Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sand to Sci-Fi: How Magi Jumped the Shark

Written by Shiggins

A Magi-cal article? No? Okay...

I was a reader of Magi, as some of you may know. Unlike Micha, I was never one to drool over the chapters like they were golden hedgehogs that I could hug forever but I did make sure to enjoy it from time-to-time. So when I use the phrase "jump the shark", you know I am not jumping to say it without thought or reason. Nevertheless, here we are and here I go... sigh.

And yes, the jump is as abrupt as looking from left to right in this picture.
For those who are unaware, the phrase "jump the shark" originates from a 1977 episode of the classic American sitcom Happy Days, in which Fonzie leaps over a shark on water skis. This was considered the low point of the series and is often deemed as out-of-character or going against the very nature of Happy Days itself, as well as the character Fonzie. What was once a relatable, albeit silly, story about a family became a ludicrous display that many couldn't help but cringe at. Other examples of this include Roseanne winning the lottery and Hiro going back in time to Japan in season 2 of Heroes. To put it simply, you do not want to be associated with this phrase.

Magi jumped the shark.

I don't have a joke for this. I just wanted to put the picture in... Ta-da?
Magi is loosely based on the One Thousand and One Nights collection, also known as the Arabian Nights. Stories such as Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves were not part of the original editions and were included in later versions, but that's a history lesson for another day. The point is that Magi takes some creative liberties, but it was always clear that this is where the writer Shinobu Ohtaka got her ideas from. She isn't ashamed of it, and she shouldn't be. Her love for the folk tales is clear, as is her respect. In fact, this is one of the reasons I loved reading it so much.

Something tells me Magi won't be able to reach 1001 chapters.
In this interpretation of the classics, Aladdin is a boy who befriends a young man named Alibaba and they both seek to find the legendary treasures of a dungeon. Along the way, they come across the slave Morgiana and free her from captivity. The rest of the story after this is mostly about going from location to location, finding treasures or delving deeper into the world of Magi and the magic that runs through it. If you're having trouble picturing it, just imagine a badass desert with a Harry Potter edge to it. 

So keeping this in mind, what is the last thing you would associate with Magi? Well for me, Star Trek. So imagine my surprise when that's what happened to it.

Without wishing to spoil too much, the series had a timeskip of three years in which Alibaba disappeared, believed to be deceased. One of the morally-grey characters gained control and knowledge during this time, and ushered in a new era of advancement and peace. New alliances between countries were forged, suits were tailored and phones from Spongebob Squarepants were created. And no, that last one was not a joke.

Shellphones. In Magi. That is our world now.
Thanks to Alibaba, readers were able to experience this new world through fresh eyes and learn what he learned. The sad truth was however, that we didn't fucking want to. This was the tipping point for many readers, a lot of whom were already on the edge of whether or not they wanted to stick with Magi for much longer. They needed an excuse to leave, and Magi gave them one.

Now, many could argue that three years is a lot of time and there are a lot of changes that can be made during those three years. However, this was not like changing from HD to 4K television. This was turning a rowboat into a jet-ski. This was having one chapter focus on a toy cart, and the next chapter focus on an international spaceship.

"We changed the world from Aladdin to Star Wars! What other Disney property can we pretend to be?!"
For me personally, I saw Magi stop being Magi. When Magi became set in a world of sci-fi buildings, with telephones and airships, I lost one of the most interesting settings around. I love sci-fi but I also love variety and Magi was that variety. It was something unique. It was something full of magic, that didn't need technology. In fact, it thrived on it! I can go to countless other manga and tv shows and movies for sci-fi. There are very few places I can get my Arabian-themed fix, and Magi was one of them!

That's not to say the series is bad right now. Far from it. The artwork is still one of the most gorgeous displays I have ever seen in manga, and the villains are having a great time chewing up every scene they're in. You have read far worse stories than Magi. This article is not about the quality of the series however, but the wisdom behind the change of scenery and that, my sexy readers, is where we see the problem.

"With everyone super.... no-one will be." - Syndrome, 2004
Change is good. I will always welcome innovation and development, but never one that takes away what is best for the series and is so rapid that we barely have time to breathe. I honestly don't know why we have gone from carriages in the desert, to airships and phones but I hate it. I hate that the atmosphere of Magi, one of the series' most appealing factors, has been torn asunder for no appropriate reason and given way to yet another futuristic city.

Also, fuck their phones. That's just bloody embarrassing.

Is it weird that the origin of those hipster glasses is still the biggest question I have with this series?
Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page

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