Manga Reviews — Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

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Welcome to my Magi manga review.

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Source: amazon.com

Mangaka: Ohtaka Shinobu

Years running: 2009 – 2017

Demographic: Shounen

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

Cheapest to Buy (Volume 1 New Copy): rightstufanime.com

Cheapest to Buy (Volume 1 Used Copy): ebay.com

Although the influences are the same, Magi is in no way the same as Disney’s Aladdin. Though, I believe you will enjoy the few similarities that both have with each other.

In this world, magic exists and people use it pretty commonly. This world also has these magical labyrinths called Dungeons that are summoned by one of the three Magi of this world with the purpose of choosing king candidates. Aladdin is one such Magi, the fourth one to come into existence. He suddenly appears in this world with his friend, the djinn Ugo, having been living in isolated for the last ten years of his life. Follow Aladdin as he learns about the outside world for the first time, understanding his origins and his place in the world.

Spoiler Warning.

Part 1: Volume 1-29 (approx.)

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Source: rightstufanime.com

I like to classify this manga into two major story arcs. This isn’t an official categorisation hence the “approx” in the title.

Part 1 follows Aladdin as he leaves the Sacred Palace and explores the outside world for the first time. He meets and becomes friends with Alibaba, a wine-cart seller, and Morgianna, a slave. Together, the three of them go on adventures…well mostly following Aladdin as he learns about the various nations along with their customs and political problems. They also get pretty involved in some of these conflicts and learn some hard lessons about life.

I won’t go into too much detail regarding the plot because the world of Magi is really extensive with more than 3 countries duking it out for various political reasons. It’ll be a nightmare to explain everything (;*´Д`)ノ

This part of the manga ends with great forces conspiring against Aladdin, forcing him (and Morgianna) to disappear off the face of the earth and Alibaba vowing to find him.

Part 2: Volume 29-37 (approx.)

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Source: rightstufanime.com

Part 2 begins with Aladdin (and Morgianna) re-appearing after 5 years of absence. The world has changed much since then and the countries which bullied others previously are now struggling. Alibaba helps them find legitimate means to get back on their feet and becomes pretty famous as a skilled tradesman and negotiator.

However, the forces that conspired against Aladdin previously have returned and now Aladdin and his friends must stop them and bring peace to their world once and for all.

The manga ends with a climactic battle that results in all magic disappearing. However, people are not bothered by this and adjust accordingly, finally living in peace.

Similarities to Disney’s Aladdin?

No. Not even close.

The only similarities I can really think of are that the titular character is Aladdin and Alibaba being a thief. Otherwise, both are completely different. Don’t expect a Princess Jasmine or a huge romantic subplot to be included.

Having said that, however, the influences are the same so you will see some desert action, a genie (they actually called djinn and there are many of them in Magi), and some familiar names although the occupation may be a little different.

The djinn is not all voiced by Robin Williams sadly.

Immense World Building

If you thought that Kubo’s (Bleach‘s mangaka) world-building was amazing, you should see what Ohtaka Shinobu can do with this manga.

Like I mentioned above, there are at least 3 countries with their own culture, language, and problems. Aladdin and his friends actually visit a lot of these places and get involved pretty extensively.

I cannot imagine how long it must have taken Ohtaka to come up with countries let along language and culture. It’s a very immersive experience and it makes the story all the more complete as readers feel that they are involved in something important.

Oh, Politics…

I once quit this manga because of the court intrigue and political events that occurred in this title. It was a lot and I was more into adventure and fun times with friends at the time. However, I picked it up again because it made all the conflict exciting and characters a lot more wholesome.

Adventure doesn’t necessarily have to be so straightforward with the hero and his friends freely intervening in political affairs. There are consequences to doing so and Magi really brings home that fact. Spoiler alert: Aladdin and Alibaba got way too involved in Kou’s (some militaristic country influenced by ancient China) affairs, leading to one of their presumed deaths.

Plus, I did learn a bit about political debate and negotiation from reading Magi haha. Is that bad I wonder??

Abrupt Ending??

Throughout the manga, I was really impressed with the pace of the story: Aladdin exploring the world, Aladdin meeting new friends, Aladdin training to be a better magician, etc. It was all very steady and not all over the place.

However, towards the end of the manga it felt like the pacing was starting to accelerate. It was almost rushing to the point it felt inconsistent to the rest of the manga that came before that.

Even the manga ended with me feeling a little dissatisfied because, in addition to being rushed, it felt abrupt. I had quite a number of questions regarding all the magical processes in the last few volumes or so. It had my head spinning and I wished that the manga explained that a little better.

Ah Fanservice

You would think that a manga like Magi with such intricate political events there is no way it would have any fanservice. But you’d be wrong!

(; ̄д ̄)

I feel that it’s pretty distasteful to have fanservice here because this title is so serious a lot of the time, filled with serious heartbreaking scenes. Luckily, the fanservice is pretty scarce and Magi is actually one of the few titles that use fanservice correctly in my opinion — comedic purposes only, not during major battles.

What Is A Good Leader??

One common theme that Magi has is the idea of what good leadership is.

Ohtaka has created a really extensive, detailed world filled with different styles of governing and the leaders that accompany it. Something that I’ve noticed that I really liked is that each leader and country has a weakness as a result of their respective government and governing.

Sindria has a trade monopoly which made them a lot of enemies, The Ream Empire sticks to its tradition of slavery and gladiatorial games which made them a bit of an outcast with more of the progressive nations, The Kou Empire is militaristic making them a threat to many around them, the list goes on.

Each of the countries have leaders that abide by their style of ruling, whether successful or not and that’s pretty neat I believe because I get to see what may work and what may not.

Final Thoughts

4.4 out of 5 mangabooks.

First, the general review:

Although it is not Disney, Magi brings a fantastical world that fantasy writers can only dream of. With such immense world-building, Ohtaka Shinobu has created a story that will make a great impression to readers all around. Although the fanservice was unnecessary and the pacing of the manga became inconsistent, Magi is a manga that is worth immersing yourself into, for the magic and the wonderful world that accompanies it.

Now, for my personal review:

I’m a really big sucker for magical lore and I was extremely upset that Magi did not try to explain or clarify a lot of its magical processes, especially during the last few volumes of the manga. As I always said, I like a complete story and when stuff like this isn’t explained, I get a bit miffed.

However, I do love the cast of Magi because:

1. They are ethnically diverse

2. They are personality-wise, pretty unique

The Dungeons and the djinns add a little spice to the traditional genie and the lamp thing and I love that because it gives variation to the original influences and I personally find that really cool. Combine that with Magi and king candidates then you get a really cool magic system that is central to the story.

The magic itself was pretty impressive because I can tell it was mostly original. That is also the reason why I felt it was incomplete because it is so original that it is hard to complete in your own head.

In all, Ohtaka Shinobu has created a stunning series that is so detailed I could cry. A shame that I felt that the ending was rushed, otherwise I could give it a better rating. In addition, Ohtaka Shinobu has created a spin-off series titled Magi: The Adventures of Sinbad which tell the story of Sinbad, the ruler of Sindria.

If you would like to read Magi, click here to buy the first volume on rightsufanime.com.

As always, if you have anything to mention regarding my review, feel free to comment down below, I’d love to hear it 🙂

 

 

 

20 Comments

  1. Good review on the Made comic series. I had no clue it existed if I hadn’t read this review. It gives me a good idea of the characters and how it can be similar to Disney’s Aladdin. I’ll make sure to look it up and read one soon. Thanks you for you’re informative review. 

    1. Your welcome. Honestly, the sort-of similarities to Disneys Aladdin actually made me pick it up in the first place.

  2. This was a pretty great review. I havent seen Magi, but Aladdin is one of my all time favorites. The story sounds fascinating and definitely makes me want to see it. The whole magic, isolation, new world thing sounds like something I should watch! I love the parallels of the two, Ill be watching out for that…

  3. Hello Violet,So
    nice article you have shared. Magi is one of the most favourite
    serieses. Though it looks many similarities as aladdin you have said but
    I found the uniqueness in it. Part 2 is amazing as it begins with
    Aladdin re-appearing after 5 years of absence. This makes the whole
    story so lovable and amazing I think. I would like to read the whole
    series of 35 parts. Thanks again for your nice review.

    1. Yeah, when Aladdin disappeared I was like “huh?!!” and Alibaba was wandering around the place looking for him. Thanks for the support 🙂

  4. Dear Violet,

    Before reading any book I will read some reviews. Recently I came across Magi The Labyrinth of Magic and while doing some research online I came across your thorough and detailed review.

    I loved how easy the review makes it for readers and no additional research needed. It’s a great walk-through

    I really enjoyed the content and in the manner that you presented. Your review acted as a catalyst in my decision to read this book. For sure this is on my list. Your review saved my time. I appreciate the common theme of magi which is on Good Leadership, we need a lot of good leaders and the world is lacking good leaders.

    Disney’s Aladdin is my all-time favorite.

    Wishing you Great Success!

    Paul

    1. Yes, Magi is full of countries with different kinds of leadership. There is even a revolution that takes place in one of the countries, something you might be interested in. Thanks for the support 🙂

  5. This review has instilled alot of suspense in me. I want to see how captivating this manga book looks like. I want to explore how intringing the magic is? I want to know more about Aladdin, Alibaba, magi and others. For the aspect of politics, I think that should be an aspect that will add spice to the story in my view. Though you said it was used to bring peace to the land. Although I haven’t read the previous books that talks about djin but I think I will get the two. It can serve the purpose of boredom chaser for this coming vacation or what do you think?

    1. I agree that this is a good boredom chaser. The story and writing is very dynamic and since it is completed, you can read it all the way 🙂

  6. Hi Ann!Good
    to see your review about your manga book. I am so happy to know about
    this book. You have reviewed the book so nicely. I also liked to know
    that this is totally not similar to the disney’s Aladdin. I have read
    aladdin before and so I did not go through Magi’s. But I think I will do
    so. Thanks for the nice review. It reveals the actual thing bitween the two books.

  7. Hello,Books
    are so important for any human being because it increases the power of
    thinking & creativity.Magi Manga books are so much attractive to me
    .My friend was recommend me to buy it and after reading 1st volume of
    aladin I was just fall love with this book.The story was has too much
    twist & triangles.Now it’s my hobby to read magi manga books at
    least 2 hours in daily .

  8. Hello,Personally
    I didn’t like to read book but when I got magi manga books now it’s my
    hobby to read book.There are so many stories which are very nice.As well
    as the price of those books are very much reasonable.Now I am addicted
    with magi manga books .I would like to recommend everyone to read this
    book .

  9. Magic in comics. Are you kidding me? I’m definitely going to check it out. I really do like Aladdin and I just saw the new movie. Reading this book magi the Labrinth on magic is only going to heighten my love for adventure books and movies. I really love magic. This review has simplified things for me and I’m sure I’ll get the book on eBay. Thanks for reviewing.

    1. Yeah the magic is simply amazing. It’s one of the most extensive magic schools I’ve ever seen, you’ll love it 🙂

  10. When I’m done with the couple of mangas I’m reading right noe, I will savor this beautiful magi the labyrinth of magic. Though it bears resemblance in name with some characters in Aladdin as you’ve stated, but then, I’m very sure it would offer a very different story line. Another area of interest of interest for me is the fact that I’ve never read a manga focusing on politics too. So, this should be interesting to read about. Though I’m getting turned off by the fact that the ending is lacking but then, I will still read it.

    1. The ending is the ending but the whole story is worth reading until the end. Even if you are unsatisfied, I think that Ohtaka created something really lovely and reading it will be a great experience 🙂

  11. Excellent write-up, its really a suspense reading this article,I want to see how this manga book looks like. I want to explore how intriguing the magic is? I want to know more about Aladdin, magi, and others. For the aspect of politics, I think that should be an aspect that will add spice to the story in my view. Though you said, it was used to bring peace to the land. Although I haven’t read the previous books, that talks about djin I think I will get the two. I enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing.

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