Magi Episode 15: Kassim’s Answer
“If the monarchy disappears, do the crimes of the monarchy disappear with it?” -Kassim
Summary: With Kassim and his group spreading a fog of hatred and violence throughout the crowd amassed before the palace, Alibaba is forced to face his friend in battle. Meanwhile, Aladdin’s spirit takes a trip to visit an old friend who sends him back (hopefully) equipped with some new powers in order to help Alibaba.
Impressions: This was a kinda intense episode, especially towards the end. I think my general mood affected how I saw this episode though, as things that usually would have gotten me really excited and pumped up didn’t really do it for me this week. But I think that was more a personal problem than a problem with the episode. Kassim’s horrible transformation alone probably was either 1. very shocking (for those of us who haven’t read up to that part/aren’t reading the manga) or 2. very exciting to see animated for other people who knew it was coming. That was definitely the shocker of the episode, I gotta say.
Going down the path of all good stories, this is the point (or almost the point) where things are looking the worst for our heroes. Alibaba is trapped in his castle as riots break out all over Balbadd. The people, who were so gung-ho about becoming a republic have turned against him, thanks to Kassim’s twisted logic and the Arms Dealer’s black Rukh that is flooding the city. As violence, hatred, and a thirst for revenge take over, Aladdin is still out cold, unable to do anything to help. By the end of the episode, Alibaba is even faced with having to destroy the monster that Kassim has become. Things are looking pretty bleak, and it looks like it’s going to get even worse before it get’s better.
Kassim is really at the heart of this episode. His twisted logic that incites the people of Balbadd does make some good points, like the fact that just because a monarchy ceases to exist doesn’t automatically mean that all its wrong doings disappear with it. But that, and everything else he says, could be dealt with or proven wrong if the folks in Balbadd would talk it out for a second. Nothing, not making Balbadd a republic OR over-running the palace and killing a bunch of people will ever bring back their loved ones. Of course, by that point everyone is a little to riled up to stop and listen to good sense. It doesn’t help that the Arms Dealer is helping to spread the black Rukh around, which only heightens peoples reactions and seems to blind them with rage. Kassim and the rest of the Fog Troupe eventually make it into the palace, leading to a face off between Alibaba and them. When Alibaba questions Kassim about why he would still want to fight, especially since he actually doesn’t have to any more, some of Kassim’s true motives come out. Kassim wanted to be king, and now that that position doesn’t exist anymore, he’s fighting to turn back the forward flow of fate (as we’ll learn about later.)
Now, I’m not sure that’s all there is to it, since I’m sure that Kassim wouldn’t be the fan-favorite I believe him to be if he were really just a power-hungry jerkface who, as far as I can tell, is probably going to force his best friend into killing him in one way or another. Even Kassim’s inability to truly answer Alibaba’s questions seem to point to the face that something else is going on. If I had to guess, it would probably be jealousy, of Alibaba’s “goodness” and that fact that he’s a prince etc. He can’t let go of that, and with the Arms Dealer edging him into a corner, Kassim probably thinks that he has no way out of the situation than to die. Going back to how he thinks that he’s rotten to the core anyway, a belief that he picked up as a kid mind you, Kassim probably doesn’t even think he has that much to lose by sacrificing himself in order to gain the power that the Arms Dealer promised him. The whole scene, with the split second where I really though that Alibaba was going to kill him, then the pleading for Kassim to just stop and walk away, and then Kassim stabbing himself and transforming into that demon/monster/dragon from the pits of hell was so tense and heartbreaking. To be honest, I think it was one of the best moments of the series so far and one I did not see coming. How Alibaba is going to deal with this new development remains to be seen (or I guess if you read the manga you already know) but I have a baaaaad feeling about Kassim’s future.
So, while all that is going on at the palace, Aladdin, who’s been pretty far from the spotlight these past few episodes, finally comes back (if only just a little bit.) His “soul” does go on a bit of journey (hehehe my prediction from last week was right) and he wakes up only to come face to face with, well, a giant face. Yes, Ugo survived his battle with Judal but only his head remains. He tells Aladdin that the reason he wasn’t able to be revived by Aladdin’s Magoi was because he wasn’t his djinn in the first place. Even though Aladdin’s Magoi is a “copy” of his masters, it still wasn’t good enough to bring Ugo back and by using so much of his Magoi Aladdin does almost die. With all his Magoi that his previous master left him used up, Ugo was left as a giant and very handsome head. Because of this he is unable to help Aladdin any further on his journey, but he used the last of his powers to draw Aladdin to him in order to give him something that will help him by giving him a way to preform miracles like Solomon (it’s also strongly hinted that Solomon is Ugo’s former Master and might have some kind of connection to Aladdin as well.) Solomon, just as a side note, is a famous king who appears in both the Bible and the Qur’an and is most often depicted as a very wise man, although not without his faults (go here for more info.) As a side note to a side note: the seal that appears on all objects that hold djinn, and on the doors that Aladdin travels through on his way back to his body, is known as a Seal of Solomon and supposedly was something that gave him the power to control djinn. How’s that for a nice historical tie in for ya?
Anyway, Ugo sends Aladdin through a magical portal in order for him to receive “The wisdom of Solomon” which will help him fight back against those that are trying to disrupt the flow of fate. See, according to Ugo, fate moves in a forward manor, and mostly, this leads to good things or at least to a change in the way things are. An example would be Aladdin and Alibaba meeting and conquering the dungeon together. As long as fate goes in it’s intended direction the Rukh is it’s normal golden color, but when you move fate backwards, and try to undo what has been done (as the Arms Dealer can be seen doing by way of using Kassim) the Rukh turns black. You fall into depravity (like Kassim does when he stabs himself and turns into a monster) when you try to take something and make it into nothing. Judal also falls into this category, since all the Rukh surrounding him is as dark as his soul. Because of the reversal of fate that Judal created, Aladdin was supposed to have died in the fight the two of them had, and only thanks to Ugo’s interference did Aladdin manage to survive. After passing through the gate, Aladdin’s spirit passes through…space(?) and a disembodied voice tells him that after passing through what he refers to as the “maelstrom of knowledge”, Aladdin will be born anew. Which I hope means that he’ll be back in action next episode, and will maybe have learned a thing or two so that he can help Alibaba out of the mess he finds himself in.
With Aladdin taking a detour to learn how to make miracles and Alibaba faced with the monster formerly known as Kassim with no help in sight, it’s looking pretty bad. I really hope that Alibaba doesn’t have to kill his friend because I can only imagine how damaging that would be to him. Like I said before, I’ve got a bad feeling about Kassim’s fate, especially since the Arms Dealer told him that if he wasn’t fit to hold the power that slept within his household weapon he would die. I want to know more about Kassim’s true motivations and if it really is just some kind of power grab/need for revenge. And what about Sinbad and the rest? Are they just going to stand by? Judging by the preview, it looks like Judal might also be waking up and entering the fight. Aladdin better be able to pull off a miracle, because it’s looking like we might really need one for this situation to have any hope for a peaceful resolution.
Final Though: Not enough Morgiana this episode. No amount of cute marshmallow creatures made by a huge head that lives in a palace in space is going to distract me from the fact that she had like one line this episode.