Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alma Torran Arc Review

Written by: Micha.

[Note: These reviews are a part of a series of me reviewing each and every Magi arc. Since it's ending soon, this is how I pay my respects to this precious manga. I will review each arc, give my analysis at the bottom, and the ratings.]

Fuck, man. My entire existence has led up to this. Reviewing the Alma Torran arc. This is what I want to be remembered for.

The Alma Torran Arc is huge, and we have a lot to unpack here. Long story short, it’s about Solomon, an animal rights activist, and his gang overthrowing David’s regime of intolerance towards non-human species, which later results in the birth of a new world. It’s all good, uncomplicated stuff. And you will read my analysis of this arc later in this review.

I will tell you the story of Alma Torran in 7 segments I believe are important: 1. Rescue of Sheba, 2. Origin Dragon Introduction3. Solomon Becomes King, 4. Ugo’s Magic Research, the 5. Final Fight, the 6. Aftermath of War, and finally the 7. Epilogue.

1. Rescue of Sheba

In the beginning, humans of Alma Torran were oppressed by other violent creatures, and they lived underground. That was until Ill-Ilah, a powerful force, bestowed humans with magic (72 Divine Staves) that would enable them to control other species. Humans built something called Gunud Towers, kinda like churches they called the Orthodox, to worship Ill-Ilah and to control other species with magoi that Ill-Ilah had given them.

Sheba was one of the people using her magoi in one of the towers to control other species. You see, she was indoctrinated, like many, to hate other creatures and spewed the same conservative values of the Orthodox that humans were superior to other creatures. She was an ass.

Until Solomon and his gang called the Resistance — consisting of Falan, Wahid, Setta, Ithnan, Ugo, and Arba, destroyed the church and took her with them to their animated world of good old group fun. This was a turning point in Sheba's life because she had been cooped up in the church for so long apparently she didn’t know that joy was an actual human emotion. 

Sheba and Solomon obviously didn't get along well at first, because Solomon was a total sucker for other species while Sheba held on to her brainwashed, out-and-out racist Orthodox Church values that humans were better than the creatures. It was until she actually interacted with the Manticore species and befriended one of the baby Manticores that she changed her mind and officially joined the Resistance.

I don't know what's cuter. Sheba, the Manticore, or Solomon's beautiful face.

2. Origin Dragon Introduction

The Resistance discovers that Ill-Ilah's magic had been getting weaker and weaker at some point, and to find out why, Solomon and his friends take a field trip to visit the Origin Dragon. She lived in the bottom of the Continental Rift, where laws of physics do not apply, and she was the last surviving creature of her race. They can apparently live up to 4000 years, because hey, why the fuck not. 

Even dragons get prettier character designs in Magi.
This visit also introduces David — Solomon's father, the oldest magician, founder of the Orthodox, my future husband and probably the most mysterious asshole of the series. Upon David's introduction, it is also revealed that Solomon's got mad daddy issues and his biggest fear is turning out like his father: drunk with power and oppressive.

During this visit, they learn that magoi seems to be depleting because someone was stealing magoi from Ill-Ilah; the ultimate blasphemy according to Arba and her religious ass. 

This arc also had a bonus chapter, David's Prophetic Book. That shit is way too deep to get into in this review. But I did do a kickass analysis many, many moons ago and I still standby it. You can read that here.

3. Solomon Becomes King

Solomon never wanted to be king. Even after destroying so many Gunud Towers and successfully freeing the creatures and amassing a loyal fanbase, he repeatedly emphasized that he never wanted to be king because he hated being worshipped and prefers equality among everyone. 

Yeah, he's a weird fella; he wants all the responsibility and none of the glory. 

However, when Sheba starts blatantly asking him out (Arba being the cupid), Solomon finally gets it on with Sheba and gets her pregnant, which turns out be a turning point since Solomon was getting really depressed by all the love he was getting from his army.

Yeah, Arba, that's exactly how it works.

4. Ugo's Magic Research

Uraltugo, I would say, is the backbone of this entire arc. If it wasn't for his nerdy magic researches, Solomon wouldn't have accomplished half of what he had, including his magic techniques. 

His research had a breakthrough when he discovered the rukh, which was previously unknown. Ugo made the discovery that rukh was the spirit that dwells in all living beings, and described the 3 layers or dimensions of reality: the physical world, the vector world, and the spiritual world (where there is rukh). And to use rukh from the spiritual dimension, you'd need a whole lotta magoi, even more than David has. 


Ugo's nerdy ass is my salvation.
But most importantly, the rukh for all living beings, including humans and other species were all equal. The same. 


Ans it was at this moment Solomon had a shattering orgasm.

5. Final Fight

As the arc moves closer to the end, this is where shit really starts to get interesting. Solomon acquired himself a trusty army, and sets out for a final battle against David and the Orthodox. The civilians and medics were kept underground, guarded by Setta (the only Divine Staff user in the area) while Solomon, Arba, Wahid, Falan, Ugo, Ithnan, and the entire army of resistance hurried to the Cathedral where they met David and his beautiful, beautiful face. 

I think it was at this point y'all needed to take a clue and realise Arba had some dark shit on her mind when she pierced David's throat like a woman possessed, the minute she saw him. 


How are you not turned on?
This was later revealed to be a trap when his body turned into a doll, and the Resistance got a front row viewing to David committing a war crime by mass murdering their families back at the homebase. 

Solomon and his gang, of course, couldn't do shit because they were trapped in the Cathedral by a centuries-old magic. Ugo, however, gets a self-esteem boost by Solomon to decipher the magic; but what it really was Ugo and Solomon sucking each others proverbial dicks. 


It's a beautiful bromance.
By the time Ugo unlocks the magic and the Resistance gets to their families, everyone is burned to a crisp, including Falan and Wahid's kid and Setta. At this point, Solomon has an emotional meltdown because his religious father killed a bunch of civilians, including his friends, as a "sacrifice" to Il-Ilah.


Everything that comes out of this man's mouth is pure gold.
David, of course, doesn't give two shits about Solomon's inquiries, and instead gives his son his staff with added depression, and self-destructs. 

The war is over.


6. Aftermath of War

The arc doesn't end here. Far from it.

After the war, things looked pretty grim for most humans. While the creatures were happy to not live inside a barrier and have their minds controlled, humans were depressed because their families were burned to a crisp by David. Especially Falan, Wahid, and Ithnan.

Solomon figures David's staff was the key to a lot of answered questions. He and his friends goes to David's sanctuary, where Solomon (who was holding David's staff) could see a huge "dimensional distortion." This distortion teleports him, and those near him, to the spiritual dimension where they all meet Il-Ilah. 

Religious Arba gets tingly feelings in her areas because they finally meet Ilah, but is visibly upset to find out that David had been stealing magoi from God. But they have a collective breakthrough when they figures there is an "absolute flow". This means things will rigidly go a certain way, implying no one really has any freewill. This also explains why David kept going on and on about "destiny."


David, don't make my wife cry.
This lack of freewill, of course, triggers Solomon and despite the protest from Sheba, he fuses with Ilah, separates the rukh from it, and distributes rukh among all living beings equally. Previously black-stained rukh turns white as Solomon overwrites Il-Ilah's will with his, committing the ultimate blasphemy and pissing off a bunch of people while he was at it. 

Fusing with Il-Ilah had some side effects for Solomon. He became distant and almost invisible, as if he was living in another dimension. During this phase, Sheba became his official spokesperson to resolve little disputes among people of Alma Torran, while Arba began her secretly reviving Il-Ilah in a room. 

Sheba creates magical tools based on the 72 Divine Staves, but she notices people's rukh staining black again, as they slowly fell into depravity. This is when Arba, Wahid, Falan, and Ithnan co-founded Al-Thamen and wages war against Solomon, Sheba, and their followers. Consequently, Arba kills Queen Sheba, "inherits" her will by taking her staff, justifying that Sheba was manipulated by Solomon who was a great sinner.


This panel still haunts me.
Sheba dies, leaving Aladdin the fetus under the care of Ugo without child support, because that's how shit works apparently. At this moment, Solomon returns (finally) looking like hot shit. He turns the chiefs of every species into the Djinns we now know today. 

Wahid then goes berserk and touches Il-Ilah's tentacles, causing it to "descend" into Alma Torran and extract rukh from every living being on the surface of the Earth. 

Solomon seals Il-Ilah for the last time with Al-Thamen, entrusts Ugo to create a new world, and then fucking disappears. 


Of course he's the strongest, now that everyone else is dead.

7. The Epilogue

We've now come to the conclusion of this brilliant arc. Due to Il-Ilah extracting the rukh from all beings, Alma Torran's surface becomes inhabitable. Ugo takes charge and advises people to live underground. 

Everything was going alright, but the species go stir crazy under there with limited resources, and were on the verge of falling into depravity since they had no Solomon and little leadership to ensure that everything was going to be okay. 

Ugo gets this bright idea to whip out fetus Aladdin and reassures everyone that the will of Solomon is very much alive and well inside the fetus. This puts a band-aid on the chaos, and it was until 5 years later Ugo invents "dimensional tunnels" to move everyone into a more prosperous planet in a different universe.


What in God's name is this adorable idiot even doing? That's a fetus, Ugo, put it down.
This transition came with the plan that highlighted Ugo's philosophy on kings. It's shown that Ugo did not agree with Solomon's resolve to not have a king, instead he preferred to have multiple kings in the new world, and invented the Magi system. 

A magi = one loved by the rukh. And rukh = Solomon's will. He convinced chiefs of different species to be Djinns guarding the dungeons while Ugo himself becomes guardian  of the Sacred Palace, while waiting for Aladdin to come of age. 

The End. 

My Analysis:

The entire arc had one theme resonating throughout: revolution. And I’ll tell you why.
People tend to view revolution as change or taking a 180° turn for a complete change in ways. But honestly, if you have a revolution, you actually come back to right where you started, just in a different way. Meaning a 360° turn.

In the beginning, we see humans living underground out of fear of other species. They stayed in their little holes because humans were weak against the meat-eating creatures living above ground. Until Ill-Ilah bestowed upon them his magoi and gave Divine Staves that had the ability to control other species.

And for years, humans built Gunud Towers to do just that, until a band called Resistance came along and demanded the rights of other species. A form of resistance is important in any revolution to go back to where they were before. If Solomon and his gang of animal rights activists hadn’t intervened, Alma Torran would have had a change, not a revolution.

After the war ended and Ill-Ilah had left Alma Torran a shell of a planet, human beings (along with other species) were forced back to living underground because the planet had become inhospitable. You notice something familiar? They were forced back to the exact same situation human beings were in many, many years ago.

In fact, countless number of times, we see Solomon’s inner monologue where despite having changed so much, breaking the mind-control spell of the Orthodox on the species, he continuously wonders if anything has become different. Because after the species had been broken free of the control, they continue worshipping Solomon instead, which makes Solomon conclude that nothing has changed at all.

Solomon, if someone asks if you're God, you say yes.
Another thing I’d like to highlight is the Orthodox and it’s resemblance to modern day religion. It’s quite nostalgic, really.
  • Human beings receive “revelation” from God (when Ill-Ilah gave them magoi and Divine Staffs).
  • The idea of human beings being superior to other species is highlighted, just like in many current religions.
  • Some people at the top corrupts religion to their own benefit, in this case it’s the Orthodox churches who oppresses other species out of fear.
  • There is also the problematic element of interpretation that’s common with real-world religion. Orthodox believes the interpretation of Ill-Ilah sending Divine Staves and magoi was because humans were superior to other species, and Solomon interprets this as both humans and the species being equal.

What I’d like to highlight here is while the Orthodox received “revelation” from Ill-Ilah, Solomon received his wisdom from Origin Dragon. Solomon formed Resistance after listening to stories from the Origin Dragon and came up with a resolution of his own. This fascinates me because I once theorized that the Origin Dragon’s clan and Ill-Ilah might’ve fought in the past to claim divinity. It’s almost as if though that Solomon Vs David feels a lot like Origin Dragon Vs Ill-Ilah. I could be terribly mistaken, but I choose to believe this because I’m a total sucker for symbolism. 

In case you couldn't tell from my excitement, this arc is very dear to me. Mostly because it introduced my two favorite characters: David and Arba. 

Alma Torran Arc Rating: 4.5/5



Bonus Panel:

Ugo is the most relatable character in this entire manga.


Micha: [Co-founder]
Micha doesn't have much going on in her life, which is why she does this shit every once in a while.  If you want to befriend her, talk to her on her skype: michasucks. Or approach her on her tumblr, but do it gently because she scares easy. You can also harass her by sending hate-filled emails to michamichamicha@live.com. She loves that.

2 comments:

  1. its baalsdungeon! Thank you for writing your detailed thoughts on this arc! Its one where you can have really different espects and thoughts of the events. I think of alma torran arc as philosophic as well so I really enjoyed about the details and effort you put into writing this :) I really liked your comparison to "our world" in aspects of religion and such.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HEY BAAL.

      Thank you so much reading and commenting.

      Alma Torran is very special to me and will continue worshipping this arc as long as I live!

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