The arc that everyone has been waiting for has finally come.
To any manga reader, hype can only be used when describing the anticipation for the Balbadd arc as taking it to another level would be phrasing it lightly, similiar with how the spiders arc in HxH turned heads, the Balbadd arc should do the same as well for anime only viewers and as for manga readers should be a great thing to see animated, and with great pacing and well timed cliffhangers the start lived up to such expectations by remaining extremely faithful.
Since this is a crucial arc its only natural the setting takes priority which in this case is the namesake for the arc. Balbadd is a port city, as referenced before there are several empires in the world and each empire has their separate order of Hierarchy, it terms of Balbadd the ruling order is a monarchy which strives off the taxes of the people who manage the trade which as a port city is their essential revenue.
This episode briefly went over it, but it gave more than enough of an implication to see that despite the prosperous appearance that Balbadd may give, one need not look to far to see that it has its darkness behind the scenes particular lying with what the nobles label to be the slums, which within resides poverty beyond what one could ever call as acceptable (if poverty can ever be called acceptable at all to begin with). Many know the hardships of unemployment in our modern world, but the slums of Balbadd give a different perspective of it, or perhaps better said would be to reveal a depressing reality that exists in any setting that maintains any realistic outlook, as well as our modern world.
Similar to the concept of Robin Hood, the old known story of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor has been over simplified to make the rich look like villains and the thieves in question look like heroes and while this may very well still be the interpretation for many, one should again as usual look at both sides. Before all else one needs to accept the fact that not all can be rich, sure one may say stop stating the obvious but in return i will say that when you are poor you don’t care for such common sense, its always easy to take a passive view when you are the only who isn’t starving thus creating the conflict and views of oppression when you see fat nobles and their gluttony while you are resembling a skeleton and your family is dying.
As referenced when going over dungeons, the fame and wealth gained is mainly due to the various treasures inside that exclude money, of course gold and such is obviously valuable and brings great wealth, but arguably the greatest treasures lie in the magic tools and Djinns one can create a contract with. Sinbad has conquered 7 dungeons and thus has 7 Djinn but this is more him just being a badass then anyone can walk right in and get a Djinn, as what shown with Amon’s dungeon and the twisted shariff not everyone is considered worthy, its the Djinn’s choice in the end. Thus if you are not worthy of being in contract with a Djinn the next best thing is a magic item which allows even the weak to use magic as long as they provide proper Magoi. The quality of Magoi each possess vary thus the duration and extent of capability one can use with a magic tool always differs but the power remains real all the same, even in the hands of amateurs they are still dangerous.
Where there is oppression, revolution will surely follow, this is the general concept that follows the pattern of history. The rich will view it as envy as they feel that they earned their success, though this itself brings up debate if its even possible to earn a honest fortune in the world without taking advantage of someone else, but that in itself brings up the morality of wealth which is something which goes a bit of course of the topic of revolution. In contrast to the view of envy that the rich in their wealth hold the poor view it as the oppression of greed. If the balance of wealth remained steady then perhaps compromise would become easier but it has long been shown that the greed of man knows no limits as those with power often want one thing, and that is more power, of course there are exceptions to everything and not all rich are snobs and scum but the very fact that some exist at all throws off any attempt of balance that may be sought thus creating chaos in politics and management of the flow of money.
It was briefly shown in this episode but it was highlighted all the same, so before i go over it know that its based mainly on this episode content rather than the fact that i know that it will be important. As practically all Americans know there exists a very troublesome concept and that is called Inflation. While everyone knows what this is one should understand the sheer importance of using paper currency as compared to use things like gold, to use paper currency is basically using a “i owe you”, with the idea that the bank or in this case the nobility will back the flow. If this is not the case then the paper currency becomes more and more worthless and before you know it, you have a bunch of worthless paper with no pretty much no value.
Besides the fact that he looks like a pig, and acts like a snob one can easily notice the fact that the current king of Balbadd doesn’t take much interest in the current situation of poverty in his country but this will be gone over at a later time, what is referenced this episode is why he holds little interest in reopening trade with Sindria which is the country Sinbad built. Port Cities are dependent on trade so it only makes sense that the more they trade the better they are off right? well this obviously is the case if Balbadd was a city standing on its own, if it was like the Kouga Tribe which became a part of the Kou Empire then it would have to comply to certain wishes of said ruling empire if they sought “protection” and “support” which in itself can viewed at many ways, creating further implication and foreshadowing.
As implied before it was confirmed that the Magi’s key trump card is them being favored by the flow of Rukh and thus the world, as mentioned before Hakuei couldn’t summon Paimon’s complete form and thus equipped for battle usage instead, but this wasn’t because the equip was more powerful but rather because she didn’t have the capacity of Magoi required to manifest the Djinn’s complete form which in terms of capacity is a special power privileged to only those who can borrow the power from the flow of Rukh as they will and that would be the power only a Magi possesses.
As was the motive behind the Fog Troupe’s actions also was a critical detail which was shown towards the end of the episode and that was when pushed far enough people get desperate, people who likely never held weapons in their lives start thinking about murdering others in the sheer attempt to survive. The world itself is neutral but people can make it cruel as they all struggle for a bigger share and when some lose out as some get bigger pieces it forms the pressure of being cornered with nothing to lose and the actions taken by the starving in this episode are a clear indication of that.
The carefree King of Sinbad who is likely the first character i have ever seen in all of the animes i have watched to introduce himself practically naked. He gives off the vibe of non concern as if everything will work out, regardless of how serious a problem may be, even if that said scenario is his seven metal vessels with his contracted Djinns being stolen due to him being drunk which adds to his facade even more.
A facade is a facade though, or at the very least a portion of character is just a portion as the fame of his name is like Jafar said not for show, when thinking of how Sinbad conquered seven dungeons and holds contracts with seven Djinns when Alibaba and Aladdin struggled to just conquer one, one can only imagine how powerful he really is as one has to take into account what i said earlier and that is a Djinn chooses who is worthy of using their power, Sinbad wasn’t chosen by just one Djinn but seven, this just adds to the skill he would already require to conquer the dungeon in the first place.
The less composed servant of Sinbad but this is mostly because he is the one who has to keep up with Sinbad’s antics while assuring that he stays out of trouble and by no means does it indicate that he doesn’t possess a calm mind when dealing with solutions as he is the one who requires such a way of thinking in the first place to make up for Sinbad’s impulsiveness.
The more serious servant of Sinbad as well as the second Fanalis introduced in the series, as was indicated by the slave trader before he indeed possesses the same traits concerning hair and eyes as Mor does, and one can surely assume that the strength he possesses is even greater considering his age and presumably his battle experience acquired from following Sinbad.
I may have gone off a bit with my high anticipation for this arc but i couldn’t help as this is truly what i believe to be the best arc the manga for Magi has, so to see it animated is something that leaves pretty much any fan of the manga excited with anticipation, the way it was handled just adds to this as it was extremely well paced and the cliffhanger was timed perfectly as it gave a prelude to the promise between Alibaba and Aladdin which was shown to be of the highest importance to Aladdin and his motivation for helping Sinbad while Alibaba on the other hand for reasons yet to be shown has pushed it aside.