Ah yes, big news everyone! Not only is this a great manga but it’s about to get an anime. Ooo it’s like a big ol’ anime birthday for me at the moment. Well when I say anime I mean 3 episodes that are supposed to be a prequel? Except looking at the trailer it’s following the first volume soooooo maybe it just means a precursor to a full anime series or I don’t know. Either way it looks awesome.
So the manga although starting in Japan, I mean the main character is called Chise Hatori soooo I’m presuming Japanese, is set primarily in England. If you are a lover of English folklore and the fae, fairies, English/Celtic mythology this is gonna be your thing. So the lovely Chise is a Sleigh Beggy, now what the hell is that you ask? Well it’s a special type of magus that can call upon magic around themselves as well as within, basically the super saiyan of magus but with a huge downfall. They die young.
Chise doesn’t initially know this or anything magic related. She comes from the clichés of terrible family, her daddy left her when she was young taking her brother with him (future plot point sense tingling) and her mum committed suicide. She was passed around by relatives who were all equally horrible, so she decided to sell herself into slavery. I mean that’s pretty extreme, did she not look at any other options?! But ah well so she’s strolled out in chains with all these super secret mages, knowing what she is and interested in buying that sweet magic booty, hoping to augment their own abilities. In steps Elias Ainsworth, aka The Child of Thorns, not only to buy her but to take her as a bride.
This is an ongoing series so it really is just started to get into the meat of things, Elias takes her back to his quaint English home to take her on as an apprentice in hopes that he will be able to prevent her dying young, why he feels the need to do this is not explained so far or the reason why he wants to marry her. The plot so far has explored mostly the world of the fae and setting up characters as well as watching Chise grow and learn.
Elias himself is an enigma as he is neither fae or human, more like a mix of things, which explains his odd appearance although he can replicate people he knows. Because of this the fae and humans generally find him disgusting but he doesn’t mind. In fact he is pretty easy-going overall and quite innocent. This comes from the fact that he doesn’t understand emotion very well and when angered he turns into a colossal monster that calls upon shadows to skewer his enemies… so y’know misunderstood.
Other prominent characters include Ruth; a black grim (basically a scary black magic dog) that becomes Chise’s familiar. He too can change to a more human form but prefers to follow Chise as a cute fluffy dog :3 Being her familiar, they share a strong bond and her safety is the most important thing.
Silver is sort of like the house keeper, she doesn’t speak and cleans and cooks for everyone. She used to be a banshee but once she lost her family she was given another chance at happiness by changing her into a brownie type fairy.
There are multiple human characters as well such as Lindenbaum, Elias’s Master/Tutor who looks after the last of the dragons, Angelica who is a witch but makes magic technology and Simon who is just a priest because this is England and we have fairies so dammit we’re putting a priest in. He’s actually a nice guy though who comes to Elias for medicine rather than burning him at the stake.
Of course there are lots of fairies and magic things flying around and they all have their own agenda, not all of them are friendly. Fairies themselves are immediately drawn to Chise and want to take her away to fairy kingdom, which if you’ve ever read any folklore means you’ll be trapped their forever. They are ruled by Titania and Oberon who are both pretty hilarious and carefree but definitely not to be messed with. It’s interesting on multiple levels as it shows different fae interacting with humans, like a leanan sidhe (falls in love with men and gives them great talent at the cost of their life) who tries to not fall in love so she can stay beside this man till he passes away of old age.
So yeah you’re probably thinking what is the point of this manga? Is it romance? Fantasy? Well I thought it would be a sweet romance with fairies thrown in, and as it’s only 5 volumes so far the romance is only just kicking off. Both Chise and Elias are adorable derpers so everything is super sweet, especially considering their sad pasts. But damn it gets dark! Like I’m just reading innocently about some magic cats then boom cat slaughtering! Yeah so don’t think it stops at the not all fairies/humans are nice, it goes jerking into horrible territory quite jarringly. Now it isn’t too gory or anything like that but it will cover some darker themes. Which brings us to what looks to be a main villain? Kind of?
He is named Cartaphilius or the wandering Jew, which actually comes from a biblical story about a man who mocked Jesus on the cross so is doomed to walk the Earth forever. In this story he wanders around experimenting on everything with no morals and he can’t even remember why he is doing it but he seems to enjoy it. What an asshole. Poor kitties T^T
The art work is lovely and I looked forward to seeing the next fae creature in each installment (although the eyes can sometimes be a little off for me). This is a manga to watch for as although there is a theme of romance it has a lot more to offer as a fantasy so far. There isn’t any silly misunderstandings with Chise running off in tears rather than talking to Elias and he is pretty clueless when it comes to love but he is seeking companionship in his own special way, so those clichés are wonderfully absent thus far. I hope a full anime series will be made so people can appreciate this story and there are so many questions that need answering!