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Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 18, 2014 by  



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“Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1” is  awesome!  Highly entertaining, full of action and humor! No doubt, one of the most highly anticipated anime TV series to be released on DVD in 2014.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Shinobu Ohtaka/SHOGAKUKAN, Magi Committee, MBS. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1

TV SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 13+

RELEASE DATE: January 14, 2014

Originally Created by Shinobu Ohtaka

Directed by Koji Masunari

Series Composition by Hiroyuki Yoshino

Screenplay by Masanao Akahoshi

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Toshifumi Akai

Art Director by Ayu Kawamoto, Taichi Maezuka

Anime Production: A-1 Pictures

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kaori Ishihara/Erica Mendez as Aladdin

Yuuki Kaji/Erik Kimerer as Alibaba Saluja

Haruka Tomatsu/Cristina Vee as Morgiana

Darrel Guilbeau/Kensho Ono as Ren Hakuryu

Julie Ann Taylor/Asami Seto as Seishun Li

Keith Silverstein/Yoshimasa Hosoya as Masrur

Kira Buckland/Kana Hanazawa as Ren Kogyuku

Lucien Dodge.Takahiro Sakurai as Ja’far

Marc Diraison/Shinichiro Miki as Ithnan

Matthew Mercer/Daisuke Ono as Sinbad

Patrick Seitz/Toshiyuki Morikawa as Ugo

Sean Chiplock/Jun Fukuyama as Cassim

Todd Haberkorn/Ryohei Kimura as Judal

Trinity Lee/Nana Mizuki as Ren Hakuei

Vic Mignogna/Kenichi Suzumura as Ka Kobun

Alibaba is a young carrier who dreams of gaining enough money to buy a whole country. To achieve this goal he must venture into a mysterious ruin called a “dungeon,” which is said to hold secret treasures deep within its labyrinth. Unfortunately, Alibaba lacks the courage to carry out his plan and remains a worker. Until…

One day, Alibaba meets a mysterious boy named Aladdin who can summon a mighty blue spirit from a flute and travels across the continent in search of Djinn Metal Vessels. Hoping to harness Aladdin’s magical power, Alibaba invites Aladdin to join him on his dungeon-capturing expedition.

Along the way and through numerous encounters and farewells, both of them will come to learn the truth about their destiny!

When it comes to opportunities of becoming a manga writer/artist (mangaka), Shinobu Ohtaka’s story.

She has written about her story of how she became a manga artist, as a person who was the person who would sit quietly in the corner of class and was not really great at anything and often playing a supporting role.  But if there was one thing that she was confident in, it was drawing pictures.

And now this shy artist would not only have a hit manga but also anime series!

Her first year in high school, she was submitting manga manuscripts because it was her dream to become a manga author. And like many writers, her submissions were denied and this continued through high school and college.   And when she was about to call it quits, she was given the opportunity to do a one-shot and it led to the creation of the series “Sumomo Momomo” in 2004 which would eventually become 22 volume manga series and also a 22-episode anime series.

After completing “Sumomo Momomo”, Shinobu then created “Magi” which would be serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 2009 and to this day, the series is till ongoing (currently, at 18 volumes) and an anime adaptation which was aired in Japan in Oct. 2012 – March 2013 and a new second season which is ongoing in Japan.

And now the first 12-episodes of “Magi” will be released on DVD in the United States in January 14th.

“Magi” begins with a young Aladdin being given one wish.

We then see Alibaba, a thief who is working for a slave master who has been trying to find a dungeon for treasure.  Everyone thinks that Alibaba is searching for something that doesn’t exist.  But when he starts loading up a caravan with fruit, he catches a boy (Aladdin) eating all the watermelon.

Alibaba gets in trouble but as Aladdin follows Alibaba, Alibaba talks about dungeons that appeared 14 years ago and and Alibaba explains if one can capture one, there is a genuine magi wandering around and will grant magical power to someone.  And Alibaba is in search of the magical vessel.

The following day, Aladdin bumps into a slave (Morgiana).  When Aladdin wonders why her legs are chained, Alibaba tries to explain to Aladdin of what a slave is. So, not wanting to see Morgiana chained, Aladdin frees her by blowing into his flute and shattering the steel chain.

But not long after, one of the slave masters start pushing and stepping all over Morgiana, Aladdin tells the man to stop and the man threatens to execute Aladdin.

Aladdin then blows into the flute, massive arms come out of the flute.  Ugo is a Djinn, spirits that appear in myth and not many people thought it was a real thing,  but we learn through a flashback that Aladdin was given three wishes in which he could have fortune, fame and eternal life.  But instead, he just wanted one wish and that is for Ugo to be his friend.  And since then, the two have been together.

Ugo has a massive body without a head.  As Aladdin goes on trips with various people, we learn that Aladdin must be well fed and have had a lot to drink in order to use Ugo, but also Ugo is shy if a girl touches him.

And as Alibaba finds out that Aladdin has a Djinn vessel, he decides to use Aladdin to use and partner with him in order to find a dungeon.  Alibaba’s wish is to be rich and find treasure inside buildings that have shown up all over the  world.  And treasures with wonderful powers are the most valuable, the one that Alibaba seeks is the Djinn’s metal vessel.

But as Alibaba sees using Aladdin as important in his plans as Aladdin’s use of Ugo can help protect them while they visit the dungeons to find treasure, but he also realizes that for Aladdin, his main thing that makes him happy is having a friendship.  For Alibaba, for now, he’ll play the role of being a friend in order to find treasure and obtain a Djinn metal vessel.

As Alibaba along with Aladdin look for the treasure inside a dungeon, not far behind them is the tyrant slave owner named Lord Jamil along with two slaves, including Morgiana.

Meanwhile, nearby is another person similar to Aladdin, clad in black and evil… Who is this individual and is there any relation to him and Aladdin?

The main characters of “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic” are:

  • Aladdin – A young magi who doesn’t know too much about himself or the outside world.  But he’s kind and goodhearted and wants to protect the people he cares about.  When he blows into a flute, a headless blue giant named Ugo comes out.
  • Alibaba – A thief who appears to have a mysterious background that befriends Aladdin.
  • Morgania – A slave who comes from a country of people known for their superior leg strength and speed.  She is the slave of the tyrant, Lord Jamil.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set” is presented in 16:9 widescreen and Japanese Linear PCM and English Dolby Digital 2.0.

While I was hoping for a Blu-ray release of “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic”, the series is well-animated, well-shaded and tends to feature hilarious character designs during the more comedy scenes, while showcasing emotion and drama during the most serious situations.  Action scenes are well-animated, background art is well-detailed and painted beautifully.

Audio on the DVD is front-channel driven but voice acting is well-done for both Japanese and English soundtracks.   Dialogue, sound effects and music are clear.

Subtitles are available in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set” comes with the following special features:

  • Textless Opening 1 and 2
  • Textless Ending
  • English Version Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set” comes with five foil stamped, postcards, 16-page deluxe booklet, 2-sided reversible cover illustrated by Toshifumi Akai (the character designer/chief animation director) plus a slipcover.

Hilarious, fun and a little naughty, Shinobu Ohtaka’s “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic” has turned out to be a pretty enjoyable series.

The main protagonist Aladdin is rather interesting because he has an appearance of a little boy who possesses a flute that houses a headless giant named Ugo.  But there are quirks with Alibaba, for one, he’s often hungry and thirsty, which helps with activating Ugo.  He’s also somewhat of a pervert as he is often wanting to rub his head on a woman’s breast.

But most importantly, it’s his strong desire to find and have friends which makes him a bit naive when people pretend to be his friend but they have ulterior motives.

One of these friends that he does make is Alibaba, a boy who is in severe debt and people who owe debts, end up being slaves for a wealthy owner (most often a tyrant).  He desires wealth but most of all a Djinn, similar to Aladdin and hopes that with partnering with him, he can obtain treasure and a Djinn.

Also, adding interest to the overall storyline is the fact that everything takes place in the desert where bandits have ruled the land and many people have been killed or have become slaves.  The only way to survive is by being a merchant and as a merchant, you are constantly under the threat of your merchandise being stolen by bandits and being killed.  So, the storyline is set during a dangerous time where buildings have shown up all over the land and inside are treasures.  But for those who have tried, all have not come back from their search.

But with the power of Ugo, Alibaba is betting that having Aladdin on his side, their chances of finding treasure and a Djinn is great.

The first quarter of the series features on developing the three characters of Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana and to showcase their backgrounds but also how the three became friends.

The middle part of the first season goes into Aladdin and Alibaba being separated but both going through trying experiences but learning about the outside world within the six months they were separated.

And the final part of the series, introduces us to a more deeper storyline involving all three but also introducing us to Sinbad and establishing the true antagonists of the series, especially the taller, dark version similar to Aladdin, an evil magi named Judar.

For those wondering if the series is safe to watch around children, this is a show for teens.  As episode 1 alone has a bit of nudity and showcases Aladdin’s attraction to big breasts.  Another episode has nudity as well, but there is also violence, for example, you will see one scene in which the tyrant Lord Jamil is seen stabbing one of his slaves repetitively with a sword.

As for differences between the manga and anime series, the anime series almost focuses on the manga completely with the exception of Aladdin’s introduction at the Oasis of Utan, in which Aladdin tags along with merchants Laylah and Sahsa, the daughter of a caravan leader (featured in the opening chapters of the first volume of the manga series).  The two are introduced later in the series but are not featured in episode 1.

But for the most part, the anime series does not stray too far from Shinobu Ohtaka’s manga series.

The first season is exciting and no doubt makes viewers crave for more, until the second season, vol. 2 arrives on DVD.

While I wish “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic” received a Blu-ray release, the DVD may not have any significant special features but for those who have purchased Aniplex products know by now, the company is known for providing a lot of swag.  In this case, five collectable foil stamped postcards, 2-sided reversible cover illustrated by Toshifumi Akai (the character designer/chief animation director) and a 16-page deluxe booklet.

Overall, “Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – Complete DVD Set Vol. 1” is  awesome!  Highly entertaining, full of action and humor! No doubt, one of the most highly anticipated anime TV series to be released on DVD in 2014.

Recommended!






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