With only a couple of episodes left of the series, I was wondering how The Ancient Magus’ Bride would handle wrapping up the show. In terms of working towards a resolution, this episode didn’t disappoint. Need to catch up? Read my previous review here!
Chise wakes up in Cartaphilus’ lab and is immediately surprised and relieved to find that both Stella and the other dragon are still alive. Cartaphilus wastes no time in discussing with Chise why he needs her. As someone who is cursed to live forever, Cartaphilus longs to die, and is hoping he can transfer Chise’s curse unto himself, giving her his curse in the process. In order to make sure his body won’t reject Chise’s arm, he first trades one of her eyes for his. The process is painful, but not lethal, and Cartaphilus knocks Chise out to prepare for the procedure.
While unconscious, Chise is treated to memories of time she spent with her parents and younger brother. Able to witness the past without interference, Chise watches on as her younger self enjoys time with her family. She is soon joined by the cursed part of Cartaphilus that resides in her new eye. He tells her that Josef is trying to make her suffer as much as possible, and to call him back when she is ready.
The suffering begins on the night Chise watches her father leave with her little brother. Suddenly left to care for herself and her child, Chise’s mother juggles several jobs to keep them alive. While trying to support them financially, Chise’s mother must also protect the two of them from the creatures the both see. Creatures who are all too willing to wait for Chise and her mother to grow tired and weak. Chise’s mother reaches a breaking point and begins to strangle Chise. Once she realizes what she’s doing, she stops and commits suicide by jumping off of their balcony.
All the emotions come rushing back to Chise, and she finds herself once again being strangled by her mom. This time though, her mom is unable to harm her. Chise tells her mom that she loved her, but she won’t forgive her for what she tried to do. She thanks her mom for the wonderful memories she now has; memories she kept repressed until she was no longer worrying about her own survival. Caring for her new friends and Elias has helped Chise heal in more ways than she at first realized. As she lets go of the pain she was burdened with, so too does the ghost of her mother disappear.
Chise once again finds herself face to face with Cartaphilus. He tells her that if she can help him, he will remain in her body and fight her curse for as long as she wishes to live. Chise agrees, and wakes up, coming face to face with Josef. The episode ends with Chise strangling him with her cursed arm.
This week’s episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride did an incredible thing for Chise’s character. She was able to confront her mother and the trauma of her childhood and overcome it. She was given the closure she desperately needed in order to move on in her life. It was incredibly powerful watching Chise face down her demons, and tell her mother that she wasn’t going to let her be in control of her emotions anymore. Having her mom fade away as flower petals was beautiful and a great way to show the disappearance from her mother’s ghost in Chise’s life.
As frustrating as it is to have to wait, this was the right way to end the show on a cliffhanger. I am extremely eager to watch next week’s episode now. With the episodes surpassing the manga currently available in the United States, I’m excited to not know what will happen next. All I can hope for is that the show ends as wrapped up as possible.
New episodes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride air Saturday’s on Crunchyroll and VRV platforms.