The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 23: A Twisted Past and You’re Not Off the Hook Yet!

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 23, “Nothing seek, nothing find,” Elias Ainsworth is in the wild, unable to hold his bipedal form because he laments Chise Hatori’s leaving him. Can the Spriggan calm him down? Or will Oberon have to take more drastic measures?  Hatori learns more about Cartaphilus’ past than she was ready to accept. How will she react? Will Cartaphilus give her the chance?

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

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
Related Posts

Interested in the OP?
"The Ancient Magus' Bride" Original Soundtrack 1 / Animation Soundtrack (Music by Junichi Matsumoto)

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3 Favorite Moments

An agonized Elias turned down Titania and Oberon’s offer. They wanted to bring the two back to the world of the Fae. Elias knew Hatori would never embrace that! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Last week, Hatori demonstrated just how much she’s grown. This week, it’s Elias’ turn. He’s been prowling the wilderness in a state of near despair at Hatori’s departure. He causes such damage to a sacred knoll that the Spriggan shows up — with friends! — and tries to subdue him (2:09). Then a travel-sized version of Titania (she describes herself as a branch of the original) with Oberon, and they offer to help Elias find Hatori and take her back to their realm — and keep her there, with the implication that force would not be out of the question. Though he seemed tempted, Elias knew that Hatori would not have wanted it. Nor would he. It would be only the illusion of safety and happiness. He turned them down (4:47). “She thinks the way I do,” he said. “It can’t be this way.” It might have been painful, but Hatori’s leaving seems to have prompted Elias to do some deep reflection. It’s cool to see his character grow, too!

    Sometimes less is more — I think I’m glad we could only see Cartaphilus’ arm and teeth in this shot. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  2. I’ve often wondered how someone cursed with immortality but not endless health would fare in the world. I’ve heard of Tithonus, who Zeus granted immortality at the request of Eos. Trouble is, Eos forgot to ask for youth, and Tithonus aged and withered and withered. And withered. So, I wondered how it was for Cartaphilus. Turns out, it was something similar, though it seems he doesn’t completely wither. When Joseph found him (10:12), he was mostly underground, with only part of an arm and part of his face showing. I wonder if he’d been buried, and a recent rain washed away some of the top soil? He seemed to be too lightly buried otherwise… But I still thought i was an interesting through very, very creepy scene!

    Ruth, Elias (hidden in shadow), Hatori, and Mariel in bull form (it’s a long story — okay, not that long…) pursue Cartaphilus. I think Ruth and Elias were relieved that Hatori even talked to them! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  3. As Hatori rode the bull that Mariel had turned herself into and pursued Cartaphilus, Ruth ran beside them and Elias lurked in her shadow. Hatori made it clear that she was still angry with both Elias and Ruth (21:40). But at least she was talking to them! Elias even offered a brief apology, though I’m not convinced he knew exactly what he was apologizing for. I really liked this scene for two reasons. First, Hatori was taking the initiative. She was building on the growth she showed us in the previous episode. Second, it showed how healthy their relationship is. She was still furious with them, but she wasn’t walking away. The three of them still have a relationship. That really comforting to me, and I can only imagine how relieved Elias must feel!

Thoughts

Isn’t it amazing how much Hatori has grown? I still choke up when I think of her telling her mom, “Thanks for letting go” in the last episode. In this episode, in a less dramatic but no less important sign, she takes the lead in re-establishing dialogue with Ruth and Elias. She’s active; she’s taking the lead. It’s really a lot of fun to watch!

I think another sign of her growth is her determination to help Cartaphilus/Joseph. We’ve seen her insist on helping Mina and Matthew back in episode 4 and episode 5. We’ve seen her help Joel Garland and Redcurrant when the former was on death’s door. In both those cases, the people who Hatori were helping were arguably sympathetic. Though Matthew was seething and dangerous, we could understand his despair, and it would be difficult not to sympathize with Mina. Joel was a gentle man who just wanted to write and tend his garden in the wake of his wife’s death. Redcurrant was utterly in love with him, but was hesitant to express it because of what love meant to her people. How can you not want to help them?

Despite everything he’s done to her and to countless others through the ages, Hatori is determined to help Cartaphilus. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But now we’re faced with Cartaphilus. His original curse (which seems kinda excessive in retrospect) puts him at odds with several of the world’s major religions. His practice, after joining with the social outcast Joseph, was to kill and dismember people for their body parts. From almost every perspective, they are villains, and it’s likely most “heroes” would feel justified in putting them down.

But Hatori takes another course. She’s determined to help Cartaphilus/Joseph. She knows what he is. She knows his history. He has kidnapped her, tortured her, nearly killed her, and possessed her first human friend. Yet, she is willing to put that all aside because she wants to help. She’s always shown this tendency, but extending it to an enemy? That’s real character. That’s real dedication to staying true to your own morals.

Is she influenced by the idea that helping him might help her beat the curse? Maybe. But I honestly don’t think it’s the driving force behind her decision. This is Hatori we’re talking about. She’s always made decisions to help others at her expense — sometimes driving herself to death’s door. While her own safety might be in the back of her mind, she just wants to help another being.

That’s Hatori being Hatori, and the stronger she gets, the more determined she is.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

Do you agree? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments below!

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