Today, we’re going to talk about one of the best shows from 2017 and early 2018: the Ancient Magus Bride.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to love this series as much as I did. It came out of nowhere for me, but it had my interest from the moment I saw it on Crunchyroll’s list of shows (again, not sponsored). And apparently the rest of the world felt the same, as the show quickly became one of the most successful of the year.
There’s so much here that I want to talk about. The fantastic characters, beautiful art, wonderful stories and the gorgeous music are all worthy of their own dedicated posts. Hell, I very well might do that. But today, I’ll talk about my absolute favorite thing about the Ancient Magus Bride:
The world itself.
While I love many different settings for fiction, magical ones are always my favorite. Harry Potter had a truly interesting world (even though I find the expansion on it through the Fantastic Beasts series to be boring, cringe inducing and simply bad), and Lord of the Ring’s Middle Earth is a world that I’d want to live in. If not for, y’know, the Dark Lord, the evil Orcs, Balrogs, and other such world ending threats.
An interesting magic system can make any setting interesting. Which is why I absolutely adore the setting for the Ancient Magus Bride. This show has so much magical shit in there, and all of it is awesome. We got Dragons, we got Succubi, Elves, Familiars, talking cats, stitched together abominations, and so many others.
What makes them all even more interesting is how they’re all done. None of them are derivative; all of them are done in a unique and interesting way that makes them all fresh and interesting. For example, most of the dragons look like your stereotypical fantasy dragons. In execution, they look more like dinosaurs.
And none of them are used in the ways you’d expect from a typical fantasy story. My favorite example of this is the Succubus. Normally, a Succubus is a terrible demon who lures men in with her sexy charms and consumes their youth or whatever. But in this story, a Succubus falls in love with her would-be meal because he treated her kindly in his garden, and she hovered over his shoulder to the day he died.
Which you see in an episode. And it’s fucking heartbreaking.
Then there’s the magic itself, which is just fucking amazing. Each spell is visually engaging, mysterious and beautiful in action. From the creation of simple potions to Chise flying through the sky as a golden phoenix, each one captivates the imagination and sucks you right into the world.
This is the most impressive aspect of the magic system: it gets you interested in the world. Because of how beautiful and interesting the magic is, it makes you want to explore the world and see what else it has to offer. More than anything, it makes you wish that you were a Sorcerer that could do half the things these characters could.
In a story about magic, wanting to see more magic is kind of the most important thing.
There are many more things I could talk about with this show, but I’ll wrap it up here. Partly because I have other things I need to do, but mostly because I’d be here all fucking day if I were to talk about the rest. If you haven’t seen the Ancient Magus Bride, you should absolutely fix that. And if you’re like me and you haven’t had enough of the world after finishing it, you should go pick up the manga. It’s beautiful, engaging, and captivates the imagination better than practically any show I’ve ever seen.