Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, is a fantasy comedy adventure taking place in a middle-age setting. Out of nowhere 14 years ago, large mysterious towers emerged from the ground all over the world. The entrance to these dungeons has only one way in and one way out which is to conquer what awaits at the end. People that complete the dungeons go on to gain power and fortune from the riches that await. Street hustler Alibaba, is a lowly worker forced to do tasks for a merchant to make ends meet. He dreams of being a legend that conquers towers and becoming the next Scrooge McDuck. Upon his journey to greatness he encounters a mysterious young boy named Aladdin, who carries a magical flute. Along with the flute that grants him supernatural powers, he comes equipped with a magic carpet. To increase their odds at surviving, they agree to traverse through the dungeon together. Deeper into the season the world displays its complexities through political conflicts occurring between nations with a powerful empire threatening to conquer the entire world.
The first episode quickly sets up the premise of the series. The duo’s journey to conquer the towering dungeons while at the same time unraveling the mystery surrounding Aladdin. The main overall theme is friendship with an emphasis on how important friendship can be. Especially, in a world that seems bleak with slavery and powerful people abusing their authority.
Sometimes the music can be jarring with bouncing back and forth of Arabian influenced music to a rock jam to a jazzy tune. Unless you pay a real close attention to the music it’s not too noticeable and it sort of works for me. What I do like about it is the character development, comedy, and artwork which overall makes it entertaining. As the layers begin to peel back you learn more about Aladdin, Alibaba and a slave who is destined to join them, Morgiana. Aladdin and Alibaba are revealed to be bad ass in their own styles. It’s Morgiana that shines when she turns out to be a beast that hails from a hunting tribe in the south known for their strength. Some of the comedy can be a bit silly and perverted, but it’s a standard amount of perverted-ness for a shonen series. The artwork is nice and breath of fresh air as not many anime take elements from middle eastern culture to blend into a magical fantasy. The action scenes are also well done. From the magic Aladdin can summon, to rogue like abilities Alibaba is able to display when they fight enemies and monsters on their adventures.
I like the anime’s settings that are reminiscent of Arabian Nights, from which they borrowed names and elements. The pacing moves steadily through with side stories and the overall arc that makes me want to watch more. The only negatives I can think of come down to nitpicking things in the art, music and story. Some, just come down to personal preferences, but overall the 1st season of Magi was enjoyable.
Episodes: 25 (1st season)
Director: Koji Masunari
Writing: Hiroyuki Yoshino
Cast: Kaori Ishihara as Aladdin
Yuuki Kaji as Alibaba Saluja
Haruka Tomatsu as Morgiana
Kensho Ono as Hakuryū Ren
Daisuke Ono as Sinbad
Studio: A-1 Pictures