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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Episode 6: Favorites: Favorites

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Episode 6 – Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Episode 6, “Better bend than break.”, Chise felt troubled. Troubled enough, in fact, to ask Elias about the nature of their relationship. But he did not have time to answer because the class bell rang. Now Elias felt troubled! So much so that he asked Mikhail Renfred about relationships. How would Renfred possibly answer such a question? How will Elias? And what about the person who overheard Elias and Renfred talking?

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

Favorite Quote from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Episode 6

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Episode 6: Silky's smile brings warmth and happiness

Isn’t that smile precious? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m cheating a little – just a little – with my favorite quote this week. The quote’s pleasant enough, but it’s what the quote set up that is really my favorite. So, let’s call this my favorite quote-adjacent moment.

What Alice overheard Renfred say to Elias so overwhelmed her that she had to get away. So she called her friend Chise for help. When they arrived at Elias’ house, Silky prepared a light meal for them. It looked like some kind of bean soup.

Because of her troubles, Alice looked uneasy when she took the first bite. Then her expression changed. Clearly, she liked what she tasted. “What is this?” she asked (06:32). “What’s it called? It’s different somehow.”

Chise asked if she liked it.

“It’s great,” she said in deep appreciation (06:36).

Why’s that my favorite quote? Because of the wonderfully happy and proud smile it put on Silky’s face. I mean, come on – I’m going to fawn all over anything that makes Silky smile like that!

Favorite Moment from The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Episode 6

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Episode 6: Chise had learned to trust Elias

Chise was in a relationship where she could be honest with herself and with her partner. That’s a precious gift. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Roles, Expectations, and Demands

This episode was mostly talk, but it hit me hard. That’s because what the characters talked about was close to the heart of what The Ancient Magus’ Bride is all about. And that theme is hard to discuss because a lot of the language describing it has been co-opted.

So, please bear with me as I try to use a vocabulary that hasn’t been taken over by agendas.

What are we to each other? What meaning do I have to my wife, or my children, or my co-workers? My fellow writers? We live within a culture, or more accurately, a set of interacting cultures. Each has its own set of expectations about what people should be to one another.

Are those expectations valid? More to the point – are they binding?

Expectations based on vocation are relatively easy. If I work with another writer, there’s a finite set of interaction points. We sit down before we start the joint work, sketch out our goals and the ways we’ll work together, and start writing. Even within that context there are a lot of variables, based on our two personalities and writing styles. I write hard-ish science fiction. If I try to collaborate with a writer who prefers urban occult, we’re going to struggle to find common ground.

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Episode 6: Relationships are hard

Relationships are hard enough without external interference. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

What about a relationship that’s more complex – say, a marriage? There are clear cultural expectations for how partners should interact. Do those expectations always work well with a given couple’s idiosyncrasies?

Think of the 1950s in the USA. There are elements in our society who say we should return to a time when women stay home and men go off to work. Is that a good idea? Who decides? Does what works for one couple necessarily work for another?

Who gets to make that decision binding – using the force of law?

I don’t know about you. Maybe you’re transcendent and know all things. But I find it difficult to know what my wife, or my kids, or even my co-workers want or need at any given moment. The idea that I should codify my experiences into cultural expectations or law is absolutely ludicrous. It’s impossible for me to tell someone else how to live, because I don’t even know exactly what I’m doing myself!

Delivery: Freedom and the Beauty It Unleashes

Which is another way to say: I want to respect and help others live as they decide they decide to live. Isn’t the ability to make that decision called freedom? And isn’t blocking it tyranny?

Which brings me to my favorite moment. And yes, I wish I could chose more than one – this show’s like that.

At the beginning of the episode, Chise asked Elias why he had wanted to make her his bride. Later that night, she joined him on the roof to ask for his answer. Now, keep in mind that Elias is still learning who and what he is. He hesitated to answer because he was afraid he would run askew of her expectations. But her gentle prodding convinced him to answer. For him, combining an apprentice and a spouse was efficient.

“If I had the same person be both, I’d have one less thing to deal with,” he said (16:00).

Chise had expected as much, but she could tell he wasn’t done. Her acceptance of his honesty emboldened him. He said (16:22), “An apprentice eventually leaves the master. You became my master and taught me all kinds of things. You left me at one point. And then you came back. And I couldn’t let you go. And… You said it was because you’re my bride. A married couple is supposed to stick together, right?”

The Ancient Magus' Bride Season 2 Episode 6: Chise hastened to reassure Elias

Even when people honestly reach out to each other, language can fail to convey the necessary nuance. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Even then, there was room for misunderstanding. She finally told him (18:04), “Whatever our roles, I’m happy when I’m with you. And it makes me happy to know that you can’t let me go.”

That’s it, isn’t it? Take away agenda, take away the need some people feel to control one another. It comes down to freedom – the freedom to be who we are within ourselves, and who we choose to be with those around one. That’s what it is to be sentient, isn’t it?

What did you think of the purple glow at the end? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Feel free to share in the comments!

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