Monday, June 24, 2013

Anime Review: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

MAGI: THE LABYRINTH OF MAGIC: Incredible world building, poor storytelling

Magi tells the story of Aladdin, a boy who has been trapped in a room all his life. Now, he sets out to explore the world together with Ugo, a djinn inside a magical flute. Soon enough, Aladdin discovers that he is a Magi, an inherently powerful person who has the right to choose kings. This fact has drawn him into a world of friendship, political anarchy, and rebellion.

I saw a lot of potential as early as the first episode because the author did a good job on world building. The Magi world is just so huge that there is a lot of room for the story to branch out -- and it did branch out. It talked about the mysterious powers of djinns and magic in general; about political warfare that led to slavery, poverty, and death; about the rising Kou Empire and its diplomatic attempts to rise further into power; about the mysterious organization that wants to plunge the world into darkness. All of these are tackled in a mere twenty-five episodes -- and that’s not a good thing.

That’s the main problem I have with the series. Everything is so fast-paced that it spoils the important moments. There’s not enough time to raise the tension, so every conflict feels to be resolved prematurely. The story is just too broad to be expanded in such a short period of time. And, I must add, that the story has been somewhat spoiled because of this.

As for the characters, I must admit that I find them to be very well designed. Each character has its own unique aura and personality. However, the abruptness of the story is so problematic that it even fails to expand these characters’ depths well -- so most of them seem flat despite being uniquely designed. Aside from that, one of the main characters, Alibaba, has actions that are really not justifiable. His emotional tendencies are not established well, so they appear to be executed just to move the story further.

The feature characters of Magi

Perhaps the redeeming factor of this series is really the imaginative world it has established. It is just so interesting that, despite the storytelling being awkward, I still continued watching, for I wanted to explore the incredible world before me.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact that there are so many questions left unanswered in the season finale. It keeps me guessing. And it is further proof that the author did a good job in creating the fictional world. So, despite its flaws, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is still a watchable series. It already has the raw material to be a great anime. The only thing that needs some improvement is the storytelling.

For now, while waiting for the second season of the series, I’ll dive into the manga to discover the answers to the questions the first season implores. And, I hope, that the storytelling in the source material is slower and more in-depth.

Related posts:
           First Impression: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic

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