Magi Episode 17: Smile
“If that’s fate, then I’ll fight against it with my own two hands!” -Kassim
Summary: In the emotional conclusion of the Balbadd arc, Alibaba faces Kassim’spirit inside the Dark Djinn, while Aladdin holds off Judal. The two friends are finally able to reconcile their differences and Kassim’s soul is set free. Even though Alibaba mourns his friend, Aladdin reminds him that while Kassim’s body might be gone, his spirit will live on in the rukh. Sinbad, having finally gotten his house-hold vessels back, destroys the arms dealer (at least for now), who it turns out is only a small part of a larger organization that is intent on spreading darkness throughout the world.
Impressions: Oh don’t mind me, I’ll just be momentarily curled up in a corner over here, with a bucket for my tears. This was a pretty emotional episode, and I must say, I did tear up a little bit at the end. We were also given a lot of information as the real enemy, an organization called Al-Thamen, starts to emerge from the shadows. To top it all off, this episode packed a real visual punch. A little heavy-handed at times, but in the end very effective especially in its use of light and dark. It was a very fitting conclusion to the first real story arc of the series and it managed to hit all the right notes, from the action packed fight Sinbad finds himself in to the heartbreak over Kassim’s death.
With Aladdin able to reforge Alibaba’s broken sword with his newly learned magic, our young prince is able to attack Kassim again. Alibaba is drawn inside the monster, where he is finally able to meet with Kassim (the real human one) again. While Aladdin holds off Judal on the outside, Alibaba is finally confronted with the darkness that has been growing inside Kassim’s soul for so long. Kassim has always resented Alibaba because even thought the two of them where born and grew up in the same slums, Alibaba has always seemed to be untainted by the misery that affected Kassim’s life. For Kassim this has to do with the fact that Alibaba was born with royal blood, which seemed to guaranteed him a relatively happy life. Because Kassim believes that he himself was born cursed by his own blood, he harbors a lot of hatred for Alibaba. I think that Kassim does have a very valid point, that the circumstance of your birth do affect your life to some extent. And Alibaba maybe should have been more aware of how that difference would affect both their lives. But on the other hand you can’t use to excuse for the decisions that you make. It’s essentially the whole Nature vs. Nurture argument.
While Kassim fights Alibaba using all the bitterness and hatred he’s been letting grow inside him for so long, Alibaba tries to fight back with his more idealistic views. When Kassim stabs Alibaba, the two finally see that they should have tried harder to understand the other more and Kassim is finally able to let go of all the feelings that have been weighing on him for so long. The emotional level of this whole scene is only added too by the stark contrast in Kassim’s dark appearance and the light that seems to radiate from Alibaba. The background looks like dawn, and when Kassim finally lets go of his hatred, the sun seems to come up and Kassim’s colors also lighten except for one of his hands, which remains dark. As he starts to fade away, we see what is probably the seed of all of Kassim’s “evil” as he kills his father in order to protect his sister from being used as a prostitute to make his dad money. While Kassim’s father lies dying in the mud, he tells Kassim’ that they are the same and that their shared blood will insure that Kassim is just as bad as his father. This is the root of all of Kassim’s issues, not just with himself and his own belief that he is worthless, but also his idea that your parents make you who you are instead of being able to make your own choices. Kassim finally sees that he has been wrong all this time, and the final piece of darkness leaves his hand. Alibaba tries to save him from fading away, but because he was turned into a dark djinn, there’s nothing much he can do to save his friend. Kassim gives Alibaba one last smile before dissolving.
Back on the outside, the Kassim’s monster exterior explodes into a fountain of golden rukh, the darkness over the city is destroyed. The resulting rain weakens the already suffering Judal, who had been fighting Aladdin, leaving the Arms Dealer no choice but to grab him and make a quick escape. Alibaba is left to cradle Kassim’s body and mourn the loss of his friend. Aladdin, who is also saddened by Kassim’s death, reminds Alibaba that Kassim will live on. Using his new powers, Aladdin calls on the rukh to briefly bring back all the spirits of the loved ones that people had lost since Balbadd had started to decline. It’s a really powerful scene, as everyone get’s to see those that the lost one last time. Even Mariam and Kassim come to wish Alibaba one last farewell. Thus the darkness in Kassim and in the city are changed into light, thanks to the efforts of Alibaba.
While Kassim and Alibaba’s story was the bulk of the episode, there were a couple of other things that happened. First, we see a brief glimpse of Judal’s past when Aladdin uses Solomon’s Wisdom on him. From the flashback it almost seems as if Judal was kidnapped after his parents were killed, and was thus raised to be steeped in the dark rukh by Al-Thamen. Could it be that Judal was not always the monster that he is now? I’ll be keeping my eye on that now for sure. Then of course there was Sinbad, who manages to catch up with the Arms Dealer as he’s escaping out of the city. It looks like Sinbad finally got his magical items back, or at least finally got some other ones, since the household items that Masrur and Ja’far use seem to be powered up and Sinbad himself looks like he was using an equipped Djinn. He manages to destroy the Arms Dealer with a powerful lightning strike, but I have a feeling that’s not the last we’ve seen of him. Anytime a head manages to servive, you know it can’t be good news (thank’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, for teaching me that lesson.) Then there’s also the revealing of Al-Thamen, who are the shadiest of groups. These people are all clearly up to no good, and seem to be the ones holding the reins on Judal. I’m sure we’ll see more of them in future episodes.
Next week marks the beginning of a new arc, as it looks like everyone’s goin’ to Sindria. What will Sinbad’s kingdom be like? and now that Balbadd is free, what are Aladdin, Alibaba, and Morgiana going to do next? The Arms Dealer mentioned that now there were four Magi with the power of Solomon’s Wisdom. If Aladdin is one of them, who are the other three? Does Judal count as one? Well, let’s see what happens next week!
Final Though: Good to see that over all the animation was much, much better this episode. It’s still kinda sad that you can tell which episodes they really saved on and which are the more expensive ones, but I guess that’s just the way the world works.