27 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Magi episode 1 – I can show you some boobs

I can show you some boobs
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, pervert, now when did
You last let your libido decide?

You can open their bras
Take them udder by udder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic groping ride

A pair of boobs
A new fantastic house of whores
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say could you stop staring 

As much as I’d dearly like to leave this post at that, I have some more serious points I’d like to get across. More serious than my image of Aladdin being ruined. To be fair, it has been an awful long time since I’ve seen that Disney movie. I can’t even remember how it ended, although I’m pretty sure it didn’t end with Aladdin motorboating the princess.

Before I get into the nitpicking, I genuinely liked the first episode of Magi. It nails a few things, the most important one being the sense of adventure. There’s a big world out there. It’s tough and mean but beyond it there are great rewards, which our two characters will explore. It also helps that the world has a very distinctive feel to it. It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t get into Hunter X Hunter. It’s hard to get invested in a world with no over-riding logic the same way something like Magi has. This goes hand in hand with having an endearing character to explore this world in with Alibaba. He’s got a dream of becoming rich and everything, but is wimpy and flawed and not entirely convinced he’s taking the right choice with his life. You’ve got all the right ingredients for a strong shounen adventure story.

Right, now the nitpicking begins!

I’ve heard fans of the manga say Magi will be the next Fullmetal Alchemist. If Magi continues like this first episode, I think it’s safe to suggest that it being hailed the new FMA is a load of rubbish. For one, FMA actually had some nuance. Sure the first episode of FMA was about a crazy priest breeding chimeras and brainwashing the people of the village. But the episode was also about the fear of death, what happens if you tamper with higher powers, the ability to move on after the death of a loved one. The subjects were a little bit more complex than Magi’s themes of “friends are good” and “slavery is bad”.

Or perhaps I’m not giving Magi the credit for how complex the morality behind slavery is, because even that basic concept it managed to muddle up. There’s that hilarious moment where the two of them are looking at the slave girl and saying “look at her living that horrible life with no free will. She is nothing but an object to be traded and objectified where she has no choice in the matter, looked down on by society and ashamed of her position. NOW HOW ABOUT WE GET SOME CHEAP PUSSY TONIGHT ALADDIN!!” I get that Alibaba is supposed to not have his morals aligned perfectly as of yet, but the line delivery came off as super awkward when it was just after them saying how terrible slavery is.

The last issue is a bit of a Fedex Arrow case, in that I only noticed it after someone on twitter pointed it out, but now I can’t get it out of my head. That is, for an anime supposedly set in a middle eastern setting, the characters seem to be rather fair-skinned. Before I do any cries of Hollywood-esque whitewashing, this is hardly at the same level as that. The active ignoring of ethnic actors in favour of white actors isn’t at the same level of not applying dark tone to your manga characters when it’s easier to just leave them white under the page. Also there’s the classic case of cartoon characters always appearing as our own ethnicity. Why do we consider the Simpsons white? They’re all yellow, so surely that means they’re Asian? Even with that all taken into account though, the characters are still clearly not dark-skinned. It’s not as though they’re supposed to be seen as all having dark skin. Taking a flick down the character sheet on MAL, there’s 3 in a cast of around 30 that have dark skin. Its one of those things that, now I’ve seen it, it really bugs me.

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27 Comments

  1. leokiko
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    LOL. Of course you wouldn’t think this is the next FMA, they cut 90% of the content. They blended the entire first arc together, omitted several characters and much more. Oh, do you know when Alibaba said “NOW HOW ABOUT WE GET SOME CHEAP PUSSY TONIGHT ALADDIN!!”? Well, in the manga, that was BEFORE anything related to slavery had happened. Heck, Mor(the pink-haired chick) just barely appeared at the beginning.

    I won’t watch this, since it will just ruin my image of the great manga. I guess that’s what we get with fucking Yoshino writing(he has absolutely no talent in being creative with the material he gets, many other writers would have rushed this without fucking it up).

    • Erif
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      The fact that people actually say this is the next FMA amuses the hell out of me. Manga or anime, that is a joke.

      • leokiko
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

        Not really. The manga is above average for shounen. I wouldn’t call it FMA level though.

    • Kiseki
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately I only managed to catch the second half of this thanks to a stupid black out, but I thought their condensing things was fine. The characters from the first chapter aren’t of any importance, although character designs for them have popped up so I guess they will show up later. The main complaint I saw was that they introduced Mor too early.

      Aladdin was originally introduced as more innocent, Alibaba more shallow, and Mor as an antagonist. No point in doing so since the latter two are already established as the main characters, so I don’t mind them condensing.

      Also Magi is NOT and will not be the next FMA wow where did you hear that from?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      What I’ve been seeing from manga fans was that they agree the earlier chapters should be condensed, but are unconvinced this was a good way to do it

    • diz1776
      Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s like nothing satisfies you people.

  2. Moomba
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I can’t stop seeing this Aladdin as female. Female VA, braid, those chest bandages… it’s totally a girl right? Girls can love boobs too so that’s not exactly a barrier! S/he could be compensating!

    On an unrelated note, the way pink-haired-slave-girl who, by the way, totally doesn’t stand out against all the other slaves in any way no sir, switched from being all ‘screw you I can handle myself with these lemons!’ to ‘whoops I tripped no don’t look at my shameful chains’ in a matter of seconds really irritated me for some reason.

    • leokiko
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      There’s an explanation for the way she acts.

    • Kamui
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I was thinking that too.He really seems like a girl, and that would actually get me more interested in this show because at the moment Aladdin’s character doesn’t strike well with me. He has a bland personality defined by a single character trait (BOOOOBS!!) compared to the other characters(or just character? Alibaba was probably the only other character whose personality was developed) He’s just too convenient and perfect at the moment.I demand a twist, which we’ll hopefully be getting in the following episodes.

    • Kiseki
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      Aladdin’s original concept was a girl.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Her standing out character design is kinda standard in these sorts of anime. Making a good character design takes effort, so you can always pick them out. There’s a few odd cases, like how every character in Code Geass has their own distinctive look even if they appear for all of 5 seconds, but for the most part the important characters will always stick out

  3. Kiseki
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Oh man, it’s the ill-fitting Kaji Yuuki. I don’t remember Alibaba coming off that wimpy.

    Magi is heavy on adventure/politics/battles/magic explanations introduced as they go. No way close FMA no way close to FMA no way close to FMA.

  4. Mikeski
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Top picture: Dude is jealous. He’s totally flipping Aladdin the bird bottle.

    • Mr.RR
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      Great now I can’t unsee.

  5. Embok
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    I’m totally guilty of calling it the next FMA without even reading the manga. But then, I didn’t like FMA for any loldeep listings of the composition of the human body. I liked it for being a fun series to watch, with a similar mix of comedy, action, and exploration to what I’m expecting out of Magi. IIRC you made a similar comparison with AoEx back when it aired so I’m confused about why you’re suddenly changing your mind here.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Did I make comparisons with AoEx? To be fair, that did have considerably more depth that Magi displayed, with surrogate fathers and ostracised youths and what have you. Not FMA levels, but it’s something to build a solid base on.

  6. non
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    While I think it is problematic how white some of the characters are (Alibaba for instance) note that most of the characters on that list are actually not Middle Eastern! A lot of them are from a country that parallels China (probably because Aladdin is originally a Chinese story), so it’s a bit more understandable that most of the cast aren’t really dark. There are also “European” countries that some of the characters come from. But yeah, I was hoping the anime would darken some of the characters, but that’s Japan for you.

    And yeah they changed the order of things so the slavery part is a bit jarring. They’ll get way more into the slavery bit so I guess hold on for a bit.

    • Kiseki
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      For the Kou Empire imperial prince/ss, it’s like when Chinese show up in Japan and they’re distinctly Asian while the Japanese look colorful. (They’re also related, so.) Same could be said for Alibaba and Aladdin? They don’t look like anything. Mor is from a continent which I’m assuming mirrors Africa somewhat location-wise (looks like a savanna too?), but it’s still made up, so ehh.

      The only “European” country I can think of is the Laem Empire which is most definitely based off of Rome… Unless you count the Mediterranean influences…?

      Comparing fictional regions to real life is fun…

      • non
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Aladdin I give a pass to since his origins are still unknown. But I think when authors make a character design, they tend to focus more on how much they’ll stand out rather than how ethnically accurate they are so it doesn’t bother me THAT much.

        As for the “European” countries, there’s the Laem empire and Magnoshtatt, which is appearing right now in the manga. And I was more talking about how some of the characters are obviously from those more “European” countries (like half of Sinbad’s crew).

      • diz1776
        Posted October 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Really Mor looked more like a Celt to me.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Interesting. The setting did seem very Persian to me, but I must also admit I know fuck all about Chinese history and culture

      • non
        Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Well the setting itself is Middle Eastern/Persian but there are just a lot of characters that are Chinese influenced.

      • Kiseki
        Posted October 11, 2012 at 3:23 am | Permalink

        I think we can count East Asia in since the Kou Empire is Japanese/Chinese at its core. Plus, there was a tribe/nation that was Mongolian?

        Magnoshtatt (I always read it as “Mushroom Kingdom” in my head…) never seemed to be influenced by anything in particular to me… Although magic academies and whatnot are always Western so I guess I can see that.

        And ah, I see what you mean about Sinbad’s crew.

  7. Posted October 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Aladdin is moe as fuck. That’s all I need to know.

  8. Posted October 10, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I was one of the people instigating the whole “this might just be the next FMA if it can adapt the manga in a way that will bring out all the good stuff it has” and I think I’m gonna stand by it. While it doesn’t have the same sense of morality questioning as FMA had, Magi has genuine conflicts on its own that will definitely come into play in the entire 2-cour.

    For Alladin, hey at least he doesn’t discriminate his boobs!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of boob discrimination, in my research for this post, I found out about motorboarding. It’s basically like motorboating, except with a flat chested girl

  9. Kenkao
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Kinda looks like Alibaba is giving him the finger.

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