UPDATE (1/2018): I kind of got faked out here. After giving us a satisfactory ending the show continued in Winter 2018 with only a one-week break. I’m going to keep the 5-star rating up since the first cour stands pretty well by itself.
This isn’t the end of The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) (previous posts) but I’m going to count it as the end of the season. The first cour wrapped up with as satisfactory an ending as could be expected from an adaptation of an ongoing manga. Then they showed us some scenes from upcoming episodes without making it clear when they will be broadcast. (Maybe Spring 2018?)
This season has been just about perfect in every respect, particularly in Chise’s character development. Starting out as an affectless PTSD case she has become increasingly capable and confident. She still has a lot of insecurity though and she longs for Elias to open up to her.
This is obviously in some sense a takeoff on the Beauty and the Beast legend, but with a significant twist. In most versions of the legend Belle has a happy childhood but must then go and live with a beast of horrifying appearance. In the original story Belle must discover that the ugly beast is actually beautiful inside. In the Disney version she has to tame the beast and turn him into a prince (while rejecting a man who is externally beautiful but internally ugly.)
Chise however had a horrifying childhood which left her so scarred that she didn’t care whether she lived or died. When she was rescued by the beast she immediately attached herself to him without really knowing much about him. He’s the first person in years to value her, show her kindness and offer her a secure home. That’s all that really matters to her.
So is Elias really beautiful or ugly on the inside? Judging from his actions I’d guess the former. We’ve seen him do a number of good deeds and nothing that can really be called bad. On the other hand, he’s clearly haunted by the fear that if he releases his inner beast he might do something monstrous.
We now know a little about Elias’s origins, but we haven’t really gotten to know him. Hopefully we (and Chise) will find out more in future seasons.