Manga Monday- Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Manga Monday- Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic 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.

An anime television adaptation by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan from October 2012 to March 2013 and a second season titled Magi: The Kingdom of Magic aired from October 2013 to March 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, the 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 print.

Manga

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, from September 18, 2013 to April 25, 2018.

Reception

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 print as of May 2015, and over 23 million copies in print 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 Pieces 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.”

IGN listed Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic among the best anime series of the 2010s, and wrote that it is “a fun watch and has a surprising amount of action for those that are fans of shonen.

Synopsis

Setting

The series is largely based on numerous stories from 1001 Arabian Nights, most notably the tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor.

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 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”.

There are also several magic castles full of treasures and traps known as “Dungeons” and each of them is the lair of a powerful magic being, a Djinn. Individuals that manage to overcome the trials of a Dungeon and earn the allegiance of its Djinn are known as Dungeon Capturers, 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 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, 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. There are several nations in history that were founded or improved by the rule of such individuals.

 

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