Hello, folks! Can you believe that we, the Otaku Warriors for Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS), are already on our 7th blog tour? We’re now officially at the latter half of the year, and we are growing stronger by the month. Thank you very much for your support! This July, our topic is “Mirrors”. Please make sure to check out Shay’s take on this topic with a Youtube video on Anime Reviewer Girl.
“Magic mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?”
When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see ourselves or someone we don’t want to be? For this month’s theme, we will be exploring some of our favorite anime and other pop culture media that redefine individual beauty—inside and out. Some topics we may explore are physical appearances, social expectations on gender, and the importance of self-confidence.
Mahou Tsukai no Yome (魔法使いの嫁) is basically a Beauty and the Beast story. It’s called The Ancient Magus’ Bride in the English release and is a manga series by Yamazaki Kore (ヤマザキコレ). An anime TV adaptation is scheduled for this coming October.
Elias Ainsworth, the male lead, has a monster-like appearance. He has a human-like body from the neck down. For the head, however, he has a horned skull with glowing red eyes. He isn’t human; said to be a being made up of both fae and human elements. His origins remain a big mystery so far, but he has a vague recollection of eating humans during his early days. In short, he is a monster by human standards.
If Elias looks at himself in the mirror, he will see a creature that is not human. Even he himself doesn’t know what he really is. Humans of the non-magic world are frightened and threatened when they see his undisguised form. Even some humans of magic are cautious of him. He is a recluse, only venturing away from home when there is no other choice.
Because of his appearance, he shapeshifts into a human gentleman when walking among the non-magic people, or he literally hides as a shadow. Even when associating with people of magic who are not of close acquaintance, he will cover his horned skull head with a cloth to hide his appearance.
These actions, however, are suggested not to necessarily mean that he’s afraid of others’ judgment. He doesn’t really care that much about others or what they think about him. He just doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of fixing any outroar his undisguised appearance may cause. He wants to live quietly and peacefully at home away from prying eyes.
The Monster Begins to Feel
Hatori Chise, the main female protagonist, comes to live with Elias after he buys her from a slave auction. He takes her in as his apprentice of magic and as his future wife. Before Chise’s arrival, he only imitates human social interactions and expressions through distant observation. But as he and Chise grow closer, he gradually begins to feel real emotions.
Since he is emotionally underdeveloped, of course he doesn’t understand or know how to name the emotions he starts feeling. He describes his emotions as physical sensations. For example, when Chise is away from him for a long period of time, he says that his chest hurts and that he feels cold. He doesn’t have the human understanding or common sense to identify for himself that he is missing Chise and wants her to return quickly to him.
Seeing Beauty in the Monster
Elias is not human, so he doesn’t judge others based on human standards of beauty. But even so, he knows that regular humans find him monstrous and scary. That’s why when his powers become unstable and he transforms into his true form, which is even more beast-like, he leaves the house and buries himself deep in the forest, waiting for his power (and emotions) to stabilize, so that he can transform back to his more human-like horn-headed form.
Chise, however, wouldn’t let him alone by himself. She searches him out and scolds him for leaving her. No matter how much he tells her to leave him alone, she wouldn’t listen. Eventually he gives up and embraces her tightly against him instead with his inhuman limbs.
Even Chise feels a little scared at that moment being so close with such an inhuman creature, but she stays and eventually calms down when she hears and feels Elias’ beating heart. Chise cares for Elias. She’s grateful that he took her away from her miserable past, giving her an opportunity for a new life as an apprentice of magic. This feeling of gratitude develops into genuine care for him, possibly even love.
As someone with magical abilities, she has faced discrimination from her fellow humans. Unlike Elias who always protects and treats her with kindness, for Chise it’s her fellow humans who are the real monsters for how they treated her.
Who’s the Real Monster?
We often hear the cliché “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Alas, we humans are still obsessed with outward appearances. We make quick judgments of others based on our standards of beauty.
Although not the most original with its Beauty and the Beast story, Mahou Tsukai no Yome effectively proves that not all male leads need to be sinfully handsome and gorgeously hot to be attractive. Just as how Chise is able to look beyond his “monster” appearance and see a beautiful character, we the audience also begin to genuinely care for Elias Ainsworth. He is not human, but he is someone capable of emotions and creating meaningful relationships with others—sometimes even more so than most humans.
So before you carelessly judge others, take a look at yourself first. You might be surprised by what you’ll find within you. Who knows? You may find something beautiful…or perhaps something so ugly, you might as well be more of a “monster” than Elias Ainsworth. Hopefully not.
If you have any questions about our group Otaku Warriors for Liberty & Self-Respect (OWLS) or are interested in joining us as a member, please visit our official blog. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook. We welcome new, committed members.
That’s all for today, folks. Have a wonderful day. Cheers!
Free to be ME,
Arria (OWLS Secretary)
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