Image Source: TVアニメ『魔法使いの嫁』 on Twitter

The Ancient Magus’ Bride follows Chise, a teenage girl who sells herself into magical slavery. She is purchased by the ancient (and inhuman) mage, Elias. But rather than treat her as his property, he treats her like family—announcing that she is not only his apprentice but also his future bride.

However, in episodes five and six, we learn the dark motives behind Elias’ actions as well as the big secret he’s been hiding from her. But all the revelations in the world aren’t half as interesting as how Chise reacts to them and what that shows us about her broken state of mind.

Image Source: TVアニメ『魔法使いの嫁』 on Twitter

In episode five of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Chise is held hostage by young sorcerer Alice and her master Michael. At first, it seems as if they want to prevent her cleansing of the cursed pond—or perhaps use her as a bargaining chip against Elias. However, the knife to her throat is actually just to keep Elias away while they talk to her.

They’re not trying to kidnap Chise. They are there to rescue her.

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Alice and Michael reveal the truth behind Chise’s situation, that as a Slay Vega, she subconsciously draws in and expels vast amounts of ambient magical energy. Just like any other mage, the use of magic puts a strain on her body. But unlike other mages, she is doing this constantly for her entire life. Thus, she is expected to have a very short lifespan—and as Elias later reveals, it’s three years more at most.

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The sorcerers then explain that Elias is an emotionless monster who bought her only for her rarity. Any and all kindness he has shown was a sham—a ploy to lure her into a false sense of security. To him, she is nothing but an experiment—a scientific curiosity.

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Now, most people in this situation would either A) react in abject disbelief at the “lies” being told or B) be shaken to the core by the revelation and forced to recenter how they view the world. But Chise reacts in a completely different fashion: defiant indifference.

It doesn’t matter to Chise if she is a slave, a tool, or an experiment. Even her impending death due to her Slay Vega nature—and the fact that Elias hid that information from her—matters little.

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Remember, Chise sold herself into slavery. She grew up not in a broken home but in a series of broken homes. First her mother killed herself and then Chise was shuffled from one relative to another, never becoming part of any family. No one wanted the odd, antisocial child who jumped at shadows—or in her case terrifying-looking spirits roaming about that no one else could see. She was doomed to social isolation in our normal, everyday world.

Image Source: TVアニメ『魔法使いの嫁』 on Twitter

It’s implied that the only reason she didn’t commit suicide is because that wouldn’t really solve the problem. Her entire life, Chise was unwanted and useless. So when she met a man who said if she sold herself into magical slavery she could find someone who would truly find value in her—even if it’s just in what she is rather than who she is—it seemed like the perfect solution. No matter how she would be treated, at least she’d finally have some value to someone—and therefore be able to find a bit of value in herself.

Image Source: TVアニメ『魔法使いの嫁』 on Twitter

But what she gets from Elias is so much more. He’s given her a home, a family, and an introduction into a world of magical wonders far beyond anything she could have possibly imagined. Even if it is an act, a trick to make her become attached to him, that matters not at all to her. Elias is the first person to value her and, for that act, she will stay with him until she dies—be that as his experiment or as his bride.

Even when Elias admits that everything is just as the pair of sorcerers said (including the part about her upcoming death), Chise’s only reaction is regret—regret that he didn’t buy her earlier. She could have had more time being worth something to someone.

Image Source: TVアニメ『魔法使いの嫁』 on Twitter

Elias responds to this by saying he’ll find a way to extend her life—that they’ll have plenty of time together. Perhaps it’s just another lie from the immortal being. But Chise chooses to believe it—not because she longs for life but only because she wants to continue being useful to Elias for giving her the simple, wonderful treasure being wanted.

And I think that’s a humble feeling that all of us can understand.

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and dubbed in English on FUNimation.

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