First impressions mean quite a lot. Whether we want to or not, first impressions establish a baseline for which to understand a person and for which we can compare and contrast against others. Regrettably, for poor Hakuryuu Ren, his introduction was overshadowed by a silly, pointless controversy that effectively removed him from just about the entire episode making his first impression woefully underwhelming. But, just like all relationships, the first impression is merely a starting point and the rest of the anime will show Hakuryuu go from there.
Given this first episode with Hakuryuu, I’d say he has about as much presence in this anime as Akari in Yuru Yuri or Tadakuni in Daily Lives of High School Boys. That is, he pretty much has no presence in Magi right now. His introduction to the anime was immediately halted for some trivial side-story about Sinbad seducing Kougyoku during his trip to the Kou Empire capital. That’s bad. What makes it even worse, during the whole ordeal, he must’ve just stood off to the side, never taking action in intervening or making any comments or making his presence known throughout the episode. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most people watching this episode completely forgot about him at some point until he decided to jump back in. Yeah, it doesn’t look that good for Hakuryuu right now. Fortunately for him, his first impression is over and now he can begin repairing, rebuilding and developing his character for the rest of the series. And the ending to this episode was a great start.
The ending of the episode proved to be extremely beneficial for Hakuryuu by giving him some screentime alone with Sinbad who began to question his reasons for sailing to Sindria. What this did was effectively serve as an introduction of Hakuryuu’s character into the story. We now have a motivation and purpose to Hakuryuu’s character and a reason for him to join the story now rather than at any point previous (he wants to learn from Sinbad and how to run an empire like he does). Not only that but we quickly see that Hakuryuu has a strong personality given his responses and his determination to fulfill his lofty goals. It shows just how meaningful a character he can and will be all in this simple scene. You almost wish that he never got off the boat before Kougyoku (or that the whole scene never happened) so that this would be the first glimpse that we saw of his character. Instead, his character was mainly forgotten for most of the episode until the end when he was finally given some screentime to properly develop his character. Hopefully the anime continues in this trajectory and we continue to see his character develop into something meaningful and satisfying to watch in Magi.
Okay, although I thought the whole affair/controversy ordeal was rather meaningless in the episode, I did enjoy the return of comedy to Magi and how it showed Sinbad’s Eight Generals turn against him given his drunken and forgetful personality. There is some fantastic comedy in this series but it’s been largely absent given the seriousness of the Balbadd arc. At least for now, while we’re transitioning to the next storyline, we’re able to take a break and enjoy some entertainment in Magi rather than going on about fights and djinns and dungeons and wars and whatnot.