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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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All Things Begin & End in Albion's Ancient Druid Rocky Shore
You will no doubt remember that I've been interested for a while now in the image of Britain in Japanese anime, and increasingly that interest has focused on the Cotswolds. If all goes according to plan, next spring I will be back in Japan looking at all the Cotswoldy things there, such as Dreamton and Yufuin Floral Village. Before that I will be looking at all the Japanesey things in the Cotswolds, such as the railway signs at Moreton-in-Marsh, and of course Fosse Farmhouse, where Kiniro Mosaic was set and where, thanks to me (you can take that positively or negatively), my friend Haruka spent much of this summer living in a shepherd's hut and working as cleaner. All this will, with luck, culminate in taking part in a symposium on Contents Tourism in Tokyo in June.

I was reminded of Haruka's summer today, while watching the opening episodes of The Ancient Magus' Bride, something I've known about for a while as a manga but which is only now being aired in anime form. The story concerns a lonely and friendless Japanese girl, Chise, who allows herself to be put up for auction and is bought by an ancient magus, then brought to England to live in his house, which is "west of London, in the outskirts of England" - in other words the Cotswolds, as you may see from the architecture. The idea is that she will become his apprentice, and in time his bride too. (If you're thinking that all this sounds well dodgy I can only tell you the dodginess is is a plot point, but we have yet to see how it will be resolved.)

Mahoutsukai no yome ep1

The mage's address, 2-32 High Street, GC55, England (we glimpse it on his cheque book), is a little perplexing. First, because he clearly doesn't live in a high street -

Ainsworth house

- let alone 16 houses along one side of it. Nor does the GC postcode exist, at least for us beglamoured mortals (which probably includes Royal Mail). However, if we make a simple substitution for the Gloucester (GL) postcode, we divine that Mr Ainsworth is to be found near the Cotswold town of Chipping Campden. (I've no doubt, by the way, that Diana Wynne Jones had Chipping Campden partly in mind when she named Market Chipping in Howl's Moving Castle - talking of books in which mages take young girls into their magical households.)

The first food he offers her naturally includes sandwiches, black tea (no milk in sight) and the fish and chips that British people eat at every meal. And if you're wondering whether she also gets a full English breakfast in the morning, the answer is "Of course."

chise's first meal in England

But why doesn't the presence of a mage cause general alarm, wonders Chise? Why, replies Elias Ainsworth, because...

britain is a land of ancient magic

You know it to be true.

Wow, that looks beautiful.

Yes, the animation's lovely. So far only the first two episodes (of 24) have been broadcast, but I'll be watching this one from hereon out.

Just watched the first one! Wow, it is GORGEOUS. They could just show me shots of the garden for 22 minutes and I'd be sold.

Looks like Beauty and the Beast to me, so I'm guessing it will explore the sketchy nature of the premise but still have Elias/Chise as endgame. (BTW, the names crack me up. "OH HAI I'm an ancient magus, Elias, and you are that rare and mystical thing, a... Sleigh Beggy.")

It definitely has a B&B vibe!

I'm still trying to get my head round Black Butler's ancient aristocratic Phantomhive family. Apparently, Sleigh Beggy is a Manx word for a fairy, though it loses something in the transliteration. (Also, Chise isn't a fairy. Or Manx.)

And what's in that dish in the middle- cottage pie?

Britain is a land of ancient magic? But of course.


I'd assume it's cottage pie, though we never see them eat it so I can't be sure. I can confirm however that the dish we see on the far left is some kind of meat loaf, which I think of as more of an American dish. Similarly, the bready things in the bottom right look more like brioche than anything recognisably British, at least to me.

Edited at 2017-10-16 08:30 am (UTC)