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Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – 01 »« Magi – 23, 24

Magi – 25 (END)

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「アリババとアラジン」 (Aribaba to Arajin)
“Alibaba and Aladdin”

Followers of the manga, I understand the pain that this episode has caused you, but that will not be the focus of this piece (until the final impressions). Seen from a pure anime standpoint, Magi delivered a pretty good ending while also hinting at the events that are yet to transpire. Yes, there is at least one plot hole (if there are more please point them out), yet the show manages to tie up many loose ends nicely, revealing key information about Aladdin’s homeland and the international conflicts that are about to arise. The animation and drawing has also taken a turn for the better, with the battle scenes (specifically, SOME battle scenes) properly illustrating how the tide of battle can be turned with ingenuity, a bit of luck, and magical objects of great and awesome power.

Some shows this season have failed to deliver proper closure, perhaps due to bad directing or in anticipation for a second season. Magi has been exempted from this group and thankfully leaves us with many of our curiosities quenched, yet teases enough at the bigger mysteries that lie ahead. The fantastical former land of Alma Toran, ruled by the legendary first king Solomon, finally reared its head this week. It seems to be the place of origin for many of the more legendary and mysterious characters in the show, including Aladdin, Ithnan, and the djinn (in human form). As a tragically destroyed paradise ravaged by a war between followers of the white and black rukh, Alma Toran’s fate foreshadows Aladdin’s ultimate goal will be: preventing the same fate from befalling the current world. We already are seeing what tactics Al-Thamen are setting up to accomplish their goal of destruction, though the people they influence are probably misguided souls like Ithnan. From the glimpses of the rest of the Kou family, which presumably includes the top general of the Kou Army and the current queen, their initial appearances do not seem malicious, but rather inspired to fight for complete unification. However, with various parts of the Kou Royal Family now in direct conflict with one another (examples being Kougyoku and Hakuryuu against the family), there is no doubt that internal conflict will be the family’s first and greatest challenge. With Judal nudging the empire to go on a full-on offensive against the Seven Seas Alliance, we can expect the second season to have a heavy focus on developing this escalating conflict.

Before that escalates, there are questions within Sindria that need be asked. First, what’s the story behind Sinbad’s conflicting rukh and what does this imply? Although it’s been long hinted that there is a well-hidden side to Sinbad that may indicate a darker presence, but the presence of actual dark rukh brings Sinbad’s intentions to an entirely different level. Since the black rukh indicates a cursing of one’s fate, does Sinbad have a grudge against his past, but have hope for the future? After all, Sinbad’s rukh shines bright white when inspiring others, which may lead us to believe that Sinbad’s dark rukh comes from a personal struggle against fate, rather than the fate of his environment. Second, what is Yamraiha’s connection with Magnostadt? Since Dunya’s entire family was massacred due to the uprising of Magnostadt, what role if any did Yamraiha play in that rebellion? If we are to believe her words of being an exceptional magician, we can guess that Yamraiha had some close connections with those in Magnostadt before moving to Sindria. With Jafar and now Yamraiha being suspect of having darker pasts, I’m getting a feeling that all the generals have some sort of dark past that was redeemed by chance encounter with Sinbad. The current trend also reveals that we’ll most likely get to see glimpses of the other countries that the generals hail from, if the epilogue spoke any truth as to the scope of the next season.

Before even all of THAT escalates further, our current team of heroes must celebrate the victory at hand. What seemed like a hopeless battle against Sindria was deflected in the nick of time, and Ithnan and Dunya, both puppets of the same organization, finally found their peace. Alibaba’s insistence on refusing to hate anyone and fighting as little as he can is a bright spot in what seems like insurmountable amounts of hopelessness. Such a stance has paid off well, as Kassim pays off the suffering he’s caused Alibaba by protecting him to the very end. Though it’s a weak explanation for why Alibaba won’t die as a result of the dark djinn transformation (he won’t, trust me), it does give some more closure to the brothers’ relationship. Now the group can rest their wounds (especially Hakuryuu and his new arm) as they prepare for the adventures that lie ahead.

Due to immediate announcements that Magi’s second season will already be airing for the fall, I will keep my final impressions short, saving a more in-depth reflection for the second season’s end. Despite that, let’s reflect a bit on how Magi has adapted itself to the animated world.

Final Impressions of the First Season

I’ll say it immediately–this adaption has me shaky on A-1′s ability to preserve consistent quality in its episodes. Overall, the material for Magi is engaging, its characters full of potential to develop, and its approach to the issues of slavery, nationalism, government, and morality have kept the plot interesting and the character developments rolling. Though I initially criticized the antagonists for being too shallow, later antagonists presented a backstory to us that was hard to not sympathize with–though their deeds are murderous, their souls are misguided and blinded, taken advantage of by those who seek to wreck havok upon a post-Solomon world. Morgiana, as well as other characters such as Hakuei and Baba, presented strong female roles that didn’t feel forced, each with their own blend of independence and caring for others. Alibaba, though initially a wimp and unable to do much, is slowly transforming into a man worthy to be king–though a long journey still awaits within Alibaba’s development, the progress he’s made so far is admirable and consistent with the values of Solomon’s rukh. For a show of this type, Magi has done a great job unveiling and portraying each character’s meaningful side, without of course losing out on the excitement and action of physical conflict.

It would’ve been great, if not for two major difficulties. First, the apparent drop in production values for certain episodes came close to ruining entire episodes because it was so terrible. Though we have much to be thankful for that the finale was properly produced and timed, the preceding episodes, beginning with the end of the Balbadd arc, came close to being completely unacceptable in terms of pacing and animation. The much awaited Morgiana dance scene was terribly done, certain fight scenes were obviously brushed off till the last minute, faces were drawn funky, and the list goes on. It was most apparent when the seiyuu sounded forced in their line delivery, where awkward pauses and poorly written lines permeated entire segments. I hope, I truly hope that they fixed many of these problems in the DVD/BD releases (PLEASE redraw Morgiana’s dance), because no one in their right mind would want to buy the episodes where what I can assume bad outsourcing options were used. For shows that feature action scenes of a graphic manner, it is inexcusable to skimp on that part of the budget.

The second difficulty, while somewhat excusable, is still pretty tragic. People have continued to express to me the various plot items that have been omitted from the adaption, and after reading some of what HAS been omitted, I’m a bit disappointed myself. As an anime-only watcher for the most part, having only read manga bits to clarify what was omitted, this adaption hasn’t been terrible, but it hasn’t been great in being faithful. Most of the material still managed to reveal itself, but some of the moments that proved to be quite popular in the original source material found themselves nonexistent (fat Aladdin). Putting this into consideration when looking at the second season…one can only hope that they do a better job in properly translating the important bits to the screen. I fully understand there are time constraints and production limits, but some of the decisions made this season are disagreeable to followers of the manga. Since this seemed to be an issue that permeated many of A-1′s productions this season, we can only cross our fingers that they’ll learn from those multiple mistakes in two seasons.

For now, Magi has ended, allowing watchers to cool down before continuing the journey in the fall. Though blogging this was outside of my comfort zone, the fairly unique premise of the Middle East and its mythology was fascinating to explore. Though little is actually based on the original thousand and one nights other than names, it was refreshing to see a setting outside of Japan. It was my pleasure to blog this and if time and schedule permits, I will continue to blog this when the series continues in the fall. Until then, thank you dear reader for following along thus far, and I hope to see you again two seasons from now!

Full-length images: 2, 13, 14, 18, 25, 31.

Epilogue:

Magi   25   49 Magi   25   50 Magi   25   51
Magi   25   52 Magi   25   53 Magi   25   54
Magi   25   55 Magi   25   56 Magi   25   57

End Card

Magi   25   End Card
April 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm
46 comments »
  • April 3, 2013 at 8:33 pmKitty

    As far as anime original endings go, Magi S1 wasn’t that terrible! Anyone remember the first Full Metal Alchemist? I felt the last two episode neatly wrapped everything up. WE FINALLY got to see Sinbad’s awesome battle mode, and it nicely set up for S2. I’m super excited for Hakuryuu’s cousins! Thank you for the blogging!

  • April 3, 2013 at 8:35 pmIchijou raku

    nah, no worries. there’s a continuation of this at fall right? BTW, who’s the green link look-a-like dude?

    • April 3, 2013 at 8:39 pmKitty

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 3, 2013 at 8:45 pmZanibas

      From what I know, that’s incorrect. It most likely is
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 3, 2013 at 8:49 pmKitty

        XD you are so right! They look the same in pictures. Curses! Thanks for the clarification Zanibas.

      • April 3, 2013 at 11:41 pmdiaz

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 4, 2013 at 12:48 amCrook

        Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:08 pmBaKaYaRou

    I always liked her since she was shown at the manga but seeing her full colored in the anime version, it multiplied it alot XD..

    Loli fanboy here XD

    Zanibas: had to edit this a bit to avoid spoilers :P

    • April 6, 2013 at 1:11 pmIchijou raku

      loli fanboy? gyahaha made me laugh so much since… Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:10 pmOwaranai

    For adaptations, Magi did pretty decent, even though there were quite a few significant plot-related scenes missing. I think the turn of focus on Ithnan to having been supposedly redeemed gives a little more dimension to his character, and the story tied up quite nicely. What I didn’t really like that much was the battles with the generals – a little weak, if you ask me, though I might have already been spoilt by other series with great combat sequences. Otherwise its not too bad.

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:23 pmcaramel_cod

    That old wizard is, in my opinion, one of the most compelling and well written characters in recent manga. I greatly look forward to his introduction in the anime.

    • April 3, 2013 at 10:57 pmKoroshiyaKi

      Dumblemort here we come

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:35 pmTre

    For some reason I thought it was hilarious to see Yamraiha’s more conservative dress style after the battle.

    She had to learn the hard way not to wear those seashells in battle.

    • April 4, 2013 at 5:23 pmMacrossFan

      Those seashells actually serve a purpose in battle. I don’t think that the anime made it very clear but all of her ornaments (the seashells on her chest and the conch shells on her ears) are actually magic tools that are infused with her magoi and can be used in spells when broken.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      She may be in a more conservative dress now because she may need time to repair her broken tools.

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:40 pmstarss

    Do we know for certain that there will be a second season?

    • April 3, 2013 at 9:41 pmZanibas

      Yes, the announcement came directly after the final episode ended. Also, the website has an announcement on it too.

    • April 4, 2013 at 1:05 amK C M

      The second season will premiere in the fall of 2013.

  • April 3, 2013 at 9:43 pmZanibas

    Commenters, please avoid spoiling people by not using character names that have not been introduced yet and not stating what their role in the story is. I know it’s tempting, but if you must, put it in spoiler tags!

  • April 3, 2013 at 10:06 pmTingster013

    Is King Solomon featured here? This guy http://randomc.net/image/Magi/Magi%20-%2025%20-%20Large%2036.jpg?

    • April 3, 2013 at 10:23 pmZanibas

      Yup. Fairly good shot of him too~

      • April 4, 2013 at 9:02 pmPtolemaios00

        He resembles Judal by quite a bit…

  • April 3, 2013 at 10:34 pmbodyvamp

    I’didn’t necessarily mind them leaving out things like fat Alibaba since i can understand leaving things out because of budget or time issues.
    The whole story about Alibaba becoming a black King is a different story since those weren’t changes that could be justified by tight time shedule or to short budget and could hurt the continuity of the story.

    I really hope they will stick closer to the source material when they adapt the next season and only make changes where changes are truly necessary.

  • April 3, 2013 at 11:10 pmKoroshiyaKi

    Leaving out fat Alibaba and Aladdin did make me sad but it was still acceptable. But the fast pacing and the changes at the end were quite irritating and bad choices. I initially had this pegged to end at the end of Balbadd with the start of another season being the journey to Sindra and ending around you know when with the start of the third season being when Aladdin goes to you know where and ends past where it is now. Oh well… Pray they take their time with the upcoming material.

  • April 3, 2013 at 11:59 pmBlanc

    The ending was decent for an anime-wrap up. It seemed to me like A-1 wanted to merge elements of Zagan and the 2nd Sindria arc together. Guess they also wanted to showcase Folacor’s Djinn Equip before season 1 ended. The anime gave Morgiana more of a role. In the manga…(manga spoilers below)
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 4, 2013 at 6:26 pmMacrossFan

      That snake bite on Alibaba always bothered me because

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 3, 2013 at 11:59 pmbaseone

    Is that Zagan, (Op)Paimon and Amon? and are those the Djinns in their past lives?

    All in all good anime and looking forward to season 2.

  • April 4, 2013 at 12:09 amChisel

    Out of curiosity, what were the plot-related scenes and major changes made in the adaptation compared to the manga? Think I’ll go read those parts before season 2 premieres. Already read the fat Aladdin and Alibaba scene; it was pretty funny but not that important overall.

    • April 4, 2013 at 4:24 amk

      The snake appeared too early.
      The way Hakuryuu loses his arm was different. Alibaba’s character.
      Alibaba never takes on Dunya’s dark djinn equip. Aladdin dives into Dunya’s rukh to save her.

      The black rukh curse and dark djinn fights arc came after the four returned from Zagan.

  • April 4, 2013 at 1:19 amK C M

    Like I said before this Anime has a lot of potentials to become one of the greatest japanese Manga/Animes and it’s a good thing that it’s taking a break and will return with a second season because I wouldn’t like another filler episode type of Anime like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece etc. Frankly speaking it would be better for Magi if it breaks away from other filler types and takes breaks between seasons to give the Manga space and the story to go further so as to continue with the plot. That will make the show great and better.

  • April 4, 2013 at 1:27 amK C M

    I also think that since this Manga/Anime is based on the tales of the One Thousand And One Nights that the Manga and Anime will conclude on its 1001 chapter and 1001 episode respectively. That is if the Author can pull it off to set it off that way.

  • April 4, 2013 at 3:50 amSekai

    It was a really good series overall, though hopefully in future A1 won’t skimp out on animation and pacing quality. I’ll definitely begin reading the manga from around the Sindria arc.

    Though I have to say, I LOVED the music played when Sinbad took out Ithnan. Truly felt like the power of a King there. However, the track isn’t on the first OST, so can someone let me know if there’ll be a second one coming out?

    • April 4, 2013 at 4:26 amk

      Read the manga from the beginning. The first part of the anime also compresses a lot of things.

      Around 12 or 13 volumes compressed into 25 episodes. Can you imagine just how much got left out?

      • April 4, 2013 at 5:55 pmMacrossFan

        Here is how the manga to anime conversion breaks down:

        Balbadd arc: 76 chapters in 17 episodes = 4.5 chapters/episode
        Sindria arc: 39 chapters in 8 epsidoes = 4.8 chapters/episode

        Overall the pacing in the Sindria arc shouldn’t have been that bad given how solid most of the Balbadd arc was. While it was fast, the Balbadd arc remained incredibly faithful to the manga material while the Sindria arc was a complete mess in my opinion. I believe the main reason for this was that A-1 wasn’t entirely sure they weren’t going to get a second go at the series and the Sindria arc ends more mutely in the manga so A-1 juggled around the events to create an “impactful” ending to the season by having a big battle scene (much to the harm of the story).

        One thing that bothers me is Hakuryuu managed to meet Zagan without Aladdin nearby. Remember that Alibaba required Aladdin to enter Amon’s treasure room (the door required two different people to push open) which implied that dungeons required a Magi to lead king candidates through them. The anime sweeps that detail away. Now there is the case of how Sinbad got all of his djinns when he states that he did it himself while pissing off Judar, but he seems to be a special case. This is a case of the anime screwing around with the story and making a contradiction in the world in the process.

        I don’t know how the second season is going to pan out. lets say that it requires about 115 manga chapters to draw from and right now there are only 64 chapters right now. A six month break will give A-1 another 24 chapters assuming no breaks (unlikely) which is not enough and will require a lot of “creativity” on A-1′s part. Given what they did with the Sindria arc, I’m not very confident.

  • April 4, 2013 at 4:38 amSeishun

    I’m not too pleased with the changes made in the finale of season one as well. It seems very unnecessary, especially if they were planning to produce a second season all along. Hakuryuu who is my favorite character in the series should get some decent character development in the second season if they stick to the source material, and I really hope they do.
    Great review by the way, Zanibas Banzais \o/

    • April 4, 2013 at 6:18 pmMacrossFan

      I can see why they made the changes they did in the Sindria arc when you look at how the manga ends it:

      Show Spoiler ▼

      As you can see, it’s not very climactic and A-1 decided to spice things up by creating a battle at the end but in doing so created a lot of contradictions in the world, deleted some character progression and removed a lot of the foreshadowing to later events.

  • April 4, 2013 at 5:30 amKurisu Vi Britannia

    Every season we’re given great anime adaptions that are stomped into the ground by terrible choices.

    Long live manga!

  • April 4, 2013 at 5:37 amMi-Chan

    I enjoyed Magi, regardless of what the Manga is based about, if I had known the manga does exist, or the comparisons made, I would have found the ending to be more fitting and a good build up for season 2. Of course, I always feel a bit taken aback when I read things people say were missed from the anime but rather are in the manga, they always sounded like fun and enjoyable aspects to go through in an anime, so why didn’t they take those scenes? that is kind of the only setback, but if people hadn’t warned me of the differences in the manga, I’d have enjoyed it much more. Maybe it was a marketing strategy who knows, we’ll not base the anime ont he manga season1 , and then make people read it, and make a better season 2 xD Manga sales up! lol of course probably not the case, just would be fun if so..

    I wished Magi would be like Chihayafuru, faithful to the manga. Nevertheless, thanks for your review Zanibas it was fun to read through out. Great show, great story, perhaps missing the 15% that would make it epic which is if it was closely based on the manga. I might go read the manga up to this scene and then stop and wait for season 2. I enjoy the emotional ride of animes more.

    Cheers,
    M.

  • April 4, 2013 at 5:47 amricz

    Can anyone help me?
    Did the anime follow the manga? If yes
    I want to know at what chapter of the manga did the anime end XD

    Thanks in advance :P

    • April 4, 2013 at 5:55 ambodyvamp

      The anime goes up to chapter 116 but they changed quite a lot of the Zagan Arc.
      It would probably be better if you reread the whole Arc starting from chapter 77.

      • April 4, 2013 at 7:35 pmricz

        Thank you
        I’ll start reading it now
        Reading it from the start is time consuming…especially since i’m a slow reader

  • April 4, 2013 at 8:23 amLiche

    Not too bad, even the original story was sort of amusing and in the end they didn’t really change all that much in the last episode (at least I expected them to change a lot more since they were going for an original ending.)

    One thing that did really annoy me through the series was the BGM, it was really annoying at some times because it didn’t fit the atmosphere.
    If I were to choose the composer for this series’ BGM I’d pick Takanashi Yasuharu who did a brilliant job for Fairy Tail, but surprised me even more with the Oda Nobuna no Yabou OST. He really switched styles in such a good way I think he’d make a perfect Middle East themed OST for Magi.

    Oh well… I guess it won’t happen in the end, but one can still dream no?

  • April 4, 2013 at 8:34 amShiina

    she’s really cute
    http://randomc.net/image/Magi/Magi%20-%2025%20-%2053.jpg
    who could thought she actually over 200 year old

    • April 4, 2013 at 6:26 pmSpades

      there’s a reason why, the manga revealed the reason only 2 chapters ago. Though I feel most fans already were able to guess why

  • April 4, 2013 at 11:44 amRyoushi

    is it just me that Morgiana is sexy?

  • April 4, 2013 at 3:12 pmNierTevra

    fairly decent test run, if u ignore the mess from the last few eps deviating from the manga…still looking forward to more though…

  • April 4, 2013 at 6:39 pmSpades

    Despite changing this the anime more or less stayed true to the mangas ideals. If they went with the manga’s story they wouldn’t of had a season finale type feel at all, some people might actually prefer the manga’s way of dealing with it. Though I think everyone would be upset for not meeting Zagan