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MAGI #9 - - Watch & Learn

Did you really expect this evil stepbrother to be nice?

See? These guys really are paying attention to the details; knowing exactly what sort of questions the viewers are going to ask. I was, indeed, wondering why Alibaba would be rolling with Cassim after he just gave such a detailed account of their acrimonious history and this episode did, indeed, go on address that.

Of course, to do that, the episode’s cold opener needs to feature Alibaba literally just picking up where he left off in his long monologue last time. On the one hand, I suppose there’s some dark amusement to be found in how that broadly recalls Scheherazade’s predicament in the book - - constantly telling stories to stay alive. On the other hand, though, I suppose it evidences the sometimes-awkward limitations of dolling a sprawling saga out in such precise increments. Ideally, the last episode would’ve been longer, and this episode would’ve been longer, so as to avoid this sort of semi-awkward starting-and-stopping.

I hate to say it - - because I am enjoying the show a lot - - but this episode felt more like a post-script to the last one and less like its own unit. As this column is all about picking nits, I also can’t help but wonder if the suitably-entertaining back-and-forth between Sinbad, his servants and the Fog Troop could’ve been done in half the time. No, it doesn’t deserve the dread label of “FILLER!” - - but it still could’ve been a wee more succinct.

We’re also at the point in the series where I’ll usually settle into noticing certain… issues that aren’t likely to ever change. Yes, questions that the crew isn't aware of. Or if they are, they aren't acknowledging. In this case, it’s the series’ bit of “race bending” - - populating an Arabesque setting with a cast that rarely, if ever, seems Arabic.

Yeah yeah yeah. It’s anime. It’s drawings. Viewers can project anything onto simplified cartoons. I know. I know. There are still moments, for instance, in the sharply-written conflict of manners between Alibaba and his pompous half-brother, where I’ll be grooving to deep and complicated issues being woven into the conversation… and then get drawn out of the experience by the thought that I’m watching miscast actors playing “foreigners.”

Watch this episode, “A Prince's Responsibility" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

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

Marshal Victoryon April 5, 2013 at 7:43 a.m.

My first clue that the evil step brother was evil was the evil part.I also Stop watching wating for ya to catch up to where im at on the series.

One thing of note after the 3rd episode the show does a really good job of layering plot an sub plots .Not to heavy as you have to study the show to understand whats going on , an not so light as a after thought. It has a feeling of movment to many shonen do not at times.

Very little to no filler feel to the show.A good show to cleanse the anime palate.Not so heavy as Psycho-Pass an not as light as Medaka Box .

YotaruVegetaon April 5, 2013 at 7:48 a.m.

I forgive this more whereas I don't forgive live action like The Last Airbender (fucking blasphemy across the board) because anime only has Japanese voice actors to work with across the board. So even if they made this anime racially accurate, it would still be a Japan-ass cartoon with Japanese people doing the voices. So it gets something of a pass, but not a total pass. We know that Alibaba is blonde because there's a fascination with blonde dudes. It's marketing shit.

I am bugged by the whole decision NOT to gender-bend when it came to Aladdin. Now that's a change that would be interesting. I guess the oppai lovers would've been under-served?

No_name_here staff on April 5, 2013 at 11:07 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta said:

I am bugged by the whole decision NOT to gender-bend when it came to Aladdin. Now that's a change that would be interesting. I guess the oppai lovers would've been under-served?

Were they talking about doing it at some point? Why is that on your mind?

takashichea moderator on April 5, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta: @No_name_here:

Oh, YotaruVegeta was talking about how Shinobu Ohtaka made her decision in Aladdin's early design. He was originally a girl before she changed him. Please read the page below. It's quite amusing.

Aladdin's Concept
Aladdin's Concept
YotaruVegetaon April 5, 2013 at 7:15 p.m.

@takashichea: Thanks for sharing that! It's funny that the author was thinking of either going between Dark Knight Returns style and Pre-80s style. I don't think I would like Magi if it was all serious. @No_name_here

I think that Alladin being female would be interesting because in this culture, I would wonder if a girl would have to masquerade as a boy in order to not be barred from access to anything.

Dig Deeper into Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic

The story revolves around Aladdin who finds a Djinn. It follows his journey with a group of friends he found, Ugo and Morgianna.

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