Urgh, these Magi chapters were on their way to greatness; but that art, especially the fighting bits, things got a little too messy for my liking.
Never the less, Shinobu Ohtaka couldn’t have handled Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s confrontation any better.
Alibaba reaches out to his old friend, Hakuryuu, in an attempt to craft a peaceful accord; negotiations breakdown relatively quickly.
I had no intention of touching Magi until the manga had accrued at least five chapters (I failed to consider the long break Magi took); I wasn’t particularly keen on reading the events surrounding Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s meeting.
I specifically expected Shinobu to drag this particular situation out as she had done before, with some of her characters often spending several panels speaking cyclically and basically saying the same thing over and over again.
Which isn’t what happened. You can accuse Magi of many things. But you can never accuse it of being slow paced.
The transitions in chapter 252 were perfectly done, specifically Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s initial meeting, Alibaba’s attempts at rekindling old bonds, the re-ignition of camaraderie that seemed to occur, only for dark Hakuryuu to emerge once more.
I don’t think any of us actually expected Hakuryuu to change sides; there is nothing Alibaba had to offer which Hakuryuu hadn’t already considered and outright rejected.
Indeed, Hakuryuu himself stated that, had they met a few weeks prior, he would have been more than willing to take Alibaba’s hand; except Alibaba wasn’t there when Hakuryuu needed him most.
And while he listened to Aladdin’s story of Alma Toran, Hakuryuu allowed Judar to sway him to the dark side; and if there was one element that primarily shined through Hakuryuu’s words, it was the fact that there could be no going back, not with Hakuryuu’s current resolve.
Shinobu cannot be commended enough for simply getting to the point of her story and throwing Hakuryuu and Alibaba against one another.
I don’t think the outcome is particularly unpredictable though; Aladdin stands a decent chance against Judar, considering what we all know he is capable of (this not taking into account his connection to Solomon’s Wisdom).
Alibaba, on the other hand, isn’t coming out of this fight in one piece; we haven’t seen anything to suggest that Alibaba has anything close to the power Hakuryuu has displayed thus far.
Alibaba has never been the most impressive of heroes in Magi, and these two chapters did nothing to improve his image; there are idealistic characters in shonen manga that often strive to change the world into an image they believe meets the criteria of justice and righteousness.
And am not sure if that is the personality Shinobu was trying to craft in him, but Alibaba came off as irritatingly uncertain and indecisive.
Which only made it that much more difficult to support his position; at the present, Alibaba is simply too weak willed as a hero, and no matter what Aladdin might say, it is difficult to buy the idea that he might be the Magi universe’ only hope.
RATING: 6/10. These two Magi chapters were thrilling primarily because it was impossible to predict the turn events were likely to take with each new page. However the art didn’t help things and some of the battle oriented panels were simply too messy to make any sense.