Posted by psgels on 13 November 2012 with categories: Magi

There is one thing that this series really likes to drive through, doesn’t it? Slavery sucks. Slavery is evil. Slavery should be banished from this world altogether. While I totally agree with that, my problem with that is that it makes the villains of this series rather one-sided. There just are a lot of bad guys in this show that look too much like each other, and I would have liked to see a bit more variety.

On the other hand, I’m really digging the rest of the characters in this series. I even feel sorry for the really minor side-characters, so those villains are at least doing something well. This episode was all about Morgiana (and a half-year time skip!), and I really like that Goltias still plays a prominent role in this series. He could have just been some random goon that got forgotten as soon as he died, but the creators did a great job of making sure that he still has impact.

This show also has the talent to instantly make the people who the main characters run into likable. I’m not yet entirely sure why this is, but it still is something that definitely not every series can boast. Either way, I like the warmth between them, and they’re quite well acted, and together they feel like an actual community: they strengthen each other, which especially was true near the end of the episode.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

33 Responses

  1. DmonHiro says:

    Don’t worry, we’re pretty much done with the slavery part. Still got poverty though.

  2. Green says:

    The first few villains are rather comic but the next villain will be very interesting. The creator spend loads of time on the next villain’s background to build up his character. Furthermore, he is an actual character from one thousand and one nights.

    • fathomlessblue says:

      I look forward to see if you guys are right about this. The show is creative & has some imaginative ideas, but the writing needs to significantly step up to keep my attention any longer.

      • Puran says:

        The emphasis on slavery was to develop and characterize Morgiana and I think they did a good job with that. From what I’ve read from the manga, it seems to be done with this “theme” after this episode. So give at least a few more episodes before judging it.

  3. fathomlessblue says:

    This is something I’ve also been really annoyed with, & I’m so fed up of the series repeating itself over & over, that I’m close to dropping it. Seriously, just what is Magi about? I came into it expecting a fun adventure series, but instead we’ve had six episodes of the show endlessly saying, “Slavery is bad; now here’s another comically-psychotic, one-note villain to convince you of this!”

    Now I enjoy anime conveying ideas & messages as much as the next person, but Magi’s is paper-thin to the point of being non-existent! Who needs to be told that slavery is wrong in this day and age? Certainly not anyone in a position of watching the show! This is something your average four year old knows, yet Magi seems obligated wastes much of its screen time ceaselessly conveying.

    The concept itself is interesting enough to be explored, but so far the series has refused to do so. Where are the stern, yet kind hearted slave-owners whose actions, while morally wrong, are the product of the environment they have been raised in? Where are the owners who treated slaves as the costly investment that they were (in the same fashion as owning a house/car), rather than solely something to sadistically torture? Where is any sort of nuance? The show is saying absolutely nothing that anyone raised in a semi-civilised culture, with a modicum of intelligence is unaware of. I can accept one episode, allowing Magi to make its stance clear, but if it refuses to add any depth to what is, in theory, a fascinating premise, then I won’t be carrying on.

    We’ll see if Magi dropped this sub-plot, or eventually branch out its ideas in an intelligent & multi-faceted manner? I’ll give it few more episodes before deciding.

    • Green says:

      Sadly, the eastern culture has a more offensive stand on slavery compared to the west. This makes the series annoyingly repetitive in their message. Fortunately, slavery isn’t the main theme of the series. The main focus of this series(anime) is on the political, economical and social system of Balbadd which I find it to be quite believable compared to anime like C. As an Economics student back in my college years, I was irritated at how stupid and unreal C was. Magi dealt with it a lot better than C. Not perfect, but more believable. Thus it kept my interest throughout the entire of the Balbadd arc.

    • Puran says:

      From what I’ve seen in the manga, it stops with slavery from this point on and deals with poverty and war, which is more relevant to today and is handled better. Although if you’re expecting a deep exploration of such themes you’re going to be disappointed. Slavery so far didn’t bother me. It was important to the characters, specifically Morgiana. And we’ve mostly seen how she views it and I liked how that was handled. The “message” as a viewer is not relevant or interesting, but how Morgiana dealt/deals with it, did lead to some good character development and characterization. Not everything needs to be relevant to the viewer.

      Either way, Magi is a fun adventure/travelling series at heart. There is a lot of creativity and it has a good pacing (the manga already has a good pacing, but I think the anime even improves it), if you don’t come expecting a lot more than that, you’re going to have a blast.

      • Green says:

        Agreed, the simplicity and the realism is what makes the next arc great.

      • fathomlessblue says:

        The issues with certain eastern cultures are more prominently concerned the repression of rights for certain demographics, particularly women, which isn’t the same as straight-up subjugation/slavery. I’m pretty sure Magi wasn’t referring to that, even if there are connections between the two.

        As for C, that show suffered the classic noitamina curse, trying to fit a 26+ episode show into 11. The result was always going to be a garbled mess, no matter how earnest the show’s intentions were.

        @Puran

        I think the message is important enough to the viewer. If we’re seeing it, then the show is trying to say something to us about it, otherwise the scenes would serve as a complete waste of time for anyone watching. Even if the scenes are associated with Morgiana, we need to understand her stance in order to emphasise. With comical, moustache-twirling villains, the show makes it more difficult to take her plight seriously, & thus sympathise with her.

        I know this a shounen series, so I’m not expecting anything overly deep or complex, but the issue of slavery is an interesting concept rarely seen in anime, & considering how much focus was placed on it during the opening six episodes, I just wish the show has utilized its screen time more effectively.

        • Green says:

          C was nonsensical since the very first episode. Even if it was given a hundred episodes it would still be rubbish. That series ignores how exchange rate, inflation etc work. The way they toss economic jargons around irates me. What C did would be what North Korean government will do. Forcing the economy to collapse and executing the finance minister for the mistake.

    • jonas says:

      Dude, is not about slavery, it´s about being a slave. Now that Morgiana no longer sees herself as a slave, the series can move on.

  4. TheUltimateReaper says:

    Good series. Morgiana is awesome, almost feels like she should be the main character at this point. The male protagonist needs some work. Aladdin is decent. The show has some dark overtones which is nice. What else is there to say.

    • Trass says:

      If you were referring to Alibaba when you said ‘the male protagonist’, the protagonist here is Aladdin.

      Anyway, once again, I find it highly interesting how they changed the pacing and skipped lots of parts from the manga yet again, but they don’t even change the course of the story. Those two women who took Morgiana in their caravan were the people introduced in chapter 1 of the manga.

      The anime did it really well to make it looks acceptable and plausible in the eyes of new watchers, and still makes sense and stays true to the manga in the eyes of the manga readers.

      • Puran says:

        I also like how they use powers early that are normally introduced later. For example I don’t believe in the manga morgiana does that scream thing, but instead does it much later (which could potentially result in viewers saying “If she could do that why didn’t she use it earlier?”)

        I also liked how they introduced djinn equips earlier. So now when they are properly introduced, it will be something that we’ve already seen in action, but didn’t know what it was. It seems like they are making changes to make the series more coherent.

  5. Mormegil says:

    Likewise, the villains in Magi also bother me. They’re simply evil for evil’s sake. Then again, they were all small time. As the story moves along the bigger villains will appear, and I’m sure they’ll have some depth to them. At least I hope so…

    • DmonHiro says:

      They most certainly do.

    • Moon Trace says:

      Well not really, first off. Jamil was raised to used other and be seen as better then everyone else. If he probably find nothing was bad about his behavior, someone trained him to be like this. If we look at history his case was probably common.

      Thing with Slave traders again, slaves weren’t seen as humans for the most part in history. Expendable and cheap labor, a person that becomes a slave trader can’t sympathize with their “goods”. This part is a way to show what sort of era Magi takes place in.

    • Puran says:

      All the villains so far are throwaway villains. I don’t think we’ll see them again. Proper ones will be introduced in the following episodes.

  6. elior1 says:

    finally the most awaited balbadd arc will begin next episode with sinbad

  7. kazid1 says:

    Yeah that is a awesome arc. A long since i see something of that caliber in manga.

  8. JaK says:

    i remember this one epic epic fight at the conclusion of the next arc or was it after the next one , just for that i would keep watching this show XD , even when i was reading the manga that fight made me wow in awe :|

  9. Anca says:

    The slave traders sympathizing with the wares they traded in would have been far more unrealistic. I mean, look at how people treat animals at a farm – slaves must have been treated similarly. When was the last time you saw someone being nice to the horse they use to pull their cart? Hell no, people whip them, starve them (especially when food is scarce), put things on their eyes so they can only see right in front of them, and push them even harder if they get hurt. And horses still have it good, because people need them to be strong. Also to be honest I don’t even want to see slave traders portrayed as nice people we’re supposed to like. It goes against my morals and principles and that funny feeling we get in our gut.

    I’ve been more bothered by the fact that everyone in this show speaks the same language. I mean, the show started around India (I think?), yet nobody had trouble communicating with the Chinese/Mongols up north, or with the various slaves that would have mostly been foreigners.

    • kazid1 says:

      eheheheh,In the languaje thing you have a point there, and that is a interesting topic and a key point in the series, I will no say more than that.

    • over_seer says:

      Most actual cases of slavery and owners were (are) a lot less one-sided than as generally portrayed here and elsewhere. This kind of kiddy extreme depiction was generally not the norm–which is okay by me; this is fiction.

      Rampant cruelty to slaves is a terrible business practice. Of course they were treated poorly, subjugated, mistreated, etc., but they cost too much money to abuse regularly, for both traders and owners. It’s a lot easier for most owners and traders to rationalize (bad as that sounds) more moderated behaviors with their consciences than the kinds of treatments more popularly depicted.

      In my opinion, it’s probably more meaningful and powerful, if they really intend to dwell on the subject like they have, to focus on the conditions and the system of slavery, rather than a cartoony (har har) force of evil. But that’s probably not the emphasis of the series, not really the intent. So who cares? On to the next episode.

      Anyway, if the next arc is better, then that’s good news to me.

    • fathomlessblue says:

      @Anca

      The issues you refer to with horses tend to be on the more extreme end of the spectrum, and while certainly unpleasant are not the same as stabbing it repeatedly for fun, or dangling it over hungry animals.

      By no way am I suggesting slavery means a rosy existence or that abuse would not take place, but for the most part slaves were treated as an investment. You might not have to treat them particularly well physically or mentally, but you wouldn’t damage your own belonging to the point they couldn’t operate anymore! Disliking the idea of slavery, (which let’s be honest, anyone in their right mind, in today’s age, wouldn’t!), doesn’t mean you should portray every owner as a complete psychopath! That doesn’t make me feel stronger against subjugation, if anything I’ll take it less seriously or sympathetically, just for how cartoonish it feels. Magi could have demonstrated much more, with far less.

      • Anca says:

        The issues with horses are things I see close to every week in summer, and what I described wasn’t even the worst thing people do at farms (not by a long shot), whether with the livestock or each other.

        I assume you’re from a developed country. You guys don’t even realise how much (positive) brainwashing we got from the media growing up. The people here, a certain generation… we were under communist rule for a long time, and there were no movies and very little music. More educated people read books, but your average farmer Joe wouldn’t – there’s so much basic morality people lack… killing your wife and then your kids if she annoyed you, while it would have sent you to prison, would also have made most shrug and say ‘well, they were his. She was probably bad in bed’. In light of this it’s hard to imagine people with even less education treated ‘subhumans’ humanely.

        Humanity isn’t nice, however we’re A LOT nicer yhan we used to be.

    • Trass says:

      The 1 language thing is actually in the plot. It was revealed quite late in the manga, but judging by how the anime handled the story so far, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see a hint of it early on.

  10. Arno says:

    I agree with fathomlessblue that repeating “slavery is bad” is boring. There are the one-dimensional almost comical villains but I would also think that the Morgiana character, shifting from superkawai young girl to superMAN all the time makes all this inconsistent.

    It is true that historical slavery was developed for economical reasons and not psychotic reasons. However that did not prevent psychotic behavior, since all owners were not rational investors.

    However, this anime is not in charge of writing a realistic and true-to-facts history book. It is meant to entertain us and so far it failed, because repeating a moral message with inconsistent characters doesn’t make good fiction. Ethics don’t entertain, at least when plain and simple as this.

    • Anca says:

      How was Morgiana inconsistent?

      And this episode being entertaining is still a matter of taste. It’s still a less extreme view on slavery than most other anime the idea appears in.

    • kazid1 says:

      Same here, Iconsisten????, you must be kiddin rigth?. I dont see any, the show is by far good, Is your point of view, meaby is not for you tastes. And I know this show is the best recently shounen series, only need i bit of time.

    • jonas says:

      That´s why the message is not “slavery is bad”, but “being a slave sucks”. Morgiana is strong enough to free herself, but she is a slave at heart, so she won´t even try. Remember how is not until Goltas reminds her that she is no longer a slave, that she is able to break out of her chains.

      Morgiana was raised to be like an attack dog, docile around her master, but vicious when attacking.

  11. Nic says:

    Been reading the manga recently (on v13 right now)after finishing the first 6 episodes. The Magi anime hasn’t handled the introduction arcs very well and that’s kind of a shame. They switched around the order and even replaced characters, probably to introduce them earlier than in the manga, which screwed up the pacing and they overdid it with the villains being evil, making them more comical than necessary.

    But now that it’s done, the next arc is pretty major and will introduce the major villains and allies of Magi. So from now on, Magi should only get better.

    I’ve been wondering how long the anime is going to last though. Is this going to go on continously or just 1-2 seasons? Because Magi is a long-running shounen series, although it seems to have its arcs plotted out for the most part, unlike say, the big shounen series (such as Fairy Tail, Bleach, etc…) which seem to make it up as it goes.

  12. Entrav says:

    Solid as expected from Magi. I just had to read more of the manga after this episode.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 27. 2016 12:08 AM)
    @Mamamoo, oh no. How bad are we talking?
  • mamamoo
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 11:19 PM)
    ehhh and I retract everything I said about Orange now that I finished the whole thing.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:11 PM)
    But I agree with Bam in that the show has lots of moments where it shines, namely in the action and the entertaining character interactions. If I was interested more so in a character story rather than an overall plot, I’m sure I’d like Eva a lot more. Certain shows work really well purely off that principle like Phantasia, but by the time I got to Eva I’d gotten relatively desensitized to those character tropes. Shinji didn’t help much either.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:07 PM)
    There’s no narrative thrusts throughout the show, it’s just scenes happening to get from one action set piece to the next all the while shoving blatant symbolism in your face. The little plot there is feels incredibly weak, aside from the world building there’s no clear objective besides a vague idea of defeating angels and something about Gendo that’s almost background noise with how little it affects the story.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    Having started watching anime only in the mid 2000s despite occasionally seeing them on TV during the 90s, I come from a school of thought that emphasizes coherence more than anything else, basically I want the story to have focus. And while Eva’s influence on character archetypes and animation cannot be argued, I still think the story in Eva is pretty bad.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:56 PM)
    Judging purely visually I agree some leeway must be given due to the technical limitations of the time but all of my issues with the series is not visual related but story.
    I have admitted that I don’t hate Eva and I do like aspects of it. But do you really need me to give it praise? There is plenty giving it praise. I see no reason to join the choir.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:51 PM)
    Now you are just flying off the hook.
    I understand Eva’s cultural significance, and it’s effect on the medium. I just deem it irrelevant when judging the anime itself. For you see dear boy, if you are going to place EVA above modern anime then you must judge it by modern standards. If it falls short you can’t just bring up historic significance to wave away it’s problems.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:46 PM)
    I praised Fate/Zero for its story, pacing and charismatic protagonist. UBW I agreed to its superb battle animation and overall quality of first cour. Now when someone watches EoE or Eva Rebuild 2.2 and comments on nothing of quality, then who is the biased one here really?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:34 PM)
    If anything at least call Shinji a shitty annoying character- cuz even I won’t deny that.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.

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