A world of magic awaits in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic by Shinobu Ohtaka. Popular in japan, it’s gotten two seasons and a spinoff manga and anime. In this vast world, there are dungeons filled with treasure, artifacts and power unimaginable, waiting to be claimed. They appeared 14 years prior to the start of the series, and only few people have been able to live through them.
Aladdin is a mysterious boy who has no clue who he is, or where he’s from. Trapped with Ugo for his entire life before the start of the series, He is ignorant of how the world works. Because of this, Aladdin is a carefree kid, doing as he pleases initially, until learning of law, order, and money. He loves girls, jumping at them when he can. Aladdin is a great judge of character despite knowing nearly nothing of the world, seeing though Alibaba’s facade and Hakuei’s front. He dislikes conflict, doing what he can to prevent any unnecessary bloodshed.
Alibaba is a young man who met Aladdin while on a caravan. While he cozies up to his customers, Alibaba will not bend his will for them. He values life over wealth, and is willing to save those in need. His skill in sword play is displayed during the Amon dungeon, beating Jamil. He also displays advanced knowledge about other languages, able to decipher the text in the dungeon with ease.
Morgiana is a young girl who was a slave at the beginning of the story. She was slave to Jamil since childhood, and beated into absolute submission, not daring to go against him. Morgiana is a Fanalis which are physically strong people and hail from the Dark Continent. However, even after being freed from slavery, Morgiana still has nightmares about Jamil, showing her trauma caused by him.
So far, the story seems to separate and follow these characters through their journey, even when they separate. Aladdin is on a journey to discover more about himself and what it means to be a Magi. He is mostly following Ugo’s suggestion as of now, seeking more Djinn to meet and speak with. Alibaba has set off to Balbadd to take care of unfinished business, being unseen since the clearing of the dungeon. To grant Goltas’s wish, Morgiana embarks to return to her homeland, the dark continent. Since these three characters have different goals, they go separate ways after the dungeon’s closing. They will meet again, in Balbadd, as all three of them must be in that city for their own needs.
A disappointing aspect so far is that the first two volumes contain hardly any development. Besides the inital introduction of our three heroes, only Aladdin is developed the most after he helps the village avoid war. The character’s forced separation also slows down the progression, as everyone goes their own path hoping to bump into each other.
On another note, Magi draws many aspects from Islam, and the middle eastern world circa 1 B.C.E or so, giving it a refreshing difference from other series. This difference is welcoming by me, as we hardly get new series not based on modern times, or medieval European times. Another plus is that there’s many different cultures shown, such as nomadic tribes, and even Japanese through the Kou Empire. This blend of people is interesting, and can lead to conflicts just like in real history.
Overall, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a title that managed to draw me in within the first two chapters. And while I’ve only read three volumes for this review, There’s still so much left to learn in this world. The Mysteries of Aladdin and the Magi, Morgiana’s Homeland, and Alibaba’s quest are worth reading for.