「王子の責任」 (Ouji no Sekinin)
“The Prince’s Responsibilities”
My my…if Sinbad tried, he could easily wipe the floor of any empire he wished. What’s surprising is that he doesn’t, instead resorting to bloodless means. Perhaps this is how Sinbad has managed to earn the trust of a Fanalis and a closet brutal killer: surprising many with his unorthodox, yet honorable approaches.
It is clear that Sinbad “joins” the Fog Troupe in an effort to reconcile both sides, having seen both of their goals as fairly legitimate. While re-establishing trade to Sindria is a national concern for Sinbad, saving Balbadd’s impoverished is another concern–troubles that Sinbad believes to be connected to something larger and more sinister. To meet this end, Sinbad sees Alibaba as the potential for reconciling these two conflicting sides–as a prince and a hero of the people–to save Balbadd through diplomacy.
Alibaba won’t have an easy task, as opposition from Ahbmad and Kassim highly distrust Ali Baba’s methods for finding resolution. Despite efforts to find a clean conclusion, one of these two forces–maybe even both–will have to go down through force.
Kassim’s inner hatred for the settled classes clouds clouds his openness to diplomacy. Like as stated last week, Kassim’s true goals boil down to revenge, while saving the people happens to be a secondary goal. Although Sinbad presents a sensible, though out of the blue, solution to the crisis, Kassim grudgingly accepts due to this inherent distrust of the settled. However, there are hints that Kassim is already planning for negotiations to break down, having whisked himself away into a more enclosed area towards the end of the episode. Unfortunately, the way the anime is currently framing Kassim’s character–a character blinded by hatred–isn’t looking so well. I don’t predict that Kassim will have a good ending or undergo a character change, but rather is doomed to a dark fate…perhaps to release Ali Baba from his past deeds.
However, Kassim has been a good antagonist thus far, having dark, yet understandable and somewhat justified reasons for his actions. Ali Baba’s father made mistakes during his reign, but those mistakes hit the impoverished the hardest, causing Kassim to lose everything. It is understandable that rage against an injustice could last a lifetime, especially if it claims his loved ones. It is clear to Kassim that the country will collapse if no one does anything, but it is his methods that will ultimately be his downfall, corrupted by the hatred he never asked for. Thus, we cannot hate Kassim for what he does, for he attempts to do the right thing, but in the wrong way and abusing the wrong people. It is a dilemma that enhances the meaningfulness of Magi’s plot in terms of emotional value.
Meanwhile, on the political side of Balbadd, Ahbmad, the fat king, refuses to make peace with the lower class and Ali Baba for a variety of reasons. Firstly, Ahbmad simply comes off as a terrible person, hinted at being jealous of Ali Baba even as a teenager. Although his brother Sahbmad urges the king to treat Ali Baba and his ideas with respect, rooted dislike for Ali Baba’s upbringings prevents him otherwise. However, even if Ahbmad were to have character, the influence of the Kou Empire is deeply rooted in the monarchy. Judal and his companion, “The Banker”, have come to the palace of Balbadd, probably to maintain their influence on the politics of the state. Such an encounter does not bode well for our protagonists, as Aladdin detects black Rukh emanating from Judal, indicating an inevitable battle in the near future. Not much is known about these two characters, but given that Judal has that dark of a Rukh aura, unseen in any other antagonist thus far, we can assume they have considerable power and influence across multiple countries.
How the current conflict will unfold is unclear, or to what extent, but the anime has setup themselves for an epic conflict soon to come. The major players are ready to use force if necessary, and I predict a rebellion is imminent for Balbadd, caused by a people whose hopes will most likely be crushed again.