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Review of The Ancient Magus Bride anime: The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm (2021-2022) written by Kazuaki Terasawa.
Review of The Ancient Magus Bride anime: The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm (2021-2022) written by Kazuaki Terasawa.

Review of The Ancient Magus Bride anime: The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm (2021-2022) written by Kazuaki Terasawa.

An excellent addition to the primary storyline

“The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm” is a three-episode OVA set between the first and second season of “The Ancient Magus Bride”. It takes place before Chise goes to college and was released between 2021 and 2022. It is interesting to see what happens in the story after the first season, since it could have potentially ended the entire series. Let us discover the direction the story takes us.

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During a severe storm, a bolt of lightning hits an ancient stone, causing it to break into two pieces. This event triggers the appearance of the Wild Hunt, but their leader is missing, causing them to roam the forest aimlessly. This concerns Spriggan because the Wild Hunt greatly affects the forest’s plants and animals. At the same time, a sickly boy named Gabriel, who suffers from asthma, moves to the area from London and struggles to adapt. This creates tension between him and his parents. While exploring the forest, Gabriel discovers the broken piece of the stone and takes it home. Inside, he finds a young boy who becomes his newfound friend. However, things are not as simple as they seem.

The Spriggan comes across the second stone, containing a horse. He takes the horse to Elias’s home and tells him that he needs to locate the missing leader of the Wild Hunt and return the horse to him, otherwise the forest will be destroyed. Elias agrees to take on the task as the Wild Hunt’s presence is linked to Chise’s sickness. As predicted, the two plotlines eventually intertwine.

It is not unexpected that Chise falls ill again, as the narrative largely centers on her role as the classic ‘damsel in distress’. However, the addition of Gabriel, the Wild Hunt, and the enigmatic boy does bring a captivating sense of tension and intrigue. Though the identities of the boy and horse are evident from the start.

The primary source of tension in the narrative is Gabriel’s illness and how it has isolated him and caused him to act out towards his parents, who have their own issues. Initially, Gabriel may seem unpleasant, but as he forms a friendship and navigates his journey, his character development evokes empathy from the audience. Ultimately, this story serves as a warning against trusting strangers and emphasizes the importance of choosing friends wisely and prioritizing familial relationships over the allure of independence, all within the coming-of-age genre.

The enigma surrounding the Wild Hunt and the sudden appearance of a young boy adds an element of mystery and intrigue, setting the stage for the climactic action in the final episode. As is customary, the epic battle scenes, galloping horses, and the uncertainty surrounding Gabriel’s involvement are the standout moments of the episode. This is where Studio Kafka’s animation truly shines, with the speed and fluidity of the sequences being a visual delight. Hirotaka Kato’s character designs, particularly for supernatural beings, are once again superior to those of humans, reaching their peak in the foreboding presence of the dark nights and their horses.

As for the settings, the OVAs maintain a similar mix of modern countryside living and fairytales. However, there are moments where the scenes blur between reality and animation, particularly within the forest, which are extremely striking.

In an obvious attempt to keep the franchise alive during the lengthy break between seasons, “The Ancient Magus Bride: The Boy from the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm” is a pleasing addition to the overall story. It also provides a smooth transition to the upcoming second season, which appears to feature a significant change in the story’s main setting.