Titus defects to Magnostadt, causing Laem to declare war. Aladdin reveals himself as a Magi, aiming to end the conflict without any casualties.
Zigg’s been super busy, so the duty of covering the Magi once again falls to me, the only person around who has read the manga and therefore doesn’t care how bad the anime is. The bad news: you don’t get snarky British commentary and you have to digest four episodes worth of recap in one post. The good news: I should be able to cover said four episodes succinctly, mostly because not too much happens, and the anime is pretty slow about what does happen. So I guess that’s still bad news? Hrm. Troubling.
There’s really a lot of build up to Titus’s decision to stay in Magnostadt, and the story slows to a snail’s pace to try and cram it all in. They keep laying it on thick with Marga’s nonspecific terminal illness, drawing parallels to Titus’s own limited lifespan as a homunculus. It ends up being a decent enough reason for Titus to fall into despair and abandon his mission, but it all borders on melodrama at times, particularly when Titus spends five minutes tearfully confessing to Mogamett (while electric guitar riffs play in the background, no less).
Mogamett remains a highly compelling villain for a shonen anime, risking war simply to stay true to his ideal of a country for magicians, and Scheherazade gives off a similar vibe during her speech about the power of the human spirit. Overall, I think it’s good that neither side of the conflict is presented as necessarily correct, but things get a little blurry when both sides are wantonly slaughtering enemy soldiers with glee. I suppose that’s the point in the end: the entire conflict itself is bad, and everyone’s in the wrong by choosing to participate in it.
The war itself follows a typical shonen back-and-forth, the advantage only staying on one side long enough for the other to whip out their new technique. Magnostadt has giant barriers, but Laem has bombs, but Magnostadt has giant magic lasers, but Laem has the Fanalis Corps, but then Aladdin shows up… it could have gone on for even longer, as the manga features the ground soldiers wielding magic tools, but things are mercifully cut short to keep the story rolling. They did not, however, adjust the script: Mu still tells his squad to target magic tools, which (given the anime cut out the infantry’s flamethrower-spears) would logically refer to the artillery in the distance, but they then proceed to slaughter the foot troops.
Aladdin’s appearance is the high point of the war sequence so far, finally bringing things back to the prologue of episode 1 from back in October. Therefore, it speaks quite a bit about the quality of this adaptation that it still manages to be disappointing. The flash-forward had a ton of money behind it, and several of the shots are simply re-used, but the show has clearly experienced a budget cut since. What should be a pivotal moment instead is just kind of… there. A part of me is still holding out hope that they’re saving budget for what’s coming up next, but… it’s hard to be excited when Magi keeps letting us down.
Manga Differences I Only Vaguely Remember
- Aladdin goes straight into Rukh classes in the anime, skipping a minor scene where he and Titus contemplate which advanced courses to take.
- Mu has a couple of cut lines as he’s bashing away at Titus’s barrier that cryptically refer to things that aren’t relevant until way later.
- As mentioned above, Magnostadt’s foot soldiers have flamethrower spears in the manga. In the anime, they kind of stand around and get murdered.
- Alibaba’s interludes on the ship are new to the anime.