Currently Reading: The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Mahou Tsukai no Yome)
I’m finally back with some of that regular manga programming. I realize that this series isn’t technically a shoujo manga, but it really hits all of the right notes that will make any shoujo manga fan fall in love. I think this is also a more timely update because this manga is actually getting an anime adaptation soon!
This series is actually rather popular in Japan, and ranks pretty high on a lot of book sellers’ lists and reader surveys – and for good reason because it’s REALLY GOOD. So, let’s jump right in, shall we?
Summary: In a world where magic exists and the paths of fairies and humans often cross, Chise Hatori is a Sleigh Beggy, a magus who attracts all manner of supernatural creatures and holds great power. Abandoned by her family, she is put up for auction on the supernatural black market for the highest bidder. She is “bought” by a mysterious sorcerer named Ellas Ainsworth, who declares Chise to be his apprentice….and future wife?! With her new teacher, Chise now has to learn about the mysterious world of magic and fairies, come to terms with her own powers, and solve the mysteries of Ellas’ existence.
Thoughts so far:
Based on my previous non-existent update schedule, you would naturally assume that I don’t have the motivation to write about anything super mediocre – the topic’s either gotta be amazingly epic or amazingly fail for it to raise my determination levels to the point that I get off of my Nitori beanbag couch to actually get things done. Needless to say, this manga is amazing.
Let’s start off with the premise. The whole “save me from this terrible fate and then whoops we’re gonna get married” trope is a common one in manga and anime, but I don’t think it’s so played out here partially due to the overall tone of the series. Despite being a shonen manga, Mahou Tsukai no Yome doesn’t have a lot of slapstick elements to it, which helps the series maintain a level of seriousness that presents Chise and Ellas’ relationship as a more tender and caring one. For me personally, a lot of slapstick shonen manga where the male and female lead are betrothed to each other can have an atmosphere of soullessness, in the sense that there’s not a lot of genuine care between the two main characters until later in the series. In Mahou Tsukai no Yome, this isn’t an issue because from the outset, it starts off with a more serious tone, where the situations presented make it clear that Ellas has genuine concern for Chise’s emotional and physical well-being, thereby establishing in the reader a deeper emotional investment in the characters’ story arc.
The whole ensemble in general is also likeable; I honestly can’t think of a single character in this manga who I disliked or thought was an unnecessary addition. This is a seinen manga (despite the very shoujo-y elements the series contains), and it’s nice to see that there’s no fan-service-y elements or overt male-targeted character tropes. I find Chise likeable because the path to shy mage novice to relatively able and more confident girl is a believable one. There aren’t any large logical gaps in terms of her character arc, which makes her character development more believable. I also really like Elias, and am looking forward to seeing more of his emotional journey with Chise.
The art is really good! I can’t really complain that anything is drawn badly. I appreciate that it isn’t the moeblob style that’s been popular recently since it allows for a bit more realism. If it had been a more cutesy style, it wouldn’t have lended itself well to the sense of realism that the manga has.
Overall, this manga is really good! Go check it out! I think they’re also making an anime adaptation of it soon as well, which I may also check out sometime.
Score so far: 8.5/10