Aware of a terrifying magical world few can see, and with a traumatic childhood that has mostly broken her, The Ancient Magus’ Bride begins with Chise selling herself to the highest bidder in the magical world.
Chise is bought by the eponymous Elias Ainsworth who is much less of a monster than he appears, and much less human than he wants to be. Oh, Elias can be the terrifying monster at need, but it isn’t entirely who (or what) he wants to be, and he sees Chise as a path to becoming more.
For the most part The Ancient Magus’ Bride is a mix of a slice of life / character piece that partly focuses on Chise’s difficult relationship with Elias, but is mostly focused on Chise healing the hurts of her past: the abandonment and worse that drove her to sell herself.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride is heavily informed by Celtic mythology, and does a better job of it than most anime/manga attempts in that line.
There is a downside in that the show occasionally tends to excessive fanservice, particularly with Titania when she appears, but other characters are prone to it on occasion. It doesn’t happen often, but can be quite jarring when it does. Titania in particular is disconcerting given that it distracts from her carefully realised personality that quite accurately captured the fickle nature of the Fae.
The first cour of The Ancient Magus’ Bride has just finished with a better series finale than some recent single cour shows have managed. I’m quite looking forward to the 2nd cour.
Here’s the OP: