「迷宮ザガン」 (Meikyuu Zagan)
Hakuryuu is so cool, he’ll own this dungeon in no time! Oh, he just tripped up a little there. Oh he’s just bleeding a bit, but he’s still a badass! Oh, he’s just calling everyone a bunch of name–wait is that him on the floor!? Well, so much for that. Wait, isn’t he like…
I find it hard to believe that Alibaba and Hakuryuu are not related at all despite their overwhelming similarities. Even Morgiana was able to eventually see the stark similarities (which allowed her to be a cool character…as always). Both are descendants of a royal family with a desire to reform their home country, yet go through a lot of crying and emotional struggle to get there. Even their circumstances of losing their loved ones to harsh circumstances bonds them together! Any doubts Alibaba had about hating Hakuryuu are pretty much gone at this point, having shed tears for the tears of his now spiritual brother. Such waterfalls serve to strengthen their similarities and undoubtedly long-term friendship from now on.
Despite all their similarities, the differences each of them hold keep them as fairly distinct characters. While Alibaba’s struggle primarily concerned itself with lower class issues, it can be inferred that Hakuryuu’s issues stem directly from the conflicts against or within the royal family. Having presumably lost a brother and heavily relied on who we can infer is Hakuei (look at the birthmark), it is understandable that Hakuryuu’s struggle differs from Alibaba’s: the former is focused on destroying the plague affecting the Kou Empire while the latter focused purely on rejoining and restarting Balbadd’s reformation. Who knew that such a polite and sometimes emotional figure could have so much justified hatred for the plague of his country. With Alibaba’s side-struggle with Hakuryuu fairly resolved, it is clear how Hakuryuu will struggle and grow take moving forward, as he will realize how unattainable his mission is without relying on others.
Now, if they could just get through this crazy dungeon…along with its crazy animals and above all else, its cute-animal obsessed and misanthropic djinn master. Zagan is quite the troll, making this dungeon much harder and complex than Amon. Jumping puzzles, boss fights right out of the gate, and endless armies of golems? It’s already hardmode for our heroes, though it seems at least all of them have more than enough ability to handle the tasks. Aladdin seems to be getting used to diversifying his magic while Hakuryuu risks his “ki” to even stand a chance against the guardians, while having to rely on Morgiana’s wits to save the day.
Overall the fighting and action was of acceptable quality, though as is the recent trend, animation is still a little stiff–the drawing seems to have improved from recent episodes, but definitely not by enough. What was bad though was the voice acting this epsiode, which probably was affected by the stiff animation rather than the other way around. Though little things in the grand scope, they do add up and detract from what’s been a fairly good episode. Let’s at least hope that as soon as Al-Thamen decides to barge in again, the animation budget saved up for the end will pay off well (if any is left).