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Magi – 02 »

Magi – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「V.I.P」 by SID

「第一夜 アラジンとアリババ」 (Dai ichi-yo Arajin to Aribaba)
“First Night: Aladdin and Ali Baba”

The topic of Arabian folklore and mythology doesn’t appear much in anime, does it? Norse, Greek, Japanese, Egyptian, and even Lovecraft mythology pops up more often than the magical sands of Arabia, making Magi a gem in the sands.

Magi is a show that loosely takes elements of Middle Eastern and Asian folklore and models an alternate story using those elements. This contrasts with mythology placed in a modern context such as Fate/Zero, or an alternate retelling of history as told by Oda Nobuna no Yabou. Instead, the setting is more in-line with series such as Hakuouki, where the setting is historical, the characters have historical basis, but the plot drives in a non-historical manner. While there may be slight nods at the original plots, most of the references mostly refer to the mythological legacy and legends of the characters involved.

Although I haven’t had the chance to delve much into the history and depth that is the ridiculous compilation of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights which Magi draws on for source material, upon researching Aladdin and Ali Baba’s stories…little of their actual folklore is retained, at least for this episode. Although Aladdin (Ishihara Kaori) is portrayed being in control of a Djinn and Ali Baba (Kaji Yuuki) an impoverished individual…the similarities stop there. Ali Baba was an honest individual who had no desires for conquest, and Aladdin began as a far more ambitious than altruistic individual.

Those of you who followed my coverage of Oda Nobuna no Yabou last season know how much I love comparing history in anime, but this time it looks like we’ll be in for a different treat. Putting aside the attention to the actual folklore, Magi is a show that so far, is utilizing and developing its unique setting well.

When it comes to specifically talking about the first episode, there isn’t much to say. The standard character development whilst hinting at the side characters is in play here, though most of the time to hilarious effect. Aladdin shows off his love for any kind of breast and delicious food, while Ali Baba gets the scraps and troubles after Aladdin has his way. The slave girl, whose name has yet to be established, quickly, yet subtly shows her true abilities and character. The mythology of the universe is established, with Djiinns and magically appearing dungeons being key to driving the plot forward. The first antagonists have reared their heads, foreshadowing the immediate conflict of the first few episodes.

What the first episode does besides plot setup is set the tone for the entire series. For those of you who didn’t already know, Magi is classified as shounen, and its shounen elements definitely show. The main protagonist has an almost naive, yet admirable dedication to his values, which causes everyone else to follow his dream. The jokes tend to be very exaggerated, both in content and art style (making chibi Aladdin the cutest thing ever, no?). The development of the characters this episode were not surprises or groundbreaking, but it paves the way to what shounen does best: making redeeming heroes out of the cast, via an epic adventure throughout the land.

Graphically, this adventure has been animated fairly well according to shounen practice. The jokes are well animated and deformed to hilarious effect, and the backgrounds are rich with warm colors that truly represent a Middle Eastern feel. Although sand and stone dominate the backgrounds, a colorful and warm diversity still makes its way in. The character designs are simple yet detailed enough, giving off that shounen taste whilst not sacrificing well-drawn quality. The colors definitely contrast with the warmer orange and white backgrounds, making for a pleasing aesthetic that’s usually reserved for the stereotypical sunset scenes.

Right now, the pace for this epic adventure is taking its time, which is great for a series of this type. From what I hear, the end point in the manga the anime is trying to reach would require much more than two seasons of development, meaning we can expect a show that’ll definitely take its time throughout the chapters. Given the large cast that the manga seems to has (lots of characters to draw from Arabian Nights), this’ll give the show ample time to develop those characters, as well as the vast land of sand that they call home.

However, for some, certain cast and staff members cast doubt on the ability of A-1 Pictures to adapt what’s been quite an anticipated manga adaption. Kaji Yuuki, who’s been known to voice several…beta characters, appears to voice the secondary protagonist Ali Baba. Whilst Ali Baba’s own character isn’t lacking in traits that man up, some may dislike the connotations Kaji’s voice has on the character. Yoshino Hiroyuki, whose work with Guilty Crown and Fractale have been received shakily may also cast doubts on the quality of the show’s flow. However, with his work with Sora no Woto and Accel World being received more positively, the series composition’s quality is still up in the air. Director Matsunari Koji is fairly inexperienced, with Magi being his most ambitious work yet. His previous works come range from 2002-2005, with his most recent work showing in a movie in 2010. Whether or not he has improved since then will reveal itself here. (Edit: I missed Kamichu. My bad!)

Despite the staff, I still have high hopes for this show and the staff’s ability to do it justice. From what I’ve been told, the manga does justice to developing its setting and plots, touching on various issues of the day, with one of the main ones being slavery. The story seems to be wide and vast as well as its characters, with the manga taking the time to develop said characters and keep them around. Although I said that the first episode sets up in a typical shounen manner, according to the manga, we can expect that many resolutions will be resolved in a non-shounen way that does not involve fighting. I already have taken a liking to Aladdin and the girl slave, whose simple sense of honor and friendship puts a smile to my face. I expect that Ali Baba will take a bit longer to get to their level, but such change will come in time.

Honestly, blogging Magi will be a new experience for me. I personally don’t have much experience with the shounen genre, but upon seeing the Middle Eastern setting of Magi after having covered Nobuna, I instantly wanted to try the show out. Hopefully I’ll be able to make as many mythological comparisons as I did historically with Nobuna in the long run, for it looks like I’ll be sticking with this show for a long while! I feel this’ll be a show that gains steam as it moves forward–let’s hope the next few episodes stir things up, away from the stiffness of initial exposition!

So begins the epic adventure of Aladdin and Ali Baba to conquer every dungeon and breast throughout the land…


ED Sequence

ED: 「指望遠鏡」 (Yubi Bouenkyou) by 乃木坂46 (Nogizaka46)


October 8, 2012 at 2:04 am
  • October 8, 2012 at 2:12 amIrgo

    hmm so they started the anime from around chapter 2 huh
    i hope this not sign of this series will get short adaption 24-26 episode
    it more suitable to be long running series

    • October 8, 2012 at 2:21 ampiglet


      • October 8, 2012 at 3:49 amPIGLET

        oh you hoe………..theres only room for one PIGLET here and your a jerk for that comment.

      • October 8, 2012 at 5:35 amPiglet

        Calm down, sons.

      • October 8, 2012 at 8:48 pmPIGLET

        dude stop im the original

    • October 8, 2012 at 9:30 amTSouL

      Judging from the OP and the characters shown, they will probably reach ~chapter 75. I can see them reaching there with a 24epi season if they rush certain parts.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:12 amBeedle

    Madoka is unleashing all her repressed lesyay emotions on innocent women! And Ouma Shu grew a backbone in only one episode!


    Great start. I’m a bit weirded out by how the character’s mouths are drawn, for some reason, but this looks very promising :)

    • October 8, 2012 at 2:46 amPIGLET

      Hmmmm i never really looked at the characters mouths in any anime before ….

      • October 8, 2012 at 4:22 amBeedle

        I don’t normally pay attention to mouths but for some reason the mouths drawn here grab my attention. o_0

      • October 8, 2012 at 5:05 amKiseki

        I think it’s the way the teeth are drawn?

    • October 8, 2012 at 6:57 amFFF

      Yep, they don’t have gums. You can see this rarely in A1 animes. Maybe this time they do it intentionally.

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:26 amTan-Tan

    The primary thing I dislike from this show was that they decided not to retain the skin color either.

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:28 amdxb_blackwolf

    Lol at the Arabic. At 6:15 when he was explaining the dungeon, the script was basically asfsdgj,dgnd with Arabic letters. There were also some semi-made up letters (for example, imagine the letter i having 2 dots on top of it instead of one).

    I liked this first episode, seems like an interesting anime.

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:31 amCarVac

    I thought it was a great first episode for an AWESOME manga. I really like the animation quality; it shows a lot of polish and some of the backgrounds looked awfully nice.

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:35 amDevastator001

    Interesting… Might take up this show to fill up my missing 4 shows per season @_@

    • October 8, 2012 at 3:19 amByakudan

      what?..there’s so many interesting show this season and why only 4?. i at least watch 3 episode of all series before deciding to drop or not

      • October 8, 2012 at 6:21 amdefunkt_bots

        i’m with you byakudan,
        there is a really decent spread of anime in this season. some really good gaphic styles too.

      • October 8, 2012 at 5:49 pmDevastator001

        Time constraints, and for me this also has an added bonus effect if the shows can’t keep me interested after 3 eps, the slot is given to other shows that show promise after 3 eps :D

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:39 amMagoiichi

    Aladdin sounds like a girl.I didn’t exactly picture that type of voice for him.I wasn’t picturing a manly man’s voice either, but a girl’s voice that doesn’t even attempt to sound like a boy, really?

    Everything else was fine, except I think some parts was skipped.Certain boobs were not groped and was just skipped.

    • October 8, 2012 at 6:08 amKushieda

      I assumed they had Aladdin as a girl because of the chest wrap and the voice. I Thought it was a gender swap

    • October 8, 2012 at 7:50 amRezzir

      Exactly! I find that getting Kaori Ishihara to voice Aladdin isn’t really the right choice. She usually portrays girls full of GAR(Madoka(Rinne no Lagrange) and Metis(Campione!)) which is why I keep feeling awkward about her voice. =\

      Kaori Ishihara have this distinct and unique voice that imo, will only suit female characters.

      • October 8, 2012 at 2:19 pmboingman

        Though the Metis role didnt suit her either IMO, at least not when her voice still has that genki school girl sound.

    • October 8, 2012 at 3:23 pmHunterWulf

      1-First, it’s quiet common for female actresses to voice young male kids in shounen shows (i,e young Naruto was voiced by a female VA).

      2-Yeah, Aladdin sounded like a girl for liek the first 1-2 min, then once your brain get around that everything will be fine and he will sound like a young boy (because … SURPRISE … boys before they mature could sound like girls sometimes).

      • October 9, 2012 at 1:18 amSeraphic

        Well, its obvious that magoiichi and most people who watch shounen animes have at least some general ideas of VAs being girls for boy characters, so your point was invalid. Magoiichi did say that Aladdin’s VA didn’t even seem to conceal the fact that shes generally using a girl’s voice to portray a small young boy.

        Luffy and Naruto never really gave the general audience the “vibes” that a female voice actor was behind them, unless people get curious and start to do research. I guess that’s what their voice actors did well in.

      • October 9, 2012 at 7:32 amdangerism

        Nobody bothers with the fact that Aladdin has chest wraps after the wish? Pretty sure what he wished for after the hanging out segment with Alibaba.

  • October 8, 2012 at 3:26 amPassingThrough

    Agreed with Magoiichi’s comment above: Aladdin sounds waaay too girly.

    This first episode actually compiling some storylines from the manga into one, and I have to say they did a damn well job at it. No complain.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 8, 2012 at 5:01 amKiseki

      I’m pretty sure Aladdin was originally Chinese?

      • October 8, 2012 at 6:12 amPassingThrough

        I did say “If I recall correctly, right?” :D
        Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 8, 2012 at 9:07 amZanibas

      There are many different versions of the Aladdin tale, but yes, the original tale is set in China, but the names and characters are overwhelmingly Arabic.


  • October 8, 2012 at 3:49 amHagiri

    I’m guessing Season 1 will be 24-26 episodes then Season 2 would be another 24-26 episodes~
    This is gonna be cool~

  • October 8, 2012 at 4:12 amKiseki

    Alibaba’s hair boner is distracting.

    Some of my friends and I screamed in agony when it was announced that Kaji Yuuki would voice Alibaba lol. While I do like his voice, it just doesn’t work well with Alibaba.

    As for Yoshino Hiroyuki, I think he has issues with writing original works. Although I guess he does have Macross Frontier on his resume. I thought he did an alright job. In the manga, the main three characters were introduced in ways that didn’t express their true character to surprise us. There was no point in the anime doing the same since the three are all over promotional materials and the OP anyway, so condensing the beginning isn’t so bad.

    My only complaint was that they didn’t animate the scene with Aladdin’s head atop Ugo’s running body… ;_;

  • October 8, 2012 at 4:27 amKogepan

    Reading this made my eyes bleed
    “Director Matsunari Koji is fairly inexperienced, with Magi being his most ambitious work yet. His previous works come from fairly obscure works from 2002-2005″
    Being the main creators of “original” anime like Read or Die, Kamichu or the recent Uchuu Show he Yôkoso, he surely deserves more credit.

    • October 8, 2012 at 9:15 amZanibas

      Ah, thanks for letting me know, and sorry for letting your eyes bleed! I’m not well acquainted with much of the show staff, so if I make careless comments like that, correct me in the future!

  • October 8, 2012 at 4:46 ammistress_kisara

    I’m liking the characters so far, and I love the opening song!

    • October 8, 2012 at 8:49 pmDangerMouse

      Same here. This feels like it’s going to be pretty awesome.

  • October 8, 2012 at 4:58 amMuizz D

    For me it the best 2012 Fall anime, can’t wait for the epic battle between Aladdin & Judal xD

  • October 8, 2012 at 6:57 amdimasok

    I was very pleasantly surprised at the anime. I expected a children’s tale, but this seems to be serious with good production values, decent characters and an interesting plot. Is the manga as interesting as well?

    • October 8, 2012 at 3:06 pmNero

      The Manga is well worth the read if you have time.

  • October 8, 2012 at 7:51 amAnonymous

    Was expecting Disney. Was pleasantly surprised.

  • October 8, 2012 at 8:05 amrochichan

    This episode was great… just bothered me how different it was from the manga… but it was still very entertaining~

  • October 8, 2012 at 12:02 pmEntrav

    I actually read some of the manga because this is airing and it turned out to be really good. I got hooked on to it. I’m glad the anime is great as well. This will be one to follow for sure.

  • October 8, 2012 at 12:30 pmRandom Hobo

    This needs a mention alongside Fate/Zero for tales and legends set in a modern context. Just sayin’

  • October 8, 2012 at 2:48 pmYag

    He reminds me Tomoki of Sora No Otoshimono with this face.

  • October 8, 2012 at 3:36 pmHunterWulf

    Very good episode, it’s good to see something fresh besides all the western and medieval themed fantasy series out there (way too many), being a middle eastern myself it’s both good and bad thing to watch Magi, good because I like seeing folklore related to my culture getting the “anime” treatment, but then it comes with its own problems .. like the text in the scene with Ali-Baba explaining the towers to Aladdin .. that was gibberish letters arranged haphazardly, not Arabic or Persian or any other middle eastern language .. it made me facepalm XD

    Chibi-Watermelon-eating Aladdin specially with the watermelon dripping from his mouth is going to be visiting my nightmares for sometime .. how can something be cute and horrifying at the same time XD

  • October 8, 2012 at 6:28 pmAngryKoala

    Already loving this show, really my cup of tea.

    Wonder if the animator has a feet fetish, he really loves dem close-up of the slavegirl’s feet.

    • October 12, 2012 at 8:51 pmcreaothceann

      …or maybe he focused on her legs simply because she was wearing shackles.

  • October 8, 2012 at 6:31 pmFin

    First time reading a review from this site. :)

    I haven’t watch the first episode yet, but I’m not sure how I like what little I’ve seen from the episode. Even though Magi is very much a shounen manga/anime, the beginning of Magi manga is very charming with its focus on people’s relationships to each other (friendships, family, all souls go to one place after death…etc…). I like that the anime retains the humor and sense of friendship (it seems), although it does appear to rush over events. For example, the slave girl’s development into a main character is much more subtle in the manga.

    Anyway, great review. I’m looking forward to watching the first episode with this review in mind.

  • October 9, 2012 at 1:31 amUsagi

    This and Tonari Kaibkun are my favorites so far of what I’ve seen this fall.

    Its gonna be a great fall/winter.=)

  • October 9, 2012 at 2:00 amDa5id

    I can show you the world…
    Shining, shimmering, splendid…

    • October 9, 2012 at 2:57 amBeedle

      There’s a party here in Agrabah
      There’s excitement in the air

  • October 9, 2012 at 3:26 ammac65

    I liked the voice chosen for Aladdin, but then I have a very soft spot for the female voice.

    Looks like a great start to a nice adventure series. Hopefully it won’t get too cliché.
    The 1st ep set things up pretty nicely, so it’s pretty easy to guess how it’ll all pan out.
    Even with that, the light-hearted adventure should be entertaining and a good watch.

  • October 9, 2012 at 1:51 pmReaper201

    I who hadn’t seen the original work was not expecting it to be good, but I enjoyed it. I am left wondering where was Aladdin in the beginning, was he on the moon? It IS the first ep so I’ll w8 for it to be revealed later(if ever).

    PS. Tentacles, god why?!?! I swear man ever since I finished THAT VN, tentacles just aren’t the same anymore.
    Which VN you might ask, Show Spoiler ▼

    • October 10, 2012 at 6:34 amFlareKnight

      Well considering he was talking to Ugo, I assumed Aladdin was inside the flute at the start of the episode. Of course that opens up a ton of questions of what that kid was doing in there.

  • October 11, 2012 at 4:07 pmNhelraios

    Hmm, looks fairly interesting(haven’t seen the show yet). Count me in!

  • October 14, 2012 at 12:47 amSilver

    Ah yes! Finally! Been reading the manga for some time and while it’s also a long running shounen series like many other well known series (Once Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and etc.), it’s more similar to D.Gray-man and Fairy Tail in that it offers something unique that makes it stand out. Well don’t want to say anymore but I sure hope that anime version will be awesome and so far it looks great!

  • October 18, 2012 at 7:15 pmYukie

    Started reading the manga only recently and it turned out way better than what I expected. I think I’m going to give the anime a try…just a little disappointed that Kaji Yuuki is casted as Ali Baba…why is he so popular these days? I don’t get the appeal.