「仮面の下」 (Kamen no Shita)
“Beneath the Mask”

The face behind the silver mask is revealed.

Burning Books

I’m getting a little tired of Archpriest Bodin. As I mentioned in a recent High School DxD post, sometimes it’s nice to have an uncomplicated villain, because there’s no compunction about curbstomping them. I’m beginning to rethink that. Bodin is so cartoonishly evil that I just want him to get shot and be done with it.

Take the issue of book burning. Since he’s not allowed to kill Tahamenay—who is being a stone-cold bitch. Which I say with the utmost respect and as a compliment, by the way. Keep it up, Tahamenay!—he settled for burning books instead. Here’s a rule of thumb I think we can all agree on: If you advocate book burning for anything short of those physical texts being carriers for a world-devastating plague—and if you advocate the eradication of ALL of a particular text for pretty much any reason at all—you’re the bad guy. I’m sure someone will come up with other exceptions just to be contrary, but I think we can agree on the general rule. No to book burning, and yes to burning this crazy fucking priest.

Arslan & Étoile Debates, Round 2

Not much to say here, but there’s something I’d watch out for. During the first episode, the point of the Arslan & Étoile debate was to introduce the idea of all men being free (and abolishing slavery) to Arslan. He’s pretty much come around to that point of view by now. So what’s the point this time?

The point going forward is, I expect, to see a change in Étoile. He shows signs as a potential bridge between the peoples, but it will take more conversations with the monstrous Arslan to get him there.

Behind The Silver Mask

It’s no surprise that Silvermask wears his titular mask because of burns, nor that he’s able to match Daryun in combat—that was foreshadowed plenty during the OP. There’s very little to say about this, save to say that it’s a feast for the eyes, the darkness of some streams notwithstanding. The one thing I liked: I always imagined that Daryun and Silvermask would fight on par with each other, but this time Silvermask seemed to have the edge. A slight one, to be fair, which could swing either way (fatally) in a hurry, but an edge nonetheless. It will be fun to see them do this again.

Looking Ahead – Visiting Kashan Fortress

This series has been confirmed for 2-cour, and I’m wondering if the story will wrap up by then. To my knowledge, the Arakawa Hiromu adaptation is still ongoing, but I’m not sure if it’s planning for a simultaneous wrap up ala Fullmetal Alcheimst Brotherhood. We’ve got what seems to amount to a faffing about episode next week, or rather, a side quest. Which doesn’t bother me, I’m just not sure if it’s vital, if we’ll end up lamenting the time, or if they’re not planning on finishing off the narrative with this series regardless. My, I’m really being useful here.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – This ep had a crazy priest, a couple of stone-cold ladies, & behind the silver mask. Oh, & Daryun’s rippling biceps. So it’s good #arslan 09

Random thoughts:

  • Like Tahamenay, Farangis is a cold-hearted bitch, and also like Tahamenay, I mean that as a compliment. Farangis rocks!
  • Arslan was smart not to show his sword against those enemy soldiers. They might not (and did not) recognize him—which was a reasonable assumption, since cameras, TV, and the internet don’t exist yet—but an expensive sword would have been suspicious regardless. Plus Étoile might have figured it out, which would ruin the future fun.
  • So Yaldabaoth means “sacred ignorance.” That social commentary is a bit on the nose, isn’t it? …I like it!

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: A lifestyle designed for productivity, Practical freedom, Old to them, and Stop sending me job ideas.



End Card


    1. The original novel basically has 2 large chapters.
      I expect, or rather hope, that they cover the end of the 1st chapter. Don’t worry, the contents are already there, actually been there for like 30 years.
      I haven’t seen much major tweaks in manga version other than Etoile stuff, so I don’t see much problem if this anime series start to get based on the novel instead of manga at some point.

  1. Well, the author sure isn’t trying to hide the fact the Lusitanians are 100% the Christian Crusaders with a different name. Like, seriously, I don’t even know how this being so obvious didn’t tick me off, but made me chuckle and nod my head instead.

    I hope we get more insight on the doctrines of the religion, since Arslan has the “Bible” of it with him now.

    Damn, Silver Mask is OP, he could handle his own against Narsus and Dariun at the same time while covering his face with one hand! o_o Some nerf would be welcome here.

    1. Body disfigurement with hax hate power plot armor that has him rival even the most skilled of opponents. I think Darth Silver Mask is in the wrong series. o__O

      Ryan Ashfyre
    1. Thought and belief are often two different things. Otherwise intelligent people will completely disengage their brains when they stop thinking and start believing in something. For better or worse—though usually for worse, when we call it out. When it works for the better, we call it wisdom.

      1. No argument there, but there’s just something about Étoile that has me thinking that she (I haven’t read ahead in the source material, but I’m just going to refer to her as a girl since I think she is one) doesn’t honestly believe what she’s saying; perhaps her strong sense of moral correctness in stopping her own subordinates from abusing civilians.

        I don’t believe she’s turned off her brain (certainly not as much as virtually everyone else in this religious cult of an army) so much that she’s simply placed her personal ideals of equality on a greater hierarchy so as to continually justify the obvious hypocrisies she sees around her, hence why she gets so defensive when people like Arslan point those hypocrisies out.

        That she’s conflated the Yaldabaoth religion with her own personal beliefs is what makes it difficult to talk with her, but she would seem to have a pretty obvious breaking point at which, IMHO, she’ll break free of it on her own. At least that’s how it comes across to me.

        Ryan Ashfyre
  2. Wouldn’t it just be supremely ironic if the crazy priest dude suddenly contracts a plague like disease…I’m really hoping for that to happen just for some karmic retribution. All his talk of “evil in the heart” is annoying.

    Also, objection! Farangis is not cold hearted. She just has better taste than to fall for Geese’s bullshit.

  3. Really like the fight scene of Daryun and Narsus vs. Silver Mask. I can feel the force of every sword clash. It was ringing through my eardrums that I felt some goosebumps.

    Hopefully, Silver Mask has some competent mooks who can fight as well as him otherwise, it will always be a curbstomp battle in favor of Daryun, Narsus, Geeve and Farangis. Hell, Daryum is even confident enought to take ont 50000 men all by himself.

  4. I was surprised the things that happened in this episode diverged from the ovas, can someone confirm how they match with the novels?

    Also, I’m disappointed they made Lusitanians easy to hate. Looks like instead of a balanced view of both sides we are going to get the classic good vs evil protrayal. Hmm.

    1. Isn’t the series following the manga? Maybe the manga did changes too.

      And yes, it’s a bit disappointing. I think it’s because we are following Arslan’s troupe. A kind-hearted king, a noble who promotes abolition of slavery, a former slave and a bodyguard loyal to a fault paint Pars in a better light. Andragoras wasn’t as good, and the more we know about his rule the worse he looks.

      However, even Pars’ darkest side looks tragic, product of hubris and fatal flaws. Lusitania’s evil is just cartoonish.

    2. This is following the Arakawa manga, not the OVAs or the novels. It’s influenced those (and adapting the novels), but it’ll follow Arakawa’s manga most closely.

      It’s important to remember that Pars is he defeated party at the moment. We humans tend to have sympathy for the victims, so while the whole of Pars is under the heel of Lusitania, and Lusitania is (as a whole) acting like a bunch of assholes, we sympathize with Pars. Remember that Pars would certainly do plenty of pillaging and looting if situations were reversed (this is common practice, as Narsus mentions), and they would take SLAVES where Lusitania is burning books. That’s no better.

      It’s also important to separate “Pars” from “Arslan”. Remember: Both Kharlan and Silvermask are Parsian as well, and Pars as a whole held slaves. Yes, Arslan is being painted as a wholly good guy, but he’s just one kid. As far as the cultures go, there’s no clear good guy or bad guy. One just happens to be under the heel of the other at the moment, and that role change makes one appear sympathetic, the other, villainous.

      1. Not really. It’s not the actions I see cartoonishly evil, but the execution.

        Except for Etoile and that Lusitanian commander whose name I cannot remember, Lusitanians are devoid of positive qualities. In battle, they are mooks easily killed (they win because Silver Mask, a Parsian!, is helping them). They are leaded by their useless buffoon of a king and their Inquisitor is a one-dimensional maniac who laughs and smiles sadistically and pushes one of their own soldiers into the fire for the slightest of doubts. And the name of their religion? “Sacred ignorance”. Subtle.

        In comparison, even the worst of the Parsians has some good qualities and the reason behind their evil (Silver Mask, Kharlan) or failures (Andragoras, Parsian society in general) are discussed and developed further.

      2. Well the author of the original novels stated he based Pars on Persia and some other arabic countries and Lusitania is based in the Crusaders of the catholic faith so it makes sense that some people see the Lusitanians as cartoonish when it comes to evil but belive me, the catholics did much worse horrible atrocities in the name of their faith. The author said he exaggerated a little in the part of the Lussitanins but I don´t think he did, people do unspeakble things using gods as an excuse; I think gods had enough of us humans using them to justify our selfishness and evils.

      3. I know. I’m currently doing a work about the destruction of libraries through history. In fact, the part about the Lusitanian soldier suggesting to save medicine books seems to be based on the burning of books in Granada in 1499. One person did suggest the same to cardinal Cisneros, the religious zealot responsible of the burning… and he actually saved them and then founded a university. Life is full of twists.

        My issue is still that Lusitanians look too stupid, simple and useless to be credible even as a menace. I’m okay if they are zealots, but at least be competent about it! So far, all their victories have been thanks to Silver Mask, and their side and values are not developed at all. You could replace them with a zerg horde and the story would play the same.

      4. Sounds like the main key is that the Lusitanians aren’t well developed, and thee, you’re absolutely right. They need to spend more time developing some of the enemy, so their side as a whole isn’t so one-dimensional.

  5. And here I thought either Daryun or Narsus getting some kind of clue who the silver mask person might be, since they were sorta able to get a glimpse at his scarred face, but I guess not?

    Also wondering, so there is actually witchcraft in the show now?

    1. Hermes has undoubtedly grown up since they last saw him (I’m assuming they did), and they might not even know he was burned. Just like with the soldiers not recognizing Arslan, it’s not surprising that they didn’t recognize the old king’s son, even if they likely had cause to meet him when he was a kid.

  6. Today’s endcard is by mangaka Ina Megumi, creator of semi-educational manga series Shogi no Watanabe-kun, on how to play shogi.

    Andragoras is yelling,”YASHASUIIN!!” (his battle cry), thus scaring poor Watanabe-kun.

  7. In the novels, the Lusitanian soldiers hate Bodin too. They were booing him when he was torturing Shapur, feeling it dishonourable for him to treat a brave man that way.

    Bodin is also fluent in Parsian, but speaks in a thick Lusitanian accent. He was insulting Shapur in Parsian.
    (All characters speak in their native language in the novels; some like Bodin are bilingual.)

    1. That´s the thing when you want to have a decent convesation with a religious fanatic, they´re so annoying that after a while you just want to choke them. You should read The Dark Tower for a prime example of fanatism.

  8. Giese X Farangis best pair!
    Well the mad priest had all too many historical counterparts, from Savonarola to Torquemada, to fanatics who burned Great Library of Alexandria… I want him dead so much…
    I am very much interested in possible
    Show Spoiler ▼

  9. I have no idea what Bodin’s fate is going to be. What would be cool though is if Narsus makes good on his promise and takes out that evil priest. And with the way Narsus thinks, I can only imagine that what he’s going to do to Bodin won’t be pretty. Speaking of Narsus it’s funny how they inserted that little gag in a pretty serious situation. Being chased by Lusitanians the last thing Narsus should worry about is being called a bad painter.

  10. You know, reading is more than a hobby to me, that and watching anime and manga has been something I´ve enjoy my whole life so when I saw that bastard burning books I almost screamed! What the hell was that!? When you burn books you´re destroying a country for good, as long as knowledge persist a kingdom never ever die. Just ask the greek if anyone has forgotten about their legacy.

    P.S.: There´s a very special place in hell for book burners, right beside pedophiles, papists and traitors.

    1. As someone who writes books, agreed. Our accumulated knowledge (held largely in books) is what separates us from the ancestors we came from. We stand on the shoulders of giants, but we can only do that if we, as a society, remember what our forebears said! To burn them… *shudder* Scum.

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