So Why Is My Heart Broke?

Kore Yamazaki
The Ancient Magus' Bride, book 1

Magus Bride 1

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, volume 1 collects the first five issues of Kore Yamazaki’s ongoing manga Mahō Tsukai no Yome.

Abandoned by her parents, despised by her peers, and plagued by visions she does not understand, high school student Chise Hitori decides to sell herself into slavery. That way, at least, she will have a place in the world.

The bidding is heated. At the end of it, Chise is the property of mage Elias Ainsworth, a British person of sufficient means to pay five million pounds sterling for Chise. Well dressed and unflappably polite, Elias is a striking figure.




Elias’ grasp of human social niceties is shaky at best, as Chise discovers when her new owner insists on bathing her. Despite this alarming beginning, Elias is careful to treat Chise as humanely as he can, making it clear that his household is hers. Rather than extract unpaid labour from Chise for as long as it takes to work her to death, he will treat her as an apprentice. Under Elias’ tutelage, Chise will learn to use her remarkable abilities. She is not to be treated as property but as family.

In fact,


Chise is a Sleigh Beggy, able to see spirits and supernaturaleings invisible to more fortunate humans. She is also able to draw on the magic around her, which makes her a sort of magical battery for informed magicians like Elias. It is all too easy for Sleigh Beggies to maim or kill themselves by accident. Access to them is coveted by mages and fae alike.

Elias could teach her to use magic safely, were she interested, but he does not insist. If it happens her interests are elsewhere, he will do what he can to help. After all, isn’t that what family does?

Elias gives Chise a cursory introduction to the world of magic, skipping over details he doesn’t care to dwell on. Chise has barely begun to come to terms with her new life when she is dragged off to Iceland. There is, it seems, a small problem involving dragons….

 ~oOo~

Can a fifteen year old sell herself into slavery? I’ll let the Libertarians discuss that point. Wait, make that “should a fifteen year old sell herself into slavery?” It is pretty clear that she can. There is infrastructure to help her do it.

Elias is unpredictable and inexplicable. He has lived for centuries among humans, but he still does not understand human behaviors and customs. Indeed, for an entity that old, he seems rather immature. He avoids making difficult explanations; he proposes off-handedly, in the midst of another conversation. He’s also a hands-off teacher, of the sort who lets students wander into difficulties that could easily have been avoided, then rescues them at the last minute. His motto seems to be “the burnt child dreads the fire.”

As for Chise: she is clearly profoundly depressed, which is understandable given her backstory (missing parents, unkind relatives, spiteful classmates). Small wonder that, even though she knows Elias may fail her, the fact he has welcomed her and called her family is enough to buy her firm loyalty.

In this volume, we aren’t given enough information to know just how sincere (or duplicitous) Elias might be. We do see that he’s trying hard to convince Chise he is on her side:


One might mistake this for just another heartwarming Christmas story! One in which the benefactor is a skull-headed sorcerer and the protagonist is a self-loathing orphan. She might be eaten at the end of the series, but for the moment, she belongs.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, volume 1 is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).


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