One of the frequently-cited limitations to the human imagination is an inability to imagine certain things beyond the scope of experience. More often than not, the act of dying in a dream leads to the dreamer waking up suddenly. We know of death as a concept, but it’s difficult to imagine because there is no way to simulate the experience in real life other than actually dying. Your brain will not only instinctively fight to keep you alive, but it also — being the organ tasked with coordinating your existence — naturally eschews the idea of non-existence.
The premiere episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride establishes Chise Hatori’s outlook on life as one of apathy. She no longer cares for her own well-being and sells herself into slavery because of this. Chise’s fluctuating mental state makes up the backbone of the series’ narrative. Much like the tagline “April showers bring May flowers,” our introduction to Chise marks both her distressing past and her hopeful future.
Framing this are a variety of flowers, all purposeful in their meanings at the periphery — or, in the case of the poppy flower, an upfront visual manifestation — of Chise’s story. Around each corner of the world that Chise explores is a flower or tree that informs her journey. The latest examples are the dandelion and nemophila (baby blue eyes) flowers, that bookend the series’ most recent story arc.
In sixth grade, I joined concert band. I was the only girl in the trombone section. There were only about five of us in total, including a kid from my elementary school, Ben. We were friendly acquaintances but not close friends. Ben was the funny kid, and as the funny kid, he thought it would be cool to gross out the rest of the band by waiting to release his spit valve until it was as full as he could make it. He would then release it on the floor in front of the section.
Spit has grossed me out ever since.
When Chito (Chii) pulls her hand out of Yuuri’s (Yuu) mouth in the first episode of Girls’ Last Tour, there is an audible pop. Yuu’s face stretches before releasing Chii’s hand and a trail of spit shines in the air. It’s a disgusting and funny scene to watch. Chii puts Yuu’s spit to good use — it allows her to pinpoint the direction of a breeze that eventually leads them out of the tunnel — but these slime trails of spit are also visceral reminders of Yuu and Chii’s existence.
“So you like poppies, Chise?”
-Elias Ainsworth to Chise Hatori, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Episode 2
The ink is still drying on Chise Hatori’s signature when the above line appears across the cityscape: April showers bring May flowers. Given Chise’s initial mental state in the opening moments of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the proverb is obvious. Before reaching the point where she signs that contract, Chise has seen and lived through some horrifying things. This is her turning point.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride also uses flower language liberally throughout its first episode to set the mood, giving small hints and insight into Chise’s circumstances.