Posted by Lenlo on 30 January 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction, Mahoutsukai no Yome

Welcome to another week of Mahoutsukai! This week we have an anime staple, the Christmas episode, with a dash of tragic backstory. Like always there are ups and downs this week, so lets jump right in.

As I said, this is our token Christmas episode. There are presents, shopping, misunderstandings and snow. Such pretty snow. There are some interesting bits though. The time spent prepping for Yule, with no dialogue just music and motion, was good. I enjoyed that not everything was explained, like the Centaur and his Lady, and how Elias hid from this. It reintroduces some mystery that Mahoutsukai had lost. The same goes for the Yule Twins. When it comes to the world and magic, sometimes a little whimsy goes a long way. The other half of the episode consists of a shopping trip, which is fun enough. There is more random danger for Chise, as she can’t seem to leave the house without something happening. However this time it served a purpose, allowing us to get Alice’s past. That story has its own issues, but the danger at least had purpose.

Speaking of Alice, she and her story was the meat of this episode as Chise goes shopping with her. Overall it was acceptable. The shopping trip felt like more of a time-sink than anything else, but some good things came out of it. The subtle mixing of Elias’s spirit into multiple scenes, just enough to be missed if you weren’t looking for it, worked well. It added an underlying tension, as we don’t know what this spirit is until the end. While the shopping trip was acceptable though, Alice’s backstory was more than a bit ridiculous. I understand she needed a good reason to love Renfred as she did, but Renfred and Elias have disturbing knack at finding young girls in questionable circumstances and bringing them home. Would it kill Mahoutsukai to give a happy backstory for once? That’s not all the issues though, oh no, I have more.

Next up we have the now clearly pass on master-student penchant for leaving new apprentices in bad situations. Turns out, leaving a young girl you just picked up off the street with no knowledge of magic to organize your collection of books with deadly spirits in them is a terrible idea! That’s not the end though. Our little Alice manages to not only clean and dress a claw wound across Renfred’s face, destroying his eye, but do so well enough that they didn’t need the hospital. I understand magic and all that could help, but this is not a minor injury. And to top it all off at the end Alice, a girl with trust issues from the street who knows next to nothing of Renfred, pledges to be his bodyguard. At the age of, what, 11? A truly disappointing backstory, laying out Mahoutsukai’s many character writing flaws.

Ashen Eye's ashen... eye?

At least in the last few minutes Mahoutsukai managed to pick itself up again a bit. The actual Christmas Eve scene at the house, the swapping of gifts, was sweet. They caused absolutely no change to the plot or were very relevant, but they were sweet. The real content came out of the now standard cliffhanger ending. However this time we have a credible threat, in the enigmatic Ashen Eye, and a character whom we cannot guarantee the safety of, a young child. While I hate the cliffhanger, I do appreciate the other two. Ashen Eye is an intimidating character, who we have previously seen to be unconcerned in regards to his methods. The young child also has no plot armor, as already multiple named side characters have died. Assuming this isn’t another one off arc, we might finally be in for something good from Mahoutsukai’s new season.

All in all, this episode was better than the last few. While nothing particularly interesting happened, the stage has been set for fun future conflicts and our next arc. Ashen Eye has perhaps my favorite design so far and plenty of that magical mystery I have wanted more of hanging all around him. The first few minutes of this week also managed some of that magic with more mystical creatures and traditions, without being bogged down by long explanations that ultimately wouldn’t matter. Thats what Mahoutsukai really needs. More magic, more mysticism and mystery, less melodramatic tragic backstories and wonky power dynamics. I realize this is a romance, of a sort, but it would fare far better if it just abandoned that plot and focused on its best parts. We all know that won’t happen though.

See you next week for our, hopefully, next arc!

4 Responses

  1. Avatar Vonter says:

    I think because I’m familiar with what to expect I’ve been not caring about expecting much else from these series. Once again this episode wanted to make a parallelism with Chise and Elias about keeping secrets from each other can make one hurt the other.

    Yule’s backstory was expected given the writing we have had. I suppose it was a bit of a surprise that’s how his mentor got that scar. Not fighting a dragon or monster but for a careless mistake.

    I also wonder if the cliffhanger will amount to anything since the last one was so inconsequential, I could see just a misdirection or him turning the kid into a magical being. Like how certain folklore monsters do to children that get lost.

    All in all, it seems nothing will happen until the end. Since the last interesting thing that may happen is beating the main bad guy and Elias and Chise being separated in some way. I think it’s late to explore any of the other ideas they’ve presented, like more differences between mages and sorceress. Or how magic can be both a science or a spiritual connection to the elementals, or anything else. I suppose more than the romance is the slice of life direction that makes me feel several things are inconsequential and are mainly different ways to show the relationship between the main couple.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      I can see that. The direction doesnt line up with the story. They need to fully commit to slice of life magic like I suggested, or to romance and the relationship like you have suggested. Either one would be stronger than this half and half treatment its getting.

      For the backstory, I find it funny how both master and apprentice make the same mistakes. IE leaving children unsupervised in dangerous magical locations.

      I understand the parallelism aspect for Chise and Elias as well. I simply dont think its very good. They are beating us over the head with this without any meaningful changes.

  2. Avatar KTravlos says:

    Still I like the shows second part more than the first. It seems to explore some things more than before. But yes, this is to this point a disappointing, though still entertaining show.

    • Avatar Lenlo says:

      Its pretty and I dont regret watching it. Its just not fantastic. Im not going to tell anyone to go out of their way to watch it.

      For first half vs second half, I think that largely comes down to taste. The first half had plenty of issues, but it still felt like things were happening as characters got introduced and setup. Now it feels like Mahoutsukai is spinning its wheels until it hits a meaningful arc, adapting for adaptations sake rather than for what would make good anime.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

7 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Vinland Saga – 7 [Normanni]

Welcome to the true start of Vinland Saga, as this week adapts what was originally the 1st Chapter of the manga. This week Thorfinn hits puberty, Askeladd makes bank and the French get laughed at. Lets jump in! Starting off, this week was a series of highs and lows for Vinland’s production. I said it […]

DanMachi2 – 6 [City of Lust (Ishtar Familia)]

DanMachi, as an anime, grew up this week. From the show that brought you the cosplaying mechanic of the “Hestia ribbon” comes an episode dealing with largest taboo in hero anime, and in some ways, Japanese conservative culture as a whole. Watching DanMachi this week is like this: you have a friend who you hang […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 20 [Pretend Family]

After last week’s episode, I had high hopes for Kimetsu no Yaiba this week. Sadly, I think I came away from it with more criticisms than complements. Perhaps natural, since living up to last week was nigh impossible. But I wasn’t prepared for Yaiba to undercut its best episode either. Welcome to Yaiba, episode 20, […]

Dr.STONE – 7 [Where Two Million Years Have Gone]

Ah today is a good day. The day where Dr.STONE reinforces what I loved about it when I first read it. You see this week Science takes center stage, we meet the ancient sorcerer Chrome, and the legendary Kinro gets his fabled weapon. Enough with the preamble though, welcome to this weeks Dr.STONE and lets […]

Mononoke – 2 [Zashikiwarashi – Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

There really isn’t a good way to introduce this episode. Nothing is really going to soften the madness of what I just watched. As this week Mononoke has given us one of the darkest/creepiest yet most endearing episodes I have seen in a long time. So let’s just get on with it. Starting off, a […]

Cop Craft – 06 [Need For Speed]

Cop Craft mixes up many unusual elements such as porno magazines, gay policeman, car chases and even romance into its trip this week. The result is that while it’s light in content, it proves to be more entertaining than when it deals with serious plot. While at this point I still prefer the relationship between […]

Kanata no Astra – 08 [Past]

There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Vinland Saga – 6 [The Journey Begins]

Another week, another dose of Viking murder, courtesy of Vinland Saga. This week we watch our baby boy grow up, learn a bit about Viking history, and get into the series proper. Let’s dive in! Starting off, as always, the production aspect. This week showed us some of the cracks in Vinland’s production. For while […]

Latest Reviews

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]