“Open Sesame!”

Our hero Aladdin

Animation Company: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen
Airing Date: October 2012 to March 2013
Summary: This story is about the flow of fate and the battle to keep the world on the right path. Aladdin is a boy who has set out to explore the world after being trapped in a room for most of his life. His best friend is a flute with a djinn in it named Ugo. Soon enough, Aladdin discovers he is a Magi, a magician who chooses kings, and he was born to choose kings who will follow the righteous path, battling against those who want to destroy fate. Follow his adventures as he meets others from 1000 Arabian Nights, like Ali Baba and Sinbad, and fights to keep the balance of world in check! –Source MAL
Trailer: PV 1, PV2


Story/Plot: 7/10

Magi is a fun show. The story of Aladdin and Alibaba, two characters based off of ones in the 1001 Arabian nights, and their adventures as they go out and conquer dungeons and make new friends is really fun to watch (for the most part). There are some great story arcs in there, full of adventure and action and laughs. Some of them were downright heartbreaking. Magi does a wonderful job of giving each conflict two sides, and creating a world were not everything is black and white. That alone raised it from a 6 to a 7 for me; it’s not your average shounen tale that presents conflicts as being more complex than just “us vs them”. The overall plot suffers a little bit from being cut into such defined chunks and like any series like this, it’s a little slow to pick up steam. It’s not until the very last arcs that we start to see what the true central conflict of the story is. While Magi might be a really fun watch, I can’t really justify giving the plot more than a seven especially since many of the developments to it happen rather late in the game.

Morgiana. She's the best.
Morgiana. She’s the best.

Characters/Development: 8/10

Were Magi really shines is its characters. Morgiana is hands-down my favorite of the main trio, and she grows a lot over the corse of the 25 episodes. I love me some wicked strong female characters, and Magi is full of them. We’ve got a Hakuei, a general who’s always looking to solve things with words and not swords, Kougyoku, who can change from a puddle of mush at seeing Sinbad to a hardened warrior to a dignified princess, and Yumaraiha, an exceptionally skilled sorceress. And that’s just to name a few! Magi plenty full of great male characters as well. Sinbad is hilarious and easy on the eyes, while Judal is just plain nuts.

Alibaba. He's a cutie.
Alibaba. He’s a cutie.

Of course our leads Alibaba and Aladdin aren’t half bad either. Magi does a great job of making characters more than they appear, which is certainly true for Alibaba who evolves from someone willing to suppress his own morals in order to make a quick buck to someone who’s learning to be a great leader and who strives for equality and justice. I can’t really say that Aladdin changes as much as the others as a person, although he certainly grows a lot in terms of his magical abilities and his knowledge of the world. That would the only thing that I could fault Magi on, is that the cast is so large, it’s hard to keep everyone straight and to give them all at least a scrap of development. Some of the secondary characters might have been cardboard cutouts for all the depth they had. Generally, Magi does a good job of at least trying to give us well-rounded characters, but it isn’t always successful. While there are certainly enough characters for everyone to have a favorite, sometimes there are just too many leading to certain characters being neglected and thus only an eight from me in this category.

Animation Quality: 5/10

Sinbad: certified hottie and a very good ruler to boot!
Sinbad: certified hottie and a very good ruler to boot!

I struggled with this one, I really did. Sometimes, Magi can look fantastic. The colors are vivid, bright, and cheerful, giving the show a very attractive and inviting quality that just begs you to watch it. When Magi is on, it’s on. The fights will be great, the animation will be fluid, nothing will look weird. The first episode was beautiful. Alibaba and Cassim’s final goodbye was beautiful. Morgiana fighting those giant leopard beasts was beautiful. But, that’s only sometimes. Most of the time, Magi looks no better or worse than any other show. And then other times, it can look truly horrible. Like it’s hard to watch. Peoples face will be all kinds of messed-up, movements will look bizarre, proportions will be thrown out the window. There’s a scene, where Morgiana is dancing and I just remember being scared because she looks like a boneless sack of skin being electrocuted into convulsing. And while sometimes the cute smiles can be fine, often times those huge chipmunk-toothed grins are a bit to saccharine for my tastes. I can only hope that most of those mistakes will be fixed and cleaned-up for the DVD/BLU-RAY releases, but until I see those Magi mediocre-to-poor animation holds it back. Only a 5 here.

Original Soundtrack: 5/10

I liked the openings and endings, but they weren’t anything special. They fit the series well enough, but I don’t think I’d ever download them. Or find myself humming them in the shower. Most of the time I found myself skipping over them. The background music was…there? I didn’t really care for it much, and I don’t think there were ever any moments when I was watching and found myself thinking “Wow, the music here is really adding to the scene!” The whole thing was kind eh for me, so I’m giving it a five.

More Morgiana!
More Morgiana!

Overall Score: 6/10

Magi is a fun show; it has fun characters, its got a fun idea for a setting, and most of the time I really enjoy watching it. It definitely has it’s moments when it really shines. It’s sub-par music and animation hold it back though. If you asked me on a different day, I might even go so far as to give Magi a seven, but I’m feeling extra critical right now so it’s getting a six.

Recommendation: Kinda-sorta 

Magi is alright. The characters alone make it worth watching, and the show has a way of making even the villains sympathetic. The animation might only be so-so, but for some people that might not be the most important thing, and if you can overlook it then go ahead and give Magi a whirl.With many of the big, long running Shounen shows ending/already ended, Magi is poised to become the next show of that ilk. So if you want to start watching this show before it reaches episode 238, now would be a good start. If you like action-adventures that strive to go just a little deeper into the nature of conflict (but not so deep that a child couldn’t understand it), with a unique setting, and a good cast of characters, then Magi might be the show for you. Like I said before, it’s a fun show, but that’s about it.

(It also bears mentioning (again) that I’ve only read a bit of the manga, so I can’t really speak personally as to how good and/or bad of an adaption of the source material it is. But from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems like they screwed the pooch there, so if you’re expecting a loyal adaption of your favorite manga, just be forewarned.)

See ya' in the fall Aladdin!
See ya’ in the fall Aladdin!