Aladdin News

Aladdin is a anime/manga character in the Magi franchise
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I am starting to understand Magi art a little better. The best manga strive to paint a comprehensive picture that places a character within a specific environment and even goes so far as to show you the impact experienced by this character within his environment in reaction to some external force.

Most manga though choose to prioritize the character over his environment, with titles like bleach pouring great detail into each individual while showing little to nothing of the surroundings. 

Magi is somewhere between; the mangaka will represent the surroundings and the characters in the same panel and image, but without these two elements actually being connected. 

An example would be chapter 256, where we are shown Judar unleash twisters of wind and what I think was fire from above, as well a close up of their destructive impact on the trees, the ground etc.

In the same panel we see Aladdin, juxtaposed against the trees as they are being ripped from the ground; except he’s flying, with Judar just above him.

A cursory glance at that image can create  confusion, especially when all you can see is Judar and Aladdin standing in the midst of explosions and squiggly lines. You have to look close enough to put things together, that everything happening behind Aladdin and Judar is just a background image, showing what’s happening on the ground while Aladdin and Judar continue to fight in the air.

What I am trying to say is that I might have annouced Magi’s art as being bad, but maybe I simply misjudged it.

+THE CHAPTERS:
The battle between Hakuryuu and Judar, and Aladdin and Alibaba heats up.

+MY THOUGHTS

No. Excuses aside, Magi art is indeed very messy, so much more than I can sometimes stomach. It’s almost like Shinobu is trying to cram waaaay too much into each panel.

But maybe that is a compliment; because Magi isn’t drawn like any manga I have come across. Most mangaka try to keep the virtual camera on present events when drawing. If Aladdin and Judar are fighting in the skies, then that is all you are going to see. Not until they drop to the ground can we expect to see the impact of the supernatural elements on the environment.

Where it proves necessary to first display the full extent of an unleashed ability, mangaka tend to assign entire panels to such matters. That’s why you tend to find entire panels in Manhwa dedicated to showing the earth as it’s being ripped apart.

Shinobu isn’t helped by the fact that she seems to take short cuts in presenting some of these fights, making it difficult to follow the events fluidly from panel to panel.

That isn’t necessary a bad thing, though; because so much more happened in just one chapter of this fight than what we normally see in the typical Bleach battle, with Kubo more interested in showing the step by step elements of each fight whereas Shinobu keeps things frenetic.

+The Good
These are some of the best fights we have seen in the series in a while; and I had to read these three chapters a third time to fully comprehend what they had to offer.

If I am being honest, it is the fact that Aladdin and Alibaba are managing to hold their own against their clearly superior foe that these chapters are proving to be so entertaining.

And they are not simply holding their own; Shinobu has managed to give Aladdin and Alibaba an edge that is not only impressive but believable. 

A few weeks back I stated, more than once, that Team Alibaba didn’t stand the slightest chance of defeating Team Hakuryuu. Yet, watching Alibaba rise to the challenge has allowed his character to grow exponentially. 

His tenacity doesn’t eliminate the many irritating flaws of his character; as a King and primary protagonist, Alibaba is sorely lacking. However there is something endearing about watching him stand up to Hakuryuu and showing a determination to back his idealistic words with strength of will.

This is Alibaba as we have rarely seen him, especially in light of that chaotic exchange of blows and his final declaration to bring Hakuryuu to his knees. 

Could he actually win this bout? Well, Hakuryuu’s Belial transformation was impressive as hell. He continues to prove why he’s such a badass villain. And Alibaba has yet to corner him.

So, No. Alibaba isn’t winning this. But he will lose with a certain sense of pride, knowing he didn’t simply lie down and allow his former friend to walk all over him.

Aladdin has the makings of a truly powerful Magi, and for a long time the series seemed to forget him. Even with his showing at Magnostadt, his worth seems to have disappeared in light of juggernauts like Kouen and Sinbad.

These chapters finally allowed him to come into his own, portending his future as the biggest threat Il-Illah will ever face.

The talking took a back seat in all three chapters, which was a good decision on the Mangaka’s part, because these four characters more or less expressed themselves fully in the previous two chapters.

Any more talking (or begging on Alibaba’s part) would have felt redundant.

+The Bad
I have no problem reading a chapter a second or third time in order to understand some concept that I am yet to grasp. However rereading a chapter just because I didn’t quite understand what was portrayed on the page can get annoying. 

Magi’s art was waaay too messy. Chapter 257 was mostly consistent, but Chapter 255 and parts of 256 required some squinting and focusing to make sense of who had done what exactly.

Aladdin’s flash back was also terrible. IN fact the entire 255 was terribly paced. Shinobu rushed those moments of Aladdin trying to master Solomon’s Wisdom.

In fact it felt like she unnecessary shoehorned them into the chapter. 255 was just a mess top to bottom, barring a few decent Aladdin/Judar panels. 

This as opposed to the Hakuryuu/Alibaba panels, which were great, especially the sword/scythe stuff. That is where Shinobu’s habit of trying to fit several panels’ worth of work into a single panel paid off. The fast pace of the fights really resonated, as well as the desperation behind every one of Alibaba’s blows.

RATING: 7/10. Magi is getting its form back. Not that it was bad before. More like lackluster. It is considerably boosted by the unpredictability of this fight, from Aladdin’s display of space warping magic to Hakuryuu’s Belial Djinn equip and Alibaba’s roaring determination.

HIGHLIGHTS: Hakuryuu and Alibaba’s sword/scythe exchange. Aladdin’s potential omniscience.
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Urgh, these Magi chapters were on their way to greatness; but that art, especially the fighting bits, things got a little too messy for my liking.

Never the less, Shinobu Ohtaka couldn’t have handled Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s confrontation any better.

+THE CHAPTERS:
Alibaba reaches out to his old friend, Hakuryuu, in an attempt to craft a peaceful accord; negotiations breakdown relatively quickly.
+MY THOUGHTS

I had no intention of touching Magi until the manga had accrued at least five chapters (I failed to consider the long break Magi took); I wasn’t particularly keen on reading the events surrounding Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s meeting.

I specifically expected Shinobu to drag this particular situation out as she had done before, with some of her characters often spending several panels speaking cyclically and basically saying the same thing over and over again.

Which isn’t what happened. You can accuse Magi of many things. But you can never accuse it of being slow paced.

+The Good.
The transitions in chapter 252 were perfectly done, specifically Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s initial meeting, Alibaba’s attempts at rekindling old bonds, the re-ignition of camaraderie that seemed to occur, only for dark Hakuryuu to emerge once more.

I don’t think any of us actually expected Hakuryuu to change sides; there is nothing Alibaba had to offer which Hakuryuu hadn’t already considered and outright rejected.

Indeed, Hakuryuu himself stated that, had they met a few weeks prior, he would have been more than willing to take Alibaba’s hand; except Alibaba wasn’t there when Hakuryuu needed him most.

And while he listened to Aladdin’s story of Alma Toran, Hakuryuu allowed Judar to sway him to the dark side; and if there was one element that primarily shined through Hakuryuu’s words, it was the fact that there could be no going back, not with Hakuryuu’s current resolve.

Shinobu cannot be commended enough for simply getting to the point of her story and throwing Hakuryuu and Alibaba against one another. 

I don’t think the outcome is particularly unpredictable though; Aladdin stands a decent chance against Judar, considering what we all know he is capable of (this not taking into account his connection to Solomon’s Wisdom).

Alibaba, on the other hand, isn’t coming out of this fight in one piece; we haven’t seen anything to suggest that Alibaba has anything close to the power Hakuryuu has displayed thus far.

+The Bad.
Alibaba has never been the most impressive of heroes in Magi, and these two chapters did nothing to improve his image; there are idealistic characters in shonen manga that often strive to change the world into an image they believe meets the criteria of justice and righteousness.

And am not sure if that is the personality Shinobu was trying to craft in him, but Alibaba came off as irritatingly uncertain and indecisive.

Which only made it that much more difficult to support his position; at the present, Alibaba is simply too weak willed as a hero, and no matter what Aladdin might say, it is difficult to buy the idea that he might be the Magi universe’ only hope.

RATING: 6/10. These two Magi chapters were thrilling primarily because it was impossible to predict the turn events were likely to take with each new page. However the art didn’t help things and some of the battle oriented panels were simply too messy to make any sense.
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A very ‘meh’ chapter of Magi , I think; I am no mangaka but I imagine there are so many more ways Shinobu Ohtaka could have portrayed the events of chapter 251 than what she ultimately chose to do.

THE CHAPTER:
Kouen and his siblings react to Hakuryuu’s rebellion. Aladdin and Alibaba ride out to meet an old friend.

MY THOUGHTS:

What was wrong with this chapter? Well, nothing too egregious, yet one might argue that it simply didn’t get enough done.

And if there is one thing you have to say about Magi , it’s the fact that most chapters are often packed full of so much content that the events of the manga can sometimes feel rushed.

After a few weeks delving into the minds of Hakuryuu and Judar, it was inevitable that returning to the less interesting duo of Aladdin and Alibaba would prove a little difficult.

None the less I don’t know if we needed so many pages of the pair basically travelling to Rakushou and talking about what they would eventually have to do.

Actually, that is another thing; a lot of talking was done and yet I don’t know if anything was really said. Who didn’t already know that Aladdin and Alibaba would do everything in their power to stop and save Hakuryuu from himself?

Aladdin said as much back at the summit. And who actually expected Kouen to step aside as his brother ascended to the throne?

  Magi has always had a tendency of glossing over certain events and occurrences with the aim of getting to the bigger picture. It should have done just that in chapter 251.

There was no real reason for using the meeting between Alibaba and Hakuryuu as the cliffhanger for the chapter; in fact we should have gotten to the meeting immediately.

Why? Well, it’s not like anyone is expecting anything particularly intriguing to come out of these four characters finally talking with one another. As with Aladdin and Alibaba, we already know what Hakuryuu thinks of his former friends.

He has either implied or told us directly exactly what he intends to do and the lines he is ready to cross over and over again over the last few chapters. If the purpose of these four characters meeting was to allow Aladdin and Alibaba to understand exactly where Hakuryuu’s head is right now, the mangaka really should have done that immediately. 

RATING: 4/10, not a bad chapter per say, but somewhat bland. I really want to get excited about Alibaba and Hakuryuu meeting, but really; we have heard the opinions held by both sides. Essentially, there can’t be anything new or unexpected out of the next chapter, which hopefully deals with Alibaba and Hakuryuu’s conversation quickly.
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The only thing wrong with this chapter is the fact that this dynamic duo of Hakuryuu and Judar is going to be defeated by Aladdin and Alibaba.

It is expected; they are, after all, the heroes of the series. Yet, It becomes difficult to stand behind Aladdin’s idealistic dreams and Alibaba’s indecisiveness, not when faced with the realistic and somewhat incisive approach that Hakuryuu and Judar bring to the table.

THE CHAPTER:
The battle against Gyokuen comes to a close. Kou has a new emperor. Hakuruyuu and Judar set their eyes upon the rest of the world.

MY THOUGHTS:

That was unequivocally brutal. Say one thing about Magi, say that it never really holds back on the gore and despair when it needs to cement a point.

This is it; the point when Hakuryuu and Judar finally became the central villains of the story.

Sure, there are a lot of negative things you could say about Kouen and his ilk; yes, few other characters in the series are quite as conniving and untrustworthy as Sinbad. Yet none of these characters have truly given themselves over to depravity, not when compared to Hakuryuu.

One might say that the Magi story just turned onto a new path this week; Hakuryuu finally got his revenge, and in a most brutal fashion, especially when you read this chapter together with the last panels of chapter 249, where Hakuryuu tears the flesh out of his mother’s neck with his teeth, with Gyokuen then lumbering towards the salvation waiting beyond the boundary of the barrier, only to fall to Judar who hands her life to Hakuryuu.

That Hakuryuu could kill her without a second thought, unmoved by the sorts of silly tricks so many heroes tend to fall for in the very last moment, shows his resolve.

That he understands the depths of his intentions, the blood he will have to spill in his conquest means that he is unlikely to fall to the sweet words of Aladdin and Alibaba about right and wrong, the evil of his path and any salvation they might offer.

Simply put, Hakuryuu is the perfect hero turned villain; there are no forces pulling his strings without his consent, which means we are unlikely to run into another Obito situation.

He is fully aware of his own madness and accepts what he must do to accomplish goals that, to an extent, even he realizes are wrong; which means his clash with Aladdin will more or less come down to a last man standing type situation, where Hakuryuu and Judar must be put down lest they bring the world to its knees.

Magi has created a situation so perfect, with the rising conflict between Aladdin, Hakuryuu, Kouen, Sinbad and Al-Tharmen, especially with so many of the lines so blurred, that it would be difficult for Shinobu Ohtaka to ruin this arc.

She doesn’t even have to deliver deaths on any scale to create a satisfying conclusion to what might be Magi’s last, or at least one of its final sagas.

+RATING: 9/10, Judar never seizes to surprise, specifically how far his character has come, with each chapter continuing to compound upon just how reliant the Magi is on his friend’s madness.

Hakuryuu is the soul mate Judar searched for and failed to find in Sinbad, which probably has something to do with the fact that Sinbad is so much more mature than Hakuryuu and thus less likely to succumb to Judar’s darkness.

Gyokuen will be missed; she showed the sort of madness and resilience few villains have manifested in anime and manga.
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Wednesdays and Thursdays used to be all about Naruto, One Piece and Bleach; now that Naruto is gone, maybe Magi can fit into that blank spot, because this manga is simply on fire.

It was more than worth waiting another week to read these chapters back to back; why can’t more manga and manhwa series do stuff like this?

Shocking, entertaining, crazy. That is Magi.

THE CHAPTERS:
Hakuryuu and Judar’s confrontation with Arba turns chaotic as the witch brings her fury down against her son.

MY THOUGHTS:

These are the sorts of series I crave to read; where scrolling down to each new page fills me with deep anticipation regarding what is about to happen next.

These two chapters kept me at the edge of my seat, from panel to panel; and manga rarely does that, where the contents of each new panel are so enticing that simply sweeping your eyes from one side to the other becomes an adventure.

+Gyokuen.
Arba is a monster; that is all there is to it. And she’s as crazy as they come. I am always complaining about Ohtaka Shinobu’s art, but the amount of effort she clearly pours into Gyokuen’s creepy facial expressions is simply inspired. 

The power she displayed in this chapter cemented her as the one true villain of the Magi series, the apex of Al-Tharmen and eventual destroyer of the world, if events continue down their current course.

One needs to question how Hakuryuu and Judar defeated the demented woman. No, scratch that, do we even know that they defeated her?

Because at this point everything we have come to believe about the events that happened at the heart of the Kou empire came from Judar, who could be lying out of his teeth.

The idea that Gyokuen might have attained victory and could be controlling both Magi and King vessel is exciting and would elevate Magi to new heights of greatness.

Not that Magi isn’t epic enough as it is; shonen series today simply do not display the level of madness that Ohtaka managed to elicit from Gyokuen in two chapters. 

Great villains make great manga; and if Judar and Hakuryuu are great villains, then Gyokuen is something entirely superior. Next week cannot come fast enough.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. And I cannot get enough of Gyokuen; knowing her back story only sweetens the spirit of her current level of madness.

+Hakuryuu
Hakuryuu deserves his own series. The manner in which he continues to prove himself as a decisive ruler and determined seeker of justice for his father and brothers’ deaths places him in a class far apart from Alibaba.

Truth be told, I couldn’t care less about Alibaba.

Where Alibaba, the primary protagonist of the series, has basically spent the last 50 chapters changing loyalties and basing his strategies around who’s leadership he should fall under, Hakuryuu is taking charge, so much so that even those most loyal commanders and generals of Kouen are standing ready to serve him, moved to action by his determination and fervor.

Hakuryuu is everything a primary shonen protagonist should be, and what Alibaba clearly can never be. It is almost tragic, considering how far Alibaba has fallen.

+Judar
That the dark Magi is no longer the irritating little runt whose every action was driven by his need to satisfy his own dark desires is surprising; Judar keeps proving with each new chapter that he is clearly not the person he used to be.

He is a loyal servant and, dare I say friend, of Hakuryuu, willing to follow him to the very end and more than ready to support his goals with his life.

This is what has always set Fate/Zero apart in my eyes, its ability to elicit as much entertainment and intrigue from the villains as it did from its heroes, so much so that picking a side to support became a difficult endeavor.

As things stand today, I would be hard pressed to choose Aladdin and Alibaba over Judar and Hakuryuu, even considering the journey we have enjoyed with Aladdin and Alibaba over the last 200 chapters. 

Chapters 247 and 248 were largely battle oriented, and yet covered so much ground, providing a ton of character development even while showing off the true extent of Gyokuen’s magic.

RATING: 10/10, from Arba nearly tearing the palace apart with her magic to Hakuryuu introducing his fists to her face repeatedly in a most brutal manner, these chapters were among the best the series has produced all year.

That scene between Arba and Hakuryuu was…odd. I thought they were related.
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This chapter reminded me of the good old days of Bleach, before Aizen got tiresome, back when he was still the enigmatic villain the exact nature of whose goals and interests were shrouded in mystery.

All you needed to know about Aizen back then was that he wasn’t completely evil, merely focused upon achieving his goal. A better example might be Fate/Zero, where the exact nature of every conflict chose to ignore the good vs. evil cliché, instead presenting an amoral cast driven by there own personal interests.

My point, Magi is doing everything right in presenting the perfect villain for the series’ heroes.

THE CHAPTERS:
Judar and Hakuryuu embark upon the journey to kill Gyokuen.

MY THOUGHTS:

So we are most definitely in the past; this has to be a flashback of sorts, showing us the events that took place while Aladdin and group partook in their summit; I guess it makes sense, showing us exactly what happened and how Hakuryuu gained the power the defeat his mother rather than allowing speculation to thrive.

+The Good
I wrote a Blog Post a short while ago, giving my take on what it took to create a great villain; and I explained my disinterest in the complex villains of today, the excess of whiny child like antagonists with what had become cliché sad back stories, most of which where intended to attract sympathy to characters that were completely undeserving of pity.

Basically I lamented about the lack of true villains in the anime and manga, those bad guys that were truly bad, and who could truly pose a threat without the risk of them breaking down at the end of the arc; except that Magi, in these two chapters, showed that it is actually possible to create dark villains that are as sympathetic as they are threatening and engaging. 

Hakuryuu and Judar combine two facets of the common villain, coming off as both tragic and sympathetic even while operating in a dark persona driven only by evil.

Having fallen into depravity, Hakuryuu falls into the category of villains that are more or less evil for the sake of being evil.

Because, with a mind driven by dark rukh, Hakuryuu is now acting on instinct, and will commit evil with no remorse or thought, no different from the typical mindlessly evil villain.

Except this is a path that Hakuryuu chose to follow, having counted the cost, realized what he would lose by falling into depravity and choosing to take the plunge.

And that is what makes Hakuryuu and Judar better  than almost any other pair of villains in shonen; they are aware. They are not driven by an uncontrollable lust for blood or vengeance. There are no dark forces deceiving them into following their dark path, or at least there weren’t.

There is a cleverness in the manga’s choice of Djinn in this situation, with Belial allowing both young men an opportunity to fully scrutinize their souls, during which they saw the dark path before them, understood what it offered, admitted that the path of light indeed offered true hope and peace, and still chose to sink into the shadows of their dreams.

They will destroy the world not because they are misguided or unknowing; rather they understand the big picture, better than even Aladdin, and yet they choose to continue in their depravity. These are the sorts of villains I like, the type that are not likely to get talked off the ledge by the heroes when the final battle comes.

+The Bad.
This isn’t bad per say, merely a less flattering consideration, at least with regards to Alibaba; as the primary protagonist of the series, Alibaba is quickly becoming irrelevant and obsolete, far too quick and willing to follow anyone that will promise to save his friends and his home rather than taking any actual definitive action.

And considering the fact that Hakuryuu ranked far below Alibaba as far as interesting characters go in the past, he has come a long way in the time it has taken Alibaba to shift alliances haphazardly.

But maybe that is simply great story telling on the mangaka’s part, showing Alibaba’s failures before finally allowing him to rise.

+RATING: 8/10, both of these chapters were great and provided some insight into the minds of Hakuryuu and Judar, especially the hate they carry and unwillingness to forgive Al-tharmen for the role the group played in creating their miserable lives.

It makes you wonder whether Judar spent so much time pursuing Sinbad because he was simply lonely and wished to share his depravity with someone; because now that he has his king vessel, he no longer shows any interest in Sinbad.

I can’t figure out how Aladdin and his group are going to figure into the coming conflict; as a dark king vessel, Hakuryuu’s only interest is still destroying Al-Tharmen and all they stand for. Which means that the big villains of the story are about to fight. Not a very bad thing for the rest of the world.
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Is it finally over? It’s been so long since we last interacted with Magi’s primary cast that it was almost odd returning to Morgiana, Alibaba and the rest of them.

I am not going to lie; this flashback took some patient to bare on my part. Not that it didn’t have its moments, but I have been waiting to return to the present for so long that it was almost jarring when Aladdin’s history lesson ended.
But, right now, finally at the end of Solomon’s tedious journey, there is a lot that one could appreciate about the last few months.

THE CHAPTERS:

With Solomon’s demise, the world stands at the edge of a precipice; no longer able to sustain life, it is up to Ugo to transform Alma Toran’s tragedy into hope for a brighter future on a new world.

MY THOUGHTS:
24 chapters; that is how long this particular arc has been running. And within 24 chapters Shinibu Ohtaka has basically laid bare the entirety of the Magi world, all its mysteries and innards finally exposed.

And with the manga just past the halfway point one does wonder if this was the smartest play the mangaka could make, because as things stand there is little about Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic that we don’t know in relative detail.
From the birth of Alma Toran, the presence of an all powerful creator in Il Illah, the origins of the Djinn and their metal vessels, the role of the dungeons, the eventual emergence of the present world, the rukh…every mystery of Magi has been unearthed.

To an extent one might complain that that erases all sense of mystery from the manga, with little new knowledge left to be revealed in the coming few years of its run.

But then again, one might also say that the manga is finally in a position to move forward, unhindered by endless questions and potential plot holes about who did what, when, how and why?

Whatever the case, the flashback is finally over and the manga is the better off for it; to an extent these revelations put the present conflict in a new perspective, even though the future of the Kou empire, what with Arba standing as its current ruler, is still somewhat uncertain.

Chapter 238 wasted way too much time on Alibaba’s reaction to Aladdin’s story; considering how long I had waited to finally read these events, the reaction of the spectators to Alma Toran’s history, Alibaba’s reminiscence was a huge waste of time.

Maybe some people were touched by his realization of the deep connection he shared with Aladdin, but even that made little sense to me. Aladdin and Alibaba couldn’t be more different from each other.
Alibaba’s assertions that he had suddenly found common ground with Aladdin, with the two having suffering under equal loads, seemed forced, especially taking in to account the fact that Alibaba’s past constituted losing his birth right and all his friends and families to political greed, and spending years in slavery crawling from one vile master to another.

I don’t think the fact that Aladdin spent a few months to years in a lonely library quite places him in the same bracket as Alibaba, and if their friendship needed that cheap boost to cement Alibaba’s faith and loyalty to Aladdin, then maybe the manga should quit placing so much emphasis on it.

The more intriguing elements of chapters 237 and 238 received the least amount of time, that being the reactions of Sindria, Kou and Riem. Something about Sinbad’s reaction to the story was disturbing, not just his expression but the way he spoke of ‘King Solomon’.

There is more than meets the eye here than Sinbad merely being awestruck by Solomon; the theory that Sinbad might be Solomon’s incarnation doesn’t seem quite as crazy at this moment.

The next two weeks of the manga are going to be crucial to determining the future story arcs of Magi; though something tells me that even if peace is the outcome of this conference, even if Kou and Sindria agree to come together to obliterate Kouen’s mother, Sinbad and Kouen are going to clash regardless.
PREDICTIONS:
There is going to be war between Kou and Sindria, and Riem will have to choose sides in this war, most likely Kou considering what was said just before Aladdin began his story.

Then again that would make little sense, what with Riem’s master being none other than a newly minted Magi probably programmed to oppose Al Tharmen at all costs.

But that doesn’t explain all that hostility Riem was showing Sinbad at the start of the conference.
Kouen is determined to spread Kou’s rule over the land as the most effective means of bringing peace. Sinbad will take violent action against Kouen and his empire at the slightest hint of treachery from Kou.
It would be a miracle if Aladdin avoided war, either immediately or in the distant future.

RATING: 7/10, it was decent enough material, despite the panels and pages wasted on Alibaba. And I am glad we are finally returning to the present day.
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When the Tobi reveal was made in Naruto, what most interested me were the events that had driven the innocent kid that was Obito towards the dark path he eventually came to embrace.

And while the various reasons put forth proved intriguing to follow and slowly make sense of, when all the chips were down, all those excuses, reasons and events more or less boiled away in the face of the cause of Obito’s true downfall.

He’s crazy; simple as that, and the various scenes in which he explains himself more than support this fact.

I mention Obito and Naruto because his life and situation somewhat echoes within the warring Chaos of Alma Toran.

THE CHAPTER:

Alma Toran’s war comes to a boiling head as lives are sacrificed, rage is vented and Djinn are finally born.

MY THOUGHTS:

You could accuse Magi of making Arba’s transformation a little too sudden, turning her towards the dark side in no more than three or four chapters; yet once you accept the approach Magi is taking with this flashback, basically narrating rather than showing the story and all its intricacies, comfortable with availing a brief overview of events even while exploring one or two elements in detail, Arba’s transformation isn’t nearly as sudden.

Yet even taking into consideration the passing of time as has been shown in a few chapters, is it really rational for one such as Arba, Solomon’s most devoted servant, to turn so violently against him?

Well, Yes. She’s crazy. Seriously, just look at that face, that expression. Arba and her kin have crossed into the realm of insanity, simple as that.

What we are seeing here in Magi is a pretty extreme case of religious fanaticism; after all the current conflict began with Illah’s revelation below David’s castle. Was it the immensity of Illah’s being that most intensely affected Arba?

Or maybe it was the idea of Illah in her head, that he or it could be so grossly divested of all its glory and might. Whatever the case, it is difficult to argue against a case of insanity when one’s answer to having their god dragged from the heavens is blotting the entire world out of existence.

Alma Toran has come to its tragic end; one has to credit the mangaka for her approach to this story, basically setting up one of the greatest evils in Sheba, impressively redeeming her into a hero worthy of praise and sacrificing her life rather tragically to the last person you would have figured would become Gyokuen.

A tragedy indeed and one that is going to keep repeating itself if the events of Magi are anything to go by; it seems somewhat irrelevant now to give the Kou empire the benefit of doubt as a potentially benevolent force that might simply be striving to bring peace to the world using its own misguided means.

Not when Gyokuen, aka Crazy Arba is standing as empress, and certainly not when her blood runs through Kouen’s veins.

Suddenly the potential of Alma Toran’s tragedy repeating itself is starting to look more and more plausible with each new chapter. Al Tharmen’s particular dislike for Aladdin makes even more sense, their disgust for the so called arrogant king’s spawn and the wisdom he holds.

With so many pieces finally falling into place, one has to wonder how the events of Magi are going to play out from now on; the entire Kou family seems doomed to sink into Gyokuen’s madness.

Aladdin must possess a spark of Illah’s will within him though, considering Solomon’s position as the vessel for Illah’s rukh in the past; one wonders how it will affect his own will and whether he will descend down David’s path who, now that I think about it, didn’t differ so greatly in mannerisms from Solomon after he took Illah’s power into himself.

RATING: 8/10, these sort of sizzling chapters are why I love Magi; the manga seems to have found its stride, and permanently this time. If we are not out of flashbacks by next chapter, then it has to be the week after; after all the Arba/Solomon fight seems to have come to a sudden and conclusive end.

HIGHLIGHTS: Wahid; his story has to be the most tragic in the flashback, especially the actions he was determined to take at the very end for Falan and Tess.

If you are not reading Magi, then catch up with the anime and get to reading this amazing series.

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