Comparing the Magi OPs

If the first OP of Magi is about setting off on an adventure, then the second OP is about basking in the wonders of the world you’ve charted.

I read sdshamsel’s post on the Shounen Opening Pattern, which inspired this one. It basically says that shounen fighting anime OPs have evolved to portray each character as important, highlighting them for their respective fanbases. Whereas in earlier OPs of long-running shows, the mood is much more relaxed, thanks to the lack of characters and plot points that need to be included in the context of the current story arc. While Magi isn’t strictly a fighting anime as it is an adventure one, I can see such recurring patterns in its OPs.

Magi isn’t particularly long-running. OP2 doesn’t add many characters after OP1, but there’s a crucial difference of space. Compared to OP2, OP1 is a lot less busy, taking its time to frame each character in scenes of their own. This technique is very effective, and you can see quick, efficient snapshots of character in the details–Morgiana’s serious face as she sprints down the road, and Ali Baba’s cartoonish look of bewilderment as Aladdin commands Ugo to grab them. There’s never an excess of characters except for the quick shot of Sindbad’s generals, who don’t consume much screentime. Rightfully so, as they haven’t been in the story yet. In contrast, Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Morgiana get ample screentime together, and there’s no question as to who are the main characters.

OP2, on the other hand, has scenes where the lush setting of the show comes to the fore–the magic carpet ride, the sea monster hunt, and the nighttime festival are all contextualized within the beautiful land of Sindria. The latter two scenes show a high amount of character density, with individual screentime in short supply. There are plot bits scattered around, hinting at sinister developments.

Perhaps OP2’s biggest weakness is the average arrangement of the song, which does not lend itself well in amplifying the impact. OP1’s song had better hooks (I affectionately refer to the song as AKOGARE NO IMAAAAAAAA), which complemented the animation very well–I mean, check out the part where Ali Baba summons his flames.

I guess this all sounds like I really dislike OP2. That isn’t true. It evokes a fun, deepening world with the promise of more adventure to come–the main characters looking on in anticipation of their next great journey. The stakes are higher with the hint of villains over the horizon. And don’t forget the beautiful, dancing Morgiana!

It’s still got that heart of adventure in it, which drew me into the show in the first place.

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