The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Volume 2 – Review

I’m back on the manga train with more Ancient Magus’ Bride, as I review a second volume just as magical as the first. This is one of those manga where it’s hard to think of bad things to say about it – Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is kind of scrappy, and even Bride’s Story can sometimes dither, but Ancient Magus’ Bride is just a beautiful production through and through. Hopefully that comes across in my review – I was going for a pretty specific tone in this one, and I think I hit it.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

The Ancient Magus' Bride

The resolution of the cat blight issue is, as usual, gorgeous. And it embodies the story’s attitude towards magic – not to be used as a direct violent instrument, but as a guide influenced by creativity. Trickery is wrapped up in it, and horror – there are stark and awful images in this story, and moments where the characters can’t control their powers

Chise embodies this – the creativity and wild strength of magic, the danger and terrible cost of its flippant use

Elias’ goals are questionable, but now they’re on the table. And he’s very earnest once his game is up. There’s an innocence to the way he engages with humans that makes his relationship with Chise feel much more equal than it would otherwise

But there’s still a dark ambiguity to their bond, and that’s actually a good thing

The “antagonists” here are also well-chosen. Elias refers to one as a “human supremacist,” and clearly one of their goals was to “save” Chise from Elias

A meeting with Oberon and Titania

From the lush backgrounds to the vivid faces, this art is so gorgeous. It’s exactly my kind of art, I think. Or at least the perfect ornate style for this kind of story

There’s a wonderful comfiness to this whole story, as well, from the environments to the food to the tone to the central relationship

The scarred man from the cat arc is apparently working for the mage who caused that problem, or being coerced by him

“Much of what he teaches me isn’t magic, but simply how to interact with all the wondrous things around me.” Yep. All the rich protocol of a classic old magical world

Renfred and Alice are the other master/apprentice pair

And now a story about a black dog that foretells death