Sometimes, it honestly gets a little hard to recount the events of a given episode. I try to work through it, most of the time, of course. This time, however, the plot of the 23rd episode was so… shapeless in my recollection that I decided it’d be more useful to finally just go ahead with the ‘power through’ I’d been mulling over for a while. It’s been such a long time since I did my write-up on MAGI’s pilot, and I’ve long since grown impatient with this episode-by-episode.
I just wanted to be done with this show. MAGI has a very clear ‘jump the shark’ moment and, after that, it only got better in fleeting spurts.
I don’t even want to bother typing out a summary of what happened in these final three installments. Whatever happened is buried under so much mumbo jumbo...
Alibaba, Aladdin and a bunch of their magical allies had extended brawls against their opposite numbers; all of whom drew power from ‘Dark Metal.’ A lot of those evil wizards had silly gimmicks, like the one mouth-breather in the anachronistic wheel chair who controlled ball bearings. There was one who controlled a dark Djinn, which wound up seeming rather inconsequential. At some point, Alibaba succumbed to his dark side and became an evil, emo version of himself… but then he just sort-of shook it off. Sinbad showed off some hitherto-unrevealed power form that blasted the bad wizard with the domino mask out of the picture.
(Most of these super folk were never properly introduced, so I don’t feel lazy for not naming any of them properly. I speculate that people on the crew couldn’t keep their names straight, either).
A lot of vague platitudes about the nature of faith, friendship and the all-too-undefined Magoi were discussed during Aladdin’s reunion with Alibaba. That reunion wound up being the real non-event conclusion of the show. Over the credits, we get a tease where Sinbad meets various, vaguely-Chinese characters, dropping the hint that the show’s next season could see these character travelling further East in this fantasy, funhouse mirror of historical Asia. With this tease, there may yet be the possibility that MAGI will go on indefinitely and become the Next Top Shonen we hoped it night become.
That hope was expressed when I was much more into the show, mind you. Now, I’m less interested in hanging with these characters for another episode, let alone another season.
It’s a shame. Go a little further back into my write-ups and you’ll see me repeatedly crowing about how I love this show’s pacing, its sure-footed escalation of stakes and its authenticity to the Arabesque setting. Now, I feel like doing a post-mortem that points to the Balbadd arc as the point of infection. The ending isn’t as frustrating as, say, the conclusion of CLAYMORE, but the mildness of the show almost makes it seem worse in comparison. It’s like being smothered by a pillow.
There’s a video coming soon where I’ll talk about the series, in the large part, and weigh its pluses and minuses a little more holistically. Right now, I’d enumerate the killing factors as…
- The creator getting trigger happy with character creation; dumping whole teams of good guys and bad guys in who never got a proper introduction. We never cared about them, they took valuable screen time away from our leads, and that got even worse in these last episodes, which were largely devoted to all these nameless figurines butting heads.
- The focus being shifted from Aladdin to Alibaba for the series’ longest arc. The latter character is simply much less interesting than the former. It was like letting a supporting cast member hijack the movie from the lead.
- The Balbadd Arc botching the brisk pacing set by the earlier episodes. It was just sluggish, and the same points got repeated, over and over again. That stood in stark contrast to the conciseness of the initial arcs.
- All the business with the Magoi never became anything other than gobbledygook. It sounded like it might be some period-appropriate equivalent for ectoplasm, or some such. Instead, it played like some self-serious version of the 'feelings magic' that powered the Care Bear Stare.
Does that all seem about right? I’ll be shooting the video tonight, in time for tomorrow. Ask me a question in the talkback - - or simply raise a concern about MAGI - - and I’ll address it on camera during the taping. That'll be the real postmortem on the show.
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|