The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) (previous posts) has caught up with the original manga, so this is it for the series, at least for the next few years. It’s probably popular enough to justify a second season, but it would take that long for the manga to generate enough new material.
After some soul-searching I’m going to knock off half a point for the fact that the ending seemed a bit rushed. Maybe I’m being overly harsh here, penalizing the show because the first half was pretty-near perfect and the second half was darned good but not perfect. But there you have it. It was still a bit disappointing.
2017 was like most years in anime: a lot of crap, some amusing but forgettable shows, some pretty good shows and a small number that seem like real classics. The surprising thing is that in retrospect the number of “classics” seems unusually high. Less surprising is that most of the remaining good ones are sequels.
Outstanding Anime of 2017
The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) is a near-perfect series with beautiful artwork, a meticulously constructed fantasy world, interesting characters and masterful writing.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Season 2 (Crunchyroll). The first season was good but felt incomplete. The second season hit the ball out of the park with a perfect conclusion.
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.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) is turning out even better than I hoped. The author has created an unusually rich and fascinating fantasy world, both beautiful and terrifying.
In my last post I said that Chise needed to get a grip and stop being so passive. She has done so. She has thrown herself into her new life as a magus’s apprentice, confirming that she has a great (though undisciplined) talent. More important, she has shown herself to be both brave and resourceful, something not really evident in the first few episodes. (Though one might argue that she needed to be both in order to survive her horrifying childhood.)
The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) was one of the most anticipated anime series of the fall season thanks to buzz from fans of the original manga and a well-received 3-part OVA prequel (The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star, also on Crunchyroll.)
(Strunk and White say that it should be “Magus’s Bride” but I’ll stick with the official title. The Japanese title is “Mahoutsukai no Yome” or “Bride of the Magic User.”)
The series has a lot to offer including a rich, original fantasy world. The animation looks terrific (at a time when even Japanese animation all too often looks like crap.) The story has some problematic elements but I have reason to hope that they will improve as it progresses.