The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star Review

[this is the continuation of my earlier review for the first episode of the promo 3 part special: Those Awaiting a Star. See the first episode review HERE. Review of series coming soon]

magus-bride

Episode 2

Warnings:
Remember how episode one didn’t really have any violence in it? Throw that right out of the window. A character gets, well, bitten pretty badly in this one (and dies. Be warned) and the way it’s done, while not showing much actual blood, is rather graphic. Think FMA: Brotherhood levels. Lots of fear and anxiety in the lead throughout keep the feeling very dark and tense as well, so I really don’t recommend this for anyone under the age of 10. And even some ten year olds will get scared… The tension is done very well.

Thoughts:
If you were looking for a cup of depressing, this episode provides. We get to see why books are important to our lead, specifically one special one. We also see some more positive, or at least less dangerous, encounters with youkai. And also some very dangerous ones.
This said, the violence near the end gave me a bit of whiplash I don’t feel often these days in anime. I was unsure about the sudden change until I saw the final part in this side story/prequel thing…

 

Episode 3

Warnings:
Same as the last one, though the violence is coming to a close. Episode 2 was more graphic overall… As an aside, language and nudity don’t come into play in this mini-series so have no fears there.

Thoughts:
This is why this show is such a big deal. Why the hype got so huge online. This mini-series closes out beautifully. We don’t see an obvious “happy ending” for the hero, but we do get gentle glimpses of things getting better. Of actual healing from mental trauma in the lead. Small acts of kindness given to her are handled in a soft, almost delicate, manner, making you feel and experience deeply just how unusual kindness is to our heroine. It’s a well thought out and executed story and one I’m looking forward to seeing in greater depth in the current streaming series.

Overall
If you’re curious about the hype around this show, this 3 parter does its job very well. You get a taste for the lead characters as well as the tone of the story itself and the world it takes place in. Nothing is overwhelming and, in fact, the story slows very intentionally. I could see a story like this easily running in a short story literary journal as a stand alone, making it a great bite sized series for people curious to try this one out.

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Review

magus-brideStory:
Hatori has nothing. Still in her teens and with nowhere to go, she is bought by an inhuman sorcerer who intends for her to train in magic and eventually marry him. Coming to terms with her new life, Hatori begins her studies and finds comfort in an old picture book from her past.

Violence:
Pretty nonexistent. That said, there are some very scary youkai in this first episode and while no actual violence occurs, the heroine does fear for her life and the chase sequence is pretty scary.

Language:
Nonexistent.

Nudity:
Nothing to report… technically. On the theoretical side, the fact that a young girl, still in high school, is set to someday marry a beast who is likely hundreds of years old… well, that’s kinda creepy. Just sayin’.

Theology/mythology:
Here’s where you make a choice about this one. The are youkai. Also, the, er, creature? Mythological beast? looking after Hatori is a sorcerer. He’s also probably older than dirt. There’s also spells and fairy things and whatnot. If you aren’t chill with any of that, skip this one. There’s no getting around these elements.

Personal impression:
Fair warning right here! This show is actually a prequel to a manga and thus is only set to have three or so episodes total. Released six MONTHS apart. As this is a unique situation, I shall endeavor to create mini reviews for future episodes as they are released, linking back here for the content evaluations (which shall also be updated as needed).
With that out of the way, this is a charming start. Well directed and with solid art, this is one of those titles that’s perfectly content to show versus tell, something I personally appreciate quite a bit these days. Characters come and go naturally and the world feels pretty expensive considering how little of it we get to actually see.
That said, this show also doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as it’s just a warm up for a manga, so plot and character-wise, I’m sad to say that there’s just nothing going on. I can see how they’re setting up for a future story. And if I had the time to go into something like that, perhaps I would. But at the end of this single episode (episode 2 isn’t due out till next year), I just found myself wishing they would spring for a real series rather than yearn for the manga. And I doubt that was their intent.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 1 (as of posting, stay tuned for future mini reviews for any continuing episodes)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, romance
Company: Production I.G.
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

I’ve Always Liked You Review

screen-shot-2015-07-14-at-15-58-59Story:
Natsuki Enomoto has a huge crush on her childhood friend, Yu Setoguchi. When she manages to confess her feelings towards him, she chickens out halfway through, claiming the whole thing was just “practice” so she’d be ready to confess to the one she really loves later. Believing her, Yu keeps his own feeling for her hidden as day after day she continues to “practice” confessing her love.

Violence:
Pretty non-existent besides some characters staring each other down (dem angry gazes tho).

Language:
Super light. Besides a few d-mns, it’s not really there.

Nudity:
Aside from a few shower/bath scenes where no details are shown at all, nothing here to report either, which is nice.

Theology/mythology:
The usual shrines and charms for good luck are here and there, but no discourse on religion or theology take place.

Personal impression:
This whole mini-movie has no point or substance to it beyond getting two characters together. And maybe seeing her friends get together too. That’s… really it. Nothing else is going on. There are no points being made outside of that. Now, if you’re chill with that, you might like this one. It does a good job of portraying friendship and early love which is really the whole goal of this title so there’s nothing really to gripe about. I suppose if you like more comedy alongside your romance, this might not do it for ya, but other than that, there’s little to fault this show for.
Even the music and art are… fine. Not great, not bad, just fine. Which is overall how I feel about this whole production. It wasn’t something that blew me away or made me super happy to watch (like Kimi ni Todoke or My LOVE story!), but it didn’t made me angry and want to slit my wrists (like Say “I love you” or Wolf Girl). So if all you want is a sweet romance that doesn’t try to be or do anything else, give this one a go. I think you’ll find nothing too objectionable in it (besides perhaps finding the leads to be a bit less interesting than the side characters).

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 1 (movie)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TVPG
Genres: Romance, slice of life
Company: Aniplex
Official streaming: Crunchyroll