Magi – 03
「第三夜創世の魔法使い」 (Dai san-yo: Sousei no Mahoutsukai)
“Third Night: Wizard of Creation”
The first adventure of Magi has closed its doors, but now we find ourselves in a much wider room, full of possibilities. Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Morgiana, now free from their chains, slowly have revealed their pasts to us, some more so than others, some darker and heartwrenching. At times in this episode, I found myself cringing in my seat, mentally yelling at the characters to get a grip and finish off this fiasco–perhaps the exact reaction the anime wanted. Magi gets deeper every day, as the worldbuilding and character development finally dig their roots deep and keep us locked in our seats.
First, let’s take a look at Aladdin and his apparent role in deciding the king of the land. Though my mind immediately jumps to the Three Magi, if anyone is more literate in Middle Eastern folklore, please correct me. Aladdin apparently helps dictate the kings who will lead a land to glory, a decision that appears widespread. However, it seems that he is not the only one who gets to make these decisions, nor is he the only one who holds the prestigious title of Magi. We can predict future scenes will come to conflict Aladdin’s obvious choice in Ali Baba for his honesty and defense of the weak, over say another Magi’s decision in a more brutal character for their ability to lead and exert power. I hesitate to label any of the other Magi in the future as ‘bad’ Magi, as the show has begun to indicate that not everything is black and white with our antagonists.
A great example of this has shown with Morgiana’s brutality during this episode. Although it’s physically visible to us that she despises the orders Jamil makes her do, and that it’s quite obvious that she could beat Jamil to a pulp if she so desired, the ghosts of her past make herself (and ourselves) cringe and lose our self-will. I imagine that when Morgiana reunites into our trio, we will get to hear exactly what Morgiana’s ghosts are and the extent of their terror. Even from a few screens could I see the terrible conditions she had to go through, and I congratulate the anime for being strong in its message and shock value without overdoing it. Jamil thankfully is a goner (though all the feels for Goltas), so having to deal with his cowardice and abuse of two likable characters is finally over. How Morgiana will develop from here undoubtedly will bring her closer to the trio, but I wish to see how strong Golatas’ last request has on her. Will his physical and symbolic break of chains be enough to unlock her character, or will we need another act of bravery to open her heart? While Aladdin can certainly open her heart with kindness, there is one other half that will probably lead to this opening…
…which lies with Ali Baba. It’s now obvious that Ali Baba has had an excellent upbringing in terms of skill development and that his abilities are on par with Morgiana’s…but now the question is, “What kind of upbringing did he have?” While his upbringing may contrast Morgiana, considering how little we know about his past and the numerous “settlements” he needs to follow up on, Ali Baba’s past must’ve been just as full of troubles as Morgiana. To have fallen from a lifestyle that taught a royal fighting style and the (back then) treasured art of reading, something significant must have happened. While Ali Baba probably is the most shrouded of all the main characters at this point, we can expect to see revelations as soon as the next episode, now that the tides have turned back in his favor. However, in order to spice things up, it looks like Ali Baba’s sword got an upgrade while he wasn’t paying attention–perhaps that will save him from any volley of arrows that seek him as a target.
All in all, I’m excited after three episodes to see how these three characters will now face the mysteries that surround them. Although the fight scenes and the resolution of the Sharif (convenient mental breakdown) were a bit disappointing, I was pleased at the continued construction of the sandy world of Magi. The Djinns have conveniently illuminated the ultimate goal of the anime, but how the road to get there is paved…we have yet to see for many episodes. If you’re looking for a good Shounen with a light emphasis on combat and a heavy emphasis on medieval morality and politics, now is the time to hop on! Although it took a bit of setup to get running, Magi looks to be a series that’ll hold its ground for undoubtedly numerous episodes it will receive. The comedic antics with Aladdin have been great, but the tense and morally conflicted moments have also worked favorably. Overall, Magi is a good rounded anime that does fall short on some typical Shounen stumbles, but overall has served to create a setting that is definitely unique.