Maybe it’s time to eat some more words…
Earlier on, I was ever so effusive in praising MAGI for its lean plotting and tight pacing (two qualities that stand in even starker relief amid shonen anime, no less). Perhaps the conciseness of the arc with the nomads set the wrong expectations, but this arc in Balbad has really worn out its welcome for me. What initially seemed like a healthy amount of politicking to anchor this fantasy world has now overwhelmed the, y’know, adventure element we’re coming to this series for.
Look, I realize it’s a delicate and precarious balance we’re talking about here. I love world-building and conflict that’s about something more complex than who’s kicking whose ass… but there’s always too much of a good thing, right? I’m just tired of being stuck in this city while this conflict of royal succession is going on.
This is something that can be fixed rather easily in the space of an episode, of course. And there are things to like in this episode. But… can we hurry up and move on, already?
I did enjoy the creepy surrealism of Ugo’s face reveal. It does add to the plucky of charm of Aladdin, finding out that he more-or-less stumbled on to ownership of this powerful creature that rightfully belongs to the some other mysterious player. Kid’s a thief, lest his boyish cheer ever make us forget. It fits that his signature weapon wouldn’t actually belong to him.
And who does Ugo belong to? Ah, now that’s a question that’ll keep us watching...
On a simpler and much more specific note, I found it funny how there actually is a direct Japanese translation for “Open Sesame!” Sure, I'm not surprised at all that there are corresponding words, but the phrase’s meaning was always left unexplained in “Alibaba & the 40 Thieves,” as I recall. It always seemed nonsensical and, thus, I presumed it’d be untranslatable.
The little things you focus on sometimes, right...?