After being abandoned by her family, Chise Hatori is a 16-year-old teenager without hope. In order to not have to worry about herself, she sells herself to slavers, only to be purchased by Magus Elias Ainsworth. There she is told she will become his apprentice and, in the future, his bride. Together they work together to build a relationship and work to control her own magus powers that will eventually result in her early death.
Beautifully animated and a dark, somewhat emotional tale told using what could be a generic plot, The Ancient Magus’ Bride has become a must-watch of the fall season, leaving fans looking to recapture the magic between episodes and when the series eventually ends. Will these anime recommendations fill your void?
For Fans of Humans Adapting to the Spiritual World
In this world, there exist Mushi, spirits that often exist with no purpose. However, these Mushi can affect the physical world in countless forms from diseases to more pleasant phenomenon. Why do these Mushi exist? That is the question that Ginko the Mushi-shi, a researcher on the phenomenon, asks himself as he travels the land investigating Mushi-related incidents.
Although Mushishi is more of an investigative-type series, telling small stories that aren’t cohesively related save for by small strings of plots, like the Ancient Magus’ Bride, it features a relatively normal human thrust into the supernatural world. There they learn a great deal about the world that is not often seen by human eyes and, in the case of Magus, more about themselves.
Natsume’s Book of Friends
For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has been chased by spirits, but recently he discovered that the reason was because his deceased grandmother had passed on to him her “Book of Friends,” a book containing all the spirits she had brought under her control. Now Natsume realizes that these spirits haunt him in hopes of gaining freedom. With few friends, no loving home, and constantly hunted by malicious spirits, Natsume looks for a place where he belongs.
Both stories follow a main character that has never been quite a normal person. Instead, they can see extraordinary things and have had to suffer through it in their formative years because of that ability. In essence, both series are about normal people dealing with their supernatural abilities while still trying to live their lives.
Spice and Wolf
For generations, Holo was a revered wolf deity that helped the local wheat harvest in exchange for tribute. However, as the villagers become more self-sufficient, they no longer need or even believe in her anymore. During her annual festival, she sneaks into the cart of Kraft, a visiting merchant, hoping he will let her hitch a ride home.
Both stories are extremely similar. You have a normal main character whose life becomes intertwined with a supernatural being. While there are hints of romance throughout both series, it is rarely ever realized, but you get to watch the characters slowly grow closer and fonder of each other. As sappy romance isn’t the main point of either show, it allows them to thrive with other more intricate plots.
For Fans of Red-Haired Protagonists
Snow White with the Red Hair
Shirayuki is an herbalist that lives a normal life in the country of Tanbarun. However, when her beautiful red hair is noticed by the Prince Raji, he tries to make her his concubine. She then decides to cut her hair and flees into the forest. It is there she is rescued by the second Prince of neighboring Zen Wistalia. In order to repay her life debt to him, she sets her hopes on becoming the court herbalist in the capital of Clarines.
While both series follow a brilliant red-headed girl, Shirayuki has a little more spunk than the more hopeless and battered Chise. However, both girls end up relatively under the thumb of a man, but while romantic feelings develop quickly in Snow White, Ancient Magus’ Bride takes more a slow burn approach as she is understandably weary of her demon-ish suitor.
Yona of the Dawn
After having her luxurious life shattered by the betrayal of her cousin, Princess Yona is forced to escape with her childhood friend Son Hak. However, leaving her palace forces her to see the poverty and strife that really makes up her beloved kingdom. Now she must journey to not only regain her rightful throne, but to return her kingdom to its former glory.
Aside from both having red heads as the protagonist, both series follow those fiery protagonists as they are ripped away from everything they find familiar. They are both also accompanied by an older man for which they develop feelings for over the course of the series. However, while Yona has hints of supernatural with the dragons, it doesn’t go to quite the extreme as Magus.
Earl and Fairy
In Scotland, Lydia Carlton makes her living as a fairy doctor. Though no one believes her, she insists that she can see and communicate with fairy creatures. However, Edgar believes in her powers, and after rescuing her, becomes her employer hoping that she can help him deal with the many mysteries that follow him.
Again, aside from having a red-headed main character in common, these two shows also happen relatively close in geography (London, Scotland). They also follow protagonists that can see things that normal humans cannot, and as such, this thrusts them into a completely different world where they find a bit of romance.
For Fans of Supernatural Romance
Haruka Kotoura is a school girl that can read people’s minds. Unfortunately, it has caused her nothing but trouble, eventually causing her parent’s divorce. After she moves to a new school, she tries to avoid her classmates, but a classmate of hers finds her power not scary, but intriguing.
Kotoura-san isn’t quite as dark as Ancient Magus’ Bride, but it does start with quite the downer beginning. What this show truly has in common with Magus is that the main character meets someone new in their life that, out of the blue, takes an interest in them. Through the catalyst that is this person, they discover how truly special they are.
Shakugan no Shana
One day, Yuuji Sakai had his regular school life end when he becomes trapped in time and attacked by an unknown being. Right as he is about to die, he is rescued by a nameless hunter with brilliant red hair. After being saved, the girl tells him that he is a Torch, a soul that has already died and is just waiting to fizzle out.
While the gender roles are reversed compared to Magus, Shana has the same basic premise (without all the marriage stuff). You have a normal guy that gets pulled into a previously unseen supernatural world. There it is discovered he may very well die young, but there is something distinctly special about him that his new fiery red-headed friend helps him discover.
After being ravaged by the Apocalypse Virus, Japan has fallen under control of the GHQ, an independent military force dedicated to the restoration of order. However, a guerrilla group called Funeral Parlor seeks to put an end to their despotism. After a fateful run in with a key member of Funeral Parlor, weak and anti-social Shuu Ouma finds himself with a powerful new weapon, the ability to pull out manifestations of a person’s personality to wield as weapons. Now he must make use of it in order to free Japan once and for all.
Although not quite as supernatural as Magus, Guilty Crown and the romantic relationship within is similar. The best part of both of these shows is how slow the relationships progress which makes all those sweet moments all the more special.
If you have anime more anime recommendations for the Ancient Magus’ Bride, let the boundless weebs in the comment section below know.