Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Season 1 Part 1 review

Magi AladdinMagi: The Labyrinth of Magic is a Japanese anime that follows the story of Aladdin, and yes that is meant to be the same Aladdin we all know from the fairytale. But this version is rather different: yes, he owns a genie (or ‘djinn’), but he himself is rather magical too; he is a ‘magi’, a magical being who can detect the ‘rukh’, which are basically the souls of people left behind after they die. These little creatures help fuel his power. He also is capable of choosing the future king. Not bad for an 8-10 year-old. He wanders around with a turban on his head, which he can use as a magic carpet. He also plays a flute, which is actually where his genie lives, and by using his own energy he can summon him when needed – only his body though, never his head, so you often see a giant blue man with a flute for a head running around.

The story is set in a sort of alternate version of old Arabia. And, funnily enough, one of Aladdin’s best friends is Alibaba, another famous character we all associate with that region. His character stays true to the old tale: he is a thief – kind of. Well his story is a very complicated one… I won’t get into too much detail about him because that might ruin some aspects of the series for you. Other characters include Sinbad – who seems like a much more decent man than the one from the stories and he is very charming – and Morgiana – a pink-haired slave girl with incredible speed and very powerful legs. There are also genies and dungeons that appear out of nowhere, people who can turn into animals and giant man-eating plants. But the genies are what I really liked: they all represent something different and all look very different (though they’re all blue). They choose someone who can carry their seal and use a metal vessel to summon their powers (just like Aladdin’s flute; I’m guessing this is their version of a lamp). I found it really interesting each time seeing what the owners of the vessels would end up looking like once they used their full power. And there are still so many genies and genie-owning people to meet…

Magi Alibaba Aladdin MorgianaThe storyline is shrouded in many mysteries, like for example where Aladdin comes from. Although he seems to meet a lot of people along the way who know what a magi is and even meets another magi, halfway through the first season we are still not much closer to knowing where he comes from. Reincarnation comes to mind, but that’s it. But that’s also what I like about the series: it’s like constantly piecing a jigsaw puzzle together. Along the way you have to learn who the different rulers are and what the different areas represent; you get small glimpses into characters’ past, slowly letting you in to how they got there in the first place; you’re still unsure as to who is good and who is bad; who can you trust?

Halfway through the first episode, I was determined I didn’t want to watch any more of the series. Yes, Japanese anime are known for their scenes of a sexual nature – which tends to be lots of breasts – but in the first episode, Aladdin, who is very young, has a bit too much of an obsession with these. You even see him in a brothel. After it seemed to become a regular occurrence, I thought, “What a waste of an idea! The series had so much potential!” But the end of the first episode did what all good episodes do: they reel you in to the point of no return. A good action sequence followed by the opening to a good storyline enticed me to watch the second episode, and after that there was no going back. From this point on the series really developed, introducing interesting characters and explaining the background to so many elements you became curious about. So if the first episode puts you off, plough through because the series is worth it. This DVD set takes you halfway through the first season, and the curiosity is getting to me.

Magi The Labyrinth of Magic – Season 1 Part 1 is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray from Manga Entertainment

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