The Ancient Magus Bride Volume 4

Volume 4 front cover. Once again a clever visual relating to the volume as both Chise and Elias experience a form of cold this volume.

So we skipped last week, since I was busy and had to go visit a hospital on Friday. For those of you who like oversharing, I have strange lumps all over my body. Some of which I’ve had for a long time, and some of which appeared more recently. Doctors have told me they’re fat lumps (Lipoma according to google) and they’re harmless. They just kind of happen. There was one small lump on my chest that felt a bit different though, which got me quite worried for a little while. According to the doctor doing the echo it just looked like a bit of limestone and should be harmless as well. I’ll still have to go to my GP at some point to get the results, but a lot of my worry has disappeared. With that out the way, let’s read some manga, shall we?

To start off we have another one of Silky’s 4-koma strips. This time she’s giving Ruth a good scrub. She’s very protective of her two mages so she doesn’t want the new visitor to be dirty around them. We then get reminded what the last volume ended on; an invitation to send Chise to Hogwarts. I mean wizard school. We then quickly go into a flashback about Elias’ past where he meets Lindel. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that one of the first things he did is make Elias drink salty sea water for his own amusement. We then meet Lindel’s master, Rahab. She names Elias and sends Lindel on his way with Elias in tow as his student.

The next chapter I think really hones in on Elias’ personality perfectly even though it’s mostly focused on Chise and Lindel. Chise spends this chapter starting to make her own wand after Lindel tells her about Elias and his’ travels. It’s near the end of the chapter when we see Chise talk to Elias through a water mirror. The latter complains that it’s awfully cold with Chise being absent. He gets a bit annoyed at Lindel when Chise reveals that he spoke about Elias’ past but seems to quickly let it go when Chise tells him that she will talk about herself a bit more.

Then we see some of Elias’ thoughts. His plan was to buy some random human to observe, just so the other mages would leave him alone. That sounds very much like him. But when he found Chise and started living with her that quickly changed. He’s not really sure what these new feelings are. I think Lindel nails it though. Although Elias has been wandering for a very long time, by human standards he is still very much a child. He’s emotionally unskilled to the point that it’s almost sad. But Chise seems to reach him in a way that no one else has so far. I’ve read a fair few fantasy stories throughout the years and I’m willing to bet good money that Chise ends up being the one to truly unlock Elias’ emotions and make him a complete person. And honestly I can’t wait to read all about it.

We then watch as Chise has another talk with Nevin at the intersection between life and death. He tells her to be a little more willful than she has been, and stop denying herself her right to choose her own fate. It’s a beautiful scene and I’m glad they brought the wise dragon back for another scene like this. Chise then uses her new wand to fly all the way back to Elias where she then, as is tradition, sleeps for multiple days. She does have a pleasant dream about her parents in a happier time. We don’t get too many glimpses into Chise’s life before Elias. If I remember correctly there was an OVA that covered some of Chise’s life as a child, but I can’t really remember what happened in that. I think she wandered into a library of some mage but that vanished after a while. I don’t know if this is canon or not though, so take it with a hefty pinch of salt. Perhaps we come across this later in the story, but I for one am very curious to learn more about Chise’s past. It definitely seems like she was loved in some capacity by her parents, so it makes me curious to see where it all went wrong. Maybe it’s more complicated than it seemed at a first glance. (Let’s be honest, it often is).
Chapter 19 dives into this a little bit more, but doesn’t give away more new information than it wants to. There’s some shearing of wooly bugs which is used as a very good narrative segue into Elias feeling cold when he’s lonely. As a writer I was very impressed with that particular storybeat.

And as seems to be a tradition at this point, the last chapter of the volume seems to introduce the next story arc. We see that Elias has another visitor and we learn a tiny bit more about magic being strange. A being called the Ashen One then gives a strange gift to Chise, turning her into a fox that has the urge to run away. Luckily Elias isn’t about to let this happen and convinces her to come back. I think this was to show that both Elias and Chise do care for each other in their own way, even if that’s not always crystal clear from the story. Then right at the end Chise is visited by leanán sídhe we saw in volume three. Something seems to be wrong with Joel and she’s very worried.

The back of the manga showing the wooly bugs and the cold bugs with Ruth keeping a close eye on them.

This volume focused a lot on relationships and learning about emotions. As someone with autism I can definitely relate a little bit to this. My emotions and social skills took a lot longer to develop into what they are today than most people would require. Unfortunately I’m not a boneheaded mage, that would have been a nice bonus I suppose. Nonetheless, both Chise and Elias learn a lot about themselves in this volume and I can’t wait to see what direction this manga is going in next. Those of you reading along, what did you think of Volume 4? I think we’re nearing the end of what the anime covered, so it will soon be completely new territory for me. I’m quite excited about that. I hope to see you all here again next week for volume 5!

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