Magi 15-21: I Will Let You Down
March 6, 2013 in Magi
It’s been a while since I’ve kept up-to-date with blogging, hasn’t it? In fact, I haven’t kept up with anything this season mostly due to some very eventful stuff happening with Chaps outside of CSW ranging from the happiest moments of my life to things that make me kick myself for being ballsy. However, now that Spring Break’s here, I’ve got a major bone to pick with this recent bunch of Magi. Specifically, the branch between the Balibadd arc and the newest anime arc where the Beginning of the End is happening with the show. The point where things start to go south. The path….of the weird.
So where I left off, Alibaba was about to make Balibadd into a republic where they had a government with elected officials and everything, huh? And Kassim was going to storm the plaza because he didn’t like that one bit and demanded for a war to declare anarchy, yes? So what I would assume is that there be a climactic sword fight between the two to end a blood feud in tragic death, Greek drama-style, right? Well, mangaka Shinobu Ohtaka thought that would be totally stupid as someone who has tackled serious issues like politics, inequality, poverty, and slavery, so she did the next best thing; having Kassim stab himself with a dagger that turns him into a Giant Black Djinn Monster Thing
There’s some good news and bad news with this one: The good news is that none of the scenes with Kassim as the Black Djinn are in goofy CGI like Envy’s silly green dog monster from Brotherhood. The bad news is that Kassim’s transformation reintroduces one of the worst villains on the show, and sadly it’s not the fat slave driver Aladdin fondled. It’s Judal. [groans]
Alright, so Judal’s got one final chance at redemption. One last chance. Him and Kassim are giving him a run for his money. However, they’ll have to think of something swift cause Aladdin’s coming to the fray and his rukh has become the embodiment of Ugo. Can’t they do it? Can Judal actually win this time against Aladdin!?
The best part about this battle was when Alibaba got sucked inside the Djinn where him and Kassim had an intense yet powerful breakthrough in their heart-to-heart, as the two learned about each other’s perspectives and realized that they could have been the best of friends had they have been more accepting of their differences.
Unfortunately, this happened while Kassim was dying, so Alibaba has to bid him a final farewell and Aladdin gives him an unfitting welcome back to the real world as he is sobbing with the now deceased Kassim in his arms. Also Ithnan, the Al Thamen leader who took the form of the Banker, dies and is reborn but meh. Even more unfortunately, this powerful 5-10 minutes is shattered when Aladdin uses his powers to be cruel and have the ghosts of everyone’s dead loved ones return to bid farewell to their surviving family and friends.
While all the stuff above might seem like where things got very weird, the episode after the Balibadd arc ends opens with some promise as everyone is off to Sindra because Sinbad and Ja’far are awesome. There’s also some character introductions from Sharrkan who has a dark tan with silver hair so he’s automatically win in my book and Yamuraiha who is well-endowned so that’s another win in my book.
It’s cool though. There’s manservice to balance it out.
And in case you don’t, here’s a link to help you out:
Speaking of stuff from the OP, the outdoor festival is featured in Episode 18 as they’ve got everything from Sinbad flirting to Ja’far’s eternal scorn to Morgiana’s alluring dancing. I’ll give it a free pass though because Morgiana is cute. So so cute. Too cute for words. Too cute to comprehend. So cute that looking at her makes me feel like I ate a pile of sugar.
To segue from one variation of cute to another, Ep 20 shows a ton of Ja’far being Ja’far.
Actually, the episode was about Sinbad trying to prove that he didn’t totally bang the Princess of the Kou Empire so that he wouldn’t have to take responsibility to marry her and grant Kou power over Sindria and Balibadd. It was the first time where I watched a 24 minute show and it felt like a 5 minute short. It did show Sinbad’s comrades when he first met them as youngin’s though so that was cute I guess.
Everything works out, but there’s somethings I should clear up before heading on. First and foremost, Alibaba was bitten by a snake form of Ithnan sent by the Al-Thamen. Second, that Morgiana had decided to melt down her chains that she kept on her so that she could have some sick new bracelets while looking for new weapons.
Now Ep. 20 starts where 19 left off with Hakuryuu, one of the Kou gentlemen, stating that he wants to destroy the Kou empire and wants to befriend Alibaba, but that’s where the anime-exclusive snake bite power kicks in that refuses to let him forgive him for being a part of the Kou empire, fueling unbridled hatred for the guy before passing out.
They didn’t watch out. Instead, Ithnan popped out of his snake bite to spew blood in Sinbad’s face that puts a death curse on him. Initially, Ja’far wanted to know why Sin didn’t dodge it, but he offered up the simple answer that Hiroyuki Yoshino has no idea how to handle a series composition so rather than taking a hiatus, adapting the last few arcs faithfully, or having a separate filler arc after Balibadd, he decided it’d be cool to screw the continuity so that they could prematurely end it and there’d be no way to return to the anime without remaking it.
Sinbad’s plan is to have them all find a cure for him in one of the far-off dungeons all the while taking Al-Thamen down a peg. There’s more boob jokes and disappointment as they make it to a port town where a little girl asks them to find her parents who are trapped in the dungeon. Little did they know that the dungeon would suck them up inside while they rowed their boat towards the entrance.
I have to own up to something. I wrote everything up until this sentence a few days ago. I was left completely unprepared for what the show had in store for me and had no idea that the following episode was pretty close to how this dungeon went in the manga. I just have one thing to ask the mangaka:
At first it seemed ok. Kinda weird. Looked a little like that new Oz movie that’s coming out, but it’s just mere aesthetics. There’s no way that they’d throw in a bunch of weird acid trip creatures. But they did. And it only got worse as the episode got further and further into the 1st half as they introduce mastermind Zagan whose plot is to kidnap people in the world and sap up their life force to create a forest and breed more fucked up Dumbo dream monsters because he hates the world. Where this all fits in with poverty and slavery and the cruelty that absolute power can create through tyranny is anyone’s guess. He also abducted that little girl to give the heroes someone to save and and to make Zagan even creepier than he already is.
That being said, the 2nd half of Episode 21 did a poor job at hyping up the weird dungeon they were trying to have by making the obstacles for the crew to get past as dull, easy battles that everyone but Harukyuu could get past with the greatest of ease. It didn’t help that Zagan is almost as bad at being a villain as Judal and getting fooled on a regular basis by believing his shoddy traps were inescapable.
Speaking of Harukyuu, he really proved himself to be a colossal wuss in this episode alright. They try to draw some parallels between Alibaba and him but at the very least when Alibaba wanted to do thing on his own and show off the power he didn’t have, he didn’t whine about it or try to blame everyone around him for being such a fuck up. He carried his own weight and learned to improve himself. With Harukyuu, it was just failure after failure and the most he could show for it was taking on some of the metal monsters Morgiana had to finish off with brute force and breaking down sobbing when Zagan egged him on about sucking so bad. It was funny for the first few seconds like when he lashed out at Zagan to his disbelief but it got silly when he turned his beta moment into dragging down everyone, especially Alibaba, for trying to help him out.
I admit I might be a bit too harsh on the show’s fantasy elements since I was a fool for expecting a series with genies and magic to be like reality just because they brought up real-life issues. That being said, I think that from the end of the Balibadd arc onwards was when they took the fantasy elements and started getting silly with it. Kassim becoming a literal demon monster, Aladdin summoning the deceased temporarily, the episode dedicated to how much of a letch Sinbad may or may not be, the new additions such as Alibaba’s snake bite and Sinbad’s curse making sure that the anime ends on a premature, sloppy note and screwing up the continuity present in the more canon parts of an episode, and the existence of Zagan’s dungeon just bog down the redeeming things that came out of Magi. It all seems more of a parody of itself as the episodes go by in the similar vein of other recent shounen that are ending prematurely due to them animating way before they have enough source material to at least give it an open ending.