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MAGI: THE LABYRINTH OF MAGIC #1 - - Special Review

Make a wish? I wish for no more chibi. Please. Please.

Huh. So MAGI is an anime reworking of 1,001 ARABIAN NIGHTS? Seems rather obvious, now. When I first got a press release about this show a couple months back, though, it was presented simply as an Arabesque show and the literary connection wasn’t explicit. Perhaps the thinking was that spinning this as “ALADDIN: THE ANIME” would’ve made it a tougher sell.

It’s been a few years since I’ve read the SCHEZERADE, but this at least seems like it’s been made by a crew who’s done their homework instead of just window-dressing concepts they aren’t actually that familiar with (* COUGH * BLUE EXORCIST * COUGH *). Again, I can’t say for certain, but the giant, wine-thirsty flower monster really feels like it’s from one specific tale.

Of course, while I might have issues with some of the creative liberties taken in this show (more on that in a moment), the show’s probably better off not staying that much truer to the source material. For as timeless as the book is, its characters are more often blank slates who don’t adventure so much as just get passively pulled into bizarre. Sinbad, for example, isn’t any sort of swashbuckling captain - - he’s just a regular, bland merchant who has got an odd habit of surviving shipwrecks in strange lands.

As such, MAGI should take as many liberties with Aladdin and Ali-Baba as are in reach. Hell, I really like the clever approach they’ve taken to the genie, having him only emerge out of the magic flute with the limbs that are needed for the task. I'm curious to see that sort out-of-the-box thinking applied to other elements of this milieu.

That said, I hate chibi, and if I were to make a wish, myself, it’d be for all the chibi to be barred on the show’s bill of artistic license. Honestly, all the histrionics with the watermelon eating and the mistaking-man-boobs-for-water-melons got me to almost close the window on this. I don’t object to comic relief, no... just this kind of comic relief. It unfortunately besmirschs an otherwise charming pilot.

Watch this episode, "Aladdin and Alibaba" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Acura_Max moderator on Jan. 3, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.

I was told that the show picks up after the pilot episode.

ComicMan24on Jan. 3, 2013 at 2:53 p.m.

It is on my shows to watch list (although not in the one I made here, I forgot to add it...) but only after I am done with some other shows first.

Lurkeroon Jan. 3, 2013 at 5:06 p.m.

I don’t object to comic relief, no... just this kind of comic relief. It unfortunately besmirschs an otherwise charming pilot.

That has happened to several anime I was interested in. Full Metal Alchemist was the most enjoyable bu the chibi exaggerated humor really degrades my enjoyment.

DocHauson Jan. 3, 2013 at 5:18 p.m.

Funny story: The original author of the Magi manga intended Aladdin to be a girl, and the bandages wrapped around his chest were supposed to bind she-Aladdin's breasts. After a few rewrites he turned into a boy, but the bandages stayed for some reason.

Kino88on Jan. 3, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

I hate CSI and also chibi,

Kino88on Jan. 3, 2013 at 7:33 p.m.

@Lurkero: agreed buddy, FMA could have done without the chibi moments, it was way too deep for that,

YotaruVegetaon Jan. 3, 2013 at 8:41 p.m.

I don't detest chibi, but I wouldn't miss it if it disappeared from anime forever. This show has a tremendous amount of heart, so I've continued on, and loved it.

Oh, also, sabertooth tiger kicking.

YotaruVegetaon Jan. 3, 2013 at 8:43 p.m.

@DocHaus: That would've been interesting, and it explains why they went for a female actress to play him.

Marshal Victoryon Jan. 3, 2013 at 11:04 p.m.

In most cases chibi is used to much .The 1st episode of magi is not the average of the rest its probly its worst over all.

ruth1412veridianoon Jan. 4, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.

chibi is cute.....

Om1kronon Jan. 4, 2013 at 3:09 a.m.

I've actually been watching this series, I'm about 8 episodes in and I really think they're taking a liberty with the subject matter names and stuff. I feel like every persian or arab mythology or folklore character name is assigned to anyone who is relevant. I'm amazed a character named Jasmine hasn't popped up yet.

I really enjoy the opening song of the show, and really so far seems to be about a confused little boy who wants to adventure around the world but wants to find friends to do it with him. So he meets the stories main protagonist alibaba and they become friends and vow to make said journey together.

They somehow get separated in the first 2-3 episodes or part ways and plan to meet again. It was kind of unclear how that panned out to me but I was loosely paying attention to be honest. They started throwing in too many characters to start off with so I didn't know if this was supposed to focus on the characters I met in this episode or when you hit the next arc in the coming episodes if it was following a vagabond who is handling a geenie and his 3 wishes.

But then again your description pretty much boils over with my thoughts on the show. It's mindless entertainment, and the main character is going through development. the usual train to get stronger, you have a bigger purpose than having fun, yada yada.

We'll see where it goes. I'm sure my interest will drop off when they change the opening song.

YotaruVegetaon Jan. 4, 2013 at 10:38 a.m.

@Om1kron: Um, yeah. Massive liberties.

takashichea moderator on Jan. 4, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

When I first tried Magi, I thought it would be like the real story about Aladdin. Though, I find the deviations from the original source not bad. The series has taken its own spin and focus on adventures where the main characters are just doing for their own goals until they are tasked to set things right when the real villains enter.

This episode is pretty sleepy, but it will pick up if you don't mind the fan service and chibi.

Marshal Victoryon Jan. 4, 2013 at 3:38 p.m.

@takashichea: Doesn't fan service make up for chibi ... UNLESS its chibi fan service..then its a double negative.

takashichea moderator on Jan. 5, 2013 at 7:51 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

I prefer fan service over chibi because it's more cuter, sexier, or funnier when done right. Man, I forget to comment in the Magi discussion thread we have.

Dig Deeper into Magi

Mysterious boy named Aladdin travels around the world with djinn name Ugo

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