Magi: the Labyrinth of Magic
A long, long time ago, there was a man named Timekeeper who was scrolling through Netflix with a bored, glazed look in his eyes. Through his wanderings, he stumbled upon a series called "Magi: the Labyrinth of Magic". It looked appealing enough, but he wasn't sure whether or not he was motivated enough to start a new anime series. He then darted his eyes towards his ever-increasing pile of bills, research papers, and calls from his mother wanting to chew him out over something trivial. It was then he decided that he would give the series a watch.
When I did first come upon this series, I honestly didn't know what to make of it. So, I went in as blind as a bat with it and what was my experience? Well...it certainly wasn't my top 10, but I definitely wouldn't trash it.
The story for Magi isn't really an all unique one: a motley crew of adventurers go traveling around from place to place, encountering various different characters along the way and find themselves tangled up in their messes. In some way, I find it a fair bit reminiscent to Kino's Journey, except it's a fair bit more action-oriented and has a much larger ensemble cast. On top of that, I felt that there were a lot of questions that were left unanswered at the end of the second series Magi: the Kingdom of Magic. Hopefully, these problems will be solved with a third season that many are wishing is in the near future. However, one thing I did find fascinating about Magi is that it was many various allusions to the collection of stories and characters from the classic One Thousand and One Nights of the Golden Age of Islam. Speaking of which...
I will be quite honest with you guys here. I did find most of the characters from this series rather enjoyable, but none of them were particularly memorable. I mean, sure, I didn't hate any of them with a passion and wanted to see any of them dead, but none of them really stuck out to me and gave me a lasting impression of them. On the other hand, what I did like is seeing that the original author chose to retain characters from the original One Thousand and One Nights rather than replacing them with generic Japanese names. Names such as Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Scheherazade (try spelling that one without spell-checker. I had to use it).
Frankly, there wasn't really all that much to say about the art and animation for this series. The bulk of the animation for the series was done by A-1 Pictures, who are best known (in my opinion) for animating the first Fairy Tail series, but also have done other noteworthy works such as Sword Art Online, Black Butler, and Your Lie in April. Don't get me wrong, the animation isn't horrible, it just isn't something that I would brag about when talking about this series.
I cannot give any sort of feedback for the Japanese voice actors since I did watch only the English dub by Aniplex was on Netflix (and because I don't feel like reading subtitles. Come at me sub-elitists). Though, I will give special mention to the voices of Cristina Vee and Erica Mendez (whose voice I'm still trying to get used to despite having heard her in a number of roles) for the roles of Morgiana and Aladdin respectively. I felt that out of all the voice actors in the production of the localization, they had fulfilled their roles the best out of the entire cast.
As for the music in general, as with the animation, there isn't really much to brag about. Outside of the opening themes for both seasons, I didn't really care for much of the music playing throughout the show. It was decent, but not great enough for me to go out of my way to listen to the OST.
This series was certainly a mixed bag. The story had quite a lot left to be desired: the characters weren't really all that engaging, but the voice acting was superb and leaves a bit of open room for a third season or movie. Give this series a watch when you have the free time. I'm not telling you urgently to drop everything and watch it, but it's not a series that you should throw on your "Won't watch" list. As for me, I'll probably give the prequel The Adventure of Sinbad a watch and (maybe) give the manga a read.