Story/Art: Shinobu Ohtaka
Translation & English Adaptation: John Werry
Touch-up Art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Editor: Mike Montesa
What They Say:
Overcoming her hatred, Kogyoku resolves to leave the International Alliance. In Sidria, Sinbad is increasingly frustrated with a world straying far from what he intended, and heads for the Sacred Palace. Torn between the black and white rukh within him, Sinbad seeks a way to control the world. But Ugo awaits Sinbad’s arrival and a confrontation is inevitable.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume is split nicely into two parts. The first concerning Sinbad in his quest to be supreme and definitely not totally evil and ego-maniacal leader of the entire known universe. And then there’s Kou and Leam creating an alliance separate of the International Alliance.
Sinbad really showed what kind of character he’s always been in this volume, not that it hasn’t been shown before… It was amplified to its natural ending point given the scope of where the manga has gone since we first saw a naked Sinbad, missing his metal vessels. The scope is now the entire known universe, and with it a God-like being with the ability to shape it to its own will.
Sinbad is a man who does, and has, seen himself as the best, strongest, smartest, etc. and he positions himself in his head above everyone else in those regards. Only he can shape the world, because only he can do what is best for the world.
This is where Magi is maybe at its best with character creation with regards to villain motivation. Sinbad is this dude who just has this literal god complex about him, and his goals at its face are admirable. He wants to end war. He wants to end suffering. He wants a good life for every living being in the world. How can you hate that platform? But as the manga goes on, it’s a slow realization that he will do anything to achieve these goals. He helped out Alibaba in Balbadd. He fought against Kou in a war. He created an entire empire, consolidating most of the world’s power under him.
But that wasn’t enough. He sees even bigger ambitions because he will eventually die. These things he created will eventually crumble. He wants to end them forever. But how? The fact that he even thought he could, or should, do this is the ultimate act of hubris and tells you everything you need to know about Sinbad.
So he Inception’d everyone. He creates the world in his own image, but not to the extent where he feels he’s taken away their free will (though he obviously has). He creates “one path of hope” for everyone, and that path goes straight through him. Everyone else parrots the line of looking forward to 100 or even 1,000 years of peace through the International Alliance.
On a much smaller scale, it’s the exact kind of thinking that the White Sox front office has when they were talking about the kind of payroll inflexibility that signing Manny Machado would do to them, whereas most other general managers would likely only be around for half that 10-year contract. Rick Hahn and his crew expect to be there for 10 years or longer. But I digress.
The point of the comparison is to say that Sinbad is thinking far beyond his years, because he has to. He worries not just about his legacy, but whether he will be as successful as he has been those 100 or 1,000 years down the line. He needs to be, because otherwise, he won’t be the better being that he truly believes himself to be.
As Kou stated they were leaving the alliance, Kogyoku was thinking to a future she could envision, where she would still be alive. She was thinking about the betterment of Kou in the long term, but a decade or two down the line, as an independent nation that did not have to depend on the International Alliance for anything.
But now Kou (and Leam) has been pushed into a decision they never wanted to make as a result of Sinbad’s literal God powers. At its face, it seemed like a tactic that would just make life easier for Kogyoku; the kind of relatively or extremely unpopular move a Republican would make because someone (in this case, Sinbad) paid them to do so. But it’s not. It’s changing the very world they live in.
Ohtaka has gotten a little philosophical about free will in this volume, and added another layer to the political goings-on here. This is a very good natural progression to Sinbad’s arc, in a way that was similarly satisfying with Hakuryu. With the inclusion of black rukh, one can never be fully sure these characters are moving of their own free will, but I suppose God himself—or should I just call him Sinbad?—is probably not affected by the black rukh. He creates them.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 11, 2018