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Arslan Senki – 12

「騎士の忠義」 (Kishi no Chuugi)
“A Knight’s Loyalty”

A solid episode of three parts, underscored by one theme: Recognizing the rulers who are worth fighting for.

Narsus Saves The Day

I was surprised they led with a Narsus bit, since I expected him to remain mysterious until he suddenly popped up somewhere unpleasant for his enemies. Which, to be fair, is what he did (minus the mysterious part). Two things I liked about Silvermask’s slaughter of the Zot Clan. One, I liked that Silvermask wasn’t planning to let Alfreed (Numakura Manami) live. There’s a subtle sexism at work when female character aren’t killed in mortal combat when all the men are, but that’s not what happened. She was just a little better than the others, and Silvermask was apparently probing how good she was. But he was still planning to kill her, had not Narsus intervened. That’s not the fun kind of equality—no one wants to get cut down by a sword—but it counts.

The other part I liked was the laugh I got when I realized that Narsus had suckered Silvermask into accepting his challenge at face value. It was like an inside joke that only Narsus and the audience were in on. Which is to say: Never engage Narsus in a fair fight. He wouldn’t be fighting at all if it was fair. Narsus is always going to tip things in his favor, so you have to kill him quick or defuse all his plans—and even then, you can never be sure. So probably best to kill him fast, if you can manage. Otherwise it’s rocks fall, (almost) everyone dies (reference!).

Bonus: I like how quickly (and obviously) Alfreed latched onto Narsus. It was clear once she started inquiring about his age that she was angling for Mrs. Narsus … or at least, using him to get revenge on Silvermask. Or both? Either way, I feel like she and I are going to get along just fine.

Guiscard’s Gambit

I love me some politics, as my blogging history clearly shows. Guiscard’s gambit to excise Bodin was not only a treat to see, but it had a side benefit: No more Bodin! (Or at least, not for now.) That crazy priest was getting on my nerves, so I’m glad he’s out of the picture. Not, I think, forever though. Unless Guiscard orchestrates an assassination on the way to Maryam (which is what I would do), I expect we’ll see that asshole and his zealots again. Hopefully when his head is on a pike.

A Coclusive Answer

This episode gave us one conclusive answer: we have magic. Which … I’m not sure how I feel about, to be honest. I like that the magic doesn’t appear to be the end all, be all, since Daryun was still able to triumph with a good old spear to the chest. Yet I also wished it had stayed more of a background element. Hm. Well, we’ll see how it develops from here.

A Prince Worth Fighting For

The theme of this episode bridged the Narsus act with the Daryun one. While Narsus rejected Silvermask, whose swordsmanship is neigh unparalleled but is lacking as a man, Daryun dismissed outright the matter of Arslan’s origins. While Arslan’s claim to the throne is admittedly useful (it would be harder to rule the kingdom justly from any other position), that’s not why they serve him. They serve him for him. Like I said before, that’s the foundation of true loyalty, and it further accentuates the difference between Silvermask and Arslan. One is a good man, while the other is a angry thug who deserves to die.

Looking Ahead – The Battle For Narsus

I can’t wait for next week’s episode even more than usual, because the battle among Narsus’ entourage looks like it’ll be hilarious! Narsus is on his way to his own adventuring party, once this kingdom retaking thing is done. Hopefully that will keep him away from the easel, to the benefit of all.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Narsus scores a hanger-on, Guiscard moves against Bodin, & Arslan proves once again what kind of man he is #arslan 12

Random thoughts:

  • Finally, the Zot Clan provided some mooks the Lusitanians could look competent against.
  • How did his horse get on top of those rocks? First Xandes’ horse last episode, now Silvermask’s horse this time. They’re the real badasses of this story.
  • I like Alfreed. She wanted to cry when her father and friends died, but she held it back as long as she could. That’s relateable strength.
  • I like that both Silvermask and Xandes got too loose in the lips, which is why both Narsus and Daryun realize what’s going on now.
  • Speaking of Xandes, I enjoyed when he was talking about being the true loyal subjects of Pars when there were Lusitanian soldiers all around him. Not smart, idiot.
  • Speaking of Xandes Part 3: Farangis shot him in the back, but his body fell down a cliff, which they purposefully showed. If we’re going by what’s realistic, he’s probably dead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he reappears. (trope!) Though hopefully not. He was nothing compared to his father.

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: Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, Guilty pleasures are bullshit, and A lifestyle designed for productivity.

 

Preview

End Card

June 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm
25 comments »
  • June 22, 2015 at 11:22 pmewok40k

    I am Alreedo Zot. You killed my father. Prepare to die!

  • June 22, 2015 at 11:33 pmTadashi

    As soon as I saw Alfreed, I thought she looked to be around Arslan’s age… therefore possible love interest?

    • June 23, 2015 at 12:14 amthat’s so raven

      But why? I ship Arslan and Elam so hard it hurts.

    • June 23, 2015 at 9:52 amgrav

      Huhuhu~ I waited for the Narsus summoning whirlwind part… Sadly none. XD They did change it into a more realistic phenomenon tho..

  • June 23, 2015 at 1:07 amMako

    I loved the episode but the last battle made me laugh, especially when Arslan was sent flying and Elam goes even higher to catch him and then we have Super Daryun’s weird running animation.

    But overall a really good episode, as you mentioned we got some nice politic antics, plenty battles and a promising follow-up.

    • June 23, 2015 at 2:21 amcass0

      Daryun’s weird running animation was him breaking the sound barrier. He activated some inner power that few people in this series has. Silvermask is going to die when he tries to kill Arslan. It will just initiate Daryun’s beast mode and that will be all she wrote.

    • June 23, 2015 at 5:00 amZero

      +1 on the end of battle part. Tbh, there was a lot of awkward “high” jumping throughout the episode…

  • June 23, 2015 at 1:24 amWarriorsHeart

    • June 23, 2015 at 2:08 amReikakou

      I think Alfreed is a beauty if she removes the bandana and the red paint mark.

      • June 27, 2015 at 6:29 pmRiktol

        But the red paint makes her go faster…

    • June 23, 2015 at 10:07 amSaburau

      More like a love triangle.

    • June 26, 2015 at 1:56 pmIrenesharda

      I think so too. Aren’t they even about the same age? I remember that Elam is older than Arslan, but I don’t remember by how much.

  • June 23, 2015 at 1:31 amzztop

    Today’s endcard is by Tazawa Ushio, animation designer for the Arslan anime. His job’s to adapt Arakawa’s designs for anime format.

  • June 23, 2015 at 6:30 amzztop

    The magic of Arslan’s world is intentionally written as a mysterious force of nature, instead of a quantified order of magic per most fantasy series.

  • June 23, 2015 at 9:32 amzztop

    Hermes, you fool! You’ve played straight into al-Thamen’s hands! Now you will fall into depravity, the Black Rukh shall spread, and the world will be corrupted by darkness!!! All will be lost and……….
    …….Oops, wrong series. ;P

  • June 23, 2015 at 10:23 amSaburau

    Pars army don’t have wizards, and Lucitanians don’t have them either.
    None of Arslan’s party members use magic, other than Farangiis talking to genies. And even she doesn’t do any other magical thing.
    We got a bunch of wicked wizards, men in black, but basically that’s about it. And probably one magic item later on.
    There is magic, yes but in nature this is more like a pseudo-history book than an ordinary fantasy novel.

  • June 23, 2015 at 3:31 pmLithonite

    Hate to admit it.. I loved the scene when Daryun went ape shit no jutsu.
    I am not convinced mr magic man is dead, but was very much please it isnt OP casting from the distance.

    All in all one of my favorite series this season. If there was a serialized manga I could have skipped ahead with I would have done it.

    Good story, nice set of main characters, and decent rate of progression…

    Although if he Xandes is in fact dead.. I will have found little value in the introduction of his character. Frankly, to only to get wasted, shortly after being introduce; having little\no effect on our heroes( other than the prose we had about the legitimacy of Arslan’s claim to the throne.r ) will have turned out to be a complete waste of time and total filler

    • June 23, 2015 at 4:06 pmStilts

      Even if he’s dead, I don’t think Xandes was a waste. Not every character need be ultra important, and the sheer act of his giving away the game about their being another claimant to the throne makes the time we spent with his character (which was minimal, given how much of it was shared with and from the PoV of Daryun) worth it.

      I still don’t think he’s dead, though. Or wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t, at least.

  • June 23, 2015 at 5:24 pmhaseo0408

    You know how Daryum was seriously considering taking 50.000 soldiers alone? Well people, we have our answer, this guy can and definitely will do it if that´s what it takes to protect his only King. If I were Silvermask I would feel a chill down my spine right about now, between Daryum and Narsus you have two very different but equally dangerous badasses and here my words, this kind of guys don´t die easily.

  • June 23, 2015 at 6:59 pmMormegil

    …is Daryun even human?

  • June 24, 2015 at 5:40 amMistic

    Fascinating. Lusitanians led by a competent commander tend to kill more and die less easily even if the commander isn’t giving them any orders. If you add the superhuman feats of strength that some warriors (coughDaryuncough) showcase from time to time, I wonder if the anime crew has been playing Dynasty Warriors before making this series.

    Guiscard hould take the crown already. Now that he’s taken care of Bodin, he should watch Silver Mask closely. Because Silver Mask must be plotting something; he wants the crown of Pars and he can’t get it if the Lusitanians annex the kingdom.

  • June 24, 2015 at 2:05 pmFashra3

    ah Daryun the Zhao yun to Arslan Liu Bei.

    • June 25, 2015 at 9:14 amMistic

      That would make Narsus their Zhuge Liang

  • June 27, 2015 at 11:47 amgrayne

    1st time i agreed with with silver mask man, about the zot tribe – they ARE just a bunch a bandits with delusions of grandeur

    and i think alfreed falls for narsus, with annoys elam because he is a bit possessive of narsus as his master/saviour from slavery -> and so alfreed/elam don’t get on well.