We’re definitely ready for some quiet time after the revelations of last episode. We finally saw the monstrous side of Elias everyone has been hinting at, we saw Chise get her familiar and reveal an angry side to herself with possibly devastating consequences. Most importantly we got an adorably new character with Ruth, a cute dog, which is also a fiery church grim! The Ancient Magus’ Bride is pretty good at giving us down time to digest what has happened and after the ending showed something odd going on with Elias I hope this will let us see a more vulnerable side to him.
Before we get our happy time we have to be reminded of the greatest tragedy in Ruth’s life, his owner dying way before her time. We see him sitting by her gravestone talking to her about his new life and how he hopes she’s doing well. I really love that they keep this part of him, Chise is important to him but could never replace the love he has for his owner and he genuinely hopes to return to her when he passes away. Chise is out admiring the ivy growing up the house after hanging the washing out when Ruth knocks her over excitedly. Even being an incredibly powerful and intelligent fae creature he still retains all his dog qualities. xD
Chise welcomes him back, but they are interrupted by Silky ringing the breakfast bell. We hear from Chise that Elias isn’t leaving his room, so she goes with Ruth to try and encourage him, but he’s clearly hiding something as he refuses food again. We find out this has been happening since they got back 2 weeks ago, Ruth is the greatest voice of reason as he asks Chise why she doesn’t just go in and ask… You know like a normal person would.
Of course she refuses, much to Ruth’s frustration, he guesses that Elias is probably worn out from both the battle and transforming as it might take a lot of energy. He isn’t quite sure as he doesn’t remember and he’s still trying to get used to being a fairy. Becoming a church grim does seem somewhat traumatic, add into this his unresolved grief and it makes sense, I do wonder whether Elias not wanting others to see him like this may also be a factor. Maybe he altered their memories somehow to not quite remember what happened.
Chise changes the subject and wants to know if Ruth feels settled now as he’s been roaming the property a lot. Embarrassed he implies it’s more from a dog instinct than a fairy thing. The day passes and Chise is just moping around looking at empty chairs xD Luckily Silky is there to save the day, also she probably wants to get the cleaning done. She gives Chise some money, her coat and kicks her and Ruth out the house.
Turns out she wants Chise to get out the house and have some fun, which I think is probably something Chise hasn’t ever done so understandably she’s a little nervous. Ruth reminds her that she always has him now and just as they’re about to head off we see Angelica arrive with her own familiar. Chise immediately tries to tell her about Elias but Angelica actually wants to talk to her instead and so they go shopping together! Hooray for Chise! I mean eventually she might even get some friends of equal status but parent surrogates will have to do for now.
I always commend the show on its backgrounds, it’s clear the creator really loves the quaint English aesthetic and the montage of them travelling and shopping is very true to real villages in England xD
After a good shopping spree they have a sit down at a local pub and we get to the real reasons for Angelica’s visit. We see Chise being a little more thoughtful as she wants to get a gift for Silky but as her type of fairy don’t accept gifts (in fact it is considered insulting) she has to sneak a gift in somehow by making it something for the house to use.
Angelica wants to check the ring she made for Chise and ascertains that it is working correctly but asks her how she is feeling to make sure. Chise immediately reassures her but luckily we now have Ruth to call her out on her lies xD He tells Angelica that she looks sleepy all the time especially after using magic. If you don’t remember the ring was made to slow down her production of magic to stop her from breaking down her body, likely the side effect of this is her now producing less than she needs. Add using magic on top of that and she’s tipping too far the other way and not making enough magic.
Angelic pauses for a second before flicking Chise in the head painfully. She imparts some advice “learn to depend on people or you’ll screw something up when you’re on your own someday…” I wonder if this comes for personal experience but regardless it is clear that Chise hides a lot for fear of people rejecting her or tossing her aside. However this is going to get her and others into all sorts of trouble if she doesn’t find a way to truthfully communicate the situation to people. I wonder if this is foreshadowing.
Angelica thanks Ruth although he seems a little shy and only told her because she seems like a good person. Chise is troubled by Angelica’s words but she tries to lighten the mood by telling Chise to rely on others, otherwise what’s the point in having such helpful ‘neighbours’. She clearly sees Chise as a daughter or at least similar to her own daughter and tries to offer her more kind words but I don’t feel like Chise is taking it in. When people struggle with dependency or sharing problems, the last thing they want to hear is they need to share more xD
As they walk home Angelica brings up another very good question, what about school? Chise is only 15 and so legally must attend school until the age of 18. Chise tries to avoid the answer which I’m guessing is a no, plus she probably never wants to attend school again as no doubt that is where horrifying bullying took place for her. She tells her she’s learning magic and that’s enough work plus she’s just happy being with Elias and everyone so ta da! Immediately Angelica smacks her with the reality that she’s being too dependent on Elias which, though Chise probably knows this, is still gut wrenching to see someone else recognise it and call you out on it.
But damn if Angelica doesn’t keep ramming it home xD She tells Chise she’s young and shouldn’t be relying on handouts from others and basically she needs to fight for herself (she even brings up Elias buying her again, haha go Angelica). Uncharacteristically Chise slams the wall beside her in anger before realising what she’s done. This then brings back the downtrodden Chise as she grabs Angelica pleading apologetically. It was a powerful scene and really showed us all the emotions Chise has bottled away.
Chise is actually content with the situation she’s in but logically she knows it isn’t the healthiest for her and that people will judge both her and Elias for it. Hearing Angelica’s judgement brings anger as why can’t people just leave her alone to this strange happiness she’s found?! Ultimately though she knows it is irrational and as Angelica has been so nice to her she panics thinking she will now reject her for this behaviour.
Of course Angelica tries to apologise and reassure her but Chise confirms that she knows what Angelica is saying is right before apologising again. They say their goodbyes with Angelica reminding her not to be such a ‘good girl’ all the time. What was supposed to be a nice day ends on a sour note as Chise internalises what Angelica said, calling herself a coward for depending on someone who doesn’t care about her. So she still believes that Elias has no feeling towards her other than curiosity. She admits that she couldn’t handle being abandoned by Elias and that makes her selfish. I’m glad Chise has finally got to the stage where she expresses these things rather than her total apathy at the start but she has a long way to go building up her self-esteem.
As they return home she tells Ruth that she used to hate coming home when the lights were on. He sits beside her and reminds her he shares a little bit of everything with her, her memories, feelings and senses. He then states if that event was a curse put on you, I want it to be lifted soon. Although we have no confirmation of what this even was I am going to assume it was probably the slow decline of her relationship with her mother eventually leading to her death which Chise witnessed. As bad as Chise’s early childhood might have been I’m sure that event was the catalyst for her to truly hate herself. The death of a parent, even one that treats their child badly, has a profound effect for the rest of that child’s life. I’m also sure it is the core of Chise’s abandonment issues.
She thanks him but notices that Elias’ room still is unlit, as she goes in she nearly slips up with her gifts for Silky but saves it at the last minute by telling her they’re for everyone to eat xD After inquiring about Elias, Silky shakes her head and we’re back waiting outside the door again. After the events of the day Chise decides to be brave and goes in. Which is a massive mistake as the door slams shut, trapping Ruth (her one defence) on the other side.
Elias has reverted to his more monstrous form and immediately knocks her over, he can still speak and apologises as he can’t control his body very well. As suspected it’s likely because of his anger and form change in the previous episode his body doesn’t want to go back into the box of his more normal form. Chise is completely unfazed by his form and the situation. He asks her to bear with him and let him stay like this for a while, she agrees but only if he explains things in the morning.
They slide/slither to the bed and she actually embraces him despite listing off his monster features, the more interesting part is why she thinks she isn’t afraid, because she is cursed. This is troublesome in many ways, it implies that because she feels she is already damned she has no need to fear danger as everything bad that happens is her fault/curse, rather than her lack of fear coming from genuine affection and concern for Elias. Everything bad or scary that happens to Chise she internalises as her fault somehow so she doesn’t have a right to complain. This may prove to be a big blockage for her genuinely trying to care for people.
Before I carry on let’s talk about Elias’ body for a bit xD So he is clearly a chimera, which as far as we know aren’t naturally occurring and the other information we got from other characters imply many died in his forming. However, unlike the other chimeras we’ve seen, he is extremely sentient and cognizant so must have had something very different happen at his birth. As far as I can tell we have at least 5 animals/things strongly shown; a goat/cow/hoofed ungulate (skull, 2 different sets of horns, and legs poking out the back), bird (feathered neck and back), fish/eel (tail), human (yes definitely I’m afraid, his arms, torso and normal humanoid shape) and thorns (always trailing from somewhere, most commonly shoulders).
I feel all these animals must have been used, as well as human (and possibly fairy) sacrifices. What the end goal was is not clear, perhaps the ones creating him perished at his birth. As humans were used in the other chimeras it can’t be that alone that makes him sentient as the Isobel spider only showed the slightest free will at the very end. Or maybe it’s the use of dead humans that cause them to be so subservient, perhaps many alive humans were sacrificed for Elias or one incredibly magical and intelligent one. The thorns are more an enigma, do they just throw a plant in and then BOOM plant powers? This is still just speculation but each reveal gives me more to support this.
We are then treated to Silky standing outside the room with a hammer and a very worried Ruth xD As the night goes on we see Chise sleeping but with Elias pinning her down and looming over her. He opens his mouth and is salivating at the sight of her… Uh oh. As he gets closer and closer, his hands change to human and Chise opens her eyes to see her mother strangling her and telling her she shouldn’t have given birth to her before she wakes up in the morning.
So it’s safe to assume Elias might have the slight munchies for human flesh, makes slightly more sense why so many are terrified of him now. Interesting that the experience (as well as talking about it during the day) brought back Chise’s most painful memories. When she wakes up she sees Elias is nowhere to be found, she sees he left a note and starts running for the door but stops and slumps and instead goes to have a bath and get ready for breakfast. She tries to be chirpy with Silky but she doesn’t know where Elias is. It’s clear that Chise feels hurt that Elias just left, didn’t tell her and didn’t keep to his agreement of explaining things to her. I do feel a little sympathy for him, I understand that he absolutely avoids talking about himself whenever he can for fear of rejection but come on. Poor Chise T^T
She and Ruth decide to look for him, even going to see Simon at the local Church to ask about him. Ruth actually stands in front of Chise in human form to protect her from him as he warns that he seems ‘fake’. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? When I first read the manga I felt a little uneasy about Simon’s character but wasn’t as fussed about him in the anime. But now I’m feeling the unease again, there is definitely something else going on with him, there are too many hints not to be. Also dogs can sense malicious intent! xD Simon isn’t fazed and greets Ruth, he unfortunately doesn’t know where Elias is so the two immediately run off leaving him.
After having no idea where Elias is it’s time for Ruth to give some pearls of wisdom. He speculates that Chise must really love Elias as she misses him and is worried about him. She of course tries to deny it, but that just makes Ruth annoyed as there’s no point wasting time and everyone should have something they love and protect other than themselves. He ends with saying that he loves both Chise and Isobel, is that wrong? Chise smiles and states it’s not that easy but Ruth don’t have time for this self-doubt and calls her obstinate xD
They keep looking and come across an old guy tending his rose garden, as he greets them Chise notices a scantily clad woman floating around him xD Of course she is another fairy, a Leanan sídhe to be precise. Ruth describes them as vampires and well they are sort of, they grant extraordinary abilities to their lovers (usually creative souls like poets and artists) but the cost is their health and sanity. Lovers of the leanan sídhe don’t live long xD
Ruth points out that generally they go for young men who can last a bit, if she tries to take anything from the old guy he’ll die instantly. She ignores him though and is more interested in Chise because she’s a sleigh beggy and the thorn’s bride. It’s clear the old guy has no idea she’s even there and invites Chise in for tea, Ruth encourages her to do so as she is exhausted and he will continue looking for Elias. He warns the leanan sídhe not to mess with Chise… as she is already perched on her shoulders xD
The old guy called Joel, seems happy for the company and Chise admires his book collection. He tells her he sometimes writes his own books and would she be interested in reading his latest work. She seems unsure which disappoints him a little and we see the leanan sídhe pop up behind him looking expectantly xD Chise reveals that she just can’t read very well so it might take a while (I think this is more about reading English then her reading skill). He of course doesn’t mind how long she stays and by the time she’s finished reading he’s fallen asleep. The story was a love story about two people meeting in a rose garden alluding to his own and the leanan sídhe.
The leanan sídhe tells her how lovely the story is but Chise remarks it didn’t seem like he was getting extra skill from her so why is she there. She explains for a moment many years ago their eyes did meet, but how? As Joel clearly doesn’t have the sight it is unknown but since then she hasn’t been able to leave his side. As he never dedicated his life to a craft she couldn’t provide him with anything so she’s stuck there. Basically despite all the rules and reasons not to, she’s fallen for him, a nice allegory for Chise to look at and her own relationship with Elias.
As Chise leaves, Joel apologises for falling asleep, and she asks if the story was based on his own garden. He admits that he saw someone for a moment in his garden many years ago and that inspired his story. As he is saying this for a brief moment it looks like he can see the leanan sídhe behind Chise, but Chise’s voice snaps him out of it. It’s interesting at least, I wonder if that means certain people are more sensitive to fairies even if they can’t see them and if that connection is very strong they might be able to see one. We already know that Elias doesn’t like children because they are so much more perceptive but it doesn’t mean all children who sense him have the sight so it’s possible that even un-sighted people do have some awareness of fairies.
The leanan sídhe excitedly thinks it might be Chise that allowed them to connect a little again, Chise tries to ask if she loves Joel but she stops her with a kiss. She explains that isn’t what she wants to hear as her kind love by giving (talent) and receiving (their blood/life till eventual death) so she doesn’t love him. Clearly she loves him a great deal that she wants him to at least live out his natural life which wouldn’t happen if she fed from him. She kisses her again and asks her to return to visit. Generally I’m against lack of consent kisses in anime played off for the lols but leanan sídhe really do just live in a very physical/sexual way so as long as Chise was fine I think it was alright.
It would have been nice for Chise to see this as another example of love between different kinds of people but again she internalises everything by making it about her xD Well she thinks she’s too selfish to love. Before she can get too deep she hears from Ruth that he’s found Elias in the woods. Chise runs frantically to him but hides in the bushes with Ruth to assess the situation when she gets there.
Well Elias has returned to normal… But he’s lying in a pond for some reason. His eyes aren’t lit up and he isn’t moving, Chise bolts to him looking as scared as she did in the first episode. As she grabs him he wakes up immediately and tells her it’s dangerous in the forest at dusk and he left her a note. Chise isn’t having his excuses this time and just flat out tells him he isn’t going to tell her anything is he, about what he is, what he’s been doing. Unfortunately Elias takes it the wrong way and is relieved she understands not comprehending that Chise is talking about this in a negative way. She admits that she can’t bear not knowing anything about him.
While this is all touching, Elias is mostly concerned with her face, this breaks the tension at least as he tells her he’s never seen her make that expression. He again wonders why she was looking for him after all he left that amazing note guys! Luckily Chise just looks at him in disgust, letting him see a scary face xD
She admits that even though she accepts what he says she can’t just ignore it when he vanishes, seeing this conversation going nowhere she asks why he was here in the first place. Elias’ body was out of balance so likely he came to the forest to readjust things while out of sight, especially out of Chise’s sight. He carries on explaining but Chise realises that half of everything he says is a lie and though it didn’t bother her before she is very scared now. She probably doesn’t realise it yet but in no way can she have a meaningful relationship with Elias if things stay as they are.
He asks her for a little more time to gather his thoughts about the issue and she agrees begrudgingly but with a slight blush. Ruth who has to be sat here the whole time just sighs in frustration xD Elias asks if Chise is angry, which of course she is but denies, causing him to annoyingly nudge her asking more questions.
Just as she’s about to answer BOOM something falls out the sky killing Elias instantly! Well actually it just slaps him to the floor but it was still pretty hilarious. An adorable fairy has appeared and it just so happens to be Lindel’s (dragon guardian and Elias’ master) familiar. She’s a little selkie, which are actually supposed to be seals that can remove their skin to become beautiful maidens, they are often featured in tragic romances. In true Lindel fashion after trolling Elias, he asks through his familiar for Chise to come straight to the land of the dragons with a huge dragon appearing on cue.
Another amazing episode for this series, it was definitely more thought provoking but with not much happening in terms of plot. The few things we did learn was for the most enigmatic character Elias. When he transforms, which I’m guessing he only does in extreme emotional states, it takes a huge amount of effort to change himself back to his more socially accepted form. He was in his room for weeks and that still wasn’t enough, he was able to contain it long enough for them to return home but after that he had to eventually leave the house altogether and go into the forest to readjust. What readjusting entails is not shown yet but it could be anything from just breaking loose in his true form to doing something quite awful till his body calms.
Chise, though still full of self-loathing, is actually starting to not only want things but become more aggressive to protect them. With the added character of Ruth we can expect for more of Chise’s feelings to be revealed with his encouragement. I would like to see more of Ruth and Silkie interacting with Elias, Chise and each other as they are the missing puzzle in our weird family unit. Chise’s feelings towards Elias are currently still focused on dependency but she’s trying hard to make the transition into a more equal one.
I appreciate the anime taking the time to give us these episodes exploring characters and their motivations and, despite the title, the anime is shaping up to be much more of a psychological and philosophical study then a simple romance with magic involved. I find Chise one of the most likable heroines for a while because she is hugely flawed and people do point it out to her. Most importantly is her true capacity to change, little by little I’m enjoying watching Chise slowly heal herself and find a new way for her to be even after all the damage and hurt she has felt.