I watched from my center row seat as people of all ages filtered into the theater: adults, teenagers, children, the elderly, and it was at that moment that I could feel the excitement in me plateau before the movie had even began. At the bare minimum, I expected the audience to consist of mostly younger people ranging from their late teens to early thirties, so I was happy to be proven wrong.
Sort of. My concern of the number of small children present had nothing to do with them being noisy distractions, and everything to do with the fact that this movie is helmed by same studio that brought us the infamous Attack On Titan (WIT Studio), is directed by Death Note key animator, Norihiro Naganuma, and scripted Psyco-Pass screenwriter, Aya Takaha.
There was a full turnout for the Orlando showing of the first three episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride (adapted from it's original manga form), and I felt fortunate enough to have been in one of the few cities hosting a one-night-only viewing made possible by Crunchyroll, ScreenVision Media, and KAOS Connect.
For two hours, we in the theater were transported to an impossible realm of magic and mystery, followed the story of the life of the blessedly cursed Hatori Chise who (to put it bluntly) has led a rather godawful life and very dark backstory. This, coupled with her waifish exterior, inspires every bit of empathy and sympathy for the poor girl who just can't seem to catch a break. She eventually sells herself at a slave auction (easily one of the most cringeworthy scenes in both the movie and manga, given she's only fifteen), hoping to find someone who will care for her.
Enter Elias Ainsworth; a man/sorcerer bearing a regal name, but a face that is total nightmare fuel (though to be be fair, he is one hell of a snappy dresser). He purchases Chise for more money than you or I will probably ever see in our lifetimes (God, I hope I'm wrong), and takes her in as both his apprentice and future wife (a bit of a comical misunderstanding on, ironically, Elias' part, and not Chise's).
In what is nothing short of the greatest Beauty & The Beast-esque tales filled with drama, plenty of lighthearted and warm moments, and focused on the budding relationship between Chise and Elias, The Ancient Magus Bride is a visually stunning masterpiece paired musical score that wraps itself delicately around your heart and refuses to let go.
The Bottom Line: I give The Ancient Magus Bride 5 out of 5 Noir Stars.
...Oh. And did I mention that prior to the beginning of The Ancient Magus Bride, we were treated to the official trailer for Crunchyroll's first original short, Children Of Ether?
Boooooooi. I lost my melanated mind. Look for more information and our review of Children Of Ether coming soon!