If anybody wants to start working out a post-mortem that assesses when exactly MAGI jumped the shark, I’d suggest focusing on the point when the show just started introducing cool-looking characters to fill the scenery.
Admittedly, I haven’t bothered to look too deeply into the economics of anime merch, but I feel confident in guessing that a show introducing plenty of figurine-ready characters is always in its best interest, monetarily. EVA 2.2 was pretty plainly culpable of that when it brought a new sexy girl, with a new plug-suit, and a new mech, into a cast that was already quite crowded.
MAGI might’ve stumbled into this particular pitfall for a more benign, artistically-motivated reason. There’s a certain, impatiently-boyish creative impulse that’ll get a cartoonist carried away, real fast, with creating new characters instead of making the most out of the ones he’s already got in his toy box. A new roster of heroes gets introduced in this episode, and I still feel like I haven’t gotten to properly know the previous roster of heroes (the red-haired dude in the gold, Greek chest plate is still a big blank slate to me, for one).
Actually, thinking about it, we’ve maybe gotten both edges of that predicament, here: The show did focus an excessive number of episodes on Alibaba and Cassim. Maybe I’m jusst feeling like Morgiana’s gotten the short-shift. For a primary protagonist who’s such a key player in the show’s intro, she still feels quite undeveloped, more than 2/3rds of the way into the season. It’s almost like she was supposed to get her own arc in the last half of the Balbadd arc, but some outside factors - - merch sales, creator whims, production delays, whatever - - prevented that from happening.
Sinbad at least continues to be a charmer. I love how he essentially was just humoring all of Alibaba’s drama for the Balbadd arc, then promptly shrugged it off to get things done in his own smooth, direct way.