「ふたたび河をこえて」 (Futatabi Kawa o Koete)
“Once Again Across the River”
And so the Sindhuran campaign comes to a close.
Rajendra, The Faker
I find it fitting that I finally finished watching Unlimited Blade Works today, for I’m once again watching an anime with a consummate faker. (Yes, I just finished UBW. I’m really good at putting off the things I want to do. Sometimes way too long. I know, I know, I’m weird.) Yet unlike Shirou, Rajendra is a different type of faker. He’s an actor. A method actor, to be specific; he can create within himself the emotions he feels he should have to such a degree that it’s practically indistinguishable from the real thing. Which is a useful skill, even if it’s a dangerous one. How do you keep track of yourself when you’re constantly shifting, and the façade is as real as it’s not? Rajendra makes for an interesting characters, and I almost feel like, an underutilized one; it would be fascinating to see a character like him in another setting, where his relentless duplicity would be harder to sniff out. Alas, in this case he’s up against Narsus, and Narsus sees through everything.
The Quality of Arslan’s Rule
I feel like political situations are actually where Arslan’s strengths lie. When Rajendra all but forces the extra soldiers onto Arslan, he doesn’t let on that it’s a trick in the slightest, and I’m certain that he knew at that point. Arslan is a bit of a performer himself, but whereas Rajendra can play many roles, Arslan can only play the one: Arslan. But he can at least play (and deal) a mean hand ‘o political cards.
Likewise, I like how he calmly, and seemingly without reservation, revealed to Jaswant that he likely wasn’t the true prince of Pars. The understated fashion in which he said it belies how much that meant. That’s information that could ruin Arslan, and he calmly and unflinchingly gave it to Jaswant. It shows the volume of trust he was willing to put in Jaswant. I’m sure Jaswant got the message. That Arslan was willing to risk it all to be honest with Jaswant is … wow. Just wow. That’s how he keeps people like Daryun around. Because he does shit like that.
Rajendra’s Dirty Trick, & Pars’ Reply
Rajendra’s goal in his final dirty trick was to bend Arslan over a barrel (er, not that way. Hey, stop drawing that doujinshi! *slaps hand* Stop it stop it stop it!), just as Arslan and Narsus ended up bending Rajendra over. (*swats pen out of hand* No! Make up your own BL plot!) Which … well, to our eyes it seemed stupid. But then again, we have the advantage of knowing who the protagonists are, and knowing just how much the show has built Narsus up as unbeatable. It did seem like a bad play on the risk/reward axis, since Pars could have, oh I don’t know, killed him. But Rajendra is nothing if not ambitious. That’s exactly what helped him take the throne. For people like Rajendra, it’ll take more than a couple of whoopings by Pars to make him learn that lesson.
As for Pars’ counter stroke, like I said, we have the advantage of knowing who the protagonists are. Until Pars once again goes up against someone it feels like they can (occasionally) lose to, it’s not going to be a surprise when one of Narsus’ stratagems wins them the day.
Looking Ahead – Back To Pars
Speaking of, it looks like we’re heading back to Pars. Which is good, because Silvermask seems to be the only strategist who has a chance of matching Arslan. I also look forward to getting Kishward back in here. Twin swords are waaaay more fun when only one guy in the whole story has them.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Rajendra takes the throne, Gadevi loses his life, Jaswant joins the team, & Pars puts one last one over on Sindhura #arslan 18
- Apparently, Arslan doesn’t think he’s Andragoras’ OR Tahamenay’s child. Which could be the case (it would explain why Tahamenay was so cold to him), could not be the case, or … no, there’s only those two options, I suppose.
- The pre-execution banquet is bastardly! …I like it. You’re cold as ice, Rajendra.
- I like how Rajendra called himself and Arslan brothers at heart. Yeah, real comforting, after Arslan just saw what happened to your real brother (even if Gadevi did push him to it).
- Look at these smug, bishie sonsofbitches.
- Loved the little bit of philosophy behind the three years at the end. It’s true. Too much and the human brain goes, “…fuck it!” If they asked for fifty, Rajendra would have been invading before summertime. With three, they just might have a shot of him keeping his word.
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: Passing the Bechdel Test, Absence (from work) makes the heart grow fonder, The Kingsman princess joke, Be the anime blogger, and If you find yourself using buzzwords, STOP.
Full-length images: 35.