It’s not common that an anime would make me feel emotional in just the third episode. Even when this episode was slow it still had me fascinated and gave me an emotional reaction. While I would describe last week’s episode with the theme of self-loathing (with also learning how strong Chise is), this episode dealt with death.
Turns out the guy that “kidnapped” Chise isn’t a bad guy at all. His name is Linden and he’s another mage and was the one Elias needed to see. He’s the caretaker of the dragons and makes sure to keep them away from regular humans. I’m actually really glad that he didn’t turn out to be a bad guy as that would have been too obvious and too sudden at this point in the story.
It was interesting seeing the topic of death in two different points of views: those from a human, and those from dragons. When dragons die, their body turns into a tree and they become one with nature. They do not fear it. In fact, seeing as how the baby dragons that played with Chise showed excitement for it, they accept it and look forward to it. But it’s not a sad existence. For the dragons, they know one day that they will die and fulfill their duty to nature, so they learn to enjoy their lives to the fullest until the very end. Nevin showed no fear and did not want Chise to feel sad about his passing since he didn’t think his passing to be sad at all. But Chise on the other hand has different emotions and views towards death. We already know that Chise is an extremely broken girl with her own traumas. She witnessed her mother’s own suicide and she attempted to kill herself once. Looking through Chise’s memories, Nevin saw these images and witnessed her emotions. “The living should not envy the dead” was powerful, and the message he gave her during the last flight before his passing really was something. To fly and keep on living, and fulfill her purpose. That entire sequence, though it was a little static in some moments, was breathtakingly gorgeous with its message and with the music to add to it. I love this anime’s interpretation of dragons. They live their lives to the fullest without ever fearing death, and when they die they turn into trees and become one with the Earth. I find that so beautiful, it made me pretty emotional. The juxtaposition of death seen through a human and dragon’s eyes was very powerful.
But the topic of death still floated around with a different feeling when it came to what Linden said about Chise. We know as a Sleigh Beggy Chise is a very powerful being, but apparently if she doesn’t control her power soon she won’t live past the next three years. Her passing out in the end worried me. I don’t know if it was because the emotions speaking with Nevin and experiencing the last flight was too overwhelming to her, or if it was the fact that she used so much of her powers on Nevin as he passed. This will definitely be important later on.
As usual, this episode was beautiful both animation and content wise. Even though this episode didn’t really touch on plot points, it gave us another aspect of the magical world with dragons while also conveying a message about a topic that’s considered taboo for most. Not necessarily every episode that’s slow has to be boring, and I think this episode proved that.