Magi – 5

Though often overlooked or disregarded in anime, we should be thankful for death in Magi.  Not only does death play a crucial role in the setting of the anime, considering the significance of the Rukh as the souls of mortals, but it carries substantial weight in the story with a number of character deaths thus far.  And, with death as a realistic outcome from these battles and conflicts, it helps strengthen the anime because then we’re not left with characters who are really, really hurt and turn into good guys in the next story arc.  Yeah, death is pretty awesome in Magi.

Throughout these first five episodes, we’ve seen numerous characters die, both good and bad alike.  Not only has it been an effective means of heightening emotion and removing a character from the story, but there’s also the connection to the Rukh which has bedazzled young Aladdin for the longest time.  After hearing Baba’s explanation that the Rukh are the manifestation of souls that provide guidance toward fate or destiny, the complex role of death, especially that of Baba, becomes more apparent in the setting and in the anime.  Knowing that these opaque butterflies are the life-force of human souls around Aladdin (and around everyone else), we’re able to imagine that people like Baba and all those that have died before Aladdin are guiding him on his life journey from beyond the grave.  So in a sense, death is only able to remove the physical aspect of characters from the series and we’re free to believe that all those who have perished are still with Aladdin, assisting him in his life as a Magi.

The other aspect of death that has been positive thus far is that it is a satisfying outcome to the fights of Magi.  With death comes the ultimate price to characters, showing significance to these conflicts and showing that the protagonists are just as serious as the antagonists.  Just as Jamil was content with killing Aladdin and Alibaba or Ryosai was with Hakuei, our heroes are content with killing them, too, though as a means to prevent further bloodshed and irrational murder.  Still, seeing a character die as we’ve seen a few times thus far is a more satisfying or rewarding end because then we can assume closure on a subject or matter present.  There isn’t the chance that just because a character is really, really beat up that they can come back and revive their conflict or enlist the help of bigger baddies or join the good guys like what happens with so many shounen stories.  Because characters on either side can die in Magi, it really puts some meaning into the fights because the final result might be one less character walking around in the next episode.  Couple that with the significance of death to the setting and story and you’ve got quite an interesting and respectable scheme of death in this anime.  And though it is always somewhat sad to see a character go in anime, especially if that character is beloved like Baba was, I’m ready for more death in Magi.

Ugo’s head always seems to be hiding within Aladdin’s magic flute and whenever we have flashbacks to Aladdin in the dungeon with Ugo, his hair covers his eyes.  As a result, we’re never fully able to see his entire face and often are left with him as an inaudible character as we saw from the conversation with the busty and seductive Paimon.  At first, I thought it was just a means to show that Aladdin did not have the sufficient strength to summon all of Ugo (hence why the head never comes out) but the idea falls short given the few appearances we’ve had of Ugo where his hair covers his face or it is otherwise hidden due to perspective and lighting.  And because we’ve seen the heads of two other djinn, Amon and Paimon, it leaves me to wonder if there’s something significant about Ugo’s face that carries some meaning behind it for later in the story.  I suppose this query won’t be answered until far later in the series should the situation ever arise, but it’s something that has caught my interest these past few episodes, especially now with the conversations with Amon and Paimon.

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  1. #1 by Rowena Kathleen Annwen McKay on November 11, 2012 - 10:52 PM

    Sounds good… I really do need to look into getting this series. I’m a little shocked by that last image, though, I thought it was an all-ages show. But the nipple and piercing?

    • #2 by avvesione on November 11, 2012 - 11:31 PM

      Yeah, I think most were shocked by that. We’ve had scenes before where Aladdin is obsessed with boobs, but I don’t think anyone saw pierced nipples coming. The djinn in the last pic, Paimon, is a goddess of maniacal love and chaos and she wears a rather revealing outfit as you can already tell.

      I would not call Magi an all-ages anime and that’s not based on the sexual humor or nudity alone. The anime is pretty heavy in its themes on slavery and human abuse, not to mention there’s fighting, blood, and as this post would indicate, death.

      It still is worth checking out because the anime is much, much more than these things (they constitute to a mere fraction of the anime thus far). It’s more a warning that it does get a bit violent and sexy at times, so probably worth checking out before letting any kids watch it.

      • #3 by Rowena Kathleen Annwen McKay on November 12, 2012 - 3:24 AM

        Indeed. I guess the animation style proved to be deceiving in terms of demographic, just going by the look of Alibaba.

        • #4 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:36 PM

          Yeah, I can see what you mean.

          Still, I’d recommend giving the anime a chance since you’ll probably end up enjoying it save for a few choice moments.

  2. #5 by Detetiv on November 12, 2012 - 1:28 AM

    Last I thought Ugo was too big thus only the head if I remember in the manga

    • #6 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:38 PM

      Yeah, that’s true. But what I was aiming for with my last bit was going further and asking why we never see his face in the flashbacks either. Ugo’s face is always covered one way or another, either by the flute in the real world or his hair in the dungeon. I want to know if there’s something important about it besides the comedy from having his head stuck in the flute.

      Also, saw somewhere that it might be done because Aladdin doesn’t have the power to summon him fully, meaning that part of him stays stuck in the flute. Might be interesting if that’s the case.

  3. #7 by bobbobsters on November 13, 2012 - 5:23 PM

    i like the tag-name of the last picture.

    • #8 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:39 PM

      Who doesn’t?

      Yeah, the tag lines are helpful for me when I search my site for same/similar tags across anime. I think this is only the second one with a nipple in it.

  4. #9 by windyturnip on November 14, 2012 - 5:23 PM

    As soon as death is ignored, a shounen anime loses its purpose. There is no weight to a fight where neither side can win or lose. An anime that can’t resolve its conflicts is both incredibly dull and unable to form a proper story.

    The opposite is just as true though. If death is commonplace, the viewer becomes desensitized to death. At that point, one can’t connect with characters and, consequentially, the story will fall flat.

    Magi has been playing this aspect very well so far. Though I’ll admit that I’m worried about how enthusiastic you are for more death…

    • #10 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:41 PM

      Well, I’m just happy that there is death. Whether it’s frequent or not, I don’t care, but as long as that’s an option to resolve a conflict, I’m happy.

      That being said, I kinda hope there isn’t an increase in the death rate of characters unless it is completely necessary. I feel that it is appropriate and meaningful to have in this anime but that it shouldn’t be senseless and directionless like you mention.

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