I’m noticing that love and death are two themes that prevail throughout the narrative of The Ancient Magus’ Bride. Be it with Chise or anyone specific to a particular arc, character development seems to largely center around these themes.
In the case of Chise, love and death have been brought up to her quite a lot at this point but I think it’ll be a while until they fully resonate with her on a personal level. The two sorcerers, Renfred and Alice, reveal to Chise about the short life span of a Sleigh Beggy but this ultimately doesn’t elicit much concern from the Sleigh Beggy herself. Granted, Chise is prioritizing the blight above her own problem but when she does think about her impending death, she doesn’t seem too afraid about it. There’s been plenty of hints in past episodes that suggest that Chise might be suicidal and when she ponders about how much time she has left, she seems a bit too calm about it. Meanwhile, Chise sticks with Elias over being set “free” by the sorcerers but I doubt it’s because she’s in love with him. There’s definitely gratitude, loyalty, and attachment in this relationship but it has a long way to go in becoming romantic. And that’s saying something since Chise is supposedly engaged to Elias and these errands they’re on apparently serve as their honeymoon.
Meanwhile, the subplot surrounding Mina and Matthew fully embraces the concepts of love and death. What we have here is a young couple whose lives were cut short because their love for each other was taken advantage by a sorcerer. I had suspected that Matthew was the cat killer but his motive isn’t strictly speaking heartless. If anything, the man committed such an atrocity because he loves Mina so much. We could discuss the morality of his actions all we want and I’m sure that there’s plenty of talk about it on the forums. If you ask me, I think Matthew got what he deserved even though it is sad that he meant well and the potion ended up killing Mina instead of curing her. What interests me a little more is the fact that this early in The Ancient Magus’ Bride, we’re given an example about how love can be twisted into a powerfully sinister motive and how it can lead to death. That has me wondering what kind of stance this anime aims to take in regards to its themes. Is love going to be presented as something noble or something dangerous? Is it a force that keeps someone going or is it something to die for? It’s definitely something to think about.
Considering the themes, it’s awfully fitting that Chise is the one who purifies the blight. Her own personal affinity towards love and death aside, I get the impression that she values what those concepts mean to others. She hesitates to erase Mina and Matthew from existence because doing so would undermine what they had lived and died for. Even Molly’s offer of sacrificing herself for the ritual was a big no-no for Chise because she knows how much the king cares about her owner. Opting to instead let Mina and Matthew move onto the afterlife doesn’t come across as a cop-out (frankly, it seems like a pretty obvious alternative) but it’s completely in line with how Chise respects people’s own values on their lives and their love for others. Maybe, as Chise continues to fulfill tasks like this, she’ll develop more self-worth towards her own life and care more about the people in her life.
Thanks for reading!
The Ancient Magus’ Bride is officially available on Crunchyroll.
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