“Magi” proves to be a labyrinth in more than magic – the series is puzzle of quality, pitifully weak in some ways, yet simply so much more spectacular in most others, that the overall series is seeming awesome.
We’re not taken to the Mediterranean – Magi may be based in Arabia, although its ability to set the stage in that respect is just on par with the driving skills of an average American, which means remedial. Vivid colors do certainly make the desert, yet there’s a bit too much liveliness and a massive lack of detail – the latter in particular is a hefty concern. The deserts are lush with all manner of intricacy – artwork of the middle east is renowned for the finer points, although Magi looks heavily bland and banal in terms of a general overview, that is, on the surface.
Now it’s not necessarily all poorly done, the character designs, for instance, are actually marvelous when speaking of the main few cast members – as well as most side-characters. Yhe fashion is all spot on – and the colors, while bothering as result of the absence of texture, are quite accurate as well. Particularly lovable however is the special attention to physical traits of the region – an exemplary facet best noticed with the cute slave girl, her eyes of a sharp horizontal shape.
Yet let’s get down to the series, the method in which it initiates is much like an average fantasy tale in that it’s the protagonist amongst a surrounding of who knows what, being bestowed with a quest, and subsequently having it set as a life’s mission. The specifics of this all are honestly not too interesting – which isn’t to say the plot is sickly, rather, it has yet to turn up the heat, and this portion isn’t a powerhouse when it comes to attention-grabbing just yet.
An item which will definitely reap mental process however is how Aladdin sounds like a little girl – his shota appearance isn’t favorable, and his voice certainly does not aide one’s disposition of his character. Although surprisingly, it’s nothing to hate him over either since, thankfully, he shows himself not to be of those whiny sort.
With that settled, we come to see our other protagonist. The blonde-haired bishounen is seemingly working for a goal, taking care of tasks for a higher-up fellow on the hierarchy scale of the local economic structure – yet a rat-like creature happens to interrupt his work, Aladdin. The shota piles some problems up for the bishounen – although the bishounen seems like quite a respectable fellow even if not completely courteous in personality, he covers for Aladdin, and then the two grow just a hint closer.
The bishounen claims to seek riches and intends to acquire them through clearing a “dungeon” – Aladdin also appears intrigued by dungeons, albeit for reasons of his own which remain uncertain for the time being.
Life progresses forward a bit upon the start of a new day, and our two eventually cross paths with the adorable slave girl whilst entering the market square. There’s no ill-intention, although the meeting amongst the male protagonist pair and the cute slave seems awkward despite being free of verbal communication, specifically as the cute slave is first ashamed by her slave status – yet then flustered by Aladdin’s sudden tactic of breaking her chains.
Some unwanted attention begins to aggregate around our characters – and then Aladdin starts to make show of his djinn, a living creature with its own instance of life, being neither human nor animal. The term “spirit” would also be incorrect – although for our purposes, that’s perhaps the easiest means of accounting for this muscular security provision of a character.
This scene sparks two points to loudly praise – when need be, the animation goes full incredible through striking contrast. Peace was rocked asunder by a second of turmoil – something also in thanks to the fact that the sounds are sublime, or most of them in any case. For this scene specifically, the tune which plays gives a thunderous momentum to the action which unfolds – it’s a theme of classic desert ambiance, resonating in a fashion with a modern impact.
There are indeed few irritants when it comes to the music – however, those come later into the episode.
For now, having seen the exploitable force of Aladdin’s djinn, the blonde bishounen quickly realizes it’d be in his best interest to take advantage of Aladdin in order to make the most of the shota kid’s djinn. Yet since Aladdin’s arrival, the blonde bishounen has gotten into quite a bit of trouble – which inevitably leaves him as part of a caravan working under some sick and selfish hound, Aladdin merely tagging along. Incidentally, the slave girl is also part of that caravan – albeit locked in a cage en route to mines for digging.
Whilst traveling through vast sand, the caravan is assaulted by a monstrous entity which breaks through from underground – some kind of plant-based vine behemoth which begins whipping its appendages around as if a tentacle assault. Now a reason for complaint comes forward – a kid falls into a gap, turning victim of the tentacle plant obscurity – that’s all fine, what’s not as acceptable is how the kid looks akin to a loli variant of Sword Art Online’s “Sachi”.
A-1 Pictures certainly puts no limits on recycling character designs – and that simply goes to show the sheer lack of originality present amongst that harem RPG fantasy title, since it is the one which held the character to a high role of importance.
In the case of Magi however, the flaws are too minimal to have a notable effect. What follows from this point onward is quite majestic – the cute slave makes an effort to save the threatened child, only to then become in danger herself. In response, the blonde bishounen attempts to latch onto the cute slave as well – yet as result of the surrounding selfishness, the situation is only exasperated instead. Calamity engulfs as the loli side-character kid is now short of dying, with the cute slave sharing the same fate.
The blonde bishonen watches on, wishing someone would respond valiantly – however, as the subject drills his mind and death becomes ever-nearer, he eventually realizes it is he who must rise to the call. He throws away hope of rising in ranks through contracted labor within the near city as he tosses aside his duties in favor of saving the loli and slave.
Now it should be mentioned, the animation is wonderful yet also horrid in a way – the movements aren’t fluid so much as they’re overly gooey and rounded, as is unmissable with Aladdin’s antics. Although with that said, the action scenes have solid intensity – even if the slice of life portions lack weight in the motions. Essentially, like every other element of this series, the aesthetics have negatives – however the positives remain much more bountiful, so one needn’t worry.
A team effort between bishounen and shota succeeds in saving the day – after which, the two officially become friends, and then head off in direction of the dungeon, abandoning all of the city as the two both seem to have met revelation.
Interestingly, the slave girl didn’t seem to tag along – though pre-release material makes it obvious she will catch up with our male protagonists at some point. Now besides the horribly unfitting closing theme which initiates after the battle is won, the episode’s conclusion is lovely.
Magi established a premise, with characters who bear distinct and meaningful personalities, in a manner visually and melodically rewarding for the most part – thereby amounting to an experience enjoyable, with captivation of the mind achieved, and promise for more to envelop flourishing as we continue on.
Episode one has come, and while it hasn’t conquered, it did achieve enough to be certainly most worthwhile.