「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.
Enjoyed the analysis. Re the queen, it’s kind of symptomatic of the sexism of their society when a hole bunch of idiot nobles kill each other trying to possess a woman, and they blame the woman for it… Nice to hear Sakamoto Maya again. She seems busy this season..
I only Say. Cleopatra
the original Arslan isn’t written by Arakawa, no? so can’t really say much about the one-dimensionalness of the characters in Arslan (even if it’s true in general) unless we know how much was adapted/changed
Arakawa’s manga is based on the novels by Tanaka Yoshiki; however, she said she’d be making some changes to the story (with Tanaka’s approval).
Yes, the original isn’t by Arakawa, so perhaps those characters were as one-dimensional and cartoonish in the source-source. However, they reeked of Arakawa to me, so if the originals were one-dimensional, I expect they were the usual kind of one-dimensional, i.e. forgettable or uninteresting.
Aaaaaand that’s confirmed by zztop below. Guess my storytelling sense hasn’t abandoned me yet, nishishi~!
She’s made a lot of changes but since the novels aren’t translated the only thing to go off of is the old OVA, which wasn’t 100% faithful either. But she has changed a lot of things, and added/removed scenes.
King Innocentius is NOT an obese man-child in the source novels.
Instead, he is described as “tall and well-built…(with a) bad complexion, and his skin lacked the sheen of vitality…(He)looked like no mighty conqueror or fiendish invader”.
He was also very religious, praying 3 times a day, and didn’t take meat or alcohol. His religious fervour came after falling ill at age 10; he swore he would never marry until “he had destroyed every last heathen nation in the land and erected temples to Ialdabaoth in all their capitals.”
Arakawa DID say she was going to make some changes for the manga. This seems to have been one of them.
That’s a real shame. In a saga like this, Interesting Characters are needed in all of the sides.
I hope Etoile, and hopefully Montferrat can become reasonable characters in Lusitanian side, even facing the burden of changes in Innocentus’ depiction. Not sure about Guiscard though
Innocentius is a very uninteresting character and a useless guy sitting on a wrong chair. but actually that is exactly the point of the novel author. Because that’s why his brother is so mad at him.
Innocentius is NOT an interesting character at all in the novel as well. He is tall and religious but weak in strength and overall weak in mind. Show Spoiler ▼
BTW I don’t believe “well-built” is a good translation. “肉付きはよい” in this context should be a polite way to describe someone who is fat. “Plump” should be a better word.
Today’s endcard is by mangaka Oshimi Shuzou, who penned psychological thriller manga ” The Flowers of Evil (Aku no Hana)”.
You may remember its rotoscoped anime adaptation; it was loathed by the Japanese otaku. I know there was a lot of story left to tell, just unsure how it ended.
something tells me the bishop or whatever that the king sent all the treasure is not on the up and up. I guess everyone is equal under their god but some people are more equal than others
Well yes, since the priest you are talking about is the same one that wanted to torture Shapur a couple of episodes ago. So yeah, I doubt the money is being used responsibly.
Whats with the young characters in this series having trap talents, really?
Arslan clearly looks like trap material in ED
Elam, you can clearly see his crossdressing expertise in this episode, with great performance by Hanae Natsuki in his ability to emulate a passable female voice to fool Lusitanian guardsmen (the scream still screams a guy’s falsetto though)
Made a bit of fudanshi in me question the extent of his servitude with Narsus…
And then, there was Étoile.
Female Seiyuu(young boys played by female VA is something common). Sounds like a girl. Looks like a tomboy girl. His name sounds like a girl’s name.
…he’s a girl, right? RIGHT? Now, convince me he’s a young man, not another trap…
Those are males!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have a feeling he’s a female, too. In the first episode, he got embarrassed when Arslan touched his hand.
Etoile means star in French, and it does sound awfully strange as a guy’s name. It’d understand if (s)he turns out to be a girl, after all, It does seem possible. What if we ended up getting a romance between the trap (Arslan) and the inverse trap (Etoile).
It’s not unusual for male characters to have girly names, same for girls getting more masculine names (though not as often). A good example is Olivier Armstrong, who while her name sounds feminine, it’s actually quite a masculine French name, equivalent to Oliver. Etoile could be the same, just flipped.
I heard about this trick in an Ansatsu Kyoushitsu post, but it could apply here. An easy way to tell girls from bishounen (in anime characters): their eyelashes. Girls will always have more clearly drawn eyelashes, whereas guys, no matter how pretty, will not.
Étoile, Elam, and Arslan don’t have ’em. Tahamenay and Farangis do. Not that it isn’t possible, but I wouldn’t expect any traps. Also, this doesn’t feel like that kind of story to me.
Actually, Show Spoiler ▼
Also, it looks (at least to me) like while Etoile doesn’t have visible eyelashes, it almost looks like he/she has eyeliner instead. It might or might not be a clue, but…
Tamahenay is Femme Fatale trope to a T.
Silvermask is definitely intending to eventually betray Lusitanians as well.
Etoile has name now, is back and can he be a reverse trap? It would be even more funny after first seen alongside a proper trap… BTW you look totally cute with that wig, Elam!
Farangis is beautiful, deadly, and totally resistant to Gieve’s charms. I expect those 2 to make a lot of fighting together and bickering among themselves…
That background about how the previous King of Pars was betrayed and killed by Andragoras? I get the feeling Silvermask is that previous King’s son or something.
I saw an interesting thought in animesuki about how Farangis dresses the way she does during a time of war when soldiers would pillage villages and harass women without a second thought. I’m guessing it’s because of her land’s culture and she is capable of defending herself anyway. Any soldier that makes the mistake of seeing Farangis as just eye candy will be sorry. Either way I’ve been waiting for her debut since episode 1 and I’m already liking her personality. Farangis is gorgoeus, she knows it, and she doesn’t mind flaunting it.
A good point, and it could easily be in her culture (or just her ego, as I opined). That’s why it doesn’t strictly bother me, though it does make me roll my eyes a bit.
I think Arakawa just wanted a sexy female character in her adaption, the Farangis from the OVA was very modestly dressed and wore actual battle armor (but was still a beauty), and i highly doubt Farangis in the novels had been described as being scantly clad or strutting around half-naked XD
Don’t get me wrong, i like sexy female characters just like any other guy but i don’t understand why Farangis was the only one struck with the sexification hammer while pretty much all the other main characters are pretty much unchanged.
I also think you’re right there. As Stilts quoted, Arakawa-sensei may really like to have girl characters with that vavoom impact. I think Gin no Saji had some beauties too (I can only recall slim Tamako and Mikage) but you just need to look at FMA’s Lust. I only got to see 1 episode of the arslan OVA too(I recall Shapur’s torture was more brutal there) though I don’t think it was the one with Farangis so I had to check how she looked. I’m also surprised how different she was.
I have to agree since I don’t think Farangis was meant to look like that originally and as a warrior priestess, her outfit is kind of implausible, especially for that area and time period. And I don’t know if they are changing it here, but Farangis is not usually spurred on by her ego. She is a stalwart woman that is dedicated to her faith and her mission. She ignores Gieve in the OVA too, but it’s more like she can automatically see past whatever façade he puts up and doesn’t have time for his nonsense. I honestly think that her not stopping until he called her an exquisite beauty was to let him know what kind of woman he was dealing with and not to underestimate her.
@IreneSharda – Nice point there. I didn’t see it that way, that stopping at exquisite beauty could be a way to just mess with Gieve. If Farangis in the original source material was as you described, then maybe she isn’t egoistic and more a no-nonsense kind of woman. As tempting as it is to read ahead, I want to wait and see how Farangis will be portrayed in this adaptation. Also as far as I know isn’t Arakawa only in charge of the manga’s illustration? I’m not sure if she has any say in the story so who knows Farangis’s new look might have been approved by the original author.
Now I want to see Hanae Natsuki play a female role as he was pretty convincing in here.
Gieve is my new favorite character.
Also, I remembered where I heard the sword clashing sound effects I mentioned last week besides from this show. It was in FSN UBW episode 18, during Shirou and Archer’s fight. The sound effects were the exact same ones.
Gieve X Farangis best couple of the season. I ship it hard.
Oh now I like Farangis even more that she is voiced by Sakamoto Maaya.
In the novel Etoile is indeed a girl, her real name was Estelle.