The Ancient Magus Bride Vol. 1 Manga Review

(C) Kore Yamazaki 2014

The upcoming TV anime series The Ancient Magus Bride adapts Kore Yamazaki’s manga series. As both the author and artist, Yamazaki explores a supernatural world filled with mystery and fantasy. Released in April 2014, the series had already sold over 3 million copies by September 2016. 

BookWalker describes the manga:

Her name is Chise Hatori, a penniless orphan troubled by visions. Sold as a slave to an inhuman mage, she is about to begin a strange new life, filled with magic, fairies, and other beings of a fantastical nature.

Both Noobles and Iniquiate got the chance to read the first volume of The Ancient Magus Bride digitally.

Noobles: I watched the first three episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride before reading volume 1 and was very impressed with the manga. The original story is created by one individual, Kore Yamazaki. For one individual to formulate the stories and characters while drawing every image and detail, it is truly fascinating and the manga is incredibly enjoyable to read.

Yamazaki spares nothing in terms of mythical fantasy. In just one volume, we’ve been introduced to fairies, mages, magic, dragons, people living hundreds of years, and supernatural cats. Interestingly, it feels like we’re in a 19th century era, but hints of trains and a computer analogy by Elias brings the universe towards the 21st century. The blend between fantasy within a somewhat modern era provides a creative setting for The Ancient Magus Bride

Notice the Elias’ chibi face on the bottom right page. (C) Kore Yamazaki 2014

As you keep reading, you watch Chise grow ever so slightly with the guidance of Elias. The darker underlying tones, such as Chise being auctioned as a slave, helps elevate the series. Furthermore, volume 1 ends on a dramatic cliffhanger making you want to dive immediately into volume 2.

One of my favorite thing about Yamazaki is her style to enhance comical scenes. By utilizing chibi facial expressions, it knocks a few laughs out of you. It also doesn’t distort the overall art style and wonderful illustrations; rather, it flows naturally throughout each manga panel.  

I really want to read the second volume as soon as possible, and the manga serves as a great place for fans to check out The Ancient Magus Bride before the anime airs. For those interested in reading fantasy, mystery or magical manga, this is the right series for you!

Iniquiate: It’s been awhile since I’ve read the first volume of the manga. Thanks to BookWalker Japan, I revisited its contents and found an interesting tidbit. [The follow paragraph has some spoilers. Highlight the text to read the spoiler section]

[BEGIN SPOILER] There is some awkward pacing at the beginning where the manga switches in between dark and light-hearted themes. The slavery aspect of Chise’s situation is not addressed in-depth throughout the entire volume. We do not know exactly how Chise ended up in the auction house or the real reason why Elias purchased her. Instead, it is more muted by Yamazaki directing the manga into more light-hearted situations, such as Elias’ wild proposal that Chise become his “bride” or Angelica scolding Elias for going too far with his antics. It seems like a typical shoujo move to cover up the darker aspects with comedy and potential romance. [END SPOILER]

Perhaps Yamazaki intends to keep it this way or as a means to foreshadow that something much bigger is to come. Or the slavery-aspect becomes a perpetual plot hole. Who knows?

The detail in manga is absolutely stunning! (C) Kore Yamazaki 2014

But aside from my burning questions, revisiting the manga reminds me why I still love this manga so much. Yamazaki provides us with colorful yet complex world that intertwines fantasy with modern day superstition. I never get bored rereading her interpretations of cats with nine lives or aerials/fairies spiriting away humans to the other side. It’s a much more refreshing take than sticking to just typical fantasy tropes.

There’s much more to come and I am excited to see what Yamazaki-sensei has in store for us! But if you don’t have time to read the manga, definitely check out the upcoming anime.

Both Noobles and I read the manga and have come to a consensus that the Ancient Magus’ Bride is a must read!

If you are interested, the book is available for purchase digitally from BookWalker.

Anime Trending will be back next week with another manga/light novel review!

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