The Ancient Magus’ Bride might be one of my favorite anime/manga series that’s currently running. I like the basis in Celtic folklore and mythology with the addition of alchemy, a Japanese main character, and now a little more importance for a character who has had probably about 5 panels total in the previous 12 volumes. Volume 13 of the manga has some movement in both plot and world building for this newish College arc, where Chise is basically going to alchemist school, even though she’s more of a mage. It’s interesting to see her finally interact with a group of kids her own age in the world she’s come to be a part of. Hopefully this is setting up a little more character growth for her; Elias is still around of course, but it’s nice to see that part of the story take a backseat for a while, since characters should grow along with relationships and story, and the whole new place and peers is chance for Chise to really do some of that.
There’s definitely a new problem arising that she and her companions will need to solve, namely the mysterious forces attacking people associated with the College and draining the life/magic out of them, sort of. This is all somehow related to a forbidden book of magic that Elias has seen and which has disappeared from the school library, as well as the tragic backstory of Chise’s current roommate Lucy who happens to be sibling of someone Chise knows (the minor character I mentioned before); I have to admit, it feels a little like I should have seen this coming since the faces of the two siblings are so similar, but I have to admit, I totally missed that the first time.
The introduction of werewolves could be interesting if it’s developed well, but it could also be a throw away, since the suggestion is that the werewolves might be victims of some sort of manipulation, and Chise feels some empathy for one of them and lets her(?) go instead of letting her get killed while the wolves are chasing Chise and her friends for reasons yet to be detailed. It’s also a little unclear why Marielle is back and what a witch might want or be involved with what’s being set up, but again, this volume seems to be more about getting things moving, so it’ll likely be another volume or few before all is revealed.