Magi – 02
「第二夜迷宮組曲」 (Dai ni-yo: Danjon Kumikyoku)
“Second Night: Dungeon Suite”
There’s definitely a lot more emotions being toyed around this episode with the introduction of our first real antagonist, the Sharif, Jamil. His power hungry intentions and sadistic attitude are good at tumbling both character emotions and our own (as well as generating shouting bouts at the screen). Though I wish that the Sharif wasn’t so black-and-white (which he might not end up being), his presence definitely spices up the plot. I cringed every time he stabbed Goltas or Ali Baba, kicked Morgiana, or had that false smile on his face. For now, he is a suitable initial antagonist, though I hope we’ll learn more about his background soon enough to add some white to his black cowardice. Here’s to hoping his tendencies for hurting people don’t leak into his personal life–god forbid how involved sharp objects are in that!
On the flipside, we also get to see more of Morgiana and a hint of her background. Though the details of how she became imprisoned are still up in the air, we do get details on the nature of her homeland–lush, pretty, open-aired, and full of wildlife. We can infer that she is not physically being imprisoned by Jamil considering her enormous strength, but rather that her enslavers have some leverage against her, such as her family or town being endangered should she rebel. It’s a sad sight to see her in her current state, but given the subdued reactions she had this episode, she’s shaping up to be an calmly interesting character. She’ll probably end up being the character that shows affection through her actions rather than her words or expressions, where a smile from her is a treasured rarity. Her dependability will probably be the anchoring force that keeps the group stable, given how Ali Baba still has to sneak around occasionally and Aladdin…well. Although we did get that fleeting smile during her flash of hope, it’ll be a treat to see a smile that’s not terribly cut off by her master. If she ends up socking Jamil in the face next episode…big smiles will be had, and bad “in your face” puns will be made.
Ali Baba also made some small hints at his backstory, heavily implying that his poor status has not always been the case. With the ability to read ancient texts, apt agility, and a mastery of knife combat, Ali Baba must have lived some well-to-do life previously to have acquired all these skills. Like Morgiana, most of that background is clouded in a lot of mystery, but it seems that Ali Baba has some redemption issues that he needs to go through to clear his conscience. Thankfully Aladdin is unlocking these hidden mysteries both in Morgiana and Ali Baba by being a paragon of honesty–he is one of the few lights in this dungeon, as a light that hasn’t flickered…yet.
In terms of aesthetics, the show did a better job showing its ability to animate action scenes, especially with scenes involving the Djinn. Every time he came out, the scenes became a battle of the giants, definitely adding to the epic feel of Magi. The framerate definitely increased to accent the action, whilst the well-drawn close-shots kept within quality to accent the dialogue-heavy scenes. One scene I’d like to point out specifically would have to be Morgiana’s description of her homeland and the great use of music during the dialogue. The piano piece was a good break from the Middle East themed pieces (which themselves are a good break of theme in anime). It definitely accented the tragedy of Morgiana’s situation with its melancholic tones, and it definitely had that Sagisu Shiro touch to it (specifically touches from his Kare Kano days). The music from the PV (it was played again in the last episode) was one of the reasons that Magi piqued my interest, so I hope to hear more inspired compositions in the future. The super-deformed antics of Aladdin also were a nice touch, adding to the youthful and innocence of his character, whilst also being so ridiculous, even Morigana can’t resist.
Episode two was a good setup episode, slowly ramping up the pace and action of the show and introducing the conflicts. Next episode will probably be abound with revelations and character development, but for now, hints and epic cliffhangers are good enough. Also, all the feels for Goltas…no one deserves to be stabbed that much!
ED: 「指望遠鏡」 (Yubi Bouenkyou) by 乃木坂４６ (Nogizaka46)