant having a place to go home. In chains and on her way to an unknown fate, she hears whispers from robed men along her path, gossiping and complaining that such a buyer got his hands on a rare “Sleigh Beggy.”
Ignoring the murmurs, he reveals himself to be Elias Ainsworth—a magus. After a brief confrontation and a bit of teleportation magic, the two open their eyes to Elias’ picturesque cottage in rural England. Greeted by fairies and surrounded by weird and wonderful beings upon her arrival, these events mark the beginning of Chise’s story as the apprentice and supposed bride of the ancient magus.
As I mentioned above, Chise was sold into slavery, and watched her mother commit suicide in front of her after trying to strangle Chise. Throughout the series, we see Chise struggle with opening up and believing that she has a place in the world. I can’t imagine anyone NOT having some mental health issues while going through that.
She has said several times that she doesn’t care for her life and that she didn’t want to live. This was also true since she is what’s called a Sleigh Beggy, and only had about 3 years left to live. It wasn’t until the Christmas episode that she finally admitted she was actually looking forward to the next day.
When we first meet Chise, her story begs the question…how would we feel if we were in her place? Here was a young girl, who had given up all hope. She did not care if she lived or if she died. For all she knew, she was going to be a slave to whoever bought her, and her own life had very little meaning. Elias, as little as he understands human emotions, becomes the teacher to Chise to show how important her life is. In return, she shows him a little more of what it means to be human.
When Elias admits he is overwhelmed by loneliness, Chise can name the feeling for him, and he acknowledges that she’s his mentor in the ways of human feelings and relationships. While Chise is the protagonist of the story and her journey of self-respect takes center stage, it’s heartening to see that Elias is also included in this aspect of the narrative.
The Mentorships that Save Lives
Much like Chise herself, I had no concern for my own life. At 16, I attempted suicide and failed. I attempted again at age 23 before failing again and moving across the country. Some might say that I was running away from my past, and I was in a way, but it also saved my life. Depression, anxiety, PTSD mixed with a whole cocktail of other ailments and left me feeling alone in the world. I had never spoken out before regarding the events that had caused my PTSD, and I felt worthless, unlovable, and not like someone who mattered. Luckily, when I moved across the country, I met a slew of people who would teach me otherwise.
It would have been nice to have just Elias Ainsworth, part human mage to be my mentor, but hey, a girl can’t be picky now. Instead, I gained many friendships and even met my best friend, who to this day, three years later, lets me cry when I need to cover the same things.
In the Ancient Magus Bride, Chise simply wanted a place to come home to. She wanted somewhere that she belonged. Something that I think we all strive for. It can be tough when you feel as if you have nowhere to go. Oftentimes, when I feel the depression hit harder than usual, I start to stress out more. I’ll deep clean everything in a frenzy that Levi Ackerman would be proud of. But I won’t be able to stop, either. I won’t eat or drink, even remember to rest. I’ll simply focus on that one tiny mistake, or detail that I messed up with and take all my frustrations out on my swifter mop and dust rag.
Luckily for Chise, she had such a great mentor in Elias and others who taught her well. Chise was finally able to let go of her past and look towards her future. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do the same. Once I shared my story, I was surprised by the response I got back.
The mentorships in the Ancient Magus Bride are plentiful, but here are just a few.
Angelica Barley and Chise
An old acquaintance of Elias, a witch, and a technician of the Magus Craft. She acts as a big sister and mentors to Chise when they first meet to explain a few things to her that Elias had yet to explain to her regarding the magic world. While not related, she does take a liking to Chise and cares about her. When Chise inadvertently created a mess in her shop with her power, she doesn’t blame Chise but Elias due to him not telling her about Chise’s power nor giving Chise any explanations or training beforehand.
She makes it clear to Elias from the start she is not thrilled he ‘bought‘ Chise nor is she happy with how inappropriate he was. As soon as she finds out from Chise that Elias did rather ‘unacceptable’ things, her first reaction is to punch him in the stomach (which causes him a great deal of pain) before she kicks him out of the room.
Lindel and Elias
Elias’s magician Master. I had/have such a crush on him when he first appeared. He’s been given the task of guarding the last dragons, which I think is pretty cool. He was Elias’s teacher and has advised Chise too. Lindel acted as a father figure to Elias when they first met and refers to himself as Chise’s “grandfather”.
Mikhail Renfred and Alice
Renfred is a wizard who hates Magus and magicians. But he gave his arm to Cartaphilius to protect Alice. When he first appears, he and his apprentice Alice take Chise hostage when she is separated from Elias and renders a fae helpless by using his special glove showcasing his pragmatic side.
However, he makes it clear he would rather not kill the fae that he has at his mercy. He even expresses genuine sympathy for Chise along with offering her the chance to be free, showcasing he is not as much of a butthead as he initially seems. While at first, he seemed ruthless and cold, he’s a good person who cares greatly about his apprentice, Alice. He has refused to heal his scar or regrow his arm with magic out of remembrance.
Alice and Chise
Her father got her hooked on drugs and made her become a dealer so she could be a dealer for him. If it wasn’t for Renfred, she would still be trapped in that life. Renfred can take care of himself, of course, but he does rely on Alice for protection. Alice cares for both Renfred and Chise. Renfred is the one who saved her from her troubled past as well as saved her from Cartaphilius. Chise pushed her out of the way from Cartaphilius’ attack, which probably would have killed her, and this resulted in Chise getting gravely injured instead.
Like her master, while at first, she seemed ruthless, she shows a more kinder side later on. Everything she does is mostly to protect Renfred. She develops this with Chise throughout the series, despite being on opposite sides at first. The Christmas shopping episode was one of my favorites between the two.
Wherever we are in our journey, we can make it through. There are people, friends, mentors, that can and WILL help us through. If times are tough then it’s not the end yet.
Have you already seen this anime before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! If you missed Marina’s post from yesterday, you can check it out here. Be on the lookout for Takuto’s post tomorrow (a personal favorite of mine to read anyway)!