Seeking the Light in The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

“The lonely little star, the tiny child of a star, twinkled in the empty sky all by itself.”
(“Those Awaiting a Star: Part 2”)

“You can see them if you look really carefully. The sky is endlessly connected. Just try, and you’ll see even the faintest of lights.”
(“Those Awaiting a Star: Part 3”)

The third and final episode of Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito recently aired—just in time for the much anticipated series coming out this fall. This three-part OVA tells a supplementary story that can be watched at any point, be that before, during, or after the main series. “Those Awaiting a Star” is a wonderful addition to better understanding Chise’s past and her present point of view. Her dark history and unbelievable apprenticeship point Chise towards an uncertain yet promising future should she choose to take it.

When we first meet Chise, she already lives with the magician Elias. Their world is one filled with talking dogs, gremlins, and package-delivering mechanical birds. Very little information is provided about their arrangement, but much about their personalities can be gleaned from their small interactions with one another. Chise is methodical and observant, and Elias, practical and curious. Despite our short time with them, the characters and their world come alive the moment they appear on the screen thanks to the lush art and expressive writing.

We step back into Chise’s childhood thanks to a fateful reunion with a picture book called The Lonely Little Star. The young woman we know now and the little girl from back then may look similar, but are clearly separated by a fear that pervades every aspect of her early life, a fear put firmly into place not only by her ability to see creatures no one else can, but also by her mother’s suicide. Shunted to family members who barely tolerate her presence, Chise has no one to confide in regarding the things she sees.

The black figures that gobble up her food and seem to take pleasure in scaring her almost every waking moment remind me of similar characters from shows like xxxHOLiC and films like Spirited Away. Even the smallest creatures can be extremely disruptive to normal living, and for a small girl like Chise, they are particularly damaging. They prevent her from bonding with her foster family, and even stop her from basic needs like sleeping and eating. An older person might have the mental strength to ignore or overpower the monsters, but Chise has none of the experience to protect herself or those around her. The bags under her eyes and inability to speak out illustrate her isolation and illness of the heart, particularly when compared to the healthy children around her.

It’s this fear and desire for safety that pushes Chise into the Library of the Forest, which according to its mysterious keeper, Miura-san, hasn’t had a visitor for a very long time. Given its proximity to the normal world and exquisite design, it seems odd that a library like this one would have so few visitors. Perhaps like the creatures who chase Chise, the library is a place that can only be seen by special people like her and Miura. This is the first step towards the main theme of this story.

As a refuge from the monsters, the library brings hope into Chise’s life. For once, she can relax without worrying about being attacked. Since Miura can see what she sees, she doesn’t have to be concerned about explanations. She can spend her time doing what she loves most: reading.

But as idyllic as the Library of the Forest seems to be, we are constantly reminded of its unnatural existence and the darkness that still lurks outside. The light and the dark go hand in hand. Due to manipulation and a mistake, Chise sets into motion the demise of the library. While sad, hope still shines on as a beacon for our characters. Miura had his love to keep him going, and the kindness to open his home to someone who truly needed it. Niikura, the woman of Miura’s past, carries on his good deed by accepting Chise’s message with soft words and open arms.

The lessons imparted by Miura and Niikura’s connection, as well as the story told in The Lonely Little Star may not have shown immediate effects on Chise’s situation as a child, but they did lay the groundwork for the Chise we know today. She survived her ability and fostering long enough to be found by Elias and taken under his wing. She can tell the story of her encounter with the Library of the Forest and re-read The Lonely Little Star with a clear mind and understanding heart. Through her darkness, she finally found the light. From there begins a whole new journey.

Rating: 2 dango

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

“Those Awaiting a Star: Part 2.” The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star, written by Kore Yamazaki, directed by Norihiro Naganuma, Crunchyroll, 10 Mar. 2017.

“Those Awaiting a Star: Part 3.” The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star, written by Kore Yamazaki, directed by Norihiro Naganuma, Crunchyroll, 09 Sept. 2017.

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2 thoughts on “Seeking the Light in The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

    • Do they not? They seemed pretty well known at AX this year with the panel line having to be cut off due to over capacity. Perhaps there just aren’t as many mainstream bloggers and YouTubers talking about the show, particularly with shows like Hero Academia taking the spotlight this season.

      Thank you, as always 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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