Friendship is a wonderful thing. It is often a lifeline during harsh days and peaceful rest during joyful ones. One might even say that friendship is magic (insert nerd laughter here). But no matter how magical it may seem, even friendship has its rules and boundaries. One of which being that true friendship is built on trust, which takes time or, at the very least, good reason. One does not, for example, become friends with a freeloading child just because. Yet this is what occurs in Magi and in other poorly scripted shows as well.
The Instant Friend Card, as I often term it, is quite often pulled in hastily written shows. Script writers, clamped for time and with limited episodes in which to create a foundation for relationships, often resort to using this “card” as an out. Often this event is pushed off on character personalities, by saying that one of the characters is just naturally nice and makes friends easily. This is most commonly seen in shoujo and harem shows, in which the hero/heroine must have some “natural pull” in which to draw their doting fans. However, these shows are by far not the only ones to play this card.
Shows that originate from very long manga series also tend to struggle with this issue. In fact, they seem to have the hardest time overall. Not only must large arcs be condensed into far smaller versions for an anime adoption, but so much the relationships. A good scriptwriter can still manage to work in a realistic tilt to the events, however. Keeping the relationship slow to uptake while playing the larger story arc at the same time. See Howl’s Moving Castle as an example. The original book contained far more detailed and deeper character interaction than the animation, yet the animation managed to find a middle ground that worked on its own. However, many a scriptwriter fails at the task, leaving you with two characters that should hate one another and yet, for reasons unknown and unbelieved, risk their necks for each other from episode one.
Friendship may be magic, but it ain’t no level one scroll, honey.