The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 16: Tis the Season and Gift Buying Struggles

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 16, “God’s mill grinds slow but sure,” Chise Hatori and Elias Ainsworth prepare the household for the Yule season, which, as you’ve probably come to expect from this world, isn’t as simple as putting up a tree. Responding to a summons, Hatori goes into London to meet Alice. They discover that they have two things in common: neither knows what to buy their teachers and both had deplorable childhoods. They find out something else about themselves, too!

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

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
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Interested in the OP?
Hatori hoped that Elias and Ruth would believe she really felt fine, but they weren’t buying it. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Poor Ruth! He blames himself for what happened to Hatori in the past couple of episodes. Hatori can’t figure out how to help him feel better, so Elias decides to step in (3:08). That’s remarkable because I can’t remember Elias offering emotional comfort to anyone except Hatori, though he has, of course, always been well-intentioned. It’s also remarkable because of how bad he is at it. He pointed out that Ruth knows Hatori better than he does, so Ruth can tell Elias if something’s bothering her — but no words of actual comfort! Watching it unfold, Hatori had to say, “This is painfully awkward!” It seemed to work, though, because Ruth perked up and immediately told Elias that Hatori was feeling cold. She tries to brush it off, but neither Elias nor Ruth believed her. It was a pleasant and warming little family moment for the three of them.

It took her a moment to figure out where to put her lips, but Hatori and Elias shared a Yule time kiss under the mistletoe. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an awkward but sweet moment under the mistletoe (5:55)! As they finish hanging their Yule decorations, Elias steps back to admire their handiwork. Then he says, “They say that traditionally, it’s okay to kiss under the mistletoe.” Hatori almost panicked when she realized he was serious, but she quickly got into the spirit of things and asked him to crouch down. I have to admit I was curious what a kiss between the two of them would be like. I mean, no disrespect intended, but he doesn’t have any lips! Hatori settled for kissing him on the brow ridge, and he reciprocated by nudging her with his nose. They are both such neophytes at this that I think they’re perfect for each other! Oh, and his reaction? His back and waist felt tingly. So he wouldn’t feel left out, Hatori kissed Ruth on the nose. Of course, as a dog, it was easy to see how he felt about it — his tailed wagged energetically!

As Alice said they were “in the same boat,” Hatori realized that she now had something she’d never had before: a friend. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I know there may have been more dramatic moments (like how Mikhail Renfred earned the scratches on his face), but my third favorite moment in this episode was when Hatori realized she and Alice were friends (9:48). Alice made the simple observation that they were “in the same boat,” but you could see how deeply moved Hatori felt. It was a moment that Hatori had waited her whole life to experience, even if she may not have been able to articulate it. Now for the first time, she had a friend she could talk to and share her feelings and thoughts with. What does it say that an anime series can make such a natural event feel so emotionally momentous?


There’s a fact of life that this show very comfortably presents, but that I think that’s been lost to a great extent, at least in North American/United States culture. It’s based on the undeniable fact that humans are imperfect creatures — a statement I doubt anyone can really disagree with. But it’s something my culture seems to have forgotten, at least under certain circumstances.

Like addiction.

Should we blame Alice for her withdrawal symptoms? Even if it wasn’t her fault, but the fault of others, who imposed the situation on her? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

To hear many who are pushing their agenda, victims of addiction are completely to blame for their situation. Their morals are weak, or their conscience hasn’t been properly formed. They don’t pray hard enough, or they don’t trust God, or whatever. If someone’s suffering from drug addiction, they deserve no pity, because since the situation is the result of a moral failing, only a moral response can correct it. They need to be stronger, repent, mend their ways, whatever. It’s all on them, and if they are still addicted, it’s their fault.

That’s not the way the real world works.

If I lose my temper and punch someone, that’s a moral failing. If I’m fully aware of what I’m doing and I cheat on my wife, that’s on me. But if I use doctor-prescribed pain killer and a physiological reaction to the medication causes a physical addiction, is that really a failing in my will? In my moral code?

How could a rational human even make that suggestion? How do they actually make it, day in and day out? How do they turn it into a political agenda? How do they preach it from the pulpit?

Should we perpetuate a culture that brands addicts as morally deficient and punishes them — thereby creating more addicts? Or do we heal them and create survivors — who can go on and help others? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

For my example, I’ve chosen events that are on the extreme edges of the behavioral spectrum to prove a point: there are times when drug addiction is not a symptom of moral failing, but is the result of circumstances that are often only partly within our control. It’s almost impossible for someone who’s physically addicted to drugs to stop by themselves. One of the things I liked about this episode is how it dramatized that concept. Though Alice would have liked to have stopped taking drugs as a child, her circumstance (including her parents) prevented her from acting on her wishes. It took Mikhail’s intervention and healing work to break her addiction and give her a new chance.

This show understands that people aren’t perfect. It also portrays the next logical conclusion: namely, that we need to help each other get through. Mikhail helps Alice. Elias helps Hatori. Hatori helps Elias. And Silky helps everyone!

If only the culture I’m trapped in would understand that very simple, very human idea… I’m glad there’s at least one cultural artifact, the anime series called The Ancient Magus’ Bride, that I can point to as an example!

What were your favorite moments in this episode? Let me know in the comments!

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