Magi – 05
「戦闘民族ファナリス」 (Sentou Minzoku Fanarisu)
Man, Ryosai really boils my blood. I resisted muting my screen at the moments that he was spouting out nonsense about finding pleasure and fun from suffering. Good riddance, and thank Solomon it was an OHKO (one-hit knockout) from a bitchslap. The antagonists of Magi have so far brought nothing but one-sided rage to me–but as a tradeoff, they have been temporary in their existence.
But wait! I don’t hold it against Magi for having such shallow antagonists, for their actions have introduced to us many honorable characters who have so far, outshined their one-sided and selfish rivals. Hakuei and Baba both demonstrated tremendous willpower and steadfast adherence to their beliefs this week, with Hakuei being even more steadfast that I have no choice but to admire her dedication. This show continues to grow better with each episode as the actors reveal themselves for the main conflicts ahead.
First off, it’s amazing that Baba stayed alive even with such a fatal wound–any other character age would probably keel over on the spot! I suppose it was the years of experience fighting off invaders that grew this old lady’s willpower, but man, I am loving how her spunk didn’t go away, even at her deathbed! When characters fight for what they believe in, we feel good, but it is when characters fight with a passion in the face of fatality that we completely empathize with their ideals. Baba, to the very end of her life, fought to keep her family together in what small way she could. Even with blood dripping towards the ground, she reprimanded her own clan so that they could be saved, so that her grandchildren would see a family whole. What makes her intentions especially believable to me is the setup of her character–rather than a spunky youth that has yet to have seen the world, Baba has earned her respect throughout her life, even though it is not explicitly mentioned. Her secondary character status also makes her mortality all the more real, as the protection of plot armor does not guarantee her safety in deathly situations. Her sacrifice then becomes real to us, rather than as an idiotic attempt by a protagonist who will not and cannot die. Baba, you will be missed, both by the characters and us, for standing up for your family to the death.
However, Baba was not the only other heroine that shone today. Hakuei, though a more youthful character, has definitely proven her ideals with her actions and the limits that she pushed. Even though Ryosai did everything in his power to tarnish the rosy goals of the princess, she kept her calm and did not waver. She believed in the honesty of others and defended that honesty to a near-death experience (though as a side note: my Djinn, how durable these main characters are!). Perhaps the moment that she proved herself best was during the confrontation with the Kouga clan and her refusal to dodge. I was VERY surprised that she took that blow and risked her life, relying on the person to not absolutely kill her. Instead of distrust, she placed faith in the humanity of mankind, and physically stood for her ideals. It’s a powerful statement and risk that she took, also without plot armor, that truly strikes a chord both with the Kouga clan (that’s good-natured at heart) and with ourselves (who applaud Hakuei for being a badass).
But where Baba’s story ends, Hakuei’s only begins. Interesting implications arise as Hakuei has been deemed by another Djinn, Paimon, as a “potential king” of sorts. Whilst Hakuei may be a great person to take up any sort of rule, it has also been hinted in previous episodes that Ali Baba, and perhaps more, have been chosen as “potential kings”. This is exactly the reason why I do not hold Magi back for its shallow protagonists thus far: I can already see there will be tension between well-meaning characters, creating multiple “worthy victors” that make for a more interesting story. Magi so far has attempted to handle conflicts with diplomatic means, only resorting to physical conflict when all else fails. I’m looking forward to how the various characters will give, take, ally, and reluctantly oppose each other, all to reach this common goal around becoming “king”.
Next week, we get to see what many people have been waiting for: an episode focused on Morgiana! Finally, we get to see a little insight into the quietest, yet significant character of the show.