Shinobu Ohtaka’s Arabian-Knights-themed Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from June 2009 to October 2017. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Vol. 1 collects the first seven issues (or Nights) of the manga series.
Tween Aladdin seems an easy target, being tiny and half-starved. As one unlucky bandit clan discovers, appearances can be deceiving. Aladdin may be small, but Udo, the djinn who lives in his flute, is large and powerful indeed.
If only Udo’s head were not still trapped in some other (unknown) container, the djinn would be even more impressive. Aladdin is determined to find and free his friend’s head.
Alibabba is a struggling caravan driver when his path crosses Aladdin’s. As he explains to the small Aladdin, his is a simple dream: earn enough money to mount an expedition into one of the famous magical dungeons that began springing up across the land some years earlier.
As soon as Alibabba learns about Udo, he realizes Aladdin and Udo could make his dream real. Dungeons are dangerous places. Udo and Aladdin might provide the extra muscle Alibabba needs to survive.
When the caravan is attacked by a ferocious desert monster, Alibabba loses his cargo and earns the enmity of his former patron. The patron demands recompense. If Alibbaba cannot repay, he will be enslaved. Aladdin compounds Alibabba’s troubles by freeing a slave girl they encounter. He’s now a felon. The pair have no choice but to flee into the nearest magical dungeon.
One hundred thousand explorers have entered this dungeon. Not one has ever exited. The odds do not favour Aladdin and Alibabba.
“Suddenly, treasure (and monster) filled dungeons began springing out of the ground! Nobody knows why! But you can get super-rich exploring them!” feels like the backstory to a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Presumably someone somewhere is looking into the reason for dungeon proliferation.
This tale of unlikely chums coming together didn’t really grab me. The two leads seem greedy and self-centered. They are just fine with exploiting women: one reason for getting rich is to have money to buy female companionship1). Aladdin has an off-putting habit of his head on people’s breasts. At least the chums are willing to put themselves in danger to save helpless women.
The art is functional, but not exceptional.
This first volume has not convinced me to continue with the series.
1: From what we see of the setting, these will be slaves. There are a LOT of slave girls.
Aladdin is naïve so he may not quite understand why he is attracted to women.