Summary: Determined to get into the palace to see Abhmad, Alibaba is forced to confront the Kou Empire’s elite guards.
Dragonzigg‘s Thoughts: Firstly, my apologies for being absent for the past couple of posts, and my thanks to Iro for running the show while I was away. This week’s episode is pretty much an action bonanza, as Alibaba finally mans up and decides to confront his brother no matter what stands in his way. Which is lucky really, since the Banker, who seems to be the major figure in brokering the marriage deal between Abhmad and the Kou Princess, has handed over the three elites we last saw in episode 11 as wedding gifts to Abhmad, and predictably the crazed midget decides the perfect way to test them out.
What this basically boils down to is some badass fights with the three horribly mutated lieutenants. I’ve got to accentuate just how outstanding the action was here – it’s dynamically shot, well choreographed and surprisingly violent considering Magi’s shonen roots. The genre has gradually lost some of the blood ‘n’ guts that defined it through the seventies and eighties, and in an era where fights normally end with a dazed looking shot of the other guy on the ground, it’s supremely satisfying just to see Alibaba cut that guy in fucking half. It helps too that the baddies are so profoundly monstrous – giant crazy eyed elephant with teeth will probably haunt my nightmares for a fair old while.
Naturally though, Magi delivers more than just superficial thrills, and while they lay on character development less thick here than they have in previous episodes, the fact that’s it’s still there only adds to the gravity of the action surrounding it. Alibaba’s been wishy-washy for so long at this point that it’s a real pleasure to see him back in steely-eyed fight mode, and his sweet new powerup is a nice visual indicator of the fact he’s prepared to put it all on the line now.
Morgiana meanwhile, continues to be one of the finest female characters anime has produced in years, even if she only makes a brief appearance here. Rather than being the damsel in distress, she gets to be the one who arrives in the nick of time, covering for Alibaba as he proceeds onward to the throne room. And rather than needing to be rescued or, god forbid, being ravished by a pack of killer monkeys, she instead uses her brains, her skills and her strength and kicks a hole in a giant ape. Awesome. There’s a great moment for Sabhmad as well, as he finally gains the courage to stand up to his bullying brother and saves Alibaba’s life by belaying the king’s orders. It’s a small thing compared to Morgiana’s killer kung-fu, but just as important to the sucess of Alibaba’s mission in it’s own way.
Magi also continues to be a gorgeous looking show. Granted, fine detail is not the strongest card it possesses, as there’s still a tendency to go off-model in moments of action, but A-1 has put the money where it matters to produce superbly smooth and action packed fights. As mentioned above, I think the choreography is excellent and the monster design pleasingly grotesque and though there’s limited animation as there always is in anime, it’s well disguised and the moments of motion put to fine use. Next week should be an interesting one, as Alibaba still seeks a negotiated solution to the conflict. It looks like the Kou faction is going to re-enter the debate, and i wouldn’t be surprised if the two Magi also step back onto the field at some point.
- New OP and ED! The new OP has a touch of ‘generic shonen song’ about it but is pretty pleasant after a few listens. Can’t say the same thing for the ED though, which is lame.
- New OP also doesn’t spoil as much as they normally do, although it does raise the intriguing possibility that Judal won’t be a permanent antagonist, and confirms the Kou prince (whose name eludes me) will play a bigger role.
- New OP also gets major bonus points for dancing girl Morgiana.
- Nice touch – Entai (the elephant man) tuts at Alibaba for having a bad memory.
- Morgiana must have one of the most magical skirts in history.