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Arslan Senki – 23 »« Arslan Senki – 21

Arslan Senki – 22

「出撃前夜」 (Shutsugeki Zen’ya)
“The Night Before the Attack”

This was a buildup episode if I’ve ever seen one.

Silvermask Returns to Ecbatana

I enjoyed the interplay between Guiscard and his lackeys, if only to further emphasize that Guiscard isn’t as dumb as most of Narsus’ enemies. Everyone else Team Arslan has faced so far would have fallen for Narsus’ low-balling trick, but Guiscard sniffed it out and sent 100K troops to face their “60,000″ (really more). Which made me all the more curious when Silvermask reappeared, and Guiscard loaned him 70K Lusitanian troops to crush Arslan.

I can’t decide whether Guiscard is smart to use Silvermask for this long, or unwise to leave such a potent enemy alive while he still has the chance to slip a blade between his ribs. Since this is Arslan Senki, the writing is on the wall on who’s going to ultimately win, and we pretty much know that Hermes is the final boss, but I could see Guiscard and Lusitania being a detail Arslan needs to clean up after Hermes bites it. Guiscard is one of the more interesting characters, because he’s enmeshed in a web of plots that haven’t been explored as thoroughly. For now I hesitate to say that this is a smart move, but if I were him I’d be looking to off Silvermask soon. That dude is dangerous.

Andragoras’ Prophecy

Not gonna lie, I snorted out loud when Andragoras started talking about some prophecy. Any time the mystical intrudes into Arslan Senki, save for perhaps Farangis’ djinns (who, like all good spirits and gods, and better heard and not seen), I feel like it’s for ill, and a sudden prophecy seems so out of place here. That said, I liked the moment at the end, where Andragoras’ words came back to Hermes, and he scoffed. I feel like, as a strategy to get inside Hermes’ head, something like this prophecy works. I just wish I didn’t have to worry about it being revealed that Arslan was “destined” to win all along now.

Elam x Alfreed x Narsus 4ever!!1!

Excuse me for that section title. I’ll go sit in the corner and think about what I’ve done.

I loved the tsundere act between Alfreed and Elam. It was both funny and got them out of a pinch, which is appreciated. But when juxtaposed with Alfreed asking Farangis about Gieve later on, the eloping gag felt all the more … anime, if that makes sense? It’s like I said before, Farangis and Gieve have an adult relationship, whatever that entails. With Elam and Alfreed (and by extension, Narsus), it feels more like shipping characters. I’m used to that, and it’s plenty fun, so it’s okay. It’s just that Farangis and Gieve showed that we could have more in our romantic pairings.

Looking Ahead – The Battle Comes

This was a buildup episode, so there’s not a huge amount to talk about. It did it’s job, and though some events were wobbly—the prophecy, or Saam talking about kicking Lusitania out of Ecbatana when there were Lusitanian soldiers right behind him, for instance—it largely did it’s job. This isn’t the episode we remember. The next ones are. So let’s get to it.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A buildup ep, where Silvermask is pissed, Guiscard is smart, Alfreed & Elam are tsundere, & there’s some prophecy. Next time: War #arslan 22

Random thoughts:

  • “Even if he were killed, he is not the sort to die, now is he?” Thanks for that wisdom, Shir—Faragnis.
  • Arslan’s visit to Japan? Pfft, please. It’s all about Farangis (dat dress), Daryun (dat suit), and Gieve (dat Gieve). I also enjoyed the angry, lurking Hermes, hah!

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: Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals, What are your two skills?, Passing the Bechdel Test, and Absence (from work) makes the heart grow fonder.

 

Preview

End Card

September 7, 2015 at 8:46 pm
33 comments »
  • September 7, 2015 at 9:52 pmRyan Ashfyre

    Gotta say that I’m hoping for Hermes to pull a proverbial rabbit out of his hat or else his is going to be quite the anticlimactic end, indeed.

  • September 8, 2015 at 12:03 amigniteous

    This may have been a build-up episode, but I gotta say that this whole series so far feels like it’s been building up. I’m waiting for the main action!

  • September 8, 2015 at 1:32 amWarriorsHeart

    Seems to me that Guisgard is better at playing the patient game than Hermes. Hermes is the stupidest villain ever who clearly doesn’t have a plan for the future of Pars.

    • September 8, 2015 at 10:17 amStilts

      I don’t think Hermes is the stupidest villain ever. He’s tactically and strategically (to a point) intelligent, as evidenced by that whole Battle of Atropatene. It’s just that his emotional intelligence is so thoroughly stunted that he can’t think beyond his own short-sighted rage.

      Which at least fits. They’ve been portraying him like that throughout, so it won’t be a surprise when it is his undoing.

      • September 8, 2015 at 11:16 amWarriorsHeart

        “He’s tactically and strategically (to a point) intelligent, as evidenced by that whole Battle of Atropatene.”

        Sadly, that intelligence of his and his character haven’t been expanded upon since then. Potentially, he has a tragic background that warrants him a certain amount of sympathy, but I just don’t feel anything. I’ve never read the original source material, but was he such a shallow character with anger management issues? Or is he such a well portrayed character that he makes me angry whenever he loses his marbles? Quite disappointing for the supposedly final villain of the story. I forgot to mention that he’s also blind, too blinded by his rage although justifiably. There’s the issue of what comes after when he does defeat Arslan and company. What hope does he have of driving away the huge Lusitanian force (even accounting after the force has been reduced in numbers)? I usually enjoy vengeful characters but Hermes is one that annoys the hell out of me. I’m sorry, please don’t take this personally.

      • September 8, 2015 at 1:55 pmStilts

        I don’t take it personally, no worries. Thanks for commenting so we could discuss it more!

    • September 8, 2015 at 1:40 pmIrenesharda

      I have to agree with Stilts, Hermes might have anger issues, but he’s still a very intelligent and shrewd villain. The only time his emotions actually seem to be an issue is when he’s talking to Andragoras or Arslan, and considering his reasons, that’s understandable. When he’s with the Lusitanians, he’s a cool cucumber. He knows what to do to influence each of the key players of the the enemy kingdom, from stroking Guiscard’s ego in order to manipulate him, to knowing how Bodin’s mindset works and how to take him off the playing field.

      He also listens to the advice of the advisors around him, something that Andragoras never did. He heads their advice and uses it to devise his plans. I would say that he’s far from stupid, even if he’s not the most emotional level people either.

      • September 8, 2015 at 2:37 pmWarriorsHeart

        I kind of disagree with you. I wouldn’t say Hermes has successfully manipulated Guisgard, that guy seems to have a few tricks up his sleeves and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the upper hand.

        I still say Hermes is stupid, because despite how much time has passed the person who he should exact revenge on is still alive (yes, there’s a reason to keep him alive) and as he has allowed this situation to drag on for too long he now faces the problem of a prophecy. He’s strong and skilled, but he couldn’t kill Arslan, a fourteen-year-old unguarded. Seems to me like his intelligence was a once in a life time feat.

      • September 8, 2015 at 3:19 pmIrenesharda

        I don’t really agree with that, nothing about what you said denotes a lack of intelligence. When I’m talking about Hermes manipulating Guiscard, go back to when the guy was having to deal with his idiotic brother. Hermes was right there goading him on telling him that the people know who is really in charge and who it was that was responsible for the victory, he even subtly suggested Guiscard taking his brother’s place, to which the man didn’t deny. Guiscard might be more wary of him now, but it wasn’t always that way.

        As for him keeping Andragoras alive? well that’s part of that emotional revenge thing that he’s got going. He want his uncle to suffer like he did, so instead of killing him, he’s dismantling his kingdom right over his head. He would bring his wife and son’s heads to keep him company if he could.
        With him unable to kill Arslan, well again, there’s that emotional Achilles heel that I mentioned. He likes to savor his revenge when he can after it’s been such a long time coming. Also, you forget he has a large scale phobia of fire that stopped him from being able to finish Arslan. And that’s not something he can control and is certainly not an indication of stupidity.

        Like I said, he’s got emotional anger issues, which are understandable considering what he’s been through, but emotional issues does not equal a lack of intelligence. There are many geniuses who had worse emotional and mental problems than this.

      • September 8, 2015 at 3:21 pmMistic

        You know, I wonder why Andragoras is alive too. I mean, he’s not useful for anyone.

        The Lusitanians? They hate him. If their king wants to be king of Pars too, Andragoras should disappear. Hermes? Oh, boy, he wants him dead more than anyone. Arslan? Ok, his side doesn’t want him death… but let’s be honest, Andragoras is the major obstacle to Arslan.

        Yes, yes, I said it right. Let’s suppose for a moment Arslan wins and Andragoras gets free. What happens next? Old Andragoras would revoke whatever Arslan said about freeing slaves, would guarantee the nobility’s privileges and there’s even the risk he may choose another wife to have a different heir, given that he now knows what Arslan’s plans for the future are.

        Of course, it won’t happen, but whatever side’s point of view you choose, Andragoras survival benefits no one.

      • September 8, 2015 at 3:51 pmIrenesharda

        @Mistic
        From what I’ve heard, we’re actually less than a third through the story that the original material tells, so there is quite a bit of story to go. If that’s the case, then I’m betting that everything you said about Andragoras taking power back and pushing his son to the side will indeed probably happen.
        That’s another reason why I don’t think Hermes will die at this point. There’s just too much story left to go.
        As to why the Lusitanians are keeping him alive? I don’t really know other as a favor to Silvermask. They didn’t show it as much in this version, but I know in the 90s OVA, Hermes has a long tirade to Andragoras about why he’s keeping him alive when he first reveals to him who he really is. Like I said, it’s basically to make him suffer just as he is, to have him know that everything is going to be taken from him and there is nothing he can do. For Hermes, death is too good from his uncle.

        Arslan would never kill of his father, even if he is a hindrance, and no one has even suggested that as a suggestion, though I’m sure someone like Narsus has thought about it.

      • September 8, 2015 at 4:01 pmMistic

        Only a third? Intriguing. Does that mean that there will be another season or an original anime ending?

      • September 8, 2015 at 6:27 pmIrenesharda

        I think we’ll probably finish at the end of this arc and they will either announce a second season, or they will wait a year or so for the manga to catch up, right now the episodes are pretty much just going on the novels, as we’ve gotten pretty ahead of the manga adaptation.
        I don’t think they’ll have an anime-original ending since it will mess up the story if they want to continue it later.

  • September 8, 2015 at 3:46 amGinobi47

    I guess its up to me to ask the question that no one seems to be asking.

    http://randomc.net/image/Arslan%20Senki/Arslan%20Senki%20-%2022%20-%20Large%2027.jpg

    What in gods name is this guy painting?!

    • September 8, 2015 at 4:53 amJoão Carlos

      A fruit basket… but I guess he just invented cubism…

      • September 8, 2015 at 11:53 amRedRocket

        Thanks that’s it I was trying to imagine what was freaking everyone out :) Well actually up till last few hundred years art was always striving for realism after all there were no cameras. So yes the first abstract art did get the oh my god thats hideous reactions.

  • September 8, 2015 at 3:51 amKimboslice

    Haha didn’t even see that little Herme’s peaking in the background of that end card~!

  • September 8, 2015 at 5:13 amzztop

    Today’s endcard artist, Yokoyama Ai, is an animator who has done key animations for works such as the recent Hunter x Hunter TV series, and the character designs for works such as the Bayonetta movie.

    Today’s endcard is also the busiest looking as well with lots of detail, such as the jealous Hermes in the background!

  • September 8, 2015 at 5:58 amMistic

    This was a nice, calm episode with scenes for everyone. Except Guieve, but he at least was mentioned.

    What I didn’t like were just two things:

    1. Yes, the prophecy. So now Arslan is destined to win? Poor Hermes. It’s not enough he suffered a coup d’etat, having his face burned, surviving in Lusitania, managing to defeat Andragoras against odds, having to build his army from scratch, having to deal between the usurper’s supporters and Guiscard, now he has to deal with a prophecy too?

    Seriously, at this point, Arslan’s hardships are a joke in comparison.

    2. The ex-slave soldiers. Yes, yes, it was nice that Arslan thought of giving them training. Such a good king! But then Fridge Logic kicked in: they’ve been building an army for weeks and then marching for days. Are you telling me that in all this time no one cared about giving them any training? Not even Narsus, who is managing all the army?

    • September 8, 2015 at 10:19 amStilts

      It was never said that Arslan was destined to win. I don’t even think that’s the case. I’m merely worried that it might be the case, which is unwelcome.

      Andragoras talked about the blood-soaked history of the Pars royal family, so it probably has something to do with that. Like at least two people in each generation are destined to fight for the throne. Which is the kind of prophecy that inspires a, “Duh,” from history fans, because where there was two possible rulers, there was usually a fight.

      • September 8, 2015 at 12:07 pmMistic

        Yeah, I’m worried too. Maybe I was jumping to assumptions, but since the narrator has been telling us from Day 1 that this is the boy who will become king… yeah, I’m not holding my breath.

  • September 8, 2015 at 11:13 amewok40k

    http://randomc.net/image/Arslan%20Senki/Arslan%20Senki%20-%2022%20-%20Large%2009.jpg
    those two are indeed made for shipping
    Narsus is optional

  • September 8, 2015 at 11:31 amIrenesharda

    Actually, the prophecy didn’t completely out of nowhere. Andragoras mentioned it back in episode 19 in his talk with Sam. Also, I’m not sure, but there was also a hint of it way in the beginning when the head sorcerer was talking to Hermes about the sons of Pars.

    Everyone is using everyone in this series. Guiscard is using Hermes to take out his enemies, while Hermes is doing the same. And I get the feeling that the sorcerers are using Hermes in some way as well. Even Narsus is in a way, using Arslan to accomplish his goals.

    Is anyone getting the feeling that Hermes is actually going to live after this end battle? I think he’ll still be around even after Arslan takes back Ecbatana. I’m thinking that he finds out that Arslan isn’t Andragoras’ son and that disorients him to the point that he backs off. Also, he might just send the Lusitanian soldiers off to the slaughter. What better way to get rid of them than using them as pawns? He’ll probably send them into on of Narsus’ traps.

    Also, who thinks Bodin is going to show up out of nowhere at the least opportune time possible to exact his revenge?

    • September 8, 2015 at 12:09 pmMistic

      I fear Bodin will be used as a way for pure, saintly Arslan not to stain his hands with blood. It could be Hermes’, Guiscard’s or Innotentius’ blood, as far as I see it.

      • September 8, 2015 at 12:54 pmIrenesharda

        Well the question is who does Bodin hold the most anger against? I’m going to say Guiscard since the two were close to coming to blows when he left. Also, he could also try to kill Innocentis because he was trying to get with a “heathen”. He might even try to get Tahamenay, but she probably can defend herself.

        Guiscard is away from the action in the capital, so I can see Bodin slipping in there to kill him during the time of the battle.

    • September 8, 2015 at 12:09 pmRedRocket

      Now I would love if Andragoras came up with the prophecy out his own ideas of how to truly mess over his captors and there was no prophecy. But yes a prophecy of coming in family fighting is a historical Duh well of course that will happen sooner or later. When your in the fake prophecy game forecasting almost sure things is key. Heck your fake prophecy can make people act based on it making it true.

      Bodin is a religious fanatic allowed to run back home. I’m sure he be able to scrape up new fanatics, heck he might even overthrow the caretaker government at home as the King and brother are away and take a new army in to set things right. Bodin might even pick up a competent sub commander. In no way is Bodin not a long run threat. Again I say Bodin seams one demential to outsiders like us viewers but he might actually and probably is great at religious theory in a conservative way and thus able to pull in like minded followers.

      Well we know Arslan is going to win as narrator told us he would, tells us Arslan will mature into a wise, strong, great king. Think that’s to try to get audience to tolerate all of Arslan’s flaws right now with a promise he will improve all his flaws. But clearly this is not working on everyone.

      • September 8, 2015 at 1:05 pmIrenesharda

        Interesting ideas about Bodin’s plans. Though, I think the only reason he didn’t get killed by Hermes is so he could fulfill some other parts of the plot, just in time to get killed by Narsus. Bodin is the only person that Narsus has sworn to personally take out himself. And I’ll be immensely satisfied when it happens. :)
        Maybe he’ll even torture him with having to view his artwork for hours beforehand? lol

        As for Arslan, I have absolutely no problems with him. I think people forget he’s only 14 years only in a society where that is still considered a child. He is maturing by leaps and bounds, but people forget he’s only a kid trying to find his way in this brutal situation with the entire nation sitting on his shoulders and his family dynamic falling apart in the background. That would be hard on anyone, much less a teenager who is about to or already is going through puberty.

      • September 8, 2015 at 2:33 pmStilts

        @ RedRocket

        Good points on Bodin. I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed back up with an army … which is exactly what Hermes is counting on, I suspect. Bodin is as much trouble for Lusitania as he is for Pars, so there’s at least even money that he’ll return to be a thorn in Giscard’s side.

        @ Irenesharda

        I agree on Arslan. I feel like many expect too much from him. Not that we shouldn’t expect a lot from our leaders, but some people expect them to be miracle workers, when they’re as human as all of us. Arslan is a pretty good guy, all things considered. That the experienced adults around him are more competent than him is to be expected—in fact, it’d be jarring if that weren’t the case.

      • September 8, 2015 at 3:15 pmMistic

        I think the problem with Arslan is that both the narration and his companions are always talking about how nice and good he is, what a perfect king he would be. It’s not just expectations when in-universe they are already singing his praises.

        That’s Character Shilling.

        So it’s not really Arslan’s problem, it’s the presentation. Take all those praises out and the show would have a very different feeling. Of course, even Arslan’s case pales in comparison to Narsus’. Since he appeared, there’s been someone saying how awesome he is in every freaking episode.

  • September 8, 2015 at 3:42 pmStyx

    I have got to say that this sudden prophecy out of nowhere has me concerned, it stinks almost as bad as a deus ex machina. Hopefully it just turns out to be Andragoras trying to piss off Hermes because in my opinion prophecies and chosen ones are lazy writing, especially when they come out of nowhere at the eleventh hour as this one has… :/

    • September 8, 2015 at 3:58 pmIrenesharda

      Well, like I wrote before, it has been mentioned before in a previous episode, so I don’t think it was simply just for Hermes’ sake. Also, in a series with sorcerers and crystal balls and shadow traveling, I think prophecies are not that unusual in this world.
      Whatever this prophecy is, it’s an old one, one from before Hermes’ time. I’m wondering if Tahamenay and Osroes knew about this prophecy too? It would be interesting what it actually entails and if perhaps it’s the reason that Andragoras named Arslan his son and heir even though Arslan isn’t of his blood?

  • September 8, 2015 at 9:31 pmHanabira.Kage

    > ‘“Even if he were killed, he is not the sort to die, now is he?” Thanks for that wisdom, Shir—Faragnis.’

    It’s a Japanese saying, Stilts.

  • September 11, 2015 at 8:47 amGlutton

    I will say how much I hate those dark scenes, even if it was to portray how dark the setting was.