What damage has slavery wrought on our world and the world of Magi?
Story & Art: Shinobu Ohtaka
Translation/Adaptation: John Werry
What They Say:
After many adventures, Aladdin and Morgiana finally reach the great city of Balbadd, only to find it seething with corruption and dissent. There, Aladdin reunites with his friend Alibaba hoping to once again capture a dungeon together. However, Aladdin finds that Alibaba has changed and has become the leader of a band of outlaws…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Morgiana has been through a lot in her life. She was sold into slavery merely for being of a certain race (remind you of something? Metaphors!) and then beaten until she believed she deserved to be a slave. That it was her destiny to be ruled over by Jamil.
Let me say this right now: No one individual should be ruled over by any other individual against his/her will. Stories tell us this message all the time, but we can so frequently forget this in real life. Some Americans say that by not being a straight white person you are LESS than what they are and that notion is purely ridiculous. Of course it’s ridiculous. We Americans fought a war over it and we’re still fighting.
Through media, we can get straight down to the issue without being so direct about it. Through a Japanese comic book, we can see something that is so prevalent in our culture without having to know anything about Japanese culture. That is the power of media, of interpreting media based on your own life and life’s experiences and it is a beautiful thing to think about.
Seeing Morgiana overcome her shortcomings isn’t just great for the story, it’s a message to all of us that we can stand above whatever it is that holds us down. She was BORN into the lowest lows and she saw that as what life was supposed to be like. Through Alibaba and Aladdin, she learned that life is more than what you see. Life isn’t just in the town you were born in, it’s 6 billion other people all living life differently than you and it is so easy to be shortsighted of that fact—to just accept that we are who we are and never want to change that. For some people, that’s fine, they love who they are, and they are strong people. But all of us are flawed and seeing Morgiana go through these experiences again and again (I’ve watched the simulcast, the DVD, and now the manga version of it) makes me think more about the paths we take in this life and why we take them.
But I suppose this manga is more than just the first 60 pages. In the rest of the volume, we get a lot of things thrown at us. First of all, Sinbad. Yes, Sinbad. The very same Sinbad of legend. At first we see him, he is sleeping and has all of his things stolen, including his Djinn Metal Vessels. When next we see him, he’s standing naked—with a leaf over his schlong—in front of Aladdin and Morgiana.
Sinbad very much represents the power in the world of Magi. He’s traveled the seven seas and captured seven dungeons. He’s dealt with more than Alibaba, Aladdin, and Morgiana combined and come out of it as King of Sindria. This is thanks to the King of Balbadd, who gave tutelage to a younger Sinbad. He shows, despite his power, that everyone has an origin. In Magi, those origins always affect people.
Alibaba has his own dark secrets, which he has yet to reveal as of this manga volume. At the end, he starts his story and from the preview images it showed, it’s guaranteed to be intense.
Immersing myself so fully into the world of Magi has its upsides and its downsides. On the ups, I know these characters so well that I provide a level of retrospective that a first time reader could not. On the down side, I have knowledge that people only reading the manga do not and thus get really excited for what’s coming and sometimes lose sight of what’s happening.
That said, this volume, if it wasn’t already, solidified Morgiana as my favorite character in the series. She’s simply an incredible character for all the reasons I laid out in the first four paragraphs of this review and I’m glad characters like her exist in this world.
Now, we have a lot to look forward to with the next volume. Alibaba has seemingly betrayed his new friends for his old ones and a country is in turmoil because of it. There’s only so much three kids can do, even if one of them is a Magi. But if we’re to believe Magi, power can give you anything. But you can also lose it in an instant.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: February 11th, 2014