Manta has become one of my go-to apps for looking for new webcomics to read. I previously reviewed their break-out webcomic Under the Oak Tree here, which became super successful. After getting the chance to read that one, and falling in love with it, I went looking to see what more content they might have and stumbled upon Amina of the Lamp. The concept seemed interesting, and the art looked appealing, so I gave it a shot. With its daily update schedule, there was a lot of content and episodes to go through, but now that it’s on hiatus to prepare for the second season of comics, I thought it would be a good chance to introduce you all to this very interesting story. The plot combines a lot of different elements that I think pull from different trends, but wind up working really well together. We have a story about the decline of magic, a story about time travel, being given the chance to start a new life, a romance, political intrigue, magical mysteries. There is a lot to unpack in just the first season, but I find myself thinking this is one of the more creative stories I’ve seen on webcomic platforms like Manta.
Amina of the Lamp follows the life of a young wizard growing up in the time where the number of people born with magical abilities is dwindling and opinions of wizards is at an all time low. When the people of her city rise up against the wizards, Amina’s life is thrown into chaos. She sees everyone around her killed, but in a last ditch effort to save her life, her brother uses a magical device to transport her away from the city where she lands in a cave. Consumed by grief, Amina tries to use her own magic to go back in time and prevent her people from being killed, but winds up trapping herself in a lamp where she stays for 300 years before she is next awoken in a time where there are no more wizards and the world as she knew it has drastically changed.
The creators of this comic have done a really great job with the art. I love the character designs they came up with. Amina specifically looks very cute with her bright blue eyes and long hair. So does Jakard, our main love interest who stumbles upon Amina’s lamp in the cave. I feel like he’s pretty traditionally handsome with an angular jawline like most Asian/manga love interests. But I think we do see quite a bit of differentiation in character designs throughout the comic, though they do tend to all be of a similar body shape. Overall, I think this comic is going for a kind of middle-eastern, desert culture feel when it comes to designing characters in terms of their skin tone, clothing choices, and details. You could say it’s a bit of a play on the origin of the original “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” tale that comes out of One Thousand and One Nights.
What I really love about this comic is the creator’s attention to detail. The backgrounds, clothing, and magical symbols all seem very carefully designed to match up with the overall tone and culture of the world and story. A simple example would be the details on her lamp. The magic system that she uses to cast spells is based on the drawing of symbols and magic circles. The lamp that she gets trapped in has some pretty interesting designs drawn on the outside that are supposed to correspond to the type and power of the magic you can use through it. These kinds of details give the impression that the creators spent a lot of time figuring out how they wanted magic to work in their world, what it would look like, and its specific components. I really love seeing these small world-building details because it gives the story and world a sense of complexity.
The concept of this comic is very clearly a play on the story of Aladdin, with Amina becoming trapped in a lamp and, after 300 years, being thought of as the genie or faerie of the lamp, a being who could grant wishes if you found her lamp and summoned her. Though this is really the only aspect that they borrowed from, using this basis to create a larger world of magic, dangerous faeries, warring countries, and political intrigue. I think what kept me reading after the initial couple of episodes was the creator’s concept of magic within their world. The way they justified Amina becoming trapped in the lamp was fairly unique and I love how magic in her eyes is almost seen in a scientific light. She’s able to influence natural phenomena through her magic. The one time she tries to go against nature (ie. send herself back in time) she loses her corporeal body and becomes forever tied to the lamp, only able to become a physical person again when someone makes a connection through their blood. It’s a very interesting concept and a great starting point for a story about a second chance at life.
The core theme of the story is really all about getting a second chance at life. In a lot of fantasy/romance webcomics we see this play out in either an isekai situation or a character being transported to the past. Well for Amina, going to the past is out of the question, so she is transported 300 years into the future to a world that is very unlike her own, but still holds some of the building blocks from when she was born. It is sort of like an isekai because she is semi-out of place in this setting, but also you could say a reverse of the “transported to the past to avert disaster” story-lines as well. Through her grief and loss of her corporeal body, Amina loses her emotional connection to the world and the people. So, in a way, this is a story about how Amina overcomes her grief and stats to build herself a new life in a new time, using her knowledge of the past.
Romance is also a central part of the series, with Amina and Jakard becoming closer over the course of the episodes. Their relationship is fairly cute, in that I think Jakard and Amina are fairly innocent when it comes to love. They both have been consumed by their studies and work for most of their lives, and I think they haven’t had the chance to explore love and relationships too much. They both wind up supporting each other through their troubles as political disruptions cause issues within Jakard’s family and the right of succession for the throne. Everything going on, all the struggles and new areas of exploration for the characters create a sense of depth and character growth that allow Amina and Jakard to feel like very different and distinct people who are coming together at their own pace but also finding joy in the things that they love.
There is so much more to discuss with this comic including the mysterious fairy monsters, the political intrigue, the development of magic and alchemy. But I think you should really check this one out for yourself. There are currently 65 episodes on Manta for season 1, so plenty of content to keep you busy. I highly encourage you to check it out and come back to let me know what you thought!
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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