ANIME & MANGA - Article
13:00 - 8th June 2013, by NEO Staff

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Brave heroes, bold adventures, cunning princesses and plenty of moral lessons - the fables of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights have been retold for centuries, in countless forms. Now, prepare to see the likes of Aladdin and Ali Baba in a whole new light, in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic!

Magi does not follow the old Aladdin story. This world is one dominated by magic, where unexplained towers and dungeons spontaneously appeared years earlier, beckoning adventurers with promises of riches and power - but no-one has ever returned after entering.


Here, Aladdin is a spritely ten-year-old, accidentally causing trouble through his naive and optimistic view of the world. Ali Baba, meanwhile, is closer to his fairy tale roots, an aspiring merchant, but at only 17, is also much younger than his mythical counterpart. Neither are exactly what they seem though - Aladdin has little knowledge of who, or even what, he is. His earliest memory concerns sitting in a darkened room, talking with his Djinni, Ugo. Ali Baba, in turn, has knowledge and skills that only royalty should have, yet he claims to be a mere street urchin. The pair meet when they cross a violent slave trader, and find themselves being dragged into one of those aforementioned (and generally lethal) dungeons. Soon joined by a freed slave girl with fearsome fighting prowess, Morgiana, the trio set off to conquer the remaining structures.


The opening episodes strike a perfect balance between teasing out secrets to hook viewers' interests, and answering enough questions surrounding the cast so as not to frustrate. Aladdin is soon revealed to be a Magi, able to channel vast, arcane energy, and one of a select few prophesised to choose the kings of the mortal realm. Although the source of his amnesia remains unexplained, we get enough hints to begin forming theories, and the same goes for the truth of Ali Baba's past, and Morgiana's long-lost homeland. Beyond the character development, Magi also delivers superbly timed comedy moments and brilliant action set-pieces - sometimes both at once, as the giant genie Ugo rampages in combat, his head still comedically trapped in Aladdin's flute!


Whether Magi will go on to be as lengthy or successful as similar colourful action adventurer Fairy Tail series remains to be seen - Japanese airdates are set for up to episode 12 at time of writing, and Aniplex has already announced American release rights - but as it stands from these early episodes, the show is certainly a welcome addition to the fantasy adventure field. Plus, it's streaming now for UK viewers at anime-on-demand.com!
This is an extract from a longer feature which originally appeared in issue 105.

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