By Brigitte Bentulan
For the word ‘maho’ or magic, the word carries a connotation which gives fellow otakus a cliché vibe. Whether it be a “shoujo maho” (magical girl) melodrama or satanic circles, the story has taken a nostalgic movie everyone has come to adore and twisted it to create a masterpiece in the story’s era of time. The plot takes their rendition of ‘maho’ and created a political playing field where the struggle for power lies in the hands of the military, citizens, and in this case, the Magi. The Magi’s role consists of nominating a potential crown of the land and helps guide them to rule in which citizens know peace. With that in mind, that is the core basis on the story-power. Such a responsibility cannot be taken lightly, especially for a young boy such as Aladdin. The story centers on a newly identified “Magi” who does not seem to know their own identity in general. Instead, he slowly identifies the duty he must carry. Alas, this boy is the epitome of innocence. All intentions are good and pure—yet the only character would even think about motor boating a woman! (Yes, yes just enough ecchi fan service to satisfy). This genie wielding magic carpet flying bundle of mystery is yet to be uncovered completely. Aladdin encounters Alibaba, your normal everyday commoner. Their friendship is of genuine loyalty—but loyalty can only go so far. As the Dynamic duo grows in spirit, so does the viewer’s respect for the character—and the lump in your throat when scenes escalate! From the beginning the plot seems to deliver a nostalgic vibe from the Disney counterpart, but grips you with the historical reality in what really happened during these ‘Arabian nights’. The reality aspect delivers a purge of emotions as to juxtaposing it to the ‘maho’ aspect which soothes the soul. In essence, the story is a fairy tale which shouldn’t be read during bedtime, but a Saturday morning cartoon—the adrenaline is just too much to slumber on.
[button url=”http://” target=”_self” size=”small” style=”blue” ]Animation 9/10[/button]
As expected from the theme of “Arabian nights”, the beauty within the setting is very much cultured to fit the time frame. Each city and village encountered had its own attitude as well as the people inhabiting them—the transitioning to a different region in which Aladdin didn’t have to always use the ‘magic carpet’ was refreshing. The motion picture was clean and smooth, but at some points the outfits became simply sketched—totally understandable but a little quality control couldn’t have hurt (mostly clothing—it staples the time). On the other hand action scenes were superb. The use of ‘maho’ was just enough to keep it mystifying without ruining the integrity of the military super power. The variety of trials in which the protagonist had to face were real of their time—when it came to bandits, thieves, and even rebellions, the historical allusions instilled true fear into situations in which not even ‘maho’ can save them, thus creating a suspenseful and practically hopeless situation. It is a thrilling feeling if anything. The vibrancy of color pertaining to each area was beautiful—the saturation of color varied yet was not out of place. When coming to different characters, they had their own vibe when it comes to carrying themselves within the animation—the transitions from modest shots to dynamic angles build the character and etch placements into your mind.
[button url=”http://” target=”_self” size=”small” style=”blue” ]Sound 8/10[/button]
The overall soundtrack to the series fit—I personally enjoy the OP of the series (Ugo as well). Of course being a shounen series the OP would start off with the powerful chorus—but of course there is no hate at all. The scenes placed within the OP modified from the series did make the OP especially enjoyable (having that “I REMEMBER” moment). Of course they would be memorable moments in the anime—but with that being said, the OST for background carried that Arabian vibe without being overdone with some sort of Egyptian effect. That ‘moment’ building up to a certain scene comes up, it doesn’t start off way too early to the point when you’re just waiting, but at least those 3 seconds where your mind feels it and –BAM- your cognitive function becomes numb. Morgiana in particular when faced in a solo match between beasts was a suspenseful and toe curling that came at an instant—the score was placed nicely. Some animes rush and don’t take time to calibrate the score at an even rate—but for Magi, everything seems to ream together just as it should. Magi’s ending theme—seems to be juvenile at first, but it makes up for some shocking endings leave you in a “WHAT JUST HAPPENED—“ and a happy tune just entirely contrasts the surprise. Most people don’t stay for the ED OST but it does end off on a good note-most of the time.
[button url=”http://” target=”_self” size=”small” style=”blue” ]Characters 9/10[/button]
Aladdin displays a very classic ‘domino effect’ that affect each character involved—this includes antagonists alike. It is a simple concept—the innocence in Aladdin’s heart get to the core of what every decision and detail comes down to—in other words, the morals invested into his being is a judgment towards all the other characters. This causes them to change or become clinically insane. As a viewer, it is obvious that we would carry Aladdin’s morals. His entity is one of a God—yet, as a child, Aladdin must grow as well as everyone else. The ignorance the antagonists carry is unbelievable—of the time, there were people this air-headed, yet fear still permeated from the faith I bestowed in the protagonists. The small triumphs they had over very powerful characters didn’t come from sheer brute strength, but they had power—power
that isn’t simply earned, but attained through political means. Thus, ignorance and chaos rid those who are subordinate to them. The unfolding consequences to their actions are equally as horrible. The lives Aladdin has encountered come from an array of background. From royalty to commoners, the depth in which these characters were crafted from experiences from those who came from the time period—this goes out to my character Morgiana, an early antagonist whom suffers under the punishment of a noble. The pathos aspect of the victims hurt emotionally and a huge regard of sympathies cannot be helped. Although emotionally, these characters are easily likable, the transitions are just too sudden. It is understandable that just coming out of a hardship, living becomes lighter, but attitude wise, it should not be that easy. Also, with timing, within a few episodes months have passed. The animation could have been more alerting. I was hoping for a little more resistance—and a lot more pain—but that’s just me. It would have made for a great story. Other than that, it’s always great to see progress—and the twists the “good guys” display, makes the neck creak. But again—the pain is addicting and pushes the story forward.
[button url=”http://” target=”_self” size=”small” style=”blue” ]Overall 9/10[/button]
As an anime, this stands in a different direction for the fantasy genre, yet the integrity is definitely not left behind. In fact, the theme being in the Middle East has seemed to capture my interest. Of course there are clichés—that’s just how it should be—a twist on a Disney favorite. Essentially, it is the core structure Aladdin the movie that children could not understand: power, struggle, hardship. From concubines to merchants, by taking away musical numbers and a love story, you have struggling citizens with an empire ready to collapse on itself. Magi is not just an adventure for self-identity, but the precursor to the rise of a powerful nation.