The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 14: Selfish Humans and What, Another Cliffhanger?

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 14, “Looks breed love,” Redcurrant the Leannán Sídhe frantically asks for Chise Hatori’s help:  Joel Garland, the man she says she doesn’t love, is dying, and she’s desperate to save him. Can Hatori and Elias Ainsworth help the man? How far is Hatori willing to go? And will the Leannán Sídhe admit her true feelings before it’s too late?

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

Elias’ words trigger self-recriminations in Redcurrant. But she’s honestly tried not to hurt Joel! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Being emotionally blind is a hindrance, and that’s mostly because of the pain it can inflict in others. I mean, I don’t miss what I can’t see, so it’s not always a problem for me. But it can make me appear insensitive to the feelings of others. Worse, it can inflict completely unintentional pain. In this episode, Hatori dashes out of the house at Redcurrant’s request. She finds Joel unconscious and unresponsive. As she’s pondering what to do, Elias appears out of her shadow and wonders aloud what’s wrong with Joel, since he’s near death (6:48). That hurt the Leannán Sídhe’s heart plenty, but then, following what appears to him to be a logical train of thought, Elias said (6:55), “What’s the matter? Aren’t you going to eat him? He’s your prey, isn’t he?” He kept going until Hatori basically told him to shut up (though she was very polite about it!). You could practically see the wounds his words left on Redcurrant. It didn’t help that she was likely feeling as if her nature contributed to Joel’s condition — thus making Elias’ words at least partly true. The show’s really hit its stride in terms of pulling us into these character moments. So much emotional complexity in so little a space of time!

    Hatori’s spirit seems almost crushed when she thinks Elias is going to forbid her idea. But it seems he can’t say no to her… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  2. Hatori continues to grow — and it’s beautiful to see! Having overheard that Joel’s last wish is to see Redcurrant (“that woman with eyes like red currants”) one more time, Hatori recalls a a fairy ointment she’d read about that would grant Joel’s wish. She explains her idea to Elias (10:45) and asks if she can do it. His answer was perfect: “No.” At Hatori’s sharp intake of breath, he adds, “…is what I’d like to say, but okay.” He wanted to honor her first demand of him. He warned her that the neighbors (fairies) will be furious, and he warns her not to overexert herself, but he offered his emotional support. Though I think her intentions are beyond reproach, I have a bad feeling about the “neighbors will be furious” part…

    I’m pretty much out of words at this point. If you saw this scene, then you might understand why! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  3. You can probably guess what I’m saving for my third favorite moment, can’t you? Yep, the moment when Joel could see Redcurrant (17:16) was just exquisite. There were so many things right with this scene. Redcurrant, a nearly immortal being, looked like she still wasn’t sure she was going the right thing, so all she could do was follow her heart. Joel’s delighted expression and tone of voice at being able to see her again played tragically against her pain at not being able to leave him despite knowing she was likely killing him. But what really got me was when he took her hand and said, “Thank you for loving me, Leannán Sídhe, lover of poets. It’s not as if I never knew.” And then he willingly bequeathed his life to her! How does someone like me even begin to articulate what that means? But it gets better! She protests that she never gave him anything, to which he responds that the brief moment their eyes had met all those years ago had reigniting purpose in his life. In that one moment, he collapsed all of her self recriminations. I need more of this kind of thing in my life. I’m not sure how well my heart would hold up, but I still think it’d be a net positive!

Thoughts

A fleeting, shared glance can change the trajectory of someone’s life. That’s magic in real life! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

“…just for a brief moment, our eyes met” (18:46).

One of the reasons I wanted to try to review The Ancient Magus’ Bride is that I strongly suspected that, based on the OVAs, the show was going to be strong on emotional content. Most of the shows I’ve covered here on Crow’s World of Anime have had other areas of focus. Gate had a lot of political intrigue and action. Re:CREATORS was heavy on world-building and action. Saga of Tanya the Evil dealt a lot with theology and action. You can see the common theme here: action.

Even the fiction I write shies away from emotion. How many hard science fiction novels have you read that have much of an emphasis at all on emotion? So I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could develop a taxonomy and vocabulary to describes my reaction to this emotionally-heavy show.

I suppose the fact that I think “taxonomy and vocabulary” belong in this review are an indication of my “progress…” But I really can’t think of a more clear way to say it!

For some of you, describing this scene might be easy. For me, it’s like describing a photograph of a park taken from high orbit! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

With that in mind, may I offer one guy’s perspective on the core idea in this episode? Namely, that even locking eyes for just a moment with a beautiful woman can change the course of a man’s life?

I’m hesitant in this politicized climate to even bring something like this up. In the hopes of defusing some objections, let me note that “beautiful woman” in this sense is generic in two ways. First, beauty is subjective. It’s not an appeal to any currently accepted view of beauty. It’s simply a reflection of what to one individual (in this case, me; substitute your own definition as appropriate!) appears beautiful or inspiring in another. And you can interpret “woman” in this case to be a statement from my perspective: it’s based on my experience of what’s happened to me in my past. If you’d like to substitute another gender or non-gender, please feel free to do so! And of course, “man’s life” just refers to my own perspective. So, substitute your own phrasing there, too!

And to be clear: I’m not saying this to be defensive. I’m saying it to reassure you that I’m honestly trying to share a moment from my life. I’m not trying to force a perspective on anyone — or force any particular set of values. Just one human experience, from one moment in time.

So, do I think it’s realistic that Joel and Redcurrant’s eyes meeting once in a rose garden could completely change the course of his life?

Yes.

Magic, if it exists in our world, lives in moments like this. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

If there really is magic in our world, this has been my closest experience with it. A single instant of an accidental glance meeting another’s eyes completely changed my perspective. It feels like the difference between seeing an instant in life through a pin hole one moment to seeing it through a picture window the next. I have no idea what’s behind it. In the case I have in mind, I had never met the woman before. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever saw her again. But it says something, doesn’t it, that I remember the moment from 30 years ago as if it were yesterday? And whoever it was didn’t stay around me, unseen, like Redcurrant, to reinforce the impression. No, that one moment impressed itself on me with an almost scary level of power. So I can completely buy that a single glance like that change someone’s life.

Not sure I explained that well, so I’ll keep using these reviews to hone my ability to describe emotions.

What do you think? Did that make any sense at all? And what were your favorite moments from this episode? Let me know in the comments!

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