Great representation of Amon’s dungeon, mixed with solid character development and well placed flashbacks made this a enjoyable episode.
The OP’s song was really nice but what stood out to me was the great animation in the OP, they really hinted future developments very well and as a manga reader i can’t help but feel excited to the implications of how far they will animate.
I liked the OP more than the ED, but the ED did a nice job at showing the bond between Alibaba, Aladdin and Mor which is something i look forward to in the later chapters/episodes.
Setting Part 2
This episode goes further into the setting of the world of Magi. Last time i went into the order of command, this episode however breaks it down even further and shows the mindset of those who aren’t king. The governor that i referred to in the last review is actually properly labeled a “Sharif” but the concept of his power was more or less what i guessed and that is a lord of land. The king gives land to several of these sharifs and in turn they are to make profit using their trade through their merchants and their labor from their slaves and working class who struggle just to get by.
However just as in modern day, those who have power end up only wanting more power, its the greed of man and in this setting its no different. Those who find any signs of being able to raise their status never fail to use it, in this sense Alibaba is no different as he saw that Aladdin gave him a chance at his dream, so the only difference comes down to the morality of the actions one takes, and the reasoning for wanting more status and power in the first place. Ambition is ambition but the means which back them are completely different within each individual person.
Like all shounen it is important to establish limitations, first episodes usually draw someone in with some unique power, and its the job of following episodes to show that the power isn’t absolute, after all things like training arcs are common in Shounen, it needs to be shown that it has room for improvement so as to not make the MC overpowered. This episode showed this essential element right away, with Aladdins restrictions in using Ugo. Ugo has been shown to be a Djinn without a head that comes out of Aladdins flute which is a metal vessel to hold the power of a Djinn. However the summoning requires Aladdins stamina which he puts into the flute, thus leaving Aladdins more and more fatigued each time he uses it, and like with normal fatigue one must recover their strength before they do anything further, in Aladdins case its “power” from his stomach causing him to feel very hungry and unable to move. Besides summoning Ugo which already has incredible power due to his size, Aladdin showed that he has a trump card in using Ugo which by putting more power into the flute he can cause Ugo to use a form of magic. The magic wasn’t made clear in this episode but by the color and the effects of the ground in the aftermath it would be fair to judge such magic in relation to heat or fire if given an element.
The most development without a doubt went towards Alibaba however, which furthered expanded his character and gave hints towards his reasoning for wanting such wealth and status, to the point where he would risk his life for it. As said before the working class barely is able to get by, they struggle with whatever trade and skills they can in order to make a living so as a member of that class Alibaba should have been limited, but this was shown to not be the case. Alibaba represented skills enough with a blade to avoid death at the hands of the slave Goltas and even was able to hold him at knife point, but this in itself is only mildly surprising since regardless of class natural fighting ability is always a possibility, so whether its natural or hard earned remains speculation in terms of his fighting skill. The bigger surprise came in terms of his knowledge, needless to say education isn’t something that the commoners of the working class are expected to possess when they are working endlessly each and every day, thus such education is left to the wealthy and powerful. Yet Alibaba was able to properly translate a old language and even able to fool the Sharif in relation to its meaning. One could always get lucky in a fight, but one can’t simply fake knowledge to the degree of translations, how smart Alibaba really is and how he acquired such knowledge just leaves more doors to be opened in his development.
The comedy in this episode was sacrificed a bit in comparison to the manga in a effort to capture the main points thus giving it a more serious vibe. This however was in my opinion the best way to go, there are later developments in this series which require more concentration than side jokes, so while the cutting down of comedy is unfortunate, its the best thing they could have cut out without missing detail, and even with that said its not like it was nonexistent anyway.
Alibaba and Aladdin
Alibaba was shown in the last episode to be one who tolerated the world around him because he felt it was the only way in life for him to survive, thus forcing smiles to those he obviously couldn’t stand. Aladdin opened a new door for him and due to this slowly but surely their bond began to strengthen with Alibaba resolving that he would tell Aladdin his reasoning and his true dream, and in return he wished to learn more about Aladdin who he acknowledges that he knew little to nothing about him. After all its not everyday you see a 10 year old boy with a flying carpet, a huge Djinn, and a early appreciation of boobs.
The Slave girl from the first episode was shown to have a deep character as one could expect from a implied main character to be. As most slaves Morgiana is shown to have little concept of the meaning of hope, as such things are stripped away and shackled within her. Despite this however she does still show that she hasn’t given up on her desire to make her dream come true even if she feels they are hopeless, and in her case her dream is to her see her homeland. Most slaves are bought and traded, many times dragged away from their families and homes from very young and given how she described her homeland its very possible that she has little recollection of it meaning she was a slave since young. A child’s memories are often selective on strong impressions, leaving her with the strong impressions of the freedom her homeland had, something which is the opposite of her current scenario leaving her in despair.
Morgiana seems to be a caring person despite this despair however as she showed genuine regret at what at the time seemed to be Alibaba’s death, describing him as a fool who could only think of others, saying he didn’t understand the situation he was in giving implication that one needs to know their place which in this case is surely a reference to her own hopeless position as a slave.
In terms of strength Morgiana may very well be the strongest character in terms of physical power shown in this series so far (well aside from Ugo) as shown when she literally walked up a wall. Her immense leg strength makes one think that she could easily break her chains and escape, as its not like she was monitored every second, since during a long period she was left alone with Aladdin. As Aladdin mentioned however the true chains that bind her aren’t made of metal but rather mental chains which give further implications that she has been a slave since very young (considerably actually since she still is young) thus having engraved in her head the concept of no escape, so even if her metal chains were broken her mental chains would remain. For Morgiana to truly escape her mental chains need to be broken before all else.
Another truly great episode, it did indeed rush a lot in comparison to the manga, and skipped most of the comedy like mentioned before but like with the first episode it did a amazing job in capturing the main points. Also there were some things the anime actually did better than the manga, for example the representation of Amon’s dungeon mixed with great animation gave a much better feel than the manga, also the flashbacks have been used very well and gives great foreshadowing to Alibaba’s character which will come into play later as the story progresses. By indication of the preview the Dungeon arc should be wrapped up next episode, which will be something to look forward to considering the developments that occur in its climax.