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The Final MAGI: LABYRINTH OF MAGIC Review - - Watch & Learn

Can Aladdin's third eye see where this show went wrong?

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Start watching this final batch of episodes with “Battle Cry" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

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
YotaruVegetaon June 20, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.

Magi is definitely a weak shounen show, and they cobbled together a season conclusion that felt rushed. I was definitely more excited about it at the start, and there are still things I like about it. I don't know whether I'll return to it, honestly.

Marshal Victoryon June 21, 2013 at 6:35 a.m.

Not watched the last ones yet. But i will point out how again i said it felt like they got a second season an were cought off guard.Like they just so surprised they got to do more episodes that they did not know what to do.The magi manga fans as i understand it were not to happy with the 1st season.Maybe they tried to make them happy with the second half?

Also note the second half felt more..upbeat than the 1st half.Artificaly so.Unaturaly so.Also i thinik Tom has the point right on when the wheels came of the ...

takashichea moderator on June 21, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.

I do agree with the flaws pointed here. I don't know if they are going for another season. There are rumors that it might be a movie. There is another arc before Magnostadt, the pirates arc where Alibaba and the gang go out at sea and branch off at their own paths. Magi has potential. Somehow, the manga is selling out a lot and doing well. Still, the anime had a rocky ending. I don't know how they would start off in their second season with some inconsistencies with its manga counterpart.

zaldaron June 22, 2013 at 8:37 a.m.

How does the first season compare with the story in the manga? Could they go say a brotherhood route and improve on this, maybe introduce things at a slower pace, now that they know they have the time to do so?

takashichea moderator on June 23, 2013 at 12:54 p.m.

@zaldar:

I can answer your question since I'm one of the wiki editors in Anime Vice and Magi Wikia. The anime followed the manga faithfully. The ending for the Zagan arc is altered while the beginning story that involved Sahsa and Leila was skipped and replaced by Alibaba.

Spoilers Below

The manga never had Alibaba fall in depravity. Instead, Aladdin uses his Wisdom of Solomon to save Dunya Musta'sim. The battle between in the manga ended quickly. There was no invasion of Sindria by Al Sarmen forces in the manga.

zaldaron June 24, 2013 at 6:09 p.m.

@takashichea: So the problems tom had with it are in the source material as well?

takashichea moderator on June 24, 2013 at 6:12 p.m.

@zaldar:

The manga hasn't been released in the States until August 13, 2013. It's licensed by Viz Media. Tom hasn't read the manga yet. Pretty much his impressions are only on the anime.

zaldaron June 24, 2013 at 6:24 p.m.

@takashichea: Right I get this...which is why I am asking someone who has read the manga, as you have I assume, if they are repeated there. If not and the manga does it better, then it would seem a brotherhood like make over is in order.

takashichea moderator on June 24, 2013 at 6:35 p.m.

@zaldar:

Oh, I'm sorry about that. I think a brotherhood make over isn't in the budget since Magi is going to get a second season. I feel like A-1 Pictures is just going pick off where it left. Considering how they didn't mentioned the pirate arc which takes place before Magnostadt arc, the arc where season 2 is supposedly on, the anime is going to rush again.

FMA Brotherhood got a make over because of a huge demand. Plus, its anime and manga series are both successful. Magi anime isn't that popular, but its manga is doing remarkably well. It's a coin toss. Though, fans have lost some faith in A-1 Pictures.

Here are 2 articles concerning the fate of Magi if you're interested in.

rubberluffyon June 26, 2013 at 12:47 p.m.

@zaldar:

The Magi anime's sales started off really strong but they had a almost record drop (people compared it to Ao no Exorcist). I think the first volume on BD+DVD sold like 17k but the recent ones did like 3k or something. A huge dropoff. I haven't watched the anime, but it seems the major complaints were the animation quality dropping heavily in the last quarter and some mishandled anime-original stuff. Also that whole kerfuffle over Morgiana's dance scene not getting its in-betweens from China in time for the TV airing.

I've been reading the manga and I'm on chapter 95 and it's really good.

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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