Magi Episode 21: The Dungeon Zagan
“This is stupid, I’m stupid, and you’re all stupid too!” -Hakuryuu Ren
Summary: Hakuryuu, Alibaba, Aladdin and Morgiana face the trials awaiting them inside this very strange dungeon. They’re all tested but none more so that Hakuryuu, who breaks under his own inability to fight. Recognizing a part of his old self in Hakuryuu, Alibaba helps him to understand that asking others for help is not a bad thing. The group continues on further into the dungeon, while Judal appears over Sindria.
Uh..what the frick did I just watch?
I’m tempted to just leave it at that, since this episode was just so bananas, and that’s really the only reaction that I had that seems relevant and covers my feelings during the entirety of the episode. This is how I imagine this episode came together: Whoever came up with all this stuff dropped acid while watching Alice in Wonderland (probably the weird Czech stop-motion/live action one from 1988 just called Alice), drew all the weird simultaneously creepy and cute creatures as well as the totally bizarre scenery that they saw whilst high, threw in one
crack honey-addicted bear for good measure, added the characters that we know and love, and then went to go sleep it off for two days in some kind of weird cave/cocoon.
The whole time I was watching it, I wasn’t sure if I was fascinated by it’s level of weirdness (which I wasn’t really expecting from Magi at all to be honest) and creeped the hell out by how weird some of the stuff was. I mean, people being turned into trees to suck the magoi out of them (thus keeping the dungeon running) all while misshapen elephant/dog monsters feed them? Crazy animals that look like something a child would draw if it accidently sniffed too many markers? That bear?!? I just…I don’t even know. In the end, I think I liked it?
Crazy setting aside, our little group is faced with a number of challenges and (like I predicted) have to learn a little bit about themselves to move forward. Zagan, who turns out to be King of the weird face-licking human haters, tells them that they’ll only be able to free all the people currently trapped in the dungeon and obtain his magical healing powers if they make it to the treasure room. Of course, it’s not easy, and there are numerous obstacles standing in the way. Most of them seem almost too easy, but once they’re forced to split up, things get a lot more difficult.
Hakuryuu especially has a hard time off it. He spends a lot of time getting saved by Morgiana this episode (which Zagan taunts him about) and struggles with feeling inadequate when compared to the rest of the team. While Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana have got their teamwork and individual skills down, Hakuryuu is still trying to rely only on himself. The end effect of that being that he can’t do anything and just ends up feeling down on himself for getting rescued. It did make me happy that Morgiana was the one doing the saving. She makes for a very dashing prince.
Even when Hakuryuu get’s serious and channels his magoi straight into his spear, he’s still doing more damage to himself than to the monsters. While I’m glad that Morgiana is there to think of a way to quickly and effectively take out the Golems, I was almost a little disappointed when she didn’t use her new household weapon. I would have liked to see that in action. After being saved yet again, and being taunted and degraded by Zagan, Hakuryuu breaks down in a very unexpected fit of crying. It’s strange to see such a seemingly proud character just start wailing like a little kid and lashing out at the very surprised Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana. Instead of playing it straight though, they went a more comical route, which was funny, but I think might have been more fitting as something more serious. Like I said, Hakuryuu seems like a very formal and rigid personality, so to seem him break out in tears and then have it done for comedic effect seems a little out of the blue to me.
Seeing Hakuryuu crying over not being able to do anything makes Alibaba realize just how similar the two of them are. I think up until then, they’d both been pretty cautious of how they treated one another, not knowing how to act around either the person whose family brought about the destruction of your home city or the person who might hate you for what you’re family and you had done to their home. But Alibaba knows from personal experience that sometimes, having your friends there to help you makes things a lot easier and that they can come up with solutions that you might not have been able to see. It certainly doesn’t make you weak either. After sharing his experiences and the pain of having to kill his best friend, Hakuryuu and Alibaba pledge to continue going forward and to help each other fight through this. Friendship saves the day again! Things are looking up, but there’s a dark speck on the horizon. Judal has shown up again, this time over Sindria, and we all know that where Judal goes, trouble is sure to follow. What other strange creatures and traps will the group encounter on their way further into the dungeon Zagan? What’s Judal up to? Can this dungeon get any weirder (probably yes…)?