Blu-ray Review: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Part 1
04/10/2015 Leave a comment
It’s been nearly a year and a half since the conclusion to Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was released into the UK and here we our with the first instalment to its sequel; Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, and while a new adventure is promised its pretty much the same as you remember it to be. So what can you expect from Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Part 1? Find out in our Review!
Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana’s adventures continue in the magical Kingdom of Magnostadt, a country ruled by magicians, and the Reim Empire, which is protected by the Magi Scheherazade.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, otherwise known as Magi – Season 2 Part 1, is a continuination of the story that ended in the first season, alebit it starts with a preminition of things to come before it resumes the story at hand, whereby our main heroes Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana are resetting up after their confrontations from the first season. Honestly it’s been so long since i saw the final episode of the first season that i’ve actually forgotten what happened – but fortunately the first three episodes are nothing but a prelude and it builds upon this to deliver a brand new story in a new location.
It all starts within the city of Sindria, as during the celebration it’s revealed that Dunya is resting in the palace but soon Sinbad and Aladdin meet her the vessel fragment inside her body reacts, putting her life in danger. By using Solom’s Wisdom Aladdin manages to save Dunya’s life; however without knowledge of the magic used within Magnostadt it would be impossible to fully heal her. Contempt on rescuing his new found friend Aladdin prepares to embark on a new journey to learn the secrets of the magic used within Magnostadt. Throughout this fiasco both Alibaba and Morgiana also decide to venture off on their own journey and as such all three disembark Sindria together – and this where our story begins.
Four episodes in and it’s where Magi: The Kingdom of Magic really starts to get going; but even then this is just another ‘sample’ of what to expect – it’s an interesting mini-arc which sees our heroes, along with Hakuryuu, attempting to take down pirates – which turn out to be children brain-washed by a crazy lady – before setting off on their own ‘true journey’ of self induglence. So here we are; seven episodes in and we are finally at the point where Aladdin and co have seperated and started their own journey into new explored areas – and its here where the story really begins; but at this point the first Blu-ray disc is nearly over and done with.
This is what i found potentially disappointing with the ‘build-up’ to Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, were are already half-way into the set and, by story progression standards, it’s only just begun. Everything we have seen so far could have been shorted into three or four episodes but i guess it would spoil the pacing, and some of the comical fun it brought along with it. For the remainder of this release though we see each character’s story, namely Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana, progress forward on the journey they set out to complete – some more painfully emotional than others. For instance Aladdin begins his training at the Magic Academy without the use of his Magi powers while Alibaba on the other hand tries to become stronger with his Djinn Equip.
A whole host of adventures, split into several different mini-stor-arcs, is whats on offer and while theres some action, violence and comical banter to be had (especially when it comes to Aladdin) i can’t helpt but feel that its slowly progressive narrative is slowly down the overall story – especially in this set.
In regards to bonus features theres nothing to expect except the inclusion of textless opening and closing songs on the first Blu-ray disc. As with all KAZE releases there is some trailers before you get to the main menu on depending on which audio language you have selected, as there is French and English options available, you will gain access to different types of trailers. For instance on disc one there is Dragon Ball Z Kai on the French side of the disc and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan on the English side of the disc. It’s a similar story on disc two as well.
Media: BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Running Time: 2:50:32 (Disc 1), 2:02:00 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: LPCM 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English & French (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
My interest in Magi continues but i can’t help think that the episodes contain within Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Part 1 are relatively slow-paced and dreary; especially in the opening episodes. The opening is one long narrative explaining what the characters are planning to do in future episodes but theres no real re-cap into the events that previous happened so if you’ve had a long break from the show, like i have, then its pretty hard to follow – and the names don’t help either. Of course this is just a personal quarrel but im sure others may have issues wiht it. The first three episodes are about planning their next move, although there is some character and relationship building – especially between Morgiana and Hakuryuu.
It’s not until the later half of the first disc where things start to get interesting; first with the mini-story-arc that involves child pirates attempting to please their fake mother and then the individual storylines that see Aladdin, Alibaba, Morgiana and Hakuryuu going their seperate ways and earning their own screen time. It’s here, in my eyes at least, where the real story of Magi: The Kingdom of Magic begins; a story which sees our protagonists discover more about themselves and the magic they can wield – but by this point it all ends too soon. There is of course some laughs to be had and throughout this journey i found myself looking forward to the next ‘comical moment’ rather than the progression of the story; but alas we are only half-way into a new season and there is still lots left to explore.
When it comes to this Blu-ray release by KAZE Entertainment then its business as usual; for starters the ‘realatively dreadful’ everything on one screen menu returns and in order to choose episodes you have to flick through them all on the menu screen, unlike traditional Blu-rays which list them. The errors continue, especially on my Panasonic blu-ray player, whereby the sound dips-out and changes from Japanese to English whenever you play a new episode for the first time after changing the audio on the main menu. It’s a error i’ve spotted on every Kaze release but once again it returns here. Of course there are some postitives to be had; for instance the thirteen episodes included in this part have been spread across two Blu-ray discs and more importantly chapter markings are in the correct place. Be warned however those wishing to watch episodes in bulk may get annoyed at the fact that each episode returns to main menu – thats unless you press the Play All button.
In regards to Audio options then you will find English and Japanese; both of which sound decent and for once have a good translation set of subtitles to go along with it (although i only briefly checked out the English Subtitles). Overall Magi: The Kingdom of Magic is a pretty solid release from KAZE and falls-in line with the previous season releases; its just a shame that the episode content isn’t as entertianing as that of the first half of the series; but still theres plenty of episodes left and content to look forward to. Newcomers to Magi should best avoid until they’ve watched Season 1; otherwise everyone else should give this a go as despite my complaints its one entertaining piece of anime content that can be enjoyed by all!
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Part 1 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.