「王子と皇子」 (Ouji to Ouji)
“The Two Princes”
Al-Thamen was bound to cause a ruckus eventually and as such, have made their move. Our current group of heroes now must fight against a time limit, where the consequence of failure is most likely death. The cheerfulness and lightheartedness of Sindria has begun to give way to what seems like the final adventure this season–the trials of Zagan. The dungeon will prove to be a challenge in itself, but the real trials will most likely come with the interference of those who praise the dark rukh.
As our adventurers set off, they are already at a disadvantage and on rocky footing. Aladdin has only recently grasped simple combinations of magical commands, with Alibaba on even shakier ground with his new djinn equip. On top of that, Alibaba has the added handicap of his magoi potential, where overloading his magoi could break the seal that stems his curse (though most likely we will see a scene where he sacrifices the seal for the greater good). There are other competent fighters on this team such as Hakuryuu and Morgiana who will most likely serve as the stars of the battles ahead, yet overall the group will definitely find challenges ahead, especially against the more organized group they will inevitably pit themselves against. Hints of the opponents that will stand in their way showed their faces shortly, but no details about them have revealed thus far.
It doesn’t help as well that Alibaba and Aladdin still have cautious feelings towards any people from the Kou Empire, much less members of the dynasty that rule it. It is understandable that Aladdin and Kougyoku have some cold ties to melt due to their previous violent encounters, but Alibaba’s dislike for Hakuryuu will be a much more complex relationship to grasp. Aside from the fact that Al-Thamen is amplifying his negative feelings by many folds, Alibaba himself most likely harbors some significant negativity towards the Kou Empire. With Balbadd about to become a republic and Alibaba in a place where he can be part of his homeland’s society openly, Alibaba had high hopes only to be tainted quickly by a conveniently placed navy and occupation. If Alibaba didn’t get pissed off at that…then I don’t know what to believe anymore. The upcoming episodes will prove to reveal how Alibaba gets over this new emotional challenge and how much his struggle will interfere with the group’s current goal. As contrasted in Balbadd where Alibaba’s hesitation cost significant delays to founding Balbadd’s republic, it is now the opposite in Zagan–Alibaba’s lack of hesitation may put his teammates in grave danger.
On top of Alibaba’s own suffering, I expect Hakuryuu to go through his own challenges which have not clearly revealed themselves yet. Without much actual background on Hakuryuu, it’s hard to foresee what inner demons he has to fight against, though the size of said demon is unquestionable. To have a burning desire to crush the Kou Empire as well as acquire that scar on his face, Hakuryuu must have gone through some terrible stuff in the Kou Empire to feel that way. Whatever that problem is, it’s currently unknown to many people, as it seems Kougyoku or any of the Kou forces have the slightest idea about Hakuryuu’s true intentions. I have a bad feeling though that those intentions will put him through a lot of suffering–for such a understanding and competent prince, I have a gut feeling that the show will taint that honesty with some terrible events in the episodes ahead. If we ignore that future for now, we do get to see that Hakuryuu is an admirable character with honor entwined in every action he takes. Like Pisti said (after being accidentally insulted by Aladdin), he’d make a great husband someday…and perhaps a great king too while we’re at it.
The Zagan arc should prove fruitful for action from how the show has set the stage, yet still I fear that A-1’s animation quality will get in the way. This episode saw a lot of corners cut in terms of animation, with the super deformed look being implemented more often possibly to cover these shortcomings. It wasn’t enough though, with continued decrease in quality apparent in almost every single scene. I hope they saved some money for the finale, because the trend the animation has been taking is a sad sight to see for what’s otherwise been a good story.