steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

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.
Tags: cotswolds project, nippon notes, work
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