「美女たちと野獣たち」 (Bijo-tachi to Yajuu-tachi)
“The Beauties and the Beasts”
It took me only slightly longer than Gieve to fall in love with Farangis[‘s character]. And when she shot him down, it only made her better.
One-Dimensional Characters & Vavoom!
“Men should be buff! Women should be vavoom!”
— Arakawa Hiromu
One … I hesitate to call it a problem, but one enduring issue with Arakawa Hiromu stories is that her minor characters can get real one-dimensional, real quick. Not in Gin no Saji, but I remember Fullmetal Alchemist had a few minor characters that bordered on cartoonish. Here we saw that with the crazy priest a few episodes ago, and again with Lusitania’s King Innoccentius VII (Sakurai Toshiharu) here. Everything about him screams, “Do not like this shell of a character,” and I can’t deny its effectiveness, because I don’t. In a way, it’s a good thing—Arakawa doesn’t waste time or effort on minor characters who aren’t supposed to be interesting. On the other hand, they could be interesting! It feels lazy, but it doesn’t honestly detract from the story, aside from making Innoccentius’ role (and fate) a little too obvious.
This episode also reminds of another of Arakawa’s habits which doesn’t exactly subtract from the story, but does make me go, “Yeah, it’s an Arakawa story.” See the section quote, then look at Farangis (Sakamoto Maaya). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of her outfit as a straight guy, but since she’s a character I assume I’m supposed to take seriously, it feels a bit silly. I always preferred someone like Olivier Armstrong, who—while quite likely vavoom, and possessing of those Angelina Jolie lips Arakawa seems so fond of—always felt like a character first, vavoom second. But it’s also fine for Farangis to show skin if she wants to, and she apparently has quite the ego about her beauty to make me believe she may have chosen to do so. So this isn’t a complaint, not really. It’s just an authorial quirk. If I have any complaint, it’s that I feel the author’s touch a little too much, but as far as authorial sins go, that’s a minor one.
Tahamenay’s backstory reminds me of the a regretfully named phenomenon I first heard about in relation to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (spoilers ahead): The Doom Bitch. Like I said, it’s regretfully named, but that’s unfortunately what I remember it as. In TTGL, the idea was this: Every man Yoko kissed, died. It was like her lips carried a curse. Now we have Tahamenay, a woman who has inadvertently served as a catalyst for the death of at least three powerful men, two of them rulers of two different countries. Now Tahamenay’s coldness toward King Andragoras makes more sense, since she didn’t even receive the comparative dignity of an arranged marriage—she was stolen and fought over like a piece of meat. It also means that Arslan could easily still be Andragoras’ rightful heir, and account for his parents’ indifference toward him.
I can forgive Tahamenay of a lot, after hearing of how little control she has had of her own life—destined, it would seem, to be a prize fought over by powerful men. And yet, I find it hard to forgive her coldness to Arslan. Whatever was done to her—and even if Arslan was the product of the royal version of date rape—that wasn’t Arslan’s fault. Not that I can’t understand disliking the physical embodiment of all this, but… Bah. It’s a shitty situation, but it’s still not Arslan’s fault. Poor kid, and poor mother.
The Gentleman Bastard & the Deadly Priest(ess)
It was hard not to like Gieve within seconds of his introduction (note: Not that I tried. Give in to the Gieve! …that didn’t come out right), and if anything, Faranis won me over even quicker. Not because of her outfit (well, not just because of her outfit), but that ego! Refusing to stop until Gieve called her an exquisite beauty was not only funny, it revealed character. That and how she played off against Gieve’s personality—her sharp tongue, sarcastic comments, and complete resistance to his charms—gives me hope for a wonderful relationship between them. No, not a romantic relationship—I hope she keeps shooting Gieve down ruthlessly. That’s way more fun!
Add onto all of that how she apparently kicks ass, and we have a winner. Sarcastic AND dangerous … a woman after my own heart.
Looking Ahead – Capturing Kharlan
Narsus’ little test of Arslan was revealing, though not about Arslan—we already knew exactly what he would say. I just like that Narsus is still testing the young prince, to make sure he’s truly the ruler Narsus thinks he can be. Next week, it looks like they’re going to be going toe-to-toe with Kharlan. Kharlan had to know treachery would lead to him being treated with suspicion by both sides. It’s time to find out why the lion cub betrayed its pack.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It’s ladies week as Tahamenay and Farangis take the lion’s share of the attention. I could do this every week #arslan 07
- The plot thickens in regards to Silvermask. Not only is he after Pars, he’s destabilizing Lusitania too. And unlike the Lusitanian soldiers, he’s smart enough not to make an enemy of everyone until he needs to.
- Between Tahamenay’s otherworldly beauty and Silvermask’s sorcerous fog, we have the first hints of magic … but I don’t believe it. I’d put my bet on good genes and a little-known trick, respectively.
- Nice to see Étoile back. (He has a name now!) Hopefully he (as a character) will keep the plight of Pars’ slaves as part of the story. I don’t want that to just disappear until they get freed, and he’s a good point of view character for them.
- Probably my favorite part of the episode was when Farangis was talking about how some Parsians have been looting temples in the confusion—and Gieve immediately shoves his ill-gotten gains back into his bag. This guy! He might be a bastard, but he’s got style for days.
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: Practical freedom, Old to them, Stop sending me job ideas, and Schrödinger’s Skill.
Full-length images: 31.