OP2: 「渦と渦」 (Uzu to Uzu) by NICO Touches the Walls
「異国の王子」 (Ikoku no Ouji)
“The Foreign Prince”
Ignore the principles of war at your own peril. Assume you know what Arslan’s group will do at your misfortune. But most of all, try to out-drink Farangis at your doom. Poor one out for Gieve, gents.
A short note on our friendly rightful heir to the throne, Silermask. At first I found it puzzling that he would withdraw when he had a golden opportunity to sneak back in and kill Arslan (though it would of course be natural to assume Arslan would have a strong guard at all times now). But it actually makes sense. Arslan was certainly rattled by Bahman’s death, but Hermes was as well. It would be like if Arslan were to have accidentally killed Vahriz. For the extremely flappable Hermes to be shaken up by the death of one of the men who helped raise him, a man he himself killed, and who died protecting the rival Hermes sought to slay—yeah. I can see that messing him up a bit.
The Three Principles of War
Pars’ three principles of war were like something out of the Art of War. It was the mention of heaven that first brought this to mind (the Art of War is big on referring to heaven and earth, at least in the translations I’ve read), but the lessons themself were right out of there as well. First: Heaven’s time. Weather. We, of course, have the advantage of knowing full well that invading Russia in the winter is unwise (and related mishaps), but it’s no surprise that an Indian—sorry, Sindhuran prince like Rajendra (Toriumi Kousuke), especially one as foolhardy as he is, wouldn’t pay heed to it.
Next: Terrain’s advantage. Knowing the lay of the land. It’s the lazy strategist depends on main strength—and true, to quote The Order of the Stick’s Xykon, “In any battle, there’s always a level of force against which no tactics can succeed.” But this wasn’t one of them, my friends! Using their knowledge of the terrain, Narsus was able to flank the Sindhuran army no less than three times, and knock them off balance—even with a numbers disadvantage of 1-to-5.
Third: People’s harmony. Morale. One of the more underrated elements, I feel. When the banners of Gadevi appeared, I knew Narsus’ trickery had struck again, and when we saw Alfreed and Elam inside the enemy army, it was already over. They fell for everything Narsus planned, hook, line, and sinker.
I don’t feel like I’m getting my excitement across about how great this battle was. It was awesome! The whole thing was a big long stream of “keikaku doori,” and I was damn near cackling along with Narsus’ stratagems. And it was all capped off not by Daryun and Narsus capturing the prince, nor even Farangis (as I assumed when his horse was felled by an arrow), but Alfreed. I’m glad she apparently got a promotion to a full member of Arslan’s troupe. Well deserved.
It’s exactly like Arslan to speak softly, especially when he has Daryun and Narsus to carry the big stick. For the longest time at the banquet, I was wondering whether their goal was to ply Rajendra with wine, to get him drunk and to negotiate with him then. And perhaps that helped, though he sobered up admirably when it came time to do business. Mostly I just enjoyed how Farangis interceded, probably to keep Arslan from getting too drunk to do his part, and Gieve, all jealous, had to butt in. Lesson learned, gentlemen: Don’t try to out-drink Farangis. She will destroy you.
Related: I want to drink with Farangis now. Is it bad that all my favorite anime characters are older women who like to drink? Moving on.
Their plan can go largely without comment. Classic Narsus! I did appreciate that they thought far enough ahead to make their alliance a fait accompli, by announcing it before Rajendra agreed. That changed the calculus, making him a traitor (unless he wins), so he was forced to come along. I can’t help but think he might not be happy about being forced into this, though. They still need him to return the favor.
Looking Ahead – Spoiler OP Sinhuran Ally
I was initially annoyed that the OP and ED spoiled the fact that a Sindhuran would be joining Arslan’s gang. But now I’m not, because the crucial question remains: Which brother will ascend to the throne? Jaswant (Hatano Wataru) works for Gadevi right now, or rather, his Grand Vizier Mahendra, but will that be how things remain? We know at least one Sindhuran will end up helping Arslan, but that’s small potatoes. Us anime-only watchers still don’t know shit other than that.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The three principles of war lead to wine diplomacy, which lead to the march on a new capital. What an awesome episode! #arslan 14
- Of course Farangis is the only one who gets a costume change. Though granted, it is winter, and her old one would be chilly. I like that Kishward is going to be joining Arslan’s party as well. I like that guy a lot.
- The frozen lake bit was perhaps overkill, a bit much in the legend that is Narsus. It was saved by my realization that, unlike how such things usually work in fiction, not everyone who was on the cracked ice immediately died. It just disrupted their army, which was the point more than anything.
- Despite their frenemy vibes, it looks like the OP is shipping Alfreed with Narsus, and Elam with Arslan. Make of that what you will, you crazy kids.
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: How to save Twitter, The secret to enjoying a long life, Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, and How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love.
ED2: 「One Light」by Kalafina