Mahou Tsukai no Yome, or The Ancient Magus Bride, is a popular series created by Kore Yamazaki about a teenage girl named Chise Hatori who was abandoned by her parents and ended up being sold as a slave. She is purchased by Elias Ainsworth, a powerful mage who frees her, takes her on as an apprentice, and confesses his desire to someday marry her.
The manga details Chise’s journey once she starts to live with Elias, but the series’ animated counterpart is about her life as a young girl. The focus is on eight-year old Chise, who stumbles upon an old library in the forest run by a man named Riichi Miura. Young Chise takes a liking to being surrounded by books, but there is something strange about the library, and the gaps in Riichi's memory only add to the mystery.
While Chise is introduced in horrific circumstances, the story showcases her growth rather than exploits her miseries. By exploring her innate magical talents, she discovers her true potential; she is empowering herself and gradually becoming her own person. The first episode makes it clear that Chise’s life has been sad and lonely, but it eases her into the whimsical world of magic. The magic in the series mirrors the natural world -- horrifying at times but adhering to its own logic.
The first of three animated episodes of Mahou Tsukai no Yome was released for western viewers in late September, and the second episode will preview in Japan in early February 2017. The first episode is available to watch on Crunchyroll, and the second will likely be subtitled and available for western audiences a few months after its Japanese release. Although it may be a bit of a wait, for those wishing to see a kind story about self-discovery and magic, it is absolutely worth a watch.