With its opening episode containing a play about the adventures of the main characters with some exotic casting, the similarities between this series and Avatar came to an end...with it instead becoming Harry Potter with Dragonball Z-style flying battles and power-ups.
If that sounds disparaging, it isn't: I continue to love Magi and its cast of daft characters, its colourful world and its occasional very affecting tragedies. This second series opens with an awesome flash-forward, a cold opening with Aladdin showing his real powers, and possibly going rogue - and then the action returns to the point we left off at.
The four main heroes each go their own way, seeking to improve their powers. Alibaba joins some formidable gladiators; Morgianna manages to meet a wandering Magi; Hakuryu seems to have fallen in with Judar; and little Aladdin? Well, he goes off to wizard school, hiding his true powers to infiltrate a country where he feels something mysterious and sinister is happening.
This starts sweetly enough, with his suppressed power meaning he ends up put in the lowest class and has to work his way up, gaining allies and rivals on the way, of course, eventually finding what he is looking for in wizened old Mogamett, who has lived a long time - and developed a philosophy of wizards being an oppressed people who need to be raised to dominance.
Unfortunately, Mogamett's extreme measure of having an underclass providing 'Ryuk' for a wizarding society while trapped underground sets him against Aladdin, but things really develop when the Leam empire - led by Scheherazade in the last of the Arabian Nights references - launches an invasion against the small wizarding kingdom. The Kou Empire is also on the move, and it seems very likely that Sinbad will want a piece of the action as well.
The real antagonist, however, is none of these powerful nations, but the hidden society manipulating Mogamett from behind the scenes, giving him power that might just bring their dark god into this world.
The story is a little convoluted, but comes together well - even if poor Alibaba, even vastly improving his powers, gets totally overshadowed.
The series remains one of the prettiest on television just now, and shows its shounen colours rather more clearly this season. It's another one where the power creep with the characters has now reached a point that it's a little absurd, and I do wonder where the series will go from now, but I must say...providing they may more, and I sincerely hope they do, I will certainly be on board.
And if they don't, well, I will just have to become a manga reader.