First off, I need to talk about this show’s version of domesticated cats. No seriously, I need to talk about them. This anime, and the manga by extension, takes one of the most famous myths in all of culture, cats having nine lives, and offers a pretty unique spin on it. With each new life, a cat becomes smarter, eventually gaining the ability to speak, and becoming a member of a self-governed kingdom. That alone demonstrates the strength of Mahoutsukai no Yome‘s worldbuilding which is looking to be a league above most recent fantasy anime.
And this secret kingdom of cats is the next destination in Elias’s list of errands/”honeymoon” locations. There isn’t really any fancy castle or anything; rather these talking cats reside in a rural village that either doesn’t mind or enjoys their company. Even the king herself, Molly, lives in a simple house, looking after and protecting the young girl who resides there. Molly and Chise have an interesting conversation in this episode as Molly considers her desire to protect her owner like that of a mother taking care of her daughter. That naturally hits too close to home given Chise’s complicated feelings towards her own mother. I’m beginning to think that whatever the circumstances surrounding the mother’s death are, it probably wasn’t anything noble like protecting Chise.
As tranquil as this village appears to be, the kingdom of has actually been keeping a close eye on some strange blob of corruption that’s festering on a little island in a nearby lake. As Molly, explains, this blight is related to an old tale about a man who, long ago, killed cats for reasons unknown which resulted in the first King of Cats banning cats together to brutally murder him (and I do mean, brutally). Later in the episode, Chise meets a ghost named Mina who claims that the blight stems from her, her husband Matthew, and their undying love for each other. Even if I didn’t go on ahead to the next episode, I knew that these two explanations were somehow connected and that certainly painted a grim origin surrounding the blight.
With the corruption growing to a point beyond the cats’ control, Elias is assigned with purifying it but since Elias’s magic is based in the element of shadows, Chise is given the task instead. I’ve lately been curious about Elias’s attitude towards his errands. He clearly takes them seriously but that feels more out of obligation than actual urgency and concern. When Chise asks him if he loves this place, Elias responds with a rather blunt and even hollow “sure”. I can’t quite say Elias comes across as emotionless but the more he is on screen, the more apparent it seems that the man is detached to the world he lives in.
And as for Chise, purifying a blight seems like a tall order for someone who’s only recently learned that magic is real. But conjuring magic is the least of Chise’s problems as before she can perform the ritual, she gets seized by two sorcerers who want to control the blight for themselves. Elias naturally arrives to rescue Chise but it’s here that the latter finds out from the sorcerers that Sleigh Beggy lives on a time limit. The truth was bound to be revealed and how fitting that it happens just as Chise prepares to cleanse a corruption surrounding a couple who has long since been deceased…