Ancient Magus Bride | oprainfall anime

We here at oprainfall don’t just love video games: we’re big fans of anime, too. So in celebration of the medium, we’re here to give you our thoughts on what we’ve been watching each week as we watch it. Old, new – anything goes.

Currently Airing:

ODDTAXI: In The Woods

Oddtaxi: In The Wood | oprainfall anime

ODDTAXI was, without a doubt, one of my top three anime of 2021. It was fresh, original, the writing was impeccable, and the characters charming. I loved the mystery at its core and the intertwining storylines that all lead back to eccentric taxi driver Hiroshi Odokawa. In The Woods condenses the 13-episode TV series into a two hour movie, told in retrospect by the various characters the day before the finale takes place. It recontextualizes some motivations and highlights a lot of the relationships between characters, but it is definitely a movie you should watch only after seeing the TV show. Not only does it remove a lot of the mystery and character interactions, it also adds a coda to the show’s ambiguous ending – for better or worse, depending on your perspective. I personally found it really satisfying, since that ending has sat with me since the show first aired. Even in its condensed form, the finale was still an emotional gut punch, and it was honestly just nice to spend time in this world again, even if most of it was just snippets of the show I fell in love with. If you enjoyed ODDTAXI, In The Woods is a pretty good way to spend a couple hours. – Leah

– You can watch ODDTAXI: In the Woods on Crunchyroll.

The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting

Yakuza's Guide to Babysitting | oprainfall anime

It’s finally happened: The end of the happy days Yaeka foretold a couple episodes ago. After a fun day at the park with Kirishima, Sugihara, Kaede and Sara, Yaeka is kidnapped by some yakuza who have a grudge against our Demon. Kirishima took out their families ten years ago and they’re looking for revenge. What better way to get it than go after who Kirishima cares for most? The ringleader knocks Yaeka unconscious when she won’t behave, awakening the Demon inside Kirishima, and he wipes the floor with them. After taking Yaeka to the hospital, Kirishima ignores Sakuragi’s warning to let him handle it and goes after the goons to finish the job. This is definitely not the man we saw earlier in the episode playing hide-and-seek with small children, nor the mellow family member we’ve seen him become over the year he’s spent with the little lady. And orchestrating it all appears to be Mashiro for reasons unknown. The episode ends on a cliffhanger and I’m anxious to see how it plays out next week. – Leah

– You can watch The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting on Crunchyroll.

Lycoris Recoil

This week’s episode really starts to heat up as Majima’s plan progresses even further. The Lycoris are brought into the national spotlight as Majima catches them on video during the Enkuboku operation, and broadcasts their actions to the citizens of Japan. Prior to that, Kurumi discovers that an improved artificial heart exists and is in the possession of Yoshimatsu. She relays the information to Takina and is able to discover Chisato’s destination for her, the old radio tower. Chisato raids the tower in an attempt to save Yoshimatsu, knocking out Majima’s goons along the way. Here, she finds Yoshimatsu, as well as Majima. Chisato and Majima go at it and we get to see Majima’s unique ability, once again. Chisato is on the ropes before Takina shows up to make the save. This episode was exciting to watch. I have no idea where the Lycoris organization goes from here as they are no longer hidden from the citizens, and it seems their distrust in them is great. I’m curious what the end goal is for Majima’s plan. The first two phases of his plan did bring the Lycoris to light, but what is he hoping to accomplish by calling out and fighting Chisato? I’m hoping this gets revealed in next week’s episode. Chisato, once again, is an absolute badass, but even she seems to have trouble contending with Majima. Credits to Takina for saving Chisato and for that absolute bananas entrance. Another great episode from this series, it’ll be sad to see this one end. – Patrick

– You can watch Lycoris Recoil on Crunchyroll.

Anime of the Past:

The Ancient Magus Bride

Ancient Magus Bride | oprainfall anime

So with the recent announcement that Season 2 is coming in 2023, I had to go back and re-watch Season 1. This is probably my favorite fantasy manga/anime of the past 15 years, and was definitely a contender for favorite show when it aired in 2017. Chise Hattori literally sells herself to an auction house for magic creatures after multiple family members discard her following her mother’s suicide and her father’s abandonment. She’s always been able to see ghosts, demons, faeries and other magical creatures, and as a Sleigh Beggy, she naturally draws them to her – often because they want to consume her magic. After spending 15 years just barely surviving in a world of hostile creatures that want to eat her, her choices are to either throw herself off her high school roof or sell herself to someone who can maybe protect her. To say she is in a bad place would be an understatement. The mage Elias Ainsworth, a “half-baked” faerie who wears human flesh, is the one to purchase her in the hopes of making her both his apprentice and eventual wife. The story tackles subjects ranging from depression, suicide, abandonment, child abuse, trauma, self-loathing, self-worth, forgiveness, and finding one’s place in the world with a surprising amount of empathy and beauty while also incorporating a deep dive into (particularly British Isles) mythology and folklore. The fae are nuanced and interesting, with understandable but alien motivations and thought processes, and it’s always fascinating to see how Chise navigates learning about this new world of ancient customs and traditions. One of my favorite aspects of this tale is the very different way fae and humans react to her relationship with the monstrous Elias. The faeries accept the whole wife thing without a fuss, while the humans in Chise’s life are much more protective of her and push back against the idea. They also encourage her to be her own person and not hide in Elias’ shadow, where the fae are more than happy to cage her so she can’t escape. As for Elias himself, he’s enigmatic and distant, and struggles to understand human emotion. He cannot empathize, but he hopes Chise can teach him how, just as he teaches her about magic. I love him.

For as much as I love the show, it isn’t without its faults. For one, I wouldn’t blame anyone who couldn’t get past the initial premise of a 300-plus-old faerie buying a 15-year-old child to make his bride. Chise’s depression and suicidal ideation, as well as her mother’s own suicide, are also major aspects of the story, and anyone who’s suffered abuse might find some of the show a bit of a struggle. The back half of Season 1 is also demonstrably lower quality than the first half, with more stilted animation and some honestly baffling edits that make following the action difficult. While the anime follows the manga pretty faithfully, there are some major pacing issues. There’s also a pretty massive shift from exploring the mythology and mystery of the fae to battling the Big Bad. The always-solid acting and music do a lot of heavy lifting here, but it’s definitely a lot less enjoyable than the first half of the season. With the change from WIT Studio to Studio Kafka for Season 2, I’m curious to see how some of these issues will be tackled. Their work on the three-part The Boy From the West and the Knight of the Blue Storm has been pretty solid, so I have high hopes. Either way, I’m just excited to see Elias and Chise as they begin their new adventure at the College. – Leah

– You can watch The Ancient Magus Bride on Crunchyroll.

What anime are you watching? Let us know in the comments!

You can read previous Week in Anime entries here!

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