Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Volume 1

Shinobu Ohtaka, Author
Shinobu Ohtaka. Viz, $9.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-421-55951-3
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4215-5954-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-4215-5952-0
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-1-4215-5956-8
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-1-4215-5959-9
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Although characters like Aladdin and Ali Baba appear in Ohtaka’s (Sumomomo Momomo) riff on One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, they bear little resemblance to their namesakes. Instead, they, and the series, have more in common with typical shonen fare (i.e. manga aimed at adolescent boys): Aladdin, a naïve yet extraordinarily powerful youngster, partners with Alibaba, a materialistic yet good-hearted caravan driver, to explore and conquer 14 mysterious and treasure-laden dungeons scattered throughout the world. By blowing into his magic flute, Aladdin can summon the hulking body parts (but not the head) of his djinn, Ugo. It’s a highly effective and visually comedic power reminiscent of the elastic body of Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. In fact, the series reads remarkably like a landlocked version of that bestselling pirate serial, but ultimately lacks enough distinction to avoid feeling like a retread. Ohtaka’s art also does little to distinguish the series from the herd of comedic adventure manga, but it doesn’t misstep anywhere and is sure to please its target audience. (Aug.)
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