That was eventful! I must say, I’m really enjoying seeing all these scenes animated, and accurately, too – it’s wonderful seeing everyone voiced and in colour. Perhaps that doesn’t extend so much to the Medium, especially as I don’t remember it being this creepy in the manga – I think I preferred it in its spherical state. As awkward as those one-eyed black djinns were, they had nothing on this strange, morphing humanoid. It’s definitely proved its sentience by shifting into a different form, and it’s now primarily orientated towards offence as opposed to defence, which has proved to be frighteningly effective. Those tentacle arms really give me the creeps – and the Medium is pretty overpowered in being able to take the Rukh of anything it touches with its hands. The Kou siblings ended up sustaining some fairly gory wounds, and the fact that this was animated without censoring actually surprised me! Skin was burnt off all the way to the flesh – Kouen, Alibaba and Kougyoku all suffered damage, but Kouha was the worst off by far (were they actually allowed to show that on early evening, pre-watershed TV?) If Kouen didn’t have Phenex on hand to heal their wounds, it’d have been over brutally quickly – and the more arms it decides to sprout, the harder it becomes to dodge. It doesn’t help that the Medium itself can grow by stealing Rukh from the sea either (directing it there was a bad idea). Although it didn’t work, it was great seeing everyone mass spamming their Extreme Magics in an attempt to take it down – it just goes to show how big a threat the Medium is, as something that’s been a powerful, insta-kill move all along ends up being ineffectual here.
If anything was surprising, it was probably Gyokuen’s little speech, with her announcing herself to be one of the original three wise Magi who served Solomon back in Alma Toran (and thus there are in fact five Magi in the current era, instead of the accepted wisdom of three). While I sort of expected it to serve as the ending cliffhanger to an episode, A-1 did just fine with it in the end, reinforcing to us that Gyokuen has been a backstabbing bitch for a very, very long time. Gyokuen is literally the source of all the problems in multiple worlds – a true antagonist, both during Solomon’s time and his reincarnation Aladdin’s. While current events might be focused on the Medium and the Dark Spot, I think she’s ultimately set to be the last boss as the current leader of Al-Thamen. Even though she’s supposed to be a Magi with incredible abilities and limitless magoi (now it’s not surprising how she was able to crush Hakuryuu easily) she hasn’t done anything other than sit there on her throne, going on about how the Medium is unbeatable while knowing her own children are trying to stop it. Her arrogance is probably a good thing though – if she went out there and fought them herself, everyone would be doomed for sure. It’s hard to believe that Solomon and his household managed to beat multiple Mediums!
I love how the entire cast (and then some) are somehow at Magnostadt, helping out with this epic international effort to beat the Medium – it really does feel like a finale! And it’s complete with Morgiana too, who we haven’t seen for ages – if anything, that’s the one quibble I have with this arc. It’s inevitable that the dynamics of the story would change with our protagonists splitting up, and for the most part the individual exploits of Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana were portrayed well. But amidst all the stuff about Mogamett and Titus I can’t help but feel that Alibaba and Morgiana’s stories were shelved aside a bit, as compelling as the Magnostadt arc was. Of course, it’s not too bad, as that’s where everything ended up converging, but I’d have liked to have followed Morgiana and Yunan’s exploits down the Great Rift, and seen Alibaba achieve full djinn equip for the first time. Just a minor quibble though – Morgiana’s back now, and that’s the important part!