Magi: Episode 3

Recap: Before they can reach the dungeons finish line Aladdin, and Alibaba must face off against the Sharif, and his slaves. Alibaba is shown to be more than he seems as he masterfully displays a martial art taught only to nobility, but his naivety gets the best of him when he tries to convince Morgiana to abandon the Sharif. The invisible chains that bind Morgiana are weakened, and revealed as she is given orders she clearly does not wish to follow through on. Before Morgiana can do anything she will forever regret Aladdin intervenes with his magic, and recovers Ugo.

Awakening to greet Alladin another Djinn appears announcing that the dungeon has been cleared. He goes on to call Aladdin a “magi”, and asks why he has chosen Alibaba as a king. Before all the details of this system for choosing royalty can be discussed more magi show up from outside the dungeon, and being wrecking havoc. Alibaba grabs all the treasure he can, and heads for the magical light lift exit with Morgiana, and Aladdin. Goltas chooses to keep the Sharif locked inside the dungeon sacrificing himself heroically while the rest escape to adventure again another day.

Aladdin deems you unworthy.

Aladdin deems you unworthy.

Lifesong’s Thoughts: This anime continues to be a highlight of the season for me. Now that that the basic premise is established I am even more excited for this anime. To it’s credit Magi has done a lot to establish it’s setting, and it’s characters very quickly. Aladdin is one of the (presumably 3?) Magi who will chose the next king, and seems to have unknowingly chosen Alibaba. I’m curious to see how this might conflict with the choices of the other magi who either seem to have different ideas about who should be king or at least have their own plans of some sort.

The animation picked up a bit this week, but we still have some inconsistency with Goltas stab wounds. Sometimes he has them, sometimes not. The fights this week were a lot of fun regardless though, and I loved the way it was Goltas not Morgiana who betrayed their master setting her free. Yay for characters who feel alive, and such. I wasn’t sure if Mogiana would be able to betray the Sharif or not, but I never expected Goltas to actually be important enough to do that.

That man over there you owe you life to, kill him.

That man over there you owe you life to, kill him.

I love the contrast between Alibaba’s cowardly nature, and his kindness as well as the contrast between Aladdin’s naivety, and his ability to clearly, and wisely understand the situations he is put into dealing with them effectively. I’m curious to see how they will develop from here out. Morgiana is something of an enigma at the moment. Her past is dark, and clouded, but she clearly wishes to return home. I am probably more interested in her home world and race than I am in the character herself at the moment, but I suspect that will change as she develops a bit more.

The pacing feels fantastic to me so I wonder if any of you manga readers are still upset to see how the anime is going down after this episode? I am probably going to pick the manga up sometime this weekend so I’ll be able to comment a bit more concretely on the pacing, and what has been cut. At three episodes in I think it’s fair to say that if you are capable of enjoying a good shonen at all you should be watching this one, even if your not you may want to give it a shot.

His power level is higher than the Sheif!? In before someone calls him a "Mary Sue."

His power level is higher than the Sharif!? In before someone calls him a “Mary Sue.”

Dragonzigg’s Thoughts: This was another excellent episode for Magi, majoring this time in character development instead of visual flair, though there’s still plenty of the latter. We get a little more insight into exactly who or what Aladdin is this time round, with our older Djinn appearing to explain the role and purpose of the Magi, though still not exactly what one is or why they exist. It’s the best kind of exposition, giving us enough to satiate our curiosity for now, but also dangling further questions (though the “I’m about to tell you something important but then I’m cut off” trick is a little old). There’s also soome more insight into Alibaba in this episode, who clearly has had some sort of fight training in the past. Combined with his classical education it’s easy to see that he must once have been some sort of high ranking noble, and finding out why he chose to forsake that life will no doubt be a big part of his story over episodes to come.

I also like the way Morgiana is handled in this episode. Not only does she kick arse with her superhuman powers, the showrunners are again resisting taking the easy way out and just having her join up with our heroes. Instead there’s a much more nuanced portrayal of somebody who’s been a slave for many years, her innate conscience battling the orders of her utterly insane master. That she’s freed from the choice of killing Alibaba might have been a copout, but instead clever writing means it’s a moment of redemption for the hulking Goltas, and sets up a nice parallel between the two slaves – despite his terrifying appearance Goltas is ultimately the same as Morgiana, his malicious acts being forced upon him. In the end, it’s he who takes responsibility for ending the evil of their master, and setting Morgiana free. Is it a little corny? Sure, but it’s done really well and is a satisfying resolution to this first part of Morgiana’s tale.

This guy is a real winner.

This guy is a real winner.

The ending of this first dungeon feels exactly how the ending of an opening act should – the players are assembled, the rules firmly laid down and the scene set. It’s very gratifying Magi has taken it’s time and used three whole episodes to get to this point, where our adventure is only really just beginning. We’re also given a tantalising glimpse of what must surely be our main villain, an evil Magi accompanied by a hidden man (who was presumably the Sharif’s teacher.) With our protagonists separated, it’ll be interesting to see how they reunite. Regardless of how it plays out, I anticipate it hugely – in my eyes this episode cemented Magi as one of the shows everyone should be watching this season.

2 thoughts on “Magi: Episode 3

  1. So I finally got around to watching this the other night when I had nothing else to do. I really enjoyed the first 3 episodes, despite my distaste for shounen in general. My outlook for this isn’t so great though as now it seems it’s going to take a standard shounen direction of “lets form a party, and then go random adventures”. I’m hoping this one actually has a plot that’s thought out before hand and not made up as they go along like most shouen seem to be. Definitely gonna keep watching to see where it goes because it had a great start.

    • Serialized shonen manga is not the most conductive format for a good plot I agree 100%, but at the very least we should get some interesting dynamics between magi, and the chase for a king. I may be crazy in hoping for good plot development from a shonen manga, but I will say that A-1 has been on a roll with picking, and directing good stories lately. That gives me a little bit more hope for this than I would have for most shonen.

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