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Country/countries of popularity
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Directed by Shinichi Masaki; Written by Taku Kishimoto (script) and and Yoshikazu Miyao (storyboard). Japan, BS-TBS; May 28, 2016 - June 4, 2016.
Date of the First DVD or VHS
project-magi.com (accessed: August 17, 2018)
Action and adventure fiction
Animated television programs
Young adults (The show has a 14+ rating)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Joel Gordon, University of Otago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoshikazu Miyao (Director)
Yoshikazu Miyao is an anime director from Nagano city, Japan. After graduating from Musashino University (Ariake Koto, Tokyo) with a major in Visual Communications and Design, he began employment with the NHK (Japan’s national public broadcasting organisation) in their Art Design Division. He currently works for Gonzo (a Japanese anime studio) and is also a member of Barnstorm Design Labo (a video production company, situated in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo). His involvement in anime production (both in the TV and OVA formats) is prolific: his first position was in mechanical design for Van Dread – an anime series of 13 episodes (2000) and one OVA (2001); while his most recent was in weapon design for Battle Girl High School – an anime series of 13 episodes (2017). He has also worked in storyboard, art design, creature design and concept design for various serials and is an accomplished director. Yoshikazu directed both the OVA and television series for Special A (anime, 24 episodes, 2008), Gekijouban Inazuma Eleven: Saikyou Gundan Ogre Shuurai (movie, 2010), Gekijouban Inazuma Eleven GO: Kyuukyoku no Kizuna Gryphon (movie, 2011) and Magi: Adventure of Sinbad (2014-2016).
Bio prepared by Joel Gordon, University of Otago, email@example.com
, b. 1983
Shinobu Ohtaka (1983-) is a manga writer and artist from Tokyo, Japan, who is the concept creator of the Magi "universe." She wrote and illustrated the manga serials Sumomomo Momomo (2004 - 2009) and Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (2009 - 2017), and wrote the spin-off/prequel manga Magi: Adventure of Sinbad (2013 – ongoing; illustrated by Yoshifumi Ōtera). In 2013, Shinobu won the “Boys” category at the Shogakukan Manga Awards (an annual award for serialized manga) for Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. This serial was the fourth highest selling manga in 2013 and, during the first half of 2014, the 5th highest. Both of the Magi serials have been successfully adapted into OVA (Original Video Animations) and television anime formats. An autobiography of Shinobu’s career as a manga writer/artist can be found in the ‘extras’ included as part of the first and second volumes of the Magi manga.
Bio prepared by Joel Gordon, University of Otago, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Japanese and English dub respectively)
Sinbad: Daisuke Ono; Matthew Mercer
Drakon (Sinbad’s rival): Tomokazu Sugita; Patrick Seitz
Ja’far (Sinbad’s companion): Takahiro Sakurai; Lucien Dodge.
Hinahoho (Sinbad’s companion): Keiji Fujiwara; Tony Oliver.
Mystras Leoxses (Sinbad’s companion): Wataru Hatano; Robbie Daymond
Rurumu (wife of Hinahoho): Ayumi Tsunematsu; Wendee Lee
Yunan (a Magi): Akira Ishida; Max Mittelman
Badr (Sinbad’s father): Katsuyuki Konishi; Grant George
Esra (Sinbad’s mother): Yōko Hikasa; Melissa Fahn
Serendine (princess of Parthevia): Ai Kayano; Abby Trott
Mira Dianus Artemina (queen of Artemyra): Yumi Touma; Michelle Ruff.
Barbarossa (primary antagonist): Takehito Koyasu; David Vincent.
Baal (Jinn #1): Hiroki Touchi; Ben Diskin.
Valefor (Jinn #2): Kappei Yamaguchi; Ben Diskin.
This spin-off/prologue is an origin story for how Sinbad, the legendary King of Sindria in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, rose to his position of power and fame. Magi: Adventure of Sinbad is set some 30 years prior to the events of The Labyrinth of Magic during a period of great hostility between the competing Parthevia and Reim Empires. Spurred on by the deaths of his father (Badr), a disgraced and executed war hero, and his mother (Esra), who suffered from a debilitating sickness, Sinbad sets out to make the world a better place. Sinbad is advised by the Magi Yunan – a special type of ‘magician’ – to capture the mysterious “dungeon” which has recently appeared between the border of the two Empires. Such dungeons are rumoured to hold great power and treasure within them. Despite thousands of soldiers having died in previous attempts, Sinbad (accompanied by his rival Drakon) survives the dangers of the dungeon and successfully gains the power of the Jinn, Baal, who resides there. Consequently, Sinbad becomes the first official “dungeon capturer” and sparks a worldwide race to conquer other dungeons. Sinbad decides to use this power for good, seeking to unite the world in peace under his own kingship. This goal is a long and arduous one, however, with Sinbad embarking on a journey around the world to ally himself with numerous peoples. In establishing this ‘trade empire’ he visits the Imuchakk tribe in the wintery, extreme north (episodes 4-6); the capital of the Reim empire (episodes 7-8); the religious kingdom of Sasan (episodes 9-10); and the matriarchal country of Artemyra (episodes 11-13). While the manga contains many additional adventures, the anime awaits a second season in which Sinbad’s journey will continue.
As with many Japanese media productions, this show has a complex production history. The anime series Magi: Adventure of Sinbad is a direct adaptation of and companion to the manga series of the same name (written by Shinobu Ohtaka and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera). While the anime episodes follow the manga, these condense many "nights" (i.e. individual chapters of the manga) into single episodes: e.g. episode 1 of the anime, Child of Destiny, is a combination of four nights, Badr of Parthevia, Expatriot, An Unknown World, and Precious Lessons. The manga series Magi:Adventure of Sinbad began its serial run on May 8, 2013 and is currently ongoing (with a total of 13 volumes to date). It was first released as a ‘prototype’ volume which was included in the special content of the DVD release of episodes 1 and 2 of the anime Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic (directed by Koji Masunari, produced by A-1 Pictures and Aniplex). The Labyrinth of Magic anime series – consisting of a total of two seasons, each of 25 episodes: season 1, Oct 11, 2012-Mar 31, 2013; season 2, Oct 6, 2013 - Mar 30, 2014 – is based within the same ‘universe’ as Adventure of Sinbad and is likewise an adaptation of an existing manga of the same name (written and illustrated by Shinobu Ohtaka; 37 volumes, published by Shogakukan, serial run: June 3, 2009-Oct 11, 2017).
As a whole, the Magi series is loosely based on the tales of Aladdin, Alibaba, Sinbad and other folklore motifs associated with the Arabian Nights. Indeed, Aladdin, Alibaba, Sinbad are main characters in the The Labyrinth of Magic and Adventure of Sinbad respectively, and the individual manga chapters are named ‘nights’ as an honorific to this source material. This said, the series takes many liberties. For example, while the Jinn are a foundational part of Arabian folklore, their use here reflects typical anime/manga tropes: in the world of the Magi, Jinn provide heroes with the ability to channel supernatural powers into their own bodies, resulting in the hero’s transformation into hybrid/monstrous beings with immense strength, stamina and abilities. While such transmutations are at odds with Arabian folklore, they are a common trope in manga/anime.
The use of classical material is particular evident in the Adventure of Sinbad anime episodes Sinbad the Merchant and Household Vessel (# 7 and 8). These episodes belong to the fourth story arc (i.e. the manga "nights" #30-38), known as the Reim Empire arc. The Reim Empire is, for all intents and purposes, the Roman empire: the city’s emblem, a laurel wreath, reflects a modified version of typical Roman iconography; the city’s infrastructure includes an amphitheatre, a colosseum and bath houses – staples of Roman culture and society; gladiatorial combat is a popular form of entertainment; the empire is built upon a strong military culture; and the Empire’s original form of governance was a Republic (although this is only detailed in The Labyrinth of Magic serials rather than Adventure of Sinbad). Once again, the use of this material is governed by the tropes of the anime/manga genres with their interest in ‘supernatural’ phenomenon: e.g. underneath the colosseum is housed a demonic monster, intended to be part of a later gladiatorial event.
This deliberate interaction with Roman culture makes Magi a particularly significant series since, on the whole, anime/manga tend to avoid Western influences. A notable exception to this trend is Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac, the narrative of which depicts an eternal battle between various Greek gods for control of the universe. Magi’s use of classical material is understandable, however, for this complements the thematic aims of the narrative: i.e. Sinbad’s travels around the known world involve visits to strange and wonderful peoples. These peoples often reflect real groups/cultures for, as a comparative example, the Imuchakk tribes are a variation on the Inuit people. Roman culture also fits in well with the Arabic/folklore context of the series’ source material.
Season 1: 13 Episodes:
The complete television series premiered with episode 1 (Child of Destiny) on Japanese television on April 16, 2016 and a corresponding worldwide release on April 21, 2016, via the streaming site Netflix. However, only episodes 1, 7-13 of the television series were original since episodes 2-6 had previously premiered as OVA. These OVA had been released in conjunction with their corresponding manga titles (volumes 3-7), although they were renamed for the anime series: episode 2, Sinbad the Sailor (May 16, 2014); episode 3, Dungeon Baal (August 18, 2014); episode 4, First Sea (December 18, 2014); episode 5, Qualities of a King (April 15, 2015); episode 6, Place You Belong (July 15, 2015).
The anime was released on the following television stations in Japan: MBS (Mainichi Broadcasting System), TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System), CBC (Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting Co. Ltd.) and BS-TBS; and then, on the streaming service Netflix (both worldwide and in Japan). The OVA episodes (i.e. 2-6) had been previously released on DVD in conjunction with the manga (see above).
Technically, the first DVD release was the OVA of episode 2, Sinbad the Sailor (May 16, 2014).
Dubbed into English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish and Portuguese.