The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 13: Halting Steps and the Case for Safety Protocols!

January 9, 2018

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 13, “East, west, home’s best“, Chise Hatori continues to struggle with articulating her feelings to Elias Ainsworth. It takes a fluffy attack to set the stage, but even with perfecting timing, can Hatori speak her mind? Later, a late-night visitor tries to give Hatori a present that throws their lives into chaos — again! At what point will Elias be able to protect his apprentice? Or his apprentice protect herself? Will Silky have to step in to come up with new household safety protocols?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
Related Posts

3 Favorite Moments

Hatori’s a little overwhelmed at the idea if shearing so many wooly bugs. That’s a lot of wool! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

  1. This series is sure is full of adorable creatures (2:50)! The wooly bugs (apparently a legitimate alternative spelling to woolly) put me in mind of that scene from Despicable Me where the little girl exclaims, “It’s so fluffy!” Apparently, these insects feed on cold air and grow wool very much like a sheep’s wool. They also seem drawn to Hatori. Did you see the hand-held sheep shear that Hatori used (3:37)? I remember using something similar back when I lived on a farm. Rather, I remember my dad having them, but by time I was old enough to help, we had electric shears. Though they were harder for us as humans to use, I think the sheep preferred the hand-held version. The poor sheep ended up with fewer nicks and cuts! Though I can’t comment on how the wooly bugs would react, never having seen any in real life (as far as I know)…

    Between Elias’ cloak and multiple wooly bugs, they were able to dispel Hatori’s terrible chill. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

  2. The incident with the snow bug beautifully setup the scene (7:55) where Hatori would have the chance to talk about her feelings to Elias — if only she could summon the courage! First, the shot of her huddled in Elias’ arms, covered not only by his cloak but by several wooly bugs, was a moment of domestic bliss. Then she awoke and panicked, because she still didn’t know how to articulate her feelings. This time, Elias reached out to her and surprised her when he said, “It was cold when you were gone. But it’s warm with you here. I wonder why.” It was the perfect way to introduce the subject of emotions without being threatening. He was almost elated when she said he had been feeling loneliness (14:20). It’s wonderful to see the dynamic of interdependence growing between them. They both have something to teach the other!

    Don’t you think they look like such a happy family? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

  3. Domestic bliss seemed to be the theme this week! The shot of Elias carrying Hatori into the study, where they spent the evening reading, felt like a well-deserved moment of tranquility. The fairies were there with Hatori to point out some of the details in the books. Little book worms peaked out of the pages, and Ruth lounged on a nearby ottoman (17:58). I liked seeing everyone at peace and finally able to hang out together — while everyone was conscious at the same time!

Thoughts

I think I’m going to ignore the chill and shadow that the first few minutes cast on this cour. “Burden too great for a human child?” “…Failure born in the shadows of the forest?” I’m going to pretend Hatori, Elias, and the others can find some way to  enjoy their lives together…

Guess that means the show’s convinced me to care about the characters!

Elias seemed almost giddy that, with Hatori’s help, he could give a name to the coldness he felt in her absence: loneliness! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Speaking of which, I think I finally figured out what I found so fascinating about Elias. Does it seem to you that he might have what in humans would be called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Intellectually, he’s impressive. Socially and emotionally? Well, he’s learned to adapt by relying on social protocols, but when he’s trying to communicate emotionally with Hatori, you can see that he’s struggling. When Hatori helps him understand that he had been feeling lonely when she wasn’t there, his response was remarkably awkward. He didn’t say thank you or just give her a hug. Instead, he picked her up (which might be called a nominal response) and said, “I’m glad I bought you!”

Glad he bought her?

I think Hatori understood what he meant, but someone who had no knowledge of his perspective would think he was being dismissive, crass, or cruel — just because he using words that seemed odd (whatever that means). This rush to judgement is one of the most difficult to manage aspects of ASD. If folks aren’t willing to learn about Elias before judging him, they’re going to be scared of his appearance, and then they’re going to build on that fear by misinterpreting what he says. Like the moment in episode 11 where the villagers from years ago assumed Lindel was trying to kidnap their children simply because his shadow was unexpectedly spooky.

In some ways, people just don’t seem to change. In fact, if you pay attention, you can see this attitude dozens of times every day — in your life, on the news, or in social media. That makes living with ASD a struggle.

Hatori’s learning to interpret Elias’ ways. Instead of rushing to judgement, she’s listening with her heart. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

On the plus side, this show has cast Elias in a positive light. He knows he has some weaknesses, and he’s trying to grow and overcome them. He’s trying to help Hatori in his own way. He’s trying to be a good person, and he has a lot of traits that will help him on that journey. I found it almost humorous that Elias’ strengths include “being [a] strong visual and auditory learner…” and “excelling in math, science, music, or art” — in this case, the art and science of magic. These are recognized ASD traits (when viewed in context, of course)!

So, I see Elias almost as a role model for those struggling with ASD. This show demonstrates that he can make progress on his own and make even more progress with someone like Hatori to help him. Not only that, it shows he can help others, too! That’s a positive message. For Elias and Hatori, and for everyone living with ASD.

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments!

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