I keep thinking about that shonen editorial mantra - - the one about how characters must come first. How they must come before plot, theme, resolution, symbolism, and basically any other component of storytelling.
It explains a lot about anime’s tropes. In theory, it even sounds pretty swell. If you’ve created a compelling, sympathetic and three-dimensional protagonist, what comes next is almost irrelevant, isn’t it? Your audience is going to be so fundamentally intrigued, they’ll follow your lead, wherever he goes. I could get into a number of potential drawbacks to that sort of thinking but, keeping it focused on MAGI, I’ve got to think that the creator mistakenly took it to mean that the creation of characters trumps all other concerns.
MAGI’s first season started strong and progressively turned into a debacle (as I express, in thorough detail, a few months ago). I honestly held no lingering interest to pick the show back up again with Season 2, but we’re trying to be thorough with this season’s catch-up, so why not?
Well, a promising show twisted its ankle, halfway through Season 1, and it’s still limping along into Season 2. As I was saying, MAGI kept introducing more characters than anybody could count and, before you knew it, it concluded with a crowded brawl of action figures that nobody cared about. Sure, the four leads - - Aladdin, Ali-Baba, Morgiana and Sinbad - - were still fun to watch. However, the show anxiously tried to skip to an epic battle without paying the proper dues of set-up or pay-off, frustratingly illustrating the drawbacks of the editorial axiom we just talked about.
Season 2’s opener simply carries along all of these issues. The leading quartet are still as charming to see again - - because the proper work’s been done on them - - but they don’t do anything of interest. Honestly, I'm having a hard time even remembering what happened this episode, and maybe that’s by design. Because... characters, first!
Watch this episode, “Premonition of a Journey” here and decide for yourself, then read our comments on other anime pilots from the Fall 2013 season below...
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|