Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (Japanese: マギ, Hepburn: Magi) is a Japanese fantasy adventure manga series written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from June 2009 to October 2017, with the individual chapters collected and published into 37 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan.
|Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic|
Cover of the first Magi tankōbon, featuring main character Aladdin.
|Written by||Shinobu Ohtaka|
|Imprint||Shōnen Sunday Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||June 3, 2009 – October 11, 2017|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kōji Masunari|
|Written by||Hiroyuki Yoshino|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Original network||JNN (MBS)|
|Original run||October 7, 2012 – March 31, 2013|
|Anime television series|
|Magi: The Kingdom of Magic|
|Directed by||Kōji Masunari|
|Written by||Hiroyuki Yoshino|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Original network||JNN (MBS)|
|Original run||October 6, 2013 – March 30, 2014|
In North America, the manga has been licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media and the anime series by Aniplex of America. It has also been licensed by Kazé in United Kingdom and by Madman Entertainment in Australia.
A spin-off series titled Magi: Adventure of Sinbad, written by Ohtaka and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera, began serialization in Weekly Shōnen Sunday in May 2013, before being moved to Shogakukan's website Ura Sunday, where it was published from September 2013 to April 2018.
In 2014, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic received the 59th Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen category. As of April 2016, the manga had over 23 million copies in circulation.
The story is set in an alternate recreation of the ancient Old World with several regions and nations having some resemblances with real-life counterparts from that time. In this world, all living beings possess an essence known as Rukh (ルフ, Rufu) and when they die, this essence returns to the huge flow (also known as "guidance") of Rukh that gives life to all subsequent beings in an eternal cycle of rebirth called "Fate". Once a person is overcome with sadness, anger, and hopelessness, their Rukh becomes corrupted, unstable, and black, and deviates from the main guidance in a process known as "Fall into Depravity" (堕転, Daten).
There are also several magic castles full of treasures and traps known as "Dungeons", which are each the lair of a powerful magic being, a Djinn (ジン, Jin). Individuals that manage to overcome the trials of a Dungeon and earn the allegiance of its Djinn are known as Dungeon Capturers (迷宮（ダンジョン）攻略者, Danjon Kōryakusha), gaining the ability to use its powers infused in a personal item of theirs known as a "Metal Vessel" and create less potent "Household Vessels" for their companions as well.
People can use the Rukh in their bodies to create an energy known as Magoi (マゴイ) to power their magical weapons and abilities. This energy must be used with care, as despite the fact that an individual's magoi can be restored with feeding and rest, once fully exhausted it causes their death. Among those that can perform magic with their own Magoi there is a rare class of magicians known as Magi (マギ), that can also use Magoi from the Rukh around them, greatly increasing their capabilities. A Magi usually chooses Dungeon Capturers to offer guidance and protection making them into their King Vessels (王の器, Ō no Utsuwa). There are several nations in history that were founded or improved by the rule of such individuals.
After being secluded for his entire life, a boy called Aladdin travels the world with his "friend" Ugo, the Djinn contained within Aladdin's flute, until he meets Alibaba Saluja, a young man aiming to one day explore the nearby dungeon Amon and claim its treasures. Aladdin and Alibaba eventually become friends, and conquer Amon together, despite facing the opposition of the ruthless Jamil and his slave warriors: Morgiana and Goltas. After a desperate fight, the two protagonist fend off Jamil and assist Morgiana in breaking the mental chains that bind her to her former master. Alibaba claims the dungeon while the Djinn Amon appears in front of Aladdin to briefly explain that he is a Magi and that Alibaba is his king's candidate. However, they are interrupted by an outside force trying to close the dungeon off. Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgiana escape the dungeon while Goltas resolves to die to atone for his sins along with broken former master, but not before cutting Morgiana's shackles. For some reason, Aladdin ends up teleported to a distant land, far away from the others, where he learns what a Magi is, and that he is one. Having no news of his friend, Alibaba uses the treasure he obtained in Amon to free all slaves in the city, including Morgiana and returns to Balbadd, his homeland.
After having their own adventures in separate locations, Aladdin and Morgiana encounter a naked man named Sinbad, the first Dungeon Capturer and is now king of the island country of Sindria, who has been stripped of his seven Metal Vessels by a group of thieves. They eventually reunite with Alibaba in Balbadd, where they learn that he has joined the Fog Troupe, a cadre of thieves opposing the tyrannical rule of King Abhmad, Alibaba's half-brother. Helped by Aladdin, Morgiana and King Sinbad (who eventually regains his Metal Vessels), Alibaba manages to have the monarchy dissolved and establishes a republic in Balbadd. However, Balbadd ends up annexed to the Kou Empire, a powerful Eastern nation that plans to conquer the entire world under the pretense of putting an end to all conflict between the nations.
Following the events in Balbadd, Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana are brought to Sindria, where they train under members of Sinbad's household to increase their abilities and help him with his mission to stop the mysterious organization, Al-Thamen, that works in the shadows to spread chaos throughout the world as part of an unknown agenda. The trio ends up befriending Hakuryuu Ren, a prince of the Kou Empire visiting Sindria and whom they help to conquer the dungeon Zagan. After confronting members of Al-Thamen, Aladdin and his friends go separate ways for personal reasons, promising to rejoin together in the future. Aladdin enrolls in the Magnostadt Academy, a place where magician are treated as higher tier citizens than their normal human counterparts, to study magic and investigate the country's ties to Al-Thamen, Alibaba leaves to train with the Yambala Gladiators in the Reim Empire in order to improve his swordsmanship and learn magoi manipulation so he can achieve his complete Djinn Equip, Hakuryuu returns to the Kou Empire, and Morgiana departs to the Dark Continent to fulfill her dream of visiting her homeland.
One year later, Aladdin and Alibaba are reunited during Reim's campaign to conquer Magnostadt. After having helped defend the city, the Kou Empire launches a surprise attack. Hoping to prevent anymore magicians from falling in the battle, the city's leader, Matal Mogamett, summons an army of Dark Djinns with a huge mass of Black Rukh stored in its deepest level to defeat the invaders for good. However, Aladdin reveals that by doing this, Mogamett unwillingly helped Al-Thamen to get closer to their main objective, which is to summon their god, Ill Ilah, whose advent will cause the world's destruction. To prevent it from happening, Aladdin and his friends join forces with the Kou Empire, the Reim Empire and Sinbad's confederation, the Alliance of Seven Seas, to stop the summoning.
A few months later, representatives from Kou, Reim and Sindria gather for a summit organized by Sinbad. At the summit, Aladdin reveals that mankind was originally several distinct species transformed by magic into humans whose origin was the world of Alma-Torran, located in another dimension. The former god of this world being Ill Ilah who had its magoi stolen by Aladdin's father, King Solomon, in order to create a destiny favorable to the people of Alma-Torran. Resisting this change, the members of Al-Thamen summoned Ill llah to the world so it could reclaim its magoi. This sapped the world of all life and forced Solomon to give his life to seal away Ill Ilah and Al-Thamen along with it. Solomon gave his magoi to Ugo, and Ugo stored all the magoi within the Sacred Palace and used it to create the current world, the Magi system, and transport everyone from Alma-Torran to this world.
However, the summit is interrupted when Hakuryuu Ren and Judar start a civil war in the Kou Empire. Aladdin and Alibaba fly to the center of the Kou Empire to talk sense into Hakuryuu, however, they realize that he has fallen into depravity. The two duos fight and Alibaba and Judar end up as casualties. Hakuryuu fights most of the war by himself using his newly obtained Djinn, Belial, but eventually runs out of magoi and is forced to rely on Sinbad's assistance. After the war ends, Sinbad realizes his plan of having almost all the world's main powers assembled into a supranational union, the "International Alliance", and ushering a new era of peace and prosperity to the world, while Aladdin, Morgiana and Hakuryuu take separate ways. Meanwhile, a revived Judar and Alibaba meet on the other side of the Dark Continent, where they encounter the Mother Dragon who decides to assist them in traveling back to the mainland, however this would be a long journey. While traveling back, the Mother Dragon reveals that Ill Ilah's persona has been corrupted by David, the father of King Solomon and grandfather of Aladdin. He is also revealed to be connected to Sinbad and wants to become God of all.
Three years later, Alibaba reappears and reunites with his friends after they defeat Arba, apparently destroying Al-Thamen for good. However, Arba's spirit turns to Sinbad, and together, they reach the Sacred Palace where Ugo resides. By defeating Ugo and claiming ownership of the palace, Sinbad declares that the souls of all living things on Earth will be sent back to the Rukh, ending the cycle of life and death, certain that there is no other way to attain eternal peace and happiness for all. Aladdin, Alibaba, Hakuryuu and Judar join forces to confront Sinbad, but just after they reach a compromise with him, David appears and takes control of the Sacred Palace, as returning all souls to the Rukh was his original plan. After joining together to defeat David and destroy the Rukh system, the world suffers massive changes and magic disappears, leading the nations to unite their efforts to create a better future.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka. It began serialization in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine on June 3, 2009. In October 2015, the manga entered its final arc. In August 2016, Ohtaka announced that the manga was halfway through its final arc. The series finished on October 11, 2017. The first tankōbon volume was released on December 18, 2009; Thirty-seven volumes have been published as of November 17, 2017.
In North America, Viz Media announced in February 2013 the English-language release of the manga, with the first volume being released on August 13. As of August 13, 2019, Viz Media has published the thirty-seven individual tankōbon volumes.
An spin-off series titled Magi: Adventure of Sinbad, written by Ohtaka and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera was released as an additional material with the first volume of the anime series. It was later expanded into a regular series, which began serializing in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 18 to June 26, 2013, and later moved to Shogakukan's webcomic site Ura Sunday, where it was published from September 18, 2013 to April 25, 2018.
During the Shogakukan's Jisedai World Hobby Fair '12 Summer event, an anime television adaptation was announced on the event's official website. The anime series, produced by A-1 Pictures began airing in Japan on October 7, 2012, replacing Mobile Suit Gundam AGE in the MBS/TBS's 5:00 p.m timeslot, and finished on March 31, 2013. For the first 12 episodes, the opening theme song is "V.I.P." by SID and the ending theme song is "Yubi Bōenkyō" by Nogizaka46. From episode 13 onwards, the opening song is "Matataku Hoshi no Shita de" by Porno Graffitti and the ending is "The Bravery" by Supercell.
Just after the end of the anime series, a second season titled Magi: The Kingdom of Magic was announced. The series started airing on October 6, 2013 at the same timeslot of the first season, replacing Space Battleship Yamato 2199, and finished on March 30, 2014. For the first 13 episodes, the opening theme song is "Anniversary" by SID and the ending theme song is "Eden" by Aqua Timez, while from episode 14 onwards, the opening theme song is "Hikari" by ViViD and the ending theme song is "With You/With Me" by 9nine.
The series debuted in North America on October 10, 2012 on Crunchyroll and Hulu, Aniplex of America licensed the series and its English-dub was streamed on Viz Media's Neon Alley service. In December 2019, Funimation added the series to its streaming service. It has also been licensed by Viz Media Europe in Europe, Kazé in the UK (distributed by Manga Entertainment), and by Madman Entertainment in Australia.
Magi: Hajimari no Meikyū (マギ はじまりの迷宮 Magi: The First Dungeon) is a video game adaption of Magi released for the Nintendo 3DS platform. The game is produced by Bandai Namco Games and was released in Japan on February 21, 2013. The game got an update with more playable characters, a new dungeon and more story. A second titled Magi: Aratanaru no Sekai (マギ 新たなる世界, Magi: A Whole New World) for 3DS, was announced in September 2013. The game was released on February 13, 2014.
Four months after the series' anime adaptation announcement in June 2012, the print circulation of the manga went from 3 million copies of the first 12 volumes to over 6.5 million copies of the first 14 volumes in October of the same year. As of October 2013, the manga had over 13 million copies in circulation. The numbers increased to over 18 million copies in circulation as of May 2015, and over 23 million copies in circulation as of April 2016. In Japan, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was the 9th top selling manga series for 2012; 4th in 2013; 8th in 2014; 20th in 2015 and 2016; and 10th in 2017, its final serialization year. The series won the award for best shōnen manga at the 59th Shogakukan Manga Awards in 2014.
In his review of the first volume of the manga, L.B Bryant noted "not only is it a shonen title but it's a GOOD shonen title" and recommended it be picked up. Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network ranked the first volume as a B. Silverman criticized how the fanservice was handled and pointed out that the story felt more like a role-playing game than a manga, and that it seemed as if Ohtaka was not sure about the story's direction. She compared Aladdin to One Piece's protagonist Monkey D. Luffy and commented that Ohtaka's art improved since her last series Sumomomo Momomo. Silverman concluded, "overall those looking for a good old shounen adventure story about a couple of plucky kids (with bonus burly djinn!) pursuing their dreams should give this a shot. It isn't perfect, but it is a good time". Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin also ranked the first volume as a B, and compared Ohtaka's art style to Yuuki Iinuma's Itsuwaribito. She described Magi as a "straight-forward, fun to read adventure, part Prince of Persia and part Raiders of the Lost Ark".
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The “coming of age” shonen adventure story is a format that seems to be evergreen in the anime industry. The titles change from decade to decade, but as long as there's a show about ambitious kids traveling through a grand fantasy world, there will be an audience for it. I'm old enough (and have been watching anime for long enough) that a series in this genre has to be pretty darn good to hold my interest, so it's an encouraging sign that I enjoyed watching Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic.
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