Story/Art: Shinobu Ohtaka
Translation & English Adaptation: John Werry
Touch-up Art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Editor: Mike Montesa
What They Say:
Inside the Sacred Palace, Alibaba’s experience after death drives him to make Sinbad see reason, but the Great Flow is suddenly disturbed! Confusion and chaos descend on the earth’s surface, and friends become foes as Aladdin, Alibaba, Judar and Sinbad fight to reclaim their home…
The world teeters on the edge of destruction as Alibaba squares off against former comrades who are convinced that everything and everyone should return to their basic Rukh forms. In the Sacred Palace, David and Sinbad clash. Only a power beyond Maximum Magic can decide this battle for the ultimate fate of the world!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the outset of Magi, I just wanted a fun adventure comic. What I got was so, so much more. I’ve said it multiple reviews up to this point, but… Magi tackled a lot of things in its tenure. From the early going with Morgiana’s freedom from slavery, and the subsequent discussions of how slavery is very bad plus the general demeanor of Morgiana through the series from someone who was not that confident in her very existence, Magi has been tackling weighty topics.
Soon after Morgiana was Magnoshutatt, and their usage of their people as energy for their magic tools. The fighting between Kou and the rest of the world, and philosophies of leadership and monarchy. There was the death and rebirth of Alibaba. The creation of entire companies and economies. Magi has had a lot of big ideas, and honestly, 37 volumes feels like a small amount of time to do it all in. But Ohtaka did it.
These volumes don’t include as many of those topics, but it does, of course, delve into the idea of freewill, and whether something like fate exists. Because all this time, Sinbad and David have been trying to push their own views onto others and call that fate. It isn’t fate. That’s them and their egos trying to dictate people’s lives. The most sinister part of it all is that the method by which they’re doing this is baked into the entire fabric of the universe. They don’t know they’re being acted upon, and removing that action is yet another act where these people will not have control of their own actions. If Aladdin is able to reverse the course of this spell and allow everyone to think for themselves instead of going toward the one path Sinbad has created, is that really the people’s will or Aladdin’s will on the people? It’s a very interesting philosophical question, to say the least.
There’s also a question of leadership. As Kogyoku and the other world leaders wrestle against their so-called fate, they wonder whether they even should. Is the leader’s job not to carry out the will of the people? Kou is not a democracy or a republic, where they are (at least in the theory of those forms of government) bound to enact the people’s will; it is a monarchy, where her siblings and parents have ruled before her. But still, she wants to be able to listen to the people, and the people, by way of Sinbad’s spell, want to return to the rukh. Is it her place to fight against that, even as Alibaba cries out for her to make her own choice? This is why I love Magi.
Through all that, there’s a giant fight going on and honestly, it follows the regular trappings and cliches of any shonen manga fight. Alibaba and Hakuryu are on their last legs, but they’re saved by Koen and Hakuei (a moment I still loved, by the way). Kogyoku is able to finally fight off the spell from Sinbad and act on her own accord, as are the other leaders and their people. They all fight against David and the giant black hole thing that’s sending angels to return everyone to the rukh. Etc etc etc. That’s not really the interesting or exciting part, but it is what takes up a large chunk of these two volumes.
Also Alibaba and Morgiana finally get married, and it’s adorable.
I love Magi. I just do. Its themes and storylines are some of the best in shonen manga. It sits up there with One Piece and Fullmetal Alchemist on my list of greats. I’m glad it stayed good through the end, because there were times where I questioned it, but never truly let it go. It’s been a long journey, but the ending was worth it. It wasn’t as high as its highs, but it was still great. Read Magi.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: June 11, 2019 and August 13, 2019
MSRP: $9.99 each