See? These guys really are paying attention to the details; knowing exactly what sort of questions the viewers are going to ask. I was, indeed, wondering why Alibaba would be rolling with Cassim after he just gave such a detailed account of their acrimonious history and this episode did, indeed, go on address that.
Of course, to do that, the episode’s cold opener needs to feature Alibaba literally just picking up where he left off in his long monologue last time. On the one hand, I suppose there’s some dark amusement to be found in how that broadly recalls Scheherazade’s predicament in the book - - constantly telling stories to stay alive. On the other hand, though, I suppose it evidences the sometimes-awkward limitations of dolling a sprawling saga out in such precise increments. Ideally, the last episode would’ve been longer, and this episode would’ve been longer, so as to avoid this sort of semi-awkward starting-and-stopping.
I hate to say it - - because I am enjoying the show a lot - - but this episode felt more like a post-script to the last one and less like its own unit. As this column is all about picking nits, I also can’t help but wonder if the suitably-entertaining back-and-forth between Sinbad, his servants and the Fog Troop could’ve been done in half the time. No, it doesn’t deserve the dread label of “FILLER!” - - but it still could’ve been a wee more succinct.
We’re also at the point in the series where I’ll usually settle into noticing certain… issues that aren’t likely to ever change. Yes, questions that the crew isn't aware of. Or if they are, they aren't acknowledging. In this case, it’s the series’ bit of “race bending” - - populating an Arabesque setting with a cast that rarely, if ever, seems Arabic.
Yeah yeah yeah. It’s anime. It’s drawings. Viewers can project anything onto simplified cartoons. I know. I know. There are still moments, for instance, in the sharply-written conflict of manners between Alibaba and his pompous half-brother, where I’ll be grooving to deep and complicated issues being woven into the conversation… and then get drawn out of the experience by the thought that I’m watching miscast actors playing “foreigners.”