So ends what has to go down as one of the more disappointing seasons for any series in a while. At least Mahoutsukai no Yome goes out on a couple of rather good episodes, among the best of the season (though not a patch on the best the first had to offer). I knew a lot of manga readers considered the Hogwarts arc to be the weakest in the series so I wasn’t totally surprised by the step-down in quality. Nevertheless you always hope to feel differently, and more than anything the good eps tended to be remind me of how much untapped potential there is in this show.
There was certainly an element of “just die already” with Lizbeth, but even with half the mortal and faerie population seemingly desperate to end her she stuck around to twirl her moustache for a while longer. In the end it was the werewolf cub who finished the job (and rather cleanly too), the timing of which suggests the answer to Philomela’s question of why she attacked the Websters was information Cubby’s master didn’t want getting out. The fact that master was Veronica is certainly a twist. She’s acted plenty suspicious and not without reason, as it turns out. She has the book now, which suggests that unfortunately we may not be free of the school setting yet.
Morrigan did her thing, asses were kicked, and soon enough everyone was back at Elias’ country cottage. Which of course is where Mahoutsukai no Yome really belongs. Even with the college cast hanging around just being in those surroundings leveled things up, especially with Silky on-hand. I remain singularly unmoved by Philomela’s arc or indeed any of the other students’, so the denouement there did nothing for me. But the idyll of the place, the backdrops, and stuff like the Mother of Winter sequence still click. Again, a bittersweet reminder of what this series can be when it wants to.
It was nice – or cruel – of Kafka to give us a taste of what’s to come, considering that the manga only just restarted after a long hiatus and the anime has pretty much caught it up. In short it will be several years before another anime season is in the works (though I’d love it if they adapted Majutsushi no Ao, which is way more interesting than this season was, to bridge the gap). And that’s if Yamazaki Kore is able to keep up a consistent publication schedule this time around.
The other notable Mahoutsukai development is that Bushiroad (Yamazaki’s new publisher) announced that the manga will be simultaneously released in Japanese and English. Which might sound like good news until you read the next line, which is that it’s going to be machine translated. This is truly mortifying both for the series itself as the translations will surely be terrible, and in what it portends for the future. It feels like a levee has been breached here, and what happens after levees are breached is usually a flood.
None of this is stuff I’d really like to be talking about with Mahoutsukai no Yome, which was once a series I held in very high esteem. I’d be disinclined to pick up the manga anyway after this arc, and I certainly won’t patronize a machine translation. By the time the anime rolls back around I may have lost interest in the series to a considerable extent, and the burden of proof will be on it to win be back. But it showed just enough flashes of the magic it’s capable of – a magic pretty close to unique in animanga – to avoid losing me altogether. Let’s hope the next stage is better than this one was.
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