I’ll always remember Disney’s Aladdin, and all the things that came from it; the sequel, the third movie, the television series, even the cameos in which he would be in House of Mouse. But none of those geared me up for Magi, the semi-new manga that’s just being released in English for the first time now – which is amusing, considering how popular the anime was a couple of months ago, but that is probably because they jumped on it the first chance they could.
Magi is an interesting take on the classic tale of the Arabian Nights. It starts out with a little boy named Aladdin – looks no more than nine years old or so. However, he’s walking around in the middle of the desert, with no idea of the perils of the desert or what lurks inside it. But have no fear, for Aladdin is not alone! With him is a metal flute that has a djinn called “Ugo” inside, which can be summoned when he plays it. But not his whole body; Ugo can’t fit out of the flute completely, so they have to settle with either parts or most of him.
This first volume only just begins to scratch the surface of his adventures. In the second chapter, he meets his partner-in-crime, Alibaba, who is the more rational one of the two. Alibaba explains his lifelong dream to explore dungeons – these mystical buildings that came out of nowhere with riches and adventure lurking in its depths. So guess what they end up doing? They end up going into the dungeon to get untold riches.
Of course, there’s so much more to it than that – but the first volume seems a bit lacking in actual detail as to what’s going on. The magi themselves have yet to be revealed, and everything seems to be going too easily for the characters – there has to be something more going on, because there are too many questions for this to be what the series is about. It’s been going for eighteen volumes, and still ongoing; there’s no way this is the entire premise.
I do have to admit, the setting is absolutely phenomenally thought out; this desert area, which appears to be around the same setting as the Arabian Nights, yet there is so much more going on. With mystical creatures that they treat as common, and magical buildings that sprout up out of nowhere with teleporting devices – there’s a lot more going on in the setting than meets the eye.
All in all, it’s a good start; good characters with a good setting, even if the plot isn’t fully formed yet. It’s definitely enough to keep me reading, even if it isn’t your typical, Disney Aladdin.
- Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Volume 1
- Writer: Shinobu Ohtaka
- Artist: Shinobu Ohtaka
- Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
- Publication date: 8/13/2013
- Genre: Manga
- Pages: 200
- Format: b&w, 184 Pages; TP, 5.24″ x 7.36″
- Age range: 14
- ISBN-10: 142155951X
- ISBN-13: 9781421559513