Magi Review

Alibaba dreams of conquering a dungeon and obtaining the wealth hidden within. But considering that everyone who has entered before has never made it out alive, he falters. But when a strange, and troublesome, boy named Aladdin shows up with powerful magic as his ally, Alibaba finally has a shot at beating all the odds set against him and creating a new nation free of pain and slavery.

Since this is a shonen show, there’s quite a bit of fighting. And blood. Characters are stabbed repeatedly, burned up, lose limbs and are transformed into hideous monsters. One character is shown as having an abusive past as a slave. Some of the dungeon monsters are on the scary side as well. This section alone bumps the show up to a YA rating.

While not shocking or frequent, there are a few stronger words thrown around this show. Mainly the b-words, sh-t and d-mns.

This is going to be an awkward one to explain. But then again, what isn’t awkward to explain in this section? No real details are shown, but Aladdin has a boob fetish. I really can’t say it any other way. This means he turns into a creepy chibi and fondles large chested girls at random points of the show. There’s even one bizarre scene where a bunch of women with bouncing chests are running and don’t seem to have any clothing on top. But the details are not there, so it’s the same as wearing a skin colored top, I suppose. Still, it’s beyond unnecessary. Also, one scene shows a guy who’s been robbed of everything he has, including his clothing (though the robbers left his gold earrings with him? What the heck?) and only a well placed leaf saves viewers from eternal trauma. This same guy is later accused of pretty much raping a girl. Rest assured, however, that such a thing never really took place.
The worse aspect of nudity in this show, and one which almost earned this one a Warning Zone alert, was one particular magical creature, a female, who had an uncovered chest and gold ornaments attached to her, um, chest. There were details. However, she’s also blue, not human and the scenes only last a handful of minutes. We never see that character again afterwards. Had this character stuck around, however, I would have been forced to give this show a far stricter warning. As it is, if nudity bugs you, this show will have some parts that are just downright enraging and thus skipping it would be wise.

This show has some of the weirdest life theories I’ve heard since Letter Bee. From what I could gather, the show seems to say that all living things are attached to one source of power and, once they die, return to it. Magis can draw from this power source freely, thus having unlimited magic. But the glowing butterflies (they call them birds, even though they don’t move like birds at all) are pretty much the energy of dead people, as I understood it. Also, there is a bit of implication concerning reincarnation and such. While the show goes over certain parts of these theories over and over again, they remain a bit vague and overall it comes down to things like “life energy” and such, mechanics that nearly every anime containing magic has used before. Still, if this stuff also bugs you, well, you should know best how to deal with that by now.

Personal Impression:
If you like fighter anime and don’t care much for plot and characters, go for it. I’m just going to say that now because the rest of what I have to say won’t be pretty.
But how about the surface stuff first? The animation is decent and fits the show type. A few of the fights are well done, too, though not as fluid as Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The music is typical for the mood, though it does have a few random jazz tunes thrown in at very awkward moments. So really, surface-wise it’s not bad, but not stellar either.
It’s really the story and characters that are this series’ downfall. The two main characters, Alibaba and Aladdin, become close from episode one. Which makes no sense at all seeing as how Aladdin pretty much destroys Alibaba’s livelihood. I can understand being a nice guy and all, but being so flippant about losing your job and, essentially, your freedom, to some freeloading kid just doesn’t add up. Then there are all those moments in the story where they’re trying to make some wonderful moral statement about life and freedom and junk. Which would normally be just fine. Heaven knows I’ve seen enough anime with long winded speeches on ethics and honor and have generally gotten used to it. But this show fails miserably in actually making a good case for those speeches. Half of the “good actions” or “righteous people” are really just messing up other people’s lives and brushing it off as “justice.” The first couple of episodes alone try addressing slavery and while I’ll always agree that life is precious and should be protected, the show pretty much gives the okay for the hero to wreck others’ livelihoods (like Aladdin eating someone else’s food stock or using someone else’s cargo as bait for a monster) for the sake of their own goals. Often the show ends up in the whole “ends justify means” territory, where the heroes are given free reign so long as they get what they want/believe is right in the end. Such a simplistic, and dangerous, view makes pretty much every speech on love, freedom and righteousness throughout the show meaningless. And it doesn’t help that the main characters are shallow enough to strand a goldfish.
As I said, if you just want some fighting and a unique setting (think Middle East with a dash of old Japan), this show isn’t the worst choice out there. But if you’re anything like me and like your characters to have some amount of meat, than this show will likely just bore you or enrage you.
Which is quite sad, really. This show could have been so much more. And according to some very disappointed fans of the original manga, it should have been.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 25
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fighting, adventure
Website: n/a
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots:
 photo m1_zps05550ceb.jpg photo m3_zps101965db.jpg photo m2_zpsb5e34fe7.jpg

This entry was posted in Ages: Young Adult, Anime Reviews, Streaming Shows, TV Series and tagged , , , , , by inrosegalaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

About inrosegalaxy

Raised on everything from Moby Dick to the Star Wars X-Wing books from a young age, it came as no surprise to anyone who knew me that I’d become a literature graduate and avid writer. But my love of a good story wasn’t restricted to the written word in my early years. Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and badly dubbed Godzilla flicks helped shape my love of science fiction on screen as well. I wrote my first story while in the second grade. It was a horrifying tale about murdering a fairy-eating dog via a slice of pizza (in my defense, my only exposure to pizza was in the cafeteria and I swear you could legitimately kill someone with those things). I was a special snowflake. Today I write science fiction, fairy tales, Gothic epistolaries, fantasy and anything else that pops into my bizarre and twisted mind. I write new articles for my blog every Tuesday and Thursday. And if you happen to fancy Japanese animation, I also run an anime review blog, RRAR, which updates every Monday.

3 thoughts on “Magi Review

  1. Pingback: Extra: Just add water | Risembool Ranger Anime Reviews

  2. I enjoyed most of the first half of Magi, but I think a lot of that is because I was expecting a shounen piece that was all about fighting and some cheap fanservice. There’s some of that, to be sure, but it started off as a rather charming action/adventure piece rather than a straight good vs. evil story. Unfortunately the second half became a lot preachier and much more reliant on its fight scenes. Combined with a lot of angsty internal monologuing, courtesy mostly of Alibaba, I found myself largely bored by the end of it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too disturbed by Aladdin’s boob fetish. His character largely put me in mind of child Goku in the original 80s version of Dragonball though, so that kind of sexuality (while not necessary) isn’t something I found particularly shocking.

  3. Pingback: Extra: When does “unique” cripple a show? | Risembool Ranger Anime Reviews

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