The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 4: Neko Land and the Duel of Faiths

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 4, “Everything Must Have a Beginning,” Chise Hatori and Elias Ainsworth travel to a land where cats are literally king. But an ancient evil is brewing and threatens them with death and disaster. Can Hatori unlock her powers in time to save them? Or will a new enemy’s plan destroy her — and her dreams?

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

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
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3 Favorite Moments

Hatori had to think fast to avoid giving away that she was a mage. Elias and the king could have warned her! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Hatori’s comfortably listening to Elias and Molly, the King of the cats, talk about why the Church asked them to visit. A cheerful girl bursts out of a house to greet Hatori, who’s shocked to find herself alone with the cats (7:40). Not wanting to be discovered, Elias has vanished, and the cats pretend they’re just cats. Hatori recovers quickly and claims she was just chatting with the cats, which seems to please the little girl who considers herself Molly’s owner. It’s a humorous moment, and it gave me another example of Elias just not understanding the basics of human interaction. If he understood even a little, he would have prepared Hatori — and maybe earned a little bit of trust that could have come in handy later in the episode. Dramatically, I thought this scene was a great way for Molly to give some backstory to Hatori without it feeling like dry exposition.
  2. This was an important milestone for Hatori: she begins to take control and make her own decisions. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

    After her adventure under water (poor girl — at least this week’s water looked a little less frigid), Elias asks for her help to cleanse the corruption. Worried that he might lose faith in her if she refuses or fails, she agrees to help (16:28). I think this is an important milestone in her development as a character. She’s starting to take charge and make decisions for herself. She’s still unsure of her place in this world, and she might be worried about losing what safety and belonging she’s found, but it’s Hatori switching from passive to active mode. I love seeing characters develop, especially when they get stronger!

  3. Despite her doubts and uncertainty, with only the little Ariel to keep her company, Hatori makes the trek across the pond to confront the corruption (19:15). She seemed surprised she can walk on water (I was surprised, too!), but she makes the trip as a consequence of her decision. She’s still filled with doubt about what to do for (or to) the couple whose choices resulted in the corruption. Yet, she doesn’t back down, and she’s determined to figure out what she’s supposed to do. That was a beautiful moment, interrupted perhaps by the sorcerer Mikhail Renfred and his accomplice, but a beautiful moment nonetheless.

Thoughts

Armed with her courage, incense, a branch, a cloak, and of course an Ariel, Hatori walks across the pond. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Here’s my advice for Hatori: If you have to choose who to trust between a socially inept yet otherwise honest mage (and an Ariel who, despite having tried to kidnap you, is openly affectionate) and the people responsible for holding a knife to your throat, chose the former. Just sayin’…

Though when I phrase it that way, it’s easy to see that Hatori still has reason to consider what the sorcerer’s saying, doesn’t she? She’s heard strange questions from people like Angie Varley, who point-blank asked just what Hatori was. The Ariels did try to kidnap her. Hatori may not have heard Lindel’s words when he talked to Elias about Hatori’s longevity, but she probably had a feeling they were talking about her.

Hatori is still trying to find her place in a very strange world. It’s not a new world. After all, she’s seen it all her life. But it’s always been mystifying to her. Because of the weakness of the people around her, she was a cast out because of what she could see. So it’s not surprising that she’s come to associate this world with misery.

Renfred knows how to play on Hatori’s insecurities. I hope she can recognize that! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

In this episode, she accepts the purification task, partly because she wants to justify Elias’ faith in her. She plainly sees that she has some magic, because after her first hesitant steps, she walked on water. Plus, I doubt she’s forgotten that she created a field of flowers back in episode 2. Yet, even as she approaches the island with a fairy by her side, she’s wracked with doubt.

Then Renfred (that jerk!) shows up and tries to convince Hatori that she shouldn’t purify the corruption on the island. He tries to tell her she can’t trust Elias, or the Ariels. To me, it’s clear he has his own agenda, and I don’t doubt he’d lie to get his way. Yet, the show’s done a masterful job of setting up the situation to test Hatori’s fledgling faith. Will she listen to Renfred’s narrative? Will she trust Elias and the Ariel? Or will she take a third path — will she trust in her own perceptions of her new world and her place in it? I’m really looking forward to finding out!

How about you? What were your favorite moments in the episode? What do you think Hatori will choose? Let me know in the comments!

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