How the hell is a show about a lil’ moffat with magic fluke proving to be one of the more mature takes on friendship I’ve seen in any anime?
Seriously, the moment where Aladdin extends his hand to shake with Alibaba, and the recently-returned prince then passes him by with an underplayed apology about breaking promises? That was real, actual, deep drama, man - - just startling for its emotional honesty.
I always say that a show can get away with any sort of otherwise-irksome ingredients as long as the crew knows exactly what those ingredients do for the audience. In this case, it’s a main character whose naiveté could get head-smacking-ly annoying rather quickly in less skilled hands. Not to take a shot at Oda, but what’s been funny about watching this show alongside old episodes of ONE PIECE is that I’m seeing a lot of my conjecture about Luffy’s psychology getting played out in Aladdin’s predicaments. They’re both Pollyanna’s with an insatiable thirst for adventure - - but MAGI is actually showing how that isn’t always a good thing.
What’s also amazing is that the show seems to have another layer of awareness on top of that. The drama and miscommunication between the two Al’s could’ve been drawn out; but Morgiana pulls a trick much like the one Aladdin did a few episodes back and literally just drops the two into a room together to talk out their problems.
It’s a Gordian Knot approach to conflict that feels very 1,001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, and I continue to be impressed with how this show’s able to have its cake, and eat it too, on so many separate plates. It pays proper homage to the classic folk lore while striking out in its very distinct direction. It presents an archetypal shonen hero with earnest intent, but still pokes a few holes in his persona. And it’s giving all the usual goods we expect from shonen while still also jumping over a lot of the tropes we dislike. Seriously, who else felt relieved when the plot skipped ahead six months and spared us all the filler that might've be in that gap?