Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic


by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Anime isn’t known for taking an old story and creating something new from it. Those who watch anime are used to mech combat, people with super powers, a trip to the medieval era, slice of life stories, or something futuristic. So when anime tackles a story with a well-known history, some are excited while others may cringe. With that said, A-1 Pictures brings us Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, a retelling of the story of Aladdin. It is a different story from what you’ve read in books or saw from Disney, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The story begins in the old world with a young boy, named Aladdin, finding his way to the end of a dungeon where he meets a Djinn named Ugo, who bestows upon Aladdin his powers and the ability to summon him. Aladdin chooses to use his power for good, and soon meets a boy named Alibaba who has dreams of conquering a nearby dungeon and obtaining its powers and fire Djinn named Amon. Aladdin sees good in Alibaba and decides to help him on his journey. But for all the good of these two boys, the world also has its evil. And it is up to Aladdin and Alibaba, along with friends they meet along the way, to battle the world’s evils and make the world a peaceful place for everyone.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, while focusing primarily on Alibaba and Aladdin, is still an ensemble anime with many characters playing important roles. Morgiana, a slave that is freed by Aladdin and Alibaba, is a woman of great strength, using her legs and arms to defend herself. She is the quiet character who goes from being a tentative slave to learning that there is value to her life and in those who care for her. Sinbad, a loud and strong character, who happens to be a king and the owner of many conquered dungeons, is charismatic while stoic and thoughtful. It would have been easy to make this character one dimensional, but by adding levels and the willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good, a strong willed and respectable character is created who we root for as he continues to help those around him. Plus there are characters along the way which, through good or bad means, help our characters realize their potentials and grow while giving us insight into our own lives and, potentially, helping us, as viewers, learn as well.

Visually, Magi is wonderful. The character designs are simple yet flashy, mostly due to the period of the anime and the clothing and weapons utilized. The designs of many of the monsters are very nice as well and fit right in with the rest of the character design. It doesn’t feel like anything is out of place. In terms of the action sequences, they are more than entertaining to watch. It can be referred to as typical Shounen action sequences, with a lot of flashiness to it, but it’s still enjoyable to watch and never gets boring. At times there’s a little too much dialogue during the fight sequences, or inner monologues that take place, but nothing is perfect and we can forgive, can’t we?

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic can come off as melodramatic at times, with the characters appearing a little too emo, but other times there is true emotion and revelation being displayed, and this is a pure joy to view. To say that Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic has a little something for everyone is to be spot on. Action, emotion, romance, comedy and drama are all here. It can seem to drag a little in some spots, and it feels like the twenty-five episodes (Season 1 with a coming Season 2) is split in to two separate seasons itself, meaning it feels a little disjointed. But despite its melodrama and sometimes excessive dialogue, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is still worth taking a trip on this magic carpet ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    One Comment

  1. James WhiteOctober 26th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I got myself completely turned around with this show. I enjoyed the first couple of episodes of Magi, so I did what I normally do and dove into the Manga (raw, of course – even good translations (which are rare) can only do so much). I found myself following the chapters week by week, which is rare for me, rather than wait for whole volumes to come out. I think that the week-long feast of the manga really gave me an advantage when I finally went back to watch the first season – I was only slightly aware of the disjointed feeling in the show as things from the manga were skipped or treated differently, and I was really excited to see the characters characters moving and talking with such beautiful visuals.

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