「聖マヌエル城の攻防」 (Hijiri Manueru-jou no Koubou)
“The Battle for the Keep of Saint Emmanuel”
Named characters are going up against named characters, and not all of them are going to survive.
It’s hard not to compare Xandes to Kharlan, what with them being son and father. Kharlan was a much better character, and a more formidable enemy. No, that’s not fair—a more formidable enemy, certainly. But Xandes is nothing if not consistent in being a bit of an idiot who’s far too gung-ho for his own good (and who doesn’t think ahead). It’s a measure of how thin Hermes’ support really is that he has to depend on someone like Xandes, when Arslan’s side has people like Kubard coming in out of nowhere to help. Xandes is most closely mirrored on Arslan’s side by the san baka commanders that Jaswant and Gieve quarreled with. If Hermes had a stronger pool of allies, I’m sure he’d relegate Xandes to a minor commander, not the man in charge of his cavalry. Which didn’t end up working out well for Hermes.
I don’t really feel Hermes’ touch in this battle. Everything has been very standard, with the only real mistake being Xandes’ charge on the fake Parsian camp. Hell, Saam has had more an impact, with how he showed his face to screw with Pars’ morale and intercepted Kishward. I could only think, when Daryun and Xandes faced off, and Xandes lost (no surprise), that Daryun may have done Hermes a favor. Provided Hermes survives long enough to come back from it. And provided the shadow people didn’t save Xandes’ life, instead of just disappearing the body. If he’s still alive, I’ma be pissed.
On the other hand, there was Saam. Like I said, he seemed to have a much bigger effect on the battle, being the instrument that Hermes acted through (or perhaps he did it all on his own). But: “He deserves to at least have me by his side.” Isn’t that weak reasoning to side with a man who has brought invaders into your home land, and who you’re just hoping will get less rage-filled and revenge-obsessed as time goes on? In this, at least, even Xandes has a better reason for what he’s doing, and Kharlan was (once again) better still. I like Saam a lot. Him being on Hermes’ side feels like one of the only things keeping the whole thing sporting. But for that to basically be his reason for doing so is weak.
A few tips, Étoile. (1) Don’t try to convert people to your religion mid-battle. It’s rude, and liable to get you killed. (2) Don’t get surprised when you kill people in battle. Though that’s understandable if it’s your first time doing it, I just thought you’d popped your killin’ cherry before this. (3) You’re lucky to be alive after those Parsian knights messed you up, then kept riding instead of finishing you off. Maybe treasure that life more?
Either way, it had to happen: She found out that boy she kept bumping into is Arslan. I’ll be interested to see how this all shakes down, because someone as firm in their (hyper-zealous) beliefs as Étoile is doesn’t usually change their mind real quick. Either way, I think we all had the same reaction at the end there: Back the fuck up, Arslan! Even if you know that one soldier, and don’t think he (“he” as far as Arslan knows) will instantly gut you like a fish, you don’t know the jackass right next to him. Though Arslan still has armor and a sword, so hopefully he’s ready to dodge fast if his hearts-and-minds offensive backfires.
Looking Ahead – The Decisive Battle
I feel like we spent so much time in the wilderness with these characters, whereas the actual war portions are oddly lacking. When I find myself looking back with some fondness on Madan no Ou to Vanadis—which was hyper rushed, but at least featured more than three major big-army battles (Atropatene, Ecbatana, and Saint Emmanuel)—that’s not the best of signs for a series that seemed like there were going to be so many. Oh, and there were all those Sindhuran battes, which were pretty cool. But come on, man! I wanted more out of the final battles against Lusitania!
Ah well. Only two more episodes, so I guess they’re trying to give us some actual resolution by the end, which I do appreciate. Though I kinda wish they hadn’t shown the episode preview this time. It’s not like I expect Arslan to get killed by Étoile, but now we know they’ll be getting inside. The only question remaining: How? Also, what happened to Kishward, what happens with Étoile, and what happens next. So there are a lot of questions left. Shut uuuupp!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Hermes might have numbers, but Arslan has quality people all across the battlefield. Hermes has Saam & Xandes. Well, had Xandes #arslan 23
- Barcacion keeps trying to protect Étoile. I know he was a friend of Étoile’s grandfather, but I got the feeling that Étoile might be some kind of noble after all. It’s believable, since some commoner probably wouldn’t be friends with the former Chief Royal Librarian. There’s still a chance! (Shippiiiiiing!)
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: True Ends, Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals, What are your two skills?, and Passing the Bechdel Test.