Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Ancient Magus’ Bride is about Chise Hatori, a young girl who is sold to a great Alchemist known as the Thorn Mage. The Thorn mage, also known as Elias Ainsworth notices Chise’s magical potential and decides to make her his apprentice and his wife.
At first glance, yes, this sounds weird, but stay with me. The amount of world building and story that is packed into these 180 pages is astonishing. It’s such a unique tale as well, there are hints of Beauty and the Beast, though some might feel Chise being sold is kind of a bad thing, but Elias frees her immediately and his means might have been unconventional, but I can’t imagine what might have happened to her if she was sold to someone else.
Chise is effectively an orphan, her mother committed suicide and her father ran off. There is triggers for that, especially references to how Chise might have thought about it herself after witnessing it. In this volume there isn’t any depiction, just mentions. I can’t guarantee that it won’t get darker.
Elias is very kind and kind of like traditional Beast in the way that he’s like “Hey, you’re mine, technically, but you’re free. This is your house you should feel comfortable here, I’m going to teach you my craft and you can decide what you want to do from there.” He’s also a little dense at times, but you can tell his heart is in the right place.
The manga is set in modern times, first in Japan, where Chise is from then England where Elias lives. They also flit from place to place taking care of Elias’ errands over the course of the manga and each place they visit is really well developed and beautiful with a definite reason or lesson for Chise. You can see both of the characters are starting to almost soften towards each other.
All in all I’m really glad I decided to pick up this series on a whim from the art work and the premise. I can tell it’s going to be a favorite of mine.