「ソロモンの知恵」 (Soromon no Chie)
“Wisdom of Solomon”
My feelings on this episode are mixed. While I am glad that Aladdin has returned and hope is finally returning to make a stand, there were many aspects of the show that threw me off and prevented my full enjoyment of weekly Magi.
First off, the visual quality control this episode was significantly subar this episode. Many of my caps had to be filtered out due to the amount of animation hiccups, badly drawn faces, and overall what was the product of poorly outsourced in-between animation. I find this to be perplexing since these episodes are supposed to be the most demanding in animation quality due to all the action, but alas, business and time constraints put a toll not easily fixed.
Aside from the poor animation, nothing new particularly developed character-wise this episode save for a few foreshadowing events. It’s quite clear at this point that Ali Baba has history issues holding him back, but reinforcing the idea every time through a one-sided fight is tiresome and repetitive. Ali Baba is an emotionally chained yet inspiring hero, Morgiana is a loyal trooper, and realized that Judal is a cocky villain that has to spit out a line every time he makes an attack. We get that. It makes sense. I would’ve much preferred the fight scenes to have been less dialogue trying to reinforce these ideas and well…more fighting to excite the mood. While the severity of this situation may not be as bad as the dialogue-heavy fights in Index, the sentiment is beginning to rub on me negatively, I hope such repetition is fixed in the future, at the very least to reveal or reinforce less obvious traits about our characters.
Alright, character development wasn’t great this episode, but our knowledge of the Magi universe increased significantly. Although Aladdin’s Wisdom of Solomon stays hidden in a cliffhanger, we do realize that Aladdin’s magic focuses on heat magic, a convenient polar opposite to Judal’s ice magic. This heat magic though extends its capabilities beyond simply generating heat though–Aladdin shows off great capability in manipulating the heat elements in complex shapes, such as the manifestation of Ugo during a shielding (head and all). While this magic alone doesn’t serve much to fight the rukh, Aladdin’s true power comes from hope, aka the strength of others. This makes Aladdin less of an ultimate character and more of a uniting character who uses the contributions of everyone to well…fight the power. On the other side of the spectrum, the dark rukh finally make an explicit appearance, revealing a Djinn which has control over gravity (Bahamut anyone?) as well as the power of endless regeneration in the presence of sufficient dark rukh. The regeneration is an interesting topic though as it brings up the question: why didn’t Ugo just regenerate himself as well? Is regeneration a Djinn specific power? Either way, this boss is madly overpowered, both in sheer magical power and the fact that Ali Baba hesitates several times due to Kassim being buried within…somewhere. Although Sinbad is shown to have knowledge and ability in weakening the beast and Ali Baba has an unwavering desire to defeat it…the power of the dark rukh is overwhelming.
However, that overwhelming power does not shatter the hopes of everyone involved though–the populace of Balbadd still has the will to fight for freedom and peace, for what is just and forgiving. While Aladdin’s presence may have materialized such hopes to be used against the darkness, such hope existed all along thanks to Ali Baba, convincing even the thieves of Sinbad’s gear to return the metal vessels.
The light is a welcome sight to see after an episode and a half of despair against the odds, hopefully signifying the eventual close to this epic arc. Even Kassim deserves his rest, just like all the other allies of Balbadd, after this long and tedious fight against the forces of darkness.