Though The Ancient Magus’ Bride is without doubt a fanciful and fantastical portrayal of England, it demonstrates perfectly how our country’s landscapes inspired our folklore. Amongst its withdrawn ‘cunning folk’ who practice magic, and faeries who prefer to be referred to as your good neighbours, we feel at home with every new episode, sequestered in childhood fairytale again.
While we savour Magus’ Bride’s twilight episodes, here’s our list of fave interpretations of England from the anime we love. Some have the silly sense of humour we’re known to appreciate, others are dark and full of doom, but the reason we enjoy them all so much is that they build a brilliant picture of this multifaceted country.
Oh god, Ritsu’s awkward English! That awkward sushi bar gig! Hokago Tea Time’s visit to London captures all the mortifying, sometimes impossible-to-prepare-for snags of travelling to another country for the first time. We’ve experienced it all for ourselves, so it’s especially funny to see such a meticulously detailed view of our homeland from that perspective. And all through the eyes of those four adorable girls we came to know through the anime series.
This show is like a history lesson in all the best possible ways. Not only do you get a good look at the contrast between how the upper and lower classes lived in Victorian England, but you’re treated to its culinary delicacies, culture and scrupulous social niceties. You get to see the frost fairs once held on the Thames, when the river iconic to London’s landscape always froze solid in the dead of winter. It gives us pride in our country’s history, making us respect the land we were born to.
This show gave us that feeling of seeing our countryside through young eyes, with its never-ending wild space to roll in the grass. For all its astounding openness, it was undeniably home. The very real Fosse Farmhouse bed and breakfast, where Shinobu Oomiya resides during her foreign homestay, is the personification of that feeling. Dropped in the middle of a regal landscape, it’s cosy and welcoming as soon as you step through the door.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
With the first part, Phantom Blood, encompassing Dio’s rebirth as a vampire, of course it had to take place in England. It’s one of the more subtle representations we’ve seen, which is strange given that this is JoJo. But even so, it gives a soft backdrop striking as a support to such outrageous characters and conflict, highlighting the mellow beauty of our countryside and historic stately homes.
Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works
We love that the epilogue of this show makes England look truly epic. The shots are thrown wide to show off open sunset skies, fields for picnicking in perfect solitude and the big red buses crossing Lambeth Bridge (it’s not all about London Bridge, you know). It’s the kind of reverence for setting that makes you feel patriotic, and we’ve been missing that lately. Maybe it’s time for a rewatch?
Honourable mention – literally all of Britain as a cute anime girl
Our country has a distinct shape, but not one that resembles anything in particular, like the boot of Italy. At least, that’s what we thought till this zoomorphic representation came along. Look at the north of Scotland; that could easily be a feathery hat. That little outcropping above Edinburgh looks like a face. Just north of Newcastle, it seems we have a perky boob with a nipple, then everything south of Liverpool is skirt. What do you get from all that? A Victorian girl concerned about her bust size. KINMOZA’s Aya could probably relate. Just so Northern Ireland didn’t feel left out, she also has wings.
We think those five anime we picked display the greatest aspects of this pleasant land we call Eng. But which are your favourites? We want to hear from our fellow Brits and anglophiles everywhere.