OP: 「僕の言葉ではない これは僕達の言葉」 (Boku no Kotoba de wa nai, Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba) by UVERworld
「十四歳、初陣」 (Juu shi-sai, Uijin)
“Age Fourteen, Maiden Battle”
Tactical errors at home, on the battlefield, and in the mind lead to King Andragoras III’s first rout—and it’s a doozy.
People As Things
“There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example.”
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that—”
“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they are getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”
“But they starts with thinking about people as things…”
—Terry Pratchett (1948 – 2015)
I go into this further on my personal site, but Arslan Senki is an excellent example of this sin. On both sides—the Lusitanians are as wrong to dehumanize the Parsians as heretics as the Parsians are the Lusitanians as savages. In this case, it’s Pars that suffers for it. The king refusing to believe Daryun’s extremely accurate concerns directly led to the Pars defeat, and it’s all because he underestimated the Lusitanians. Imagine if instead he has supposed that the Lusitanians could possibly be somewhere near as intelligent and powerful as himself and his own forces—he might have wondered more about why Maryam fell, as Arslan did, or been leery of traps in the fog, as Arslan and Daryun were. Instead he shut off his brain, thinking his army’s superior numbers could slaughter the savages.
And look what it’s getting him. A smaller army and less kingdoms.
The Bastard Prince
This is conjecture, but allow me to propose a theory: Prince Arslan isn’t the rightful son of King Andragoras III. We saw the coldness between the king and queen last episode, and the king’s chronic mistreatment of his son. Now, when Vahriz asks Daryun who he thinks Arslan takes after, it’s the queen. What if the king was cuckolded, and he resents both the queen and Arslan for it? Maybe that’s not it—it’s enough that Arslan doesn’t appear to act like the king wishes he would act to explain his harsh attitude. But the talk of Arslan’s visage got me wondering.
Daryun’s Loyalty, Kharlan’s Betrayal
When Daryun suggested that an escaped slave could be informing the Lusitanian army, my response: “Uh oh…” Turns out the informat is higher placed. Kharlan’s (Ookawa Tooru) betrayal isn’t something I saw coming, because we never got to know him well enough—which is good, because if they foreshadowed the reveal in any way (other than retroactively … he was a little too willing to set Daryun against the king, and then agree wholeheartedly with said king when it seemed like Pars would fall into the trap), it would have been aggravating that the other characters didn’t catch it.
On the other hand is Daryun, who is so loyal he’s willing to disagree and suffer at the hands of the king he swore to serve, and to charge an entire unit by himself to rescue Arslan. He’s exactly the kind of soldier the king should want, one who’s willing to speak hard truths out of sincere concern, and who doesn’t think it’s a soldiers job to seek out battle, but to win necessary battles. But he struck out at him, to his detriment. Luckily Vahriz was wiser than his king in this case.
Looking Ahead – The Prince’s Promotion
They did a good job of illustrating Daryun’s battle prowess, proving that the title Mardān fu Mardān isn’t just for show. It’s him versus Kharlan as Prince Arslan finally gets that promotion he didn’t want to have.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Treat people as things, and you’re liable to underestimate them. That’s a great way to lose a kingdom #arslan 02
- One thing this show does completely unsubtly: tempt fate. “I hardly think there are any who would make war upon our Kingdom of Pars right now. It seems it will be a while yet before Your Highness serves on the field.” Shut up shut up shut up!
- One side has 223,000 men, the other an estimated 105-120,000. Now that’s what I call a battle!
- I like how Arslan keeps thinking. Not only does he notice the moisture on Azrael’s wins, he thinks creatively to best the Lusitanian soldier. He keeps thinking—until Kharlan’s betrayal shakes him utterly. Arslan needs more experience, more steel in his spine. Then he’ll be a formidable man.
- All I could think of when they kept going on about the undefeated Parsian army: “Past performance is not an indicator of future success, baaaakas!”
- The oil, the fire, and the siege towers. As soon as the Parsians started dancing to the Lusitanian’s tune, they were screwed. The battle isn’t over, but it isn’t looking good.
- Of course the boys were going to die. No doubts there. My question: how did Arslan get back to them? You’re going in circles, Arslan!
- “We’re under attack!” “How many of them are there?!” Just one.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: People as things, Cut away the boring bits, Sheet music, and Wage Slave Rebellion is officially in print.