Day 5: Magi
On the fifth day of anime my waifu gave to me,
five metal vessels!
four Riki routes…
two rockin’ Joestars…
and a chu2 from KyoAni!
Magi is a wonderful show I’ve quickly become quite fond of. It’s a very classic “coming of age” journey, told in a very cool style and setting. For me, it’s nice to sometimes have the simpler story with the clear thematic intentions than the gritty gray-zone epic fantasies that much of the media is enamored with today (digression about this at the end of the post), as well have a tale in the style of One Thousand and One Nights. It also reminds me of Disney’s Aladdin movie series in a way, which completes the nostalgia-inducing experience and makes me go “omg, my childhoooooodddddddd <3<3<3,” which might bias my opinions a tad. It’s nice to simply follow the characters as they learn the true meaning of friendship, exploring the world, and believing in yourself! So far I haven’t been disappointed.
So what does Magi want us to take away from it (besides the fact that Sinbad is a pimpstack of a character ? Well, the power of friendship is not a bad place to start. Appreciating the people who understand you and will be with you through thick and thin; how being part of a group is better than going it alone; how you celebrate and suffer together. It’s great stuff.
You see it with Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgiana.
You see it with Sinbad, Masrur, and Jafar.
You can sort of see it with Alibaba and Kassim in the past.
And of course you have Aladdin and Ugo!
We see also see the wrath and retribution, and the hurt, that accompanies such friendships, at least where Ugo is concerned.
Now, going back to Kassim, we see that his character (and his friendship with Alibaba) becomes corrupted by his loss, and this actually pervades his character and becomes his destruction (or at least, I’m predicting it will be). And so another other big message here is to not be tied down by your past. Alibaba is shackled by his past, both by his heritage and by Kassim, and Aladdin and Sinbad are a huge part of him breaking out and taking responsibility (well, it’s leading up to it, if the next few episodes are any indication). Again, Kassim actually is (or will be) undone by his inability to break free of the chains of hatred that have wound themselves around him. Morgiana is originally also shackled (literally and figuratively) by hers – Aladdin even makes the acute observations that she is bound by “invisible chains” when he adventures with her the first time. And of course, Aladdin is bound by his past and responsibilities – but he isn’t held down by them (at least, not yet). So being able to deal with (and get over) your past is a big part of what the show is getting at.
Of course there, are the usual bad guy vs. good guy themes, the benefit of helping others and not solely of yourself, the corrupting influence of power (Judal much?), that slavery is bad, and other issues. But I feel the first two points are the core themes of the show and ultimately the key to what Morgiana, Alibaba, and Aladdin must learn in order to succeed in their quest. Plus the fact that I’m lazy and finals and stuff. And so that’s it for me today!
I mean, just look at all the Hollywood reboots of classic superhero tales that have tried to take on a darker tone (e.g. The Dark Knight trilogy, Superman Returns, Spiderman, etc.). While it probably is a sign that Hollywood is unoriginal and can’t think of anything new, the fact that this type of thing sells means that society as a whole has come to like this type of gray story. Even in literature, we can see this sort of transition, comparing, say, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to Martin’s (called the “modern Tolkien” by some) A Song of Ice and Fire. I mean, it definitely true that old tales where the lines were clear cut are not necessarily the most realistic, and I do like some of these reboots that try to “humanize” the protagonist, but when you’re continually submerged in a sea of grime sometimes you yearn for something a bit more idealistic. A notable exemption of this type of would be Watchmen (oh I could rave about it at great length), which I loved precisely because it demonstrates explicitly how standard superhero ideologies break through Rorschach (who’s a fascinating character in his own right), while most reboots simply introduce a flawed character in the gray zone from the beginning.
Note: I took the photos from Random Curiosity, since they were just such high quality.