It was a campy, meaningful, enlightening adventure that I didn’t want to end and I hope won’t end. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (Season 1) is one of the few anime that has had me hook line and sinker from the very beginning, boasting a killer cast of characters. With a slice of life-esque opening, I thought I knew what I was signing up for. Most likely, it would be a kind of One Piece adventure clone with bleak characters, poor plot development and a lot shorter. Boy, was I wrong about this one.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (Season 1) is easily one of my top ten favourite anime just due to the characters alone, the brilliant story telling and animation is just a bonus from here on out. The strength of each character arc and story told let me fully realise these individuals motivations and actions from the get go. The best part is, these characters are not one dimensional and are all multi-faceted, unique and extremely likable.
The three main characters of Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana are the perfect company for such a story and with assistance from the supporting cast are able to become fully realised versions of themselves. The thing that sets these characters apart is that they never feel overpowered in the battles that they are in and have obvious weaknesses to the strengthening qualities they posses. Each fight, argument and altercation was layed out perfectly for each of these three to shine and show their prowess as well as their weakness.
Apart from a slow beginning, the real strength of this anime is the character relationships and motivations of each character. It wasn’t a kind of ‘friendship conquers all’ stereotype in this scenario. It feels like more than that when coming from characters such as Morgiana (a former slave- set free by Aladdin and Alibaba) and Alibaba who have overcome milestones with each other and developed their relationships to realise more that just a standard companionship but a fully realised relationship.
I feel so strongly about these characters and their connection to one another. That cannot only be attributed to the brilliant voice acting tones, but the writing of these individuals and the supporting characters around them. Most notably, Cassim, the Kou Princesses and (of course) Sinbad (who couldn’t or doesn’t love this man- even if he is a bid shadey) along with his eight generals.
With light moments of obvious fan service, buffoonery and just completely outrageous laughs, this anime has me swooning.
Sinbad not only was a great character to introduce but fully showed the potential of this series moving forward and the powerful battles that will unfold in the next season (which means awesome fight scenes for us). The thing about this series is that it moves so smoothly from one arc to the next and completely takes us along for the ride.
Another aspect I will commend this anime on is the juxtaposition of Cassim and Alibaba, conveying how emotions such as sadness, fear and jealousy can plague humans into doing some pretty horrid things. I commend this series for conveying compelling character motivations and conveying these motivations so subtly yet effectively to allow the flow of actions to run smoothly. Characters who we were supposed to hate, I hated. Ones that we were supposed to latch onto, I loved. Each and every character felt unique and unlike the others, having carefully woven stories into each other.
Not many shows make me laugh and cry in the same episode, but Magi did. The power of friendship doesn’t always triumph over all and it was refreshing to stray away from the ‘happy ever after’ cliche ending after each arc. It felt like a fully enthralling experience that I could walk away and pick up as I felt, sometimes, feeling compelled to binge which is always a good thing with these types of shows.
The thing that made this anime so great for me was the main characters susceptibility to weakness within themselves, conveying the notion of fate making all humans imperfect and equal. I loved seeing the vulnerability of Alibaba, and Aladdin’s belief in his friend, that was so far reaching, it could save him from darkness. Morgiana’s own battle within herself when she was struggling to find her purpose was another one of my favourite moments as she finally found her own motivation and outlook on the world after being starved of freedom her whole life.
The humour was also stupidly good. God. Switching from animation styles to a simpler manga, chibi form when comedic scenes were unfolding was absolutely hilarious with each character bringing something funny and unique to an episode. Props to Aladdin for being such a sweet, kind, young boy and a raging pervert all at the same time.
At it’s core, this anime is a feel good experience with bumps of emotional explosions that will surely leave you in a spin. With equally lovable and unlikable characters, we can explore complex relationships between each of them to identify why they are motivated for their specific cause making it so simple to follow an otherwise complex story.
With such an awesome allusion to the next season, you can be sure that I will be watching it in the coming weeks. Upon hearing the ending theme I felt so nostalgic about the entire experience that I just had to sit and enjoy the feeling of fulfillment that I got from the end of this series. With a cast of dynamic characters and balance of humour and dark themes, this anime surely surprised me when I first started watching.
The power of fate grows in all of us, I will always remember why this anime was so good. Also, Alibaba cosplay anyone?
~ krisesandchrosses ~