Happy endings are worth fighting for.

After its first season, some said the Magi anime didn’t deserve the second season it was getting. If so, they made good of the chance they were given. From story to animation, character development to action, from heart-wrenching tragedy, complex villains, lots of Extreme Magic, and a climax that built on everything that came before it, the anime found redemption.

I’m prone to gushing when it comes to fantasy series, and high fantasy with plenty of magical combat is so far up my wheelhouse it’s hard to remain objective, so I’m not going to try. I can tell you that the two biggest complaints about Season 1 – the animation and the unnecessary anime original ending – were rectified.

On the animation front, while it wasn’t at KyoAni/ufotable level, it never dipped anywhere near as low as the awful treatment they gave Morgiana’s dance in Season 1. About the worse I can say is that when characters started chaining Extreme Magic back-to-back-to-back, sometimes these epic spells got downgraded into simple beams of light. I’m reaching for critiques though. The animation was usually good, and was never a chore to watch.

As for the ending, I honestly don’t know if this was anime original or not. There were a few small things that made me think it might have been (feel free to enlighten me in the comments below, manga readers – though watch those future spoilers), but it fit a lot better than Season 1’s ending. This one had real repercussions on the story – the destruction of Magnostadt, the alliance between Leam and the Seven Seas Alliance, Scheherazade’s life & death, Kouen’s coming knowledge about the truth of the world – which makes me doubt it was anime original. Plus, it was really, really good! It’s a special show that makes me literally pump my fist in the air and whoop aloud in joy, but the last few episodes had me doing that multiple times. What a ride!

What I liked about the first season of Magi was the mix of adventure and grand scale. Like my beloved Log Horizon and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, after the first arc we began operating on the world stage with the trouble in Balbadd. This season went above and beyond by getting the rest of the world involved. The Kou Empire, Leam, Magnostadt, the rest of the Seven Seas Alliance, and even the other magi all got in on the fun, and DAMN did that make for some explosive storylines. We even saw the Big Bad reveal herself, and I did not see that coming. I said to beware of spoilers in the excerpt, right? Okay, so Gyokuen is a magi and she’s from Alma Torran @#$%@&^%*#$ AHHH!!

Speaking of villains, the ones we saw this season were pleasantly complex. Okay, not so much Gyokuen, who is batshit crazy nuts to a world-shattering degree – though honestly I’m fine with that in the Big Bad, because it makes her far more dangerous, and it will be very sweet to see everyone team up to take her down, I hope – but definitely Mogamett. There was so much to hate about Mogamett, with his bigotry for the goi, but the love he showed for his magicians was real. He was a fallen man, one who became so warped by the tragedies of his life that he let prejudice take control of him. He was undeniably a villain, or at least an antagonist, but it’s a lot easier to see yourself in Mogamett’s place than it is crazy Gyokuen’s.

Another star was Titus. The sign of a good tragic character is one where, every time his or her impending death is brought up (or eventually realized), you sit there going “Nooooo, I want them to live!!” It didn’t take long after we learned the truth about Titus for me to be saying that every single time. Up until the final part of the last episode I was looking for a way out, and then the ghost of Scheherazade says it should be Titus, her child who goes back down…and I wept. Way to go, loli-baba. You were a good mother in the end *tears up*

There were other enigmas. I still can’t decide who is more dangerous, Kouen, Sinbad, or maybe even Hakuryuu, who has forsaken his friends in exchange for…I’m not sure what, yet. Yunan hasn’t shown his hand, I would have liked to see more of Morgiana, and more of Alibaba’s training in Leam as well (though in exchange we got a very good training arc for Aladdin, so I really can’t complain), and…I’m just listing wishes now.

Bottom line: While the first season of Magi had undeniable weaknesses, the second season rectified them and then some. It’s epic fantasy of the type I love, with characters both heroic and tragic, plots that spanned the breadth of the world (and beyond), and a final showdown that sends chills down your spine. I’m glad director Masunari Koji and his team got a chance to keep going, even if maybe they didn’t deserve it.

Special request: Can anyone tell me what chapter of the manga the anime adapted up to? Since I’m not sure this will get another season, I’m considering switching over to the manga. Thanks!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Missing the point; You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write; Right, not best; and Three lessons from the editing desk.


  1. I really enjoyed the last 10 episodes. The awefull taste after the anime original ending from season 1 is nowhere to be found at all. Hoping for another season since the story got me curious for more now.

    1. Same here! I was really glad that they stuck through the manga plot properly this time, I mean I was really really surprised they pulled out an anime ending when they had enough material to go around the first season! It was completely unnecessary and would just piss off a lot of fans (I mean seriously since when do anime original endings or animes that dont follow the source material was ever good?), I was pissed off too but I gave the second season a chance and boy was I glad I did.

      The fight scenes, the complex villains (Mogamett), the down right evil villains (Al-Thamen), Magis, Magics, adventures, comedy scenes, drama, and the damn awesome Extreme Magics were just great to see animated!

      Unfortunately the bad news is that with this season pretty much caught up to most of the material in the manga, so we are in for a loooongggg wait for a third season, but I’m fine with it so long as it sticks to the manga.

  2. Gyouken probably has her reasons to have lost faith in humanity, just they haven’t been revealed like with Mogamett. I suspect there is more to Al Thamen’s method than madness.

    1. I don’t know. They’d have to do a lot to get her to the levels of complexity that Mogamett was at. He was a brilliantly complex character.

      Though I recall, right before Ithnan (one of the Al-Thamen guys, the one with long hair) was killed, he mentioned something about the path they were taking being the only way to achieve real freedom. There might be reason behind their madness.

  3. Stilts, the anime covers exactly up to chapter 198, the end of Volume 20. The latest chapter is 220. The ending changed very little compared to the manga – mainly just rearranged a few scenes and compressed a bit some others. In summary yes, this was quite good.

      1. You should reread chapter 198 for the scene where Kougyoku almost gets brainwashed by Sinbad when he was accused of having a trump card. Also in that chapter is a small explanation about Yunan that was also left out of the anime.

      1. Ah man, I take that as a bad news, but I really really hope that the 3 main cast: Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgianna is spared from it all. Since i know there’s going to be an all out war and bloodshed so it is most likely that a lot of characters will die.

        For me, so long as the 3 main cast is sparred, I would be completely fine with it. Although I really would prefer if Kougyoku stays alive together with the main cast.

  4. All they needed to do was cover 5 more chapters… *sighs*

    It’ll probably be about 2 or 3 years before Magi even has a hope of getting another season and even if it doesn’t, at least it went out with a bang. My only complaint is the second season needed more Morgiana. And Kougyoku for that matter. But you can’t help the source material.

    Speaking of Kougyoku, pretty sure they took out the scene where Sinbad gets ready to mind control her in case Kouen doesn’t back down before Yunan intervenes. (Sinbad’s such a prick, but he’s so boss… I’m conflicted.)

    This’ll definitely be one of the shows I miss. I looked forward to it every Sunday and I’m sad to see it go.

    I’ll miss the 9nine ending too. Great song.

    1. Agreed on the ending – that was one of the better play-over-the-show-while-something-awesome-is-happening songs. I still remember when it was going while Mogamett incited his magicians to stand up, up, up…! *chills*

    2. Oh yeah, that ending was great on it’s own.

      Also I would like to get more Morgiana and Kougyoku as well. I especialy love the later. Partly cause I love when during fights she is angry… That HanaKana voice – love it! She fits perfectly to that kind of character. I also loved her as Iris Heart in Neptunia.

  5. Well, I mostly agree. Plotwise it was much better than what we got in 2nd half of 1st season but it has got a lot of minor issues as well as few bigger ones and one of those and the point of my disagreement with your opinion is animation quality. I think it was poor to average with good moments at best. We got a lot of still images in episodes 3+ (untill meeting between Kouha and Aladdin) and even the fights at the end was sometimes turned into spaming beams and explosions. Nevertheless I love characters and world depicted in this story and enjoyed it every week. It was good. Sadly it could be much better with the proper adaptation but only a few good stories will ever get the one they deserve.

    I’m glad lately you put on RC some final impressions snapshots for shows that weren’t covered here. Would be nice to get a few more, especially for titles that were really good but no one got enough time to give them credit or for those that were find out too late to start writing about them.

    1. Hmmm, well I respect that. I don’t focus on animation quality that much, so if it doesn’t get in the way – which it did during Season 1, and did not during Season 2 – it’s good enough for me most of the time. That doesn’t mean it’s great I guess, it’s just not a problem.

      And we’re definitely trying to do more snapshot final impressions. Glad to hear they’re appreciated!

  6. Do the Kou princes and warriors(ie. Kouen & others) actually know of the Empress’s true intentions of bringing the Alma Torran darkness into the world, and are conspiring with her & Al Thamen openly?

    Or are they unknowing of Gyokuen’s motives,given they helped prevent the darkness from descending?

    1. I dont think they know at all. I seems only Hakuryu knows that the Kou Empress is a villain, but I dont think even he knows she’s related to Al-Thamen.

      Unfortunate but it seems Kou is unknowingly housing the biggest villain of the series.

  7. Personally speaking i have to say the first season was much better. Yes the anime original ending kind of put a damper on things but that alone didn’t stop me from enjoying it more.

    I still liked this season as well but I just don’t like how Morgiana and Alibaba got completely shoved to the side while the show exclusively focused on Aladdin for the most part after they left each other. We get to see absolutely none of what Morgiana was up to which upset me since she has been my favorite of the trio. Alibaba got a little more love but not nearly enough since we don’t even see him use his equip when the story cuts from him.

    I think the first season had a perfect balance of character development and story progression as well as world building while here they kind of just stuck to advancing the overall story and powering up the cast (even though we were really only shown Aladdin getting stronger).

    We are introduced to characters who will no doubt be important in the future like Titus and Kouen + his subordinates but i never really found them to be that interesting (though i’ll admit i do have somewhat of a soft spot for Titus). I also have to say i don’t like how long and drawn out the battles have become now. This final battle with the medium took what 3 or 4 episodes to finish? At times it felt like was watching DBZ battle or something. It’s only entertaining to see characters using the same attacks, getting powered up just to do the same things again and having characters shouting “WOW LOOK WHAT THAT GUY DID!” before it gets old.

    I know they have to cover whatever they can with the limited amount of time they have so they probably had to skip over things but it still bummed me out quite a bit. I still have can’t wait for whatever comes next in the series but i hope that Morgiana and Alibaba get more attention than they did here.

    1. We get to see absolutely none of what Morgiana was up to which upset me since she has been my favorite of the trio.

      Manga readers, does the manga also not telling about this part? Or is it just like the anime: Mor met up with Yunan and jumped straight to Magnostat?

    2. Honestly, this is just the risk you take (as a storyteller) when you have a large cast of characters. That means everyone can find someone to root for, but it also means that if you don’t focus on all of them fairly equally – which is sometimes necessary, if that’s what the plot demands – you can turn off some readers when you’re focusing on the characters they don’t like as much.

      That doesn’t mean this season was any worse (or better, for Aladdin fans), just that it wasn’t focusing on what was of interest to you. Though I disagree on the DBZ point, because each episode showed a lot of definite movement rather than three episodes to get in one punch and a lot of talking, lol

    3. I have to agree with leatherhead333 (by the way are you the same user on FFS?)

      This is the first time I am hearing the first season was average. Which I never thought was the case. Now that season 2 is over, the first season in my opinion is still much better. Season 1 has a balance through out from character development, villains, fights and plot, with season 2 it was all over the place. Though I must say, Gyouken revealed as a Magi from Alma Torran totally blew me away.

      I was hoping season 2 could have answered more questions posed in the former season, like who/what exactly is Aladdin; who’s Djinn is Ugo has hinted by Judar; how Judar fell; wands – Aladdin adopted someone else’s wand; and from early season 2; what was Oba’s/Aladdin’s wand as hinted by Mogamett, that it was no odinary wand; what Sinbad’s end game is.

      Speaking about who I think is quite a dangerous character of all that Stilts mentions, is most definitely Sinbad for all the right and wrong reasons.

      Even Aladdin is still very cautious around him, which makes me even question how the Seven Seas Alliance was formed in the first place, and how some of the members have their kin/offspring in Sindria. Jafar even ponders on how far Sinbad is willing to go to achieve is motive.

      I feel if the series had ended with season 1, it would have been good, as a whole with season 2 to me, just made me view the series average.

      Someone clarify this for me. Season 2: The episode when the Kou-Empire summons all their house members, the scene where Kouen is speaking with Hakuryuu and Hakuei, and Kougyoku is ease-dropping. I’m pretty sure Kougyoku sees a vision of something. Not sure what it was, I kind of assumed whatever that thing/person was would play some role in the story plot. Unfortunately it was never shown again or was I seeing something totally different?

  8. I haven’t watched the last episode yet (no time) and I didn’t start reading the manga until people brought up how different it was from season 1.

    To be honest, I didn’t mind the story in season 1 at all being oblivious to the manga. And even after reading the manga it didn’t bother me all THAT much. That said, I’ve been reading only up to where the episodes end in the manga, and as far as I can tell, other than that people in the manga get a lot more bloodied up (or minor characters are actually killed) the story followed it faithfully.

    A minor quell I have is that the animation sometimes leave out important 1 liner information 😐

  9. This is undeniably one of the best anime I’ve seen. I dont really get what was so bad about Season 1, probably because I dont read the manga. The whole Kashim and Balbadd arc took too many episode and began to feel like a drag, but that’s about it.

    Season 2 definitely blew it away though. And its probably the reason I love this anime so much. Morgamett was NOT a villain, he just had antagonistic qualities but he was someone people could sympathize with a lot. In fact, one of the best thing about this show is that they make me care about almost every faction. There is no “enemy faction” and “good guy faction”. The show made us think that Kou was the bad guys and Sindria are the good guys but even that became a gray area as the story progresses.

    And as someone with no patience, I’ve started reading the manga after Season 2 ended. Sad to say there arent nearly enough chapters for a season 3 anytime soon.

    All in all, this was a great anime. I’m a big fans of these fantasy type animes with swords and magic, so when one was done well like this, it’s just a bigger treat. A shame that Legend of the Legendary Heroes didnt perform well as I would love a second season of that, as it was one of the most intriguing fantasy animes I’ve seen before I saw Magi.

    1. For the record, sympathetic villains are still villains. A villain is simply “a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot”, and Mogamett certainly fits. He just isn’t a two-dimensional card carrying villain (trope!) like some less complex villains.

      1. The thing about Morgamett though, is that generally when you see a villain, you can tell “oh he’s a bad guy”. But in his case I was pretty much unsure the entire time during Aladdin’s training arc. With the way he gave Aladdin info despite knowing he had an agenda and the way he helped and accepted Tidus, those arent qualities of a villain. He did bad things with the way he mistreated Goi’s sure, but his past kinda shows us why. And it’s not like his end goal is world domination or destroying our hero’s nations or whatever. He just wanted an independent country to protect the magicians in his village. Leam and Kou were the ones who attacked Magnoshatlt in the first place that provoked the dark djinns after all.

      2. Just because there were other villains afoot doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of them. All that means is that he was a complex character. He sure as hell wasn’t a hero, and his [evil] actions had a major influence on the plot, so he was a villain.

        Don’t put too much focus on this. The hero/villain dichotomy is just a storytelling structure. Whatever Mogamett was, he was an interesting character.

  10. looking back a little, magi 2nd season started bad..it had the feeling of the 1st season ending which I didn’t like. not only because of fillers, but also because it didn’t hit me.
    however, when the group parted ways, it has started to become very interesting – more politics, more magic and great battle, more info about the world, harsh conflicts and some dark elements. the more time passed, I was eager to see more and more until the very end.

    it’s as if magi has become so good in an instant but actual, ant truth to be told – it was really great. but it wasn’t perfect. aside from “Meh” start, sometimes pace was odd, not to mention I feel like we haven’t been told enough about Alibaba and Morgiana’s journey.

    I intend reading the manga since it was good. but of course, when enough material will be gathered, I hope to see another season even better than that one, because this season was so good in so many elements and it’s as if the ending with all those characters..it’s like there is still to tell us.

    great final impressions review. thanks!

  11. If I remember correctly this season of magi followed the manga exactly except for a few minor changes which isnt a big deal at all. I definitely loved this season and this anime was definitely one of the ones I looked forward to watching on sundays. Now I read the manga so I am up to date so even when we see another season for a while I can tell you this from a manga reader it will definitely be worth the wait. For anyone interested and want to get into the manga from the second season then start at 198 or 199 🙂

  12. I loved this anime and I am sad to see it go, knowing that it may take years for the third season, if it ever happens, that is. Well, at least the Sinbad spin off is getting an OVA!

    In any case, I’ve enjoyed everything this series offered – from the lovable cast, the world of magic it’s been set to, to the plot and plot twists. While it’s always had that “adventurish” feeling, it’s always been fascinating to see the plot touching upon such subjects as slavery, poverty, equality or politics and this is exactly what makes it stand out of many shounens around. Did I mention comedy? While the latest episodes left little to no room for that, the interactions between Aladdin and Kouen or Yunan and Sinbad made me chuckle.

    And yes, this is A1 Pictures we’re talking about so I had to constantly keep my expectations in check – especially after I had caught up with manga – but I have to say, they did a good job. When looking back, the first season had a lot to offer and not even the altered ending changed it for me, so following the second season episode after episode, week after week was a blast. There have been some animation issues, sure, but at the same time, we were provided with some awesome scenes, too. Titus vs. Aladdin probably had one of the most beautiful animation I’ve seen.

    And those soundtracks! So awesome. While I always knew Magi had pretty good music, fitting the arabian setting and what not, it wasn’t till Hakuryuu vs. Gyokuen stand off when I went ahead of myself to look up the entire album. It contains some nice pieces, really.

    Honorable mention, without any doubt, goes to Gyokuen’s voice actress. Damn, whenever that woman spoke, I had chills. Literally.

    Regardless, thanks for your post, Stils! I was a little sad that this wasn’t covered weekly, so seeing this made me happy ;]

    1. No problemo! And yeah, after an especially crazy awesome (emphasis on the crazy) Gyokuen scene, I went and looked up her seiyuu, and now I half think of her as crazy world domination-mode Taiga (Fate/stay night). That doesn’t hurt my enjoyment in the least : )

  13. This season feels like a harry potter movie, we even have an (evil) dumbledore (Mogamett)! I liked this season much better than the first (except for the first arc – the pirates, which seemed really slow paced) but for the rest of the story and the growing conflicts are really interesting to see.

  14. I agree about her voice actress, Gyokuen is creepy but I can’t help but want to listen extra carefully when she speaks.
    I remember feeling that one of the episodes towards the end felt a little dragged out and less epic than the manga, but that’s about all. I really liked this season and I’m really happy to be able to read a review on this! Thanks 😀
    Even though I wanted more of Alibaba and Morgiana, I’m quite happy with the fact that the author is willing to set them aside for a while to show us more important things. I really miss the interactions between the main cast (and Kougyoku and Hakuryuu! Nooo Hakuryuu why) but I really liked how the story turned out! Luckily, I believe the manga will be able to satisfy me for now 😀 I also hope you guys reading the next few chapters have a good laugh…

    Now, one last question. Since Titus is a clone of Scheherazade, how is he a male? I know he looks like a girl and all but he is a he right?!

    1. I imagine Scheherazade didn’t want her “child” to look exactly like her (which would have made spying on Magnostadt kind of hard), but since Titus was a clone the easiest way to do that was to change him into (feminine-looking) guy. As for how she does that, I’m going with “magic”, lol

    2. Gyokuen’s seiyuu, Itou Miki, does a fine job at voicing crazy ladies. Takano from Higurashi and Eva from Umineko, especially.
      Also, random trivia: she’s done some hentai(Moonlight Lady, for one) too, so, uhh, she’s pretty versatile!

  15. Enjoyed this show a lot as well. While the first half of this season was very underwhelming (especially compared to season 1), the second half and epic ending completely redeemed the show and made it worth it!

    Looks like I’ll have to pick up another manga once Lent ends and I can read them again.

  16. Haven’t quite reached the end, but I concur with your thoughts. The first season didn’t quite work for me at the end, but giving the second season a try was probably one of the better decisions I made in watching anime. The premise was compelling with added elements of talking about societies and a smattering of politics and it most certainly helps that much of the content stuck with manga material up till the end.

    One of the best things I get to see in both series is that (excluding Gyokuen and Al-Tharmen) there is no ‘real evil’ person. Mogamett was a prime example, as was Kassim. His portrayal somehow takes you through how Aladdin felt – like he was kinda right, but then he was wrong once he started doing some nasty stuff.

    Would be really cool if they have plans to animate the latest arc from the manga.

  17. ..Love love love love love it!!!!!! Magi is a strong contender of this season no doubt!

    I think it was nice in the first episodes seeing how Hakuryu and the other three have become good friends, his confession to Morgiana and his back-turning to his friends, I can’t wait to find out more about all of this!

    Sinbad made Koen (Sorry for spelling!) look much weaker! and both of them made Ali Baba’s development seem minimal. Though that is what I love about Magi, the main charecter is not the strongest, it is still growing. I missed Alibaba this season 🙁 I wanted more! Sinbad though is at the begining showing that he has some ‘ill intentions’ to what he does, which is still haunts me when I look at him, also he carries a curse that I am still curious about! /season1reference

    The moment when Alibaba tried to shake Koen’s hand and he made him look stupid pissed me off, from the angle that Alibaba sounded fake and the angle that Koen didn’t give a poooo about it!

    Aladin’s growth arc was really wonderful. Yamariha and Mogamett’s final scene made my heart tear up 🙁

    Overall though, I think magi delivered on all angles. I know season 1 didn’t sound amazing for a lot of people, but I think it was great, but season 2 made it even greater!

    Pshhhhhtz I wanted screenies of Shehrezade! I think her story was very sad and Titus return was wonderfu TuT”….

    Sorry I wrote a lot! I was hoping someone on randomc would have posted episode-by-episode review but I was sad it wasn’t done, magi is so good! Cheers, M.

  18. Let’s not forget the music. One of the best anime OST’s out there. Themes like A Storm is Coming to us All, L’Arabesque Danse Toujours, and A Battle so Gallant (make sure to listen to this one all the way to the end) really make everything so much more epic.

    I’m a manga reader, and I really think, all other things being more or less equal, the music was what pushed my enjoyment of the anime beyond what I got from the manga.

    Magi OST (enjoy before it gets removed from too many views): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82VTNyHyWEg

  19. I can’t help but fully agree with you, Stilts. Because I enjoyed the first season, but it was flawed in a lot of ways. The animation got horrible at times, they cut out some important scenes, the Balbadd arc dragged out way too much and the anime original ending was kind of meh.

    Every single one of those flaws has been fixed in this one. Not to say it’s completely flawless now, but the animation is better, the central long arc is epic and far better told and the ending is very satisfying. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel series, and it has been one of the better shows of the last two anime seasons (right alongside stuff like Log Horizon). It certainly exceeded my expectations, anyway.

    The wait for a third season (if we ever get one) is going to be a long one.

  20. So glad Titus is back. Marga and Titus deserve their happy ending!

    I’m in complete agreement that season 2 is much better than season 1, and I refuse to believe Yosino Hiroyuki(worst writer in the anime industry) adapted this season as well, since he was pretty much the reason season 1 had all its problems. Balbadd arc was a drag, and many of the villains in that season were one-note. Cassim was just bland.

    In this season, however, we got a villain like Mogamett. I was never expecting that amount of complexity from him. In the end, I just felt bad for the guy, despite his questionable morals and decisions. And Magnostadt, overall, was a much better arc with strong emotional ties – Marga and Titus, in particular.

    I never expected to like season 2 of Magi, yet week after week it kept blowing me away. Quite the turnaround. So, yeah, season 1 may not have deserved another season, but we were lucky to get a good one, so now I can say season 2 definitely deserves another season.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *