Magi Episodes 23+24: Battle Cry, Fall Into Depravity
“To be born, to live, to suddenly break apart, is that all already decided from the beginning?”
Summary: Inside Zagan, Alibaba and Aladdin face off against Dunya and her knight Isaac, while in Sindria (now weakened from Judal’s destruction of its shield) Sinbad and his eight generals prepare to face the Al-Thamen’s members that are on their way to destroy the small island nation. As the tides of battle flow to favor first one side and then the other, and as Alibaba’s black scar continues to spread, things all lead to a stunning conclusion and leave us waiting with bated breath for the finale.
Impressions: First off, a question: I though once you turned into a dark djinn you couldn’t change back? Why could Dunya turn back into a human again after having impaled herself while Cassim couldn’t? Did I miss something there? Regardless, this was an interesting pair of episodes, with lots of action and a couple of shocks. Hakuryuu getting his arm chopped of? Alibaba falling into depravity and becoming a dark djinn? Dunya and Isaac being helpless pawns manipulated by Al-Thamen? I didn’t see any of those things coming! While I found it difficult to wrap my head around some of the ideas regarding fate that the show was tossing around, overall I’m just looking forward to seeing how all of this will wrap up with only one episode left (although as of the time I’m writing this, I have heard that there will be a second season in the fall).
Lot’s of cool things in episode 23, but it’s mostly just Alibaba and Aladdin being cool, fighting and what-not. Dunya and Isaac are again tragic villains who have been forced into their roles. And since as we learn, Isaac isn’t actually a person but a puppet made by Dunya, she’s really the only one feeling any pain. She’s a very sad character, first being forced into changing into a dark djinn and then being emotionally tortured into a full djinn equip when Ithnan shows her a flashback of some of the horrible things that have happened to her. I think the show did a good job of drawing out the fight so that it didn’t look like any one side was going to win or lose right away. I’m glad to see that Alibaba finally was able to equip Amon’s sword in such a way that is more suited to his style of fighting. I would have though that him finally being able to do that would be the changing point in the battle, and that afterwards he would have easily defeated Isaac. But Magi went a different route and that’s fine too.
Episode 24 was more of the same. Dunya’s extreme magic attack reminded me a whole lot of the end of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Unlike Utena though, Aladdin manages to play a trick on her and avoids the attack completely. While Alibaba does a fine job fighting, Aladdin’s skills still seem…a bit lacking. He’s still got a long way to go.
On Sindria, the only thing of note that happens really is that Kougyoku decides to stay and fight for Sinbad instead of running. She’s got more back-bone in her than I would have guessed. The fights between the household vessel users (both the dark ones and Sinbad’s guards) are fine, but lack tension. Even though Sharrkan get’s cut across the back, I never had any doubt that he wasn’t going to win in the end. I also felt that the scenes themselves were too short to really have any impact. Masrur, who I’ve been wanting to see in a serious fight for a while now, takes out butt-chin guy in like two seconds. The only thing that really seems like a cause for alarm is the black acid that’s slowly approaching Sindria. If they pull any of that “Zagan magically will heal everything, even the poisoned water!” shit though, I’m going to be real mad.
The single hardest thing that I found myself having to come to terms with is the show’s message in these episodes that even if your fate has been manipulated to high-heavens in order for terrible, awful, shitty things to happen to you and everyone you love, fighting against or cursing that fate will turn around and bite you in the ass. When Ithnan stabs/slashes/mortally wounds Dunya, all of her memories are released and Alibaba who runs to her fallen form, is there to see them all. Like many of the villains thus far, Dunya herself turns out to be a victim, manipulated into fighting by Al-Thamen with the promise that they would help her reclaim her home country which was overthrown by Magnostadt (which is full of witches/warlocks who all have to wear the most stereotypical witch outfit complete with pointy hat?) After seeing her loyal night Isaac killed before her eyes, and escaping death herself, Dunya was lured with the promise of getting her just desserts. And why shouldn’t she try to fight that fate? She’s lost everything, her family, her friends, her land. And she should just take it because that’s fate? Fighting for Al-Thamen probably isn’t the right course of action to take, but it’s not like she can know what there plans are anymore than we did. She just knows she might be getting a chance to get her life back, and a way to keep Isaac alive (even if he is just made of sand and her imagination).
What about Alibaba too? His whole life after leaving Balbadd has been manipulated by Al-Thamen and Ithnan specifically. It was he who raised Jamil to be the monster he was and forced him into the dungeon to fight Alibaba, it was Al-Thamen and Ithnan that gave Kassim and the Fog Troupe the weapons that ultimately lead to Kassim dying in Alibaba’s arms, and it was Ithnan that infected Alibaba and Sinbad, giving them no choice but to venture into Zagan, were yet more horrible traps were laid. To say that Alibaba can’t curse that fate and want to fight against it seems cruel. That he should go so far as to “fall into depravity” for something like that seems…weird to me. If he can’t activity try to change his fate, then logically he should just have to accept that it was his fate to become a dark djinn and that he too will have to die. I mean, I don’t know how they’re going to explain Alibaba being able to cast off said depravity (he’s obviously going to since 1. he’s a main character of a shounen action series and 2. there’s going to be a second series).
Questionable logic and hard to fathom ideas aside, I’m a little nervous about how things are going to end. There’s sooo much stuff going on right now that it’s hard to imagine being able to fit it all into one episode. Alibaba has to be returned to normal, they still have to get the djinn, Sinbad and Sindria are in big trouble (even if two of the three dark household vessel users have been defeated), there’s weird black acid slim waiting to eat them all, plus they have to wrap up everything and leave us with something to go on for season two! Episode 25 is either going to be packed to the brim, or is going to be taking a whole lot of short cuts in terms of battle sequences. I’m not really worried that any of the characters are going to die, and hopefully the animation will be flawless for the last episode, so there’s really nothing I’m not looking forward to in the final episode.
Final Thought: Come on A-1, get your shit together.