I could have seen this at AX 17, but they mooked with the scheduling so it passed me by. I had to wait for it to come online to grab it. This is a caliber of lead-in to the series, as it is a three-part OVA. The series itself was released in 2018. This short-run talks about things after the dust has settled and everyone is more or less comfortable with one another. If the series is going to be like this offering, it is going to be both intriguing and restrained. This is “The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star”.
Now, this came first and, although it does give a good introduction into the series, it might be misplaced, as you have to play a ton of catch-up and guess-me, but it is billed as a prequel. And since the series hadn’t even started when this was released, this is what you get.
Hatori Chise (ginger in the center) is a lonely teenager when we begin. She has always had this gift of seeing those things that cannot be seen by mere mortals. She is referred to as a ‘Sleigh Beggy’, and is of some considerable worth. She is a type of mage who unconsciously attracts the love of magical creatures who will help her when she is in need. Needing an apprentice, the ancient mage Elias Ainsworth (him at the left) takes her in, with the understanding that, one day, she will be his bride.
Don’t let his looks scare you; there is a deep and caring heart behind that grim visage. They are both overseen by Silver, the landlady of the house (and a banshee, but that is revealed later). You don’t want to mess with her, OK?
The OVA contends itself with an incident in Chise’s past and a book that she was fond of that later went astray. You also learn the details of her tragic past and why she is the emotional wreck that is presented to us.
This is one good-looking show. A great deal of effort was invested in the backgrounds and the character designs, so it all looks and feels natural…despite having winged creatures fluttering about (as seen above between Silver and Chise). Elias does not open his mouth to speak, so this takes a bit of getting used to. It is all done by telepathy and I think it would have looked odd to see Elias open his jaws to speak than this simpler approach.
My concern is whether to see this at the beginning of the series, the end of the series or in the middle. As I said, it was a bit of a jolt to be plunked into this with nary an understanding of the characters. In watching the series, things become much clearer, so overall motivations are explained and a fuller sense of Chise’s tragedies are given the showcase they deserve.
The reason for the lowered review is that I felt we were really blind-sided, flung into the midst of things and the back story still didn’t answer a ton of questions. But I recommend you see it. My anger is directed at how the viewer was treated in all this by the parent company and not with the show as a whole, but that’s how I call ‘em.
It’s an OVA; of course you chain it and it explains things nicely.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Lush and rich)
Plot 8 (Typical but with some good twists)
Pacing 8 (Solid, but can seem languid)
Effectiveness 7 (More the nature of how we were introduced to it)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Bingeability 10 (Take the whole thing in at once)
Overall 7 (Good story, hurt by drop-in approach)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You will be my bride.