OP: 「翼」 (Tsubasa) by Eir Aoi
「トゥラーン軍侵攻」 (Touraan-gun Shinkou)
“The Tuuraanian Army Invades”
Arslan Senki is back, and this first episode is a mixture of solid reintroductions and intriguing new developments.
Reintroduction By Way of Battle
Over all, I liked how Fuujin Ranbu went about reintroducing all our old friends. This series has leaned on name tags and voice-over narration heavily before, and here it works nicely because they don’t have to awkwardly work in everyone’s names into dialogue when they’re reminding us who they are. As for the meat of the reintroductions, they mostly take place during an opening battle which, yeah, we didn’t need to see all those individual skirmishes, but it was fun, right? If they’re going to blatantly reintroduce people, I prefer a little action to go along with it, instead of boring dialogue.
Speaking of voice-overs, this episode was a good example of how to use them, and also how not to. Explaining why Arslan and co turned back to Peshawar after getting halfway to Ecbatana was decent enough after they jumped straight to the action in the opening scenes (which was the right decision, by the way)—yes, they could have waited until characters naturally revealed why they turned back, which they did, but I was so damn curious why they were there that giving it to us blatantly was appreciated. Narrating why Guiscard was going down to see Andragoras? Less good, especially since the characters revealed everything the voice-over narration did anyway. Still, over all the reintroductions and narration worked fine.
Gieve the Swashbuckling Thief
On to new events, we got a couple awesome ones. Three, really, but the battle against Tuuraan is still heating up, so that won’t get good until we start getting battles with Narsus strategies. One of the stars this episode was undoubtedly Gieve, our resident multi-classed bard/rogue, and scoundrel extraordinaire. Sending him to steal Rukhnabad, a classic right-to-rule sword (ala Excalibur) was a daring gambit, and Gieve going up against Silver Mask, AKA Hermes, and holding his own? Zam! This is a man who fought Daryun and Narsus at once, and who only Daryun really has a chance to defeat. Sure, Gieve wasn’t trying to defeat him. He was trying to get the sword. Which he did! At least for a minute. But managing to take those blows and not die is damn impressive. Go, Gieve!
As for the interference of Bodin and his Temple Knights, iiiiiinteresting. I kinda wanted Gieve to make off with it, but that would have been too easy. This way we got a partial Gieve win, Xandes was kind of useful after being an idiot again, and more interesting possibilities are opened up. Good, gooood.
Shoulda Killed Him When You Had the Chance
I’m sure this is somewhere on the Evil Overlord List, but the Lusitanians really should have killed Andragoras when they had the chance. Once again, I ain’t mad; it’s more interesting this way. Also, they’re far enough in the past to probably not have learned this lesson. But what was the point in keeping him alive? As a bargaining chip, maybe, or just because royals don’t usually like to kill royals, but still. Shoulda killed him long ago.
But Lusitania’s mistake is our game. Andragoras breaking his chains with sweat and soup and using them to capture Guiscard? That was awesome! Then we get to the whole thing with Tahamenay, who shows emotion for the first time in the series thus far. Color me hyper-interested. Her child? The immediate cut away to Arslan would seem to insinuate that Arslan is her child, but wasn’t he always there? Or was Andragoras somehow keeping him from her, even though he was physically present, by threat or because he was the prince? Or is there another reason? Like I said, I am interested. This first episode did a good job of getting me excited all over again.
I’m actually pretty excited about this new season of Arslan Senki, even if it is only eight episodes. This first episode was well put together and had multiple interesting new plot avenues. The production values were also better than many of last season’s episodes (though the screen still gets really damn dark on occasion), and with only eight episodes I can delude myself into think they might keep up this level of budget/effort. Sometimes, less really is more, and maybe eight really well done episodes will be much better than twelve less well done ones. Either way, I’m stoked.
Oh, and in case it isn’t clear, I’ma blog this show. I didn’t blog all those other episodes to stop now. Yashasuiin!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Arslan is back with two interesting new plot threads—Gieve stealing the mythical sword, & Andragoras loose in Ecbatana #arslan s2e1
- Did Lucian call the Tuuraanians sharp-eyed bastards? Dats racist.
- On the Tuuraanians, nomads from the plains to the northeast of the fertile crescent says Eurasian horse archers to me—peoples like the Scythians, Huns, Xiongnu, and of course the Mongols. The Tuuraanians were showing their mettle, but only a little of their fantastic horse archers, and none of their signature tactics. Which is a shame from a historical nerdery point of view, but Arslan Senki has never been the medieval war equivalent of what Girls Und Panzer is for tank otaku, so ah well. I can dream. (Plus the world is vast, and this is fiction, so it may very well be authentic for a people I don’t know.)
- Did the OP really have to go that much up Farangis’ skirt? Down, pervy camera operator. She’s showing enough as is, you don’t need to make this weird.
- “If you kill me, I will not be able to live on.” Good point there, Shirou.
- Étoile is so tsundere for Arslan. She was actually nice as an on-the-ground PoV character for what has become of Ecbatana, though.
- Hermes is paired with a woman in the ED? Iiiiinteresting again.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.
ED: 「blaze」 by Kalafina