By Clinton Nix / October 24th, 2012
*Episode spoilers are contained within this article*
Episode 2 of Magi picks up right in front of the entrance to Amon, the 7th dungeon. They enter by touch, as it is apparent that the dungeon has some sort of mysterious magic behind it. At first, the inside doesn’t necessarily resemble a tower or dungeon, but a cave. After a skirmish with some green bugs, Aladdin passes out from both a lack of food and using Ugo’s power.
In all honesty, the beginning of the episode is a bit of a disappointment. The animation of the green bugs that Aladdin and Alibaba run into is a bit lacking, looking more amateurish than what we’ve seen in the first episode. Thankfully, that little skirmish was only meant to fill in extra minutes. What happens later is what makes episode two and also the series itself stand out as a unique offering, by answering a few more questions about how Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is going to differentiate itself from the movie Aladdin.
I would have to say that the setting of the tower is only a backdrop at this point to bring about several important things. Currently, there is some mysterious magical property that is briefly shown in the tower, but I assume that more will be revealed later. It really acts as a set to showcase the depth of personality of certain characters, as well as a transition to the surprising scene that takes place at the end of the episode.
In terms of character portrayal, this episode isn’t so much about Aladdin as it is about Alibaba, Lord Jamil, and also ‘Big Sister,’ who’s name has finally been revealed as Morgiana. We do get a glimpse of Alibaba’s real motive, as he mentions that he will tell Aladdin the ‘truth’ about why he is there. A new character with long hair is briefly shown, but the relationship that Alibaba shares with the mystery person is still unknown. We don’t hear anything else about this, as their adventure is cut short by Lord Jamil. Later on, though, Alibaba shows a unique skill of being able to read ancient hieroglyphs. Realizing that Jamil’s skills are rusty in this regard, he purposefully leads him down the wrong path. An interesting part about that scene was that Jamil mentioned that usually only nobility are educated in this manner. Alibaba shrugged it off, but I have to wonder- does he come from a noble lineage?
Lord Jamil is shown to be an unusual character. In the first episode, we were given only a small taste of what he is like. There were still many questions about who he is and what role he plays, but a lot of those questions have been cleared up. He is, without a doubt, a twisted psychopath that only appears to be gentle on the outside. During fits of frustration, he has a compulsion of stabbing his slaves over and over again. At the first outburst, he seemed ruthless, but by the end of the episode, he is portrayed in a more cowardly light.
Morgiana, or ‘Big Sister,’ didn’t have much of a chance in the first episode to really show her personality. During the second episode, however, she had a chance to speak her mind and tell us about her past. She comes from Katarg, which is labeled as the ‘Dark Continent’ by its oppressors, simply as a derogatory term; Katarg is thought of as undeveloped, and therefor inferior. Her personality is also unique, as she has to deal with her situation as a slave, and has fully surrendered to the fact that she can not escape Lord Jamil, even if she tried.
With a scene of Morgiana losing herself in the thought of her homeland, similarities can be drawn to a place similar to India or Africa. Personally, what came to my mind first was Africa, because there are animals that look like Zebras grazing on a yellowed field. It can’t really be deciphered if the writers are somehow making an allusion to the colonization and forced slavery of certain countries in Africa and its native people, but that is what came to my mind. However, there are potential issues with that possibility so we’ll have to wait to see how the plot plays out.
One last thing about Morgiana that struck me is her ability, which is shown briefly during Aladdin and Alibaba’s escape. The strength of her legs is mentioned, but when she begins to climb up the wall solely with the power of her legs, which are literally punching holes into the ground, it becomes clear that this is a very notable strength. So far, I would say that I’m most interested in Morgiana’s character. She’s very intriguing to me, and has a lot of depth to her reactions, her motivations, and her current unfortunate situation.
The last notable thing in the episode is of course the very last scene. Aladdin and Alibaba escape and come across the so-called ‘Door of Truth.’ Upon opening it, the room around them disappears, and a vast city-scape is revealed. What…just happened? Is the door of truth a portal to a different world? This question is left hanging, as the episode ends abruptly after a panned view of the city.
Feel free to comment about the episode or the series in general, but be mindful of spoilers. What are the differences between the anime and the manga so far?
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is currently being streamed by Crunchyroll.
AladdinAlibabaanimeDungeon SuiteEp. 2Episode 2JamilMagiMagi: The Labyrinth of MagicMorgianaThe Labyrinth of Magic