This review was taken from my reviews blog, link to the original here
I was really excited for this anime. I really wanted to love it. But there's a limit at the amount of bad elements that you can ignore. While the premise was very interesting, it failed to deliver any expectations that I could have.
Story: The Ancient Magus' Bride tells us a story about a girl named Chise who, after living a life of abandon, gets adopted by a mysterious mage called Elias. The story will be about that pair getting closer to each other while discovering all the magic elements that exist in their world.
Plot: That's one of the points that fails the most. I admit it, the first half of the story (ep. 1-12) was great, as it presents more interesting characters that will stay with the main ones, tells us about the rules of that world, and bases the conflicts that the story will have to resolve. But then the second part arrives, and for some reason it proceeds to ignore all what they build in the first part. The pacing gets messed up, those episodes get repetitive, in them they try to resolve conflicts that apparently were already solved, and it just throws the characters into trivial situations that won't matter for the plot, the character building, or the message. And in the end, the most important conflicts get suddenly resolved without previous building for it. Another point is the "funny moments", they constantly make little scenes with the characters looking chibi and saying something funny in an attempt to make some comedy, and sometimes it works, but on other occasions they just insert them in the middle of a serious situation and it just breaks the mood.
Characters: Another aspect where it fails miserably. If i had to define all the characters with one word, it would be inconsistent. The main characters act differently from one situation to another, and this just ruins all the building they could have. Additionaly, some of the most misterious characters' past or motivations are never revealed, so at the end they seem lackluster. Regarding the side characters, they're used in a terrible way. Major part of them just show up for one episode and won't be seen again for a long time, and when they appear again they have a trivial role on the conflict. And yes, some of them are an attempt to develop the main characters, but it's worthless if that development is continuously ignored.
Visuals: The best aspect of the show. The artstyle, the colors and the animation are truly beautiful. Wonderful landscapes, original looking character designs, and effects that really makes the world look "magic".
Sound: Another good aspect. The first opening is excellent, and a few tracks are really great and they improve those "magic" moments along with the great art. The rest is forgettable but it does its job.
At the end, this show tries to make several points without reaching any of them. If you decide to watch this show, do it for the visual aspect, because regarding the plot and characters it leaves a lot to desire.
Overall score: 5/10