Herald Anime Club

The Herald Anime Club Meeting 47: The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Episode 5

Meeting Date: 11/4/2017

Disclaimer: The Herald Anime Club discusses shows as they’re airing. Naturally, there will be spoilers for a given episode. You have been warned!

Note: Next week’s installment will be late, as I’ll be covering Anime NYC from the Javits Center. Thanks for understanding! -MJF

Mike Ferreira: Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Herald Anime Club. I’m Mike Ferreira, and I’m joined by Anthony Simpson and L.B. Bryant.
Anthony Simpson: Evening.
L.B. Bryant: Hello!
Mike Ferreira: Before we begin, I’d like to say a quick “happy birthday” to L.B.
L.B. Bryant: Thanks
Anthony Simpson: Yes. Happy Birthday.
L.B. Bryant: Thanks Anthony
Mike Ferreira: Now, let’s dive into tonight’s episode: The Ancient Magus’ Bride, episode 5: “OH DEAR GOD WHY”
Anthony Simpson: Shit got real this episode. Like real fucking quick.
L.B. Bryant: So, at what point did everyone start to get uncomfortable with what they knew they were about to see? For me it was around the 10 minute mark where shit got real uncomfortable.
Mike Ferreira: Very early on.
Mike Ferreira: Animal abuse in any media turns me right the fuck off.
Mike Ferreira: I think what bothered me most was that they tried to make the viewer empathize with the guy.

Anthony Simpson: I’m not a fan of animal abuse. That said it hit the point home about why cats don’t like sorcerers.
Mike Ferreira: At this point, I don’t think anyone should like the sorcerers
Mike Ferreira: From the way that wanderer basically said “Murder fucking cats and make your wife drink their blood” to just walking out nonchalantly when Mina (was it Mina?) collapsed into a puddle of formless black goop
Anthony Simpson: I mean I get the why the guy did what he did. He was trying to save his wife and he was at the “I’ll do anything to save her point”. We clearly see what road he went down to try to achieve that goal.
Anthony Simpson: (Yes, it was Mina).
Mike Ferreira: I can see that, but I refuse to justify it.
Mike Ferreira: because to save one, he robbed the lives of countless other living things.
L.B. Bryant: Indeed. Normally I am revolted by animal abuse in media but I was “ok” with this in the sense that Matthew for his comeuppance right away.

Anthony Simpson: I’m not trying to justify it either. I’m just saying
Mike Ferreira: Nothing made me smile bigger than when Timothy chomped down on the fucker’s throat
Mike Ferreira: but yeah… this was a hard episode to watch.
L.B. Bryant: It really was but it had some shining moments bookmarking the cat murder so that made it more tolerable.
Anthony Simpson: That was the intention, it wasn’t supposed to be easy to watch.
Mike Ferreira: Indeed.
Mike Ferreira: I’m not saying it’s a bad episode – on the contrary, I appreciate that they decided to go there.
Mike Ferreira: They handled it beautifully, again – from MIna’s cluelessness leading to disgust, to the cathartic, tear-jerking ending
L.B. Bryant: Yeah, I have to admit that when Molly gave her death speech I got misty eyed.

Mike Ferreira: Indeed… it was truly great cinema, overall. That’s to say nothing of when Chise snapped free from the sorcerer and accepted that Elias was the one she’d trust.
L.B. Bryant: Indeed. That was a powerful moment to throw in the first few minutes.
Anthony Simpson: As an animal lover I hate animal abuse. The people who commit animal abuse disgust me to no end. As much as I am not crazy saying about this in a way I was glad they didn’t really censor or try to cover up what he was doing. It was important to show how bad sorcerers are instead of just going “Well they bad because they are bad.”
Mike Ferreira: Agreed..
Anthony Simpson: So going back to the beginning and talking about shit getting real we learned some stuff about what Chise actually is.
Mike Ferreira: Yeah… the whole idea behind the sleigh beggy is interesting.
Mike Ferreira: And it puts a lot of context to some of the major scenes we’ve seen in previous episodes.
Anthony Simpson: She keeps pulling in magic at the cost of her making her life shorter.
Anthony Simpson: Well they did mention about her shorter life span in the dragon episode.

Mike Ferreira: Yeah… but it gives some context to the concept. It’s more “here’s why” instead of “it just is.”
Anthony Simpson: true.
Mike Ferreira: On another note, Ariel did work this episode. She put in that effort – surviving capture and bringing dead people to the great beyond
L.B. Bryant: Ariel was fun to watch this episode. :)
Anthony Simpson: she was.
Mike Ferreira: I kind of love how she had one of two really goofy moments in the episode.
Mike Ferreira: The sight of her sitting, spinny-eyed and croaking out “Yeah, I’m fine” was adorable
L.B. Bryant: Loved that moment.

Mike Ferreira: Hrm… any other thoughts for this week’s episode?
L.B. Bryant: Nothing from me.
Anthony Simpson: Nothing from me, but the production values were spot on again this week.
Mike Ferreira: Agreed.
Mike Ferreira: I will say this: This is one of the most genuinely challenging, difficult-to-watch episodes of an anime that I’ve seen in years. The sheer grisly, gruesome nature of several scenes had me recoiling in disgust… and it would’ve been easy to turn this into murder porn. That said, the team pulled it off. They turned this impressive, UGLY atmosphere into something incredibly valuable, and really worked their chops to produce a satisfying payoff that was both beautiful and touching. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the rewatch when I go to screencap, but I know I”ll be a misty-eyed mess by the end all over again
Anthony Simpson: This was a hard episode to watch. Especially after watching the latest episode of Love Live Sunshine Season 2 before I watched the latest episode of AMB which had a story about a dog in it.
Mike Ferreira: Don’t spoil it! XD I’m watching that episode tonight.
Mike Ferreira: God, Love Live! Sunshine!! has its own way of ripping your heart out, doesn’t it?
Mike Ferreira: Like… the first season opened almost as a carbon copy of the original, then quickly became this addictive and charming, if brutal look at how fucking harsh the world really is.

Anthony Simpson: Story like this one don’t need kid gloves to hit the point home of what they are trying to show. That said its hard to pull off something convincing, not over the top, or hit you over the head with the message in a not so cleaver way as to make you want to roll your eyes.
Anthony Simpson: They really pulled this off here and while I find animal abuse to be awful this was done in a way that tasteful.
Mike Ferreira: Agreed.
Mike Ferreira: But yeah… the team behind this show is capable of finding beauty in the most horrific places, and making magic from the most dire. I really have to tip my hat to them
Anthony Simpson: They did.
Mike Ferreira: Aniwho, that’s all the time we have this week. Thanks for joining us! Until next time, I’m Mike Ferreira, saying “pet your cats, they love you.”
Anthony Simpson: Good night.

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