Magi Episode 4: The People of the Plains
“What is it that we absolutely must protect? Is it our clan? Our pride? No. It is our lives. No matter what happens we must not choose war.” – Shaman Chagan aka “Granny”
Summary: In Qishan, Ali Baba is mopeing around waiting for Aladdin to come back. Morgiana comes to visit him, to thank him for freeing all the slaves, and after their talk Ali Baba decides to leave the city to look for his friend. Aladdin, in the mean time, wakes up to find himself in the care of the Kouga Clan. He meets the village elder, Shaman Chagan (who everyone calles Granny), and from her learns a lot about the meaning of family and more about what it means to be a Magi. While with the Kouga, Aladdin is rescued by Hakuei Ren, a princess from the neighboring Kou Empire, who has come to ask that the Kouga join them. Granny refuses Hakuei, especially after one of the generals, Ryosai, acts very rudely toward one of the village girls.
Aladdin seceretly goes to talk to Hakuei that night, and after hearing her speak honestly of uniting the two nations without any deaths, he tells her he’ll speak to Granny on her behalf to get the two of them to work together. Meanwhile, some of the Clan’s women are captured by slave traders. The men set out to rescue them and Granny warns them that if they kill any of the traders, it’ll surely mean war. The men manage to return safely with the women, while remembering what Granny told them. Granny decides that the Kouga Clan will join with the Kou Empire for the safety and happiness of everyone. As they celebrate the victory and safe return of their people, Granny steps away from the fire for a minute and is hit in the back by an arrow. She falls to the ground, while around the campfire Aladdin wonders if she’ll come back soon.
Impressions: NOOOOOOOO CLIFFHANGER! I hate cliffhangers like that! And poor little Aladdin! He’s going to be in for a shock. After my busy weekend, I was really looking forward to relaxing and watching this episode, and it didn’t disappoint even though it was an overall calmer episode than the previous 3. Things start out with emo Ali Baba, now rich from the treasure he came back with, waiting around for his BFF Aladdin to show up. The way his face fell after realizing that Morgiana was there instead of Aladdin made me want to give him a hug. Morgiana and all the other slaves were freed by Ali Baba, so yay! for that. She’s still very quiet, and she has a lot to learn about herself and her emotions (she thinks she’s thankful?) but she seems to be on her way to correcting that situation. It’s a shame that the pair of them are only in the episode for the first five minutes, I kinda missed seeing their faces.
To make up for it, we do get a bunch of new characters. Granny is hilarious, wise, and grandma-like, and I loved her interactions with Aladdin. She seemed to pick up on a lot of Aladdin’s insecurities and worries and alway tried to make him feel better. Like by saying that he was part of her family (after we the audience see that Aladdin doesn’t have a family), and by really making him think about who he is, not just as a Magi, but outside of that. Her perverted face was pretty good too. Other minor Kouga Clan characters we’re introduced to included Touya, the sweet girl who get’s kidnapped by the slave traders, and Dolge, one of the Clan warriors who seems to have a bit of a crush on Touya. On the pretty lady front, the week we’re introduced to Hakuei Ren, the princess with hair that I’m not-so-secretly totally envious of. She wasn’t in the episode a whole lot, but I like her spark. She seems like she’s a good balance between sensible, idealistic, and just a bit naive to the way some aspects of the world work. Something seems to be special about her, since Ugo reacted when she first showed up so I’m sure there’ll be more of her next episode, to everyone’s delight.
Too bad you can’t say the same about Ryosai, her general. Yeah…he’s in need of a swift kick to the face. You have to be the world’s biggest asshole to push such a nice, smiling girl like Touya to the ground, especially when she’s going out of her way to offer you drinks. What a jerk face! There was one other character, Shishun Li, the guy with the blue hair, who wasn’t actually addressed by name in this episode, but just giving him a mention. I can tell he’s going to be a more important minor character because…of his hair color. Yup. I’m also just going to point out that if you think the voice sounds familiar (like I did), it’s because it’s the same voice actress who played Chihaya in Chihayafuru. So that’s your trivia for the day.
We also got the low down on what those little light butterflies are. Turns out they’re a thing called Rukh, which translates to something along the lines of “Home of Souls”. It’s the place were, after you’ve died, your soul heads to. Normal people can’t see them, but Aladdin and Granny can. Aladdin can even get them to help him when he uses his power from inside his stomach, as he puts it. When he tells Granny this, she seems a bit shocked, so I’m wondering if there’s something unique about his ability to do that? I mean…using the souls of departed things to do your bidding does sound kinda strange to me. Next weeks episode seems to be dealing with the aftermath of the attack on Granny (she better not be dead show, you hear me? I will come kick your ass) and how the two factions will try to stick to their principles when faced with a horrible situation. Oh boy!
Final Thought: Listen Magi, we need to talk…about horses. I know from personal experience how hard horses are to draw. Horses in anime are notoriously bad. But come on. There were some real freaky ones wandering around this episode. Sometimes they looked more like cows (holy shit, some of the horses were so fat they were almost more like pigs), sometimes they were giant compared to the scenery around them, sometimes they had some scary-ass toothpick legs or weird faces. And last time I checked (unless these are special animals that are a species that someone came up with only for the purpose of this show, in which case forgive my ignorance) horses don’t have udders as big as a cows! (They do have udders, yes, but not giant ones) Yeah…actually I would say that overall, there were a couple of parts of this episode with not-so-great animation involving horses. But hey, what can you do? I’ll forgive you Magi, but only because horses are literally the hardest thing to draw/animate/paint ever. EVER.