「陸の都と水の都と」 (Riku no Miyako to Mizu no Miyako to)
“A City of Land and A City of Water”

A new adventure in a new city.

Return To Adventure

What most struck me about this episode is that it was a return to form, and in a pleasant way. As much as I enjoyed the army-level tactics that took over the story from when they first arrived at Peshawar in season one, there was something fun about the small band of comrades having adventures together. Arslan’s exile slims the active cast back down to his band of eight (+ a bird) and anyone else vital to this specific plot—no extraneous advisors or marzbans to muck up the narrative. As much as I like Kishward and Kubard, there’s something to be said for simplicity. Plus, adventures! I like traveling adventures. The scope has shrunk, even if the stakes really haven’t.

Shagad’s Slaves

So what’s the theme right time? It would appear that slavery is back on the docket. Narsus’s old friend Shagad (Sakurai Takahiro) is no longer in favor of abolition like he was in his youth, and is using the old “But, the economy!” justification for slavery. I mean, we all know that’s bullshit, but they don’t, and a bunch of real humans used that argument far more recently than the equivalent time period that Arslan Senki takes place. It’s an argument that makes sense in context, is what I’m saying.

What I like is that this puts Shagad as not precisely a villain, but certainly not wholly aligned with Arslan & co. He might turn into full-on antagonist, and in fact the episode preview somewhat implies that, but in the meantime he’s walking somewhere in the gray, protagonist/antagonist-wise. That makes it harder to know how this will turn out, and what he’ll do.

Can Any of Them Swim?

Going back to what I was saying before, we’ve got that adventuring feel back, and that includes jumping on a ship and boarding the boarders. Poor pirates. They never had a chance. Not when Daryun’s name (and glare) is an an intimidation attack all on its own.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Gilan is a rich port city, thanks to its slaves. Arslan is going to have to work for those troops #arslan s2e4

Random thoughts:

  • Daryun and Jaswant are sword buddies. I feel like they’d get along well with Fighter.
  • Alfreed just keeps trying to make it a done deal, ufufu~!
  • Calling it now: Shagad is behind the pirates. Or he could be. That’d bump him over into full villain though, so maybe it’s better if he’s not.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for a FREE prequel short story. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Freelance Heroics is available NOW!, I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, and Dying idols.



End Card


  1. For someone who is usually calm and steps ahead of others it’s fun to see Narsus get surprised sometimes, and the cause of it usually being Alfarid. He didn’t see it coming that he’s officially the boss of a band of bandits now. And I thought for a minute the Zot clan would be the first additions to Arslan’s 50,000 troops. Anyways, I already suspected Shagad the moment he paused before agreeing with Narsus during their dinner that he’s against slavery. And definitely that viceroy isn’t fooling anybody. The last time someone was showering Arslan with praises like that was the episode with Hodir and sure enough they were right not to lower their guard. The pirates running away from Daryun is also my favorite part of the episode. Him giving them the glare made it even better.

    1. In fact it would be a pleasant surprise if it turned out that Shagad is after all NOT the self-serving person that we all expect him to be. Surprise us, Arslan Senki.

      1. Well, if it’s not Narsus’ old friend, I think it has to be the viceroy. In both cases, they are painted as greedy merchant princes that benefit from the work, pain and misfortune of others while not lifting a finger to help. So the moral would be more or less the same.

        Arslan has many strong points, but subtlety in its morals is not one of them.

      2. That would be a pleasant surprise and something I’d appreciate too. The opening animation and the next episode preview strongly implies though Narsus and Shagad will be on opposite sides of the fight. What interested me even more is when the preview stated Elam doesn’t like two friends fighting each other. Right now I can’t see Shagad as an ally. The guy has been a merchant for years and is also living the good life because of slavery. Can’t see him doing a full 180 just like that. Narsus at least shows resolve by risking exile and living the secluded life.

      1. If that happens Arslan Senki is seriously going to remind me of Suikoden in the sense that the main character is able to gather an army from almost all walks of life and nationalities.

  2. Quite Enjoyable.

    Aslan’s anti slavery pledge as it does not pay masters for their slaves is a very hard sale as it is asking people to go from rich to quite poor maybe even bankrupt if they owe money. This is why Lincoln and others were inclined to propose a pre war idea of a slave buyout before he was elected president, the South leaving the Union before Lincoln took office ended that idea. You can gain revolting slave troops but revolting slaves typically make very poor troops. The best and brightest slaves tend to escape or die trying, the rest are kept ignorant with no education and have no work ethic because why have one if your a slave. Thus it takes a long time to drill ex slaves into shape, they have no weapon training as well. Aslan’s decree did have a positive though in slave revolts in enemy held areas.

    It was weird that Narsus friend mentioned the age difference with Alfred. Back then marrying a 12 year old would not be that unusual for any age of man so that you could have the most babies and with Alfred being roughly near 18 I assume even now days a 30 something looking Narsus marrying would often not get a comment at least from another man. If Narsus is not gay I would assume as part of their university different than the norm discussions both of them had said they would go for a wife they could talk to instead of one that would give them lots of kids which was the cultural norm of most of history. With 50 to 75% of children not living to adulthood plus constant wars women had to have lots of kids. Marrying a older women for love was normally done by men who had nothing to inherit with nothing to leave for their kids. Of course there are modern pressures not to show this truth. There is also a modern effort to rewrite history for white folks so that whites never married young like in the 3rd world by non whites now. My mother remembers a lot of her high school friends marrying before 18 and most of the rest right after high school but you can find things now on supposedly accurate sites calming the average age of marriage was actually higher in the past than the current normal age which is actually the highest age ever. I expect to meet modern demands Alfred if she becomes a wife at all will marry younger, if Alfred is under 18 she can’t marry anyone at all if I understand current Japan censorship laws.

  3. Remind me again how many episodes are left? It doesn’t seem logical to have this few episodes when he has to build another huge army and return to become king unless they deliberately made it short for a possible Season 3…

    1. Four more episodes. They aren’t planning to finish the story in this season. The last novel hasn’t even been written yet. I have a feeling this is much like the four-episode Nanatsu no Taizai original that’s coming out after this ends—a stalling tactic to keep viewers interested while more source material is made. Though in Arslan Senki’s case, if they do a third season in a year or so, it might just finish off the whole dang story in one go. Even if it might take another two cour, if what I heard about the end of Fuujin Ranbu being the end of the first half of the series is correct.

      1. This episode is diving into book six (Dust Storm Dance/Fuujin Ranbu) and the First Part of the series ends in book seven Show Spoiler ▼

        . Finishing with book seven is a perfect ending point as it solves practically all the ongoing subplots and mysteries. Chisato Nakamura’s Arslan Senki manga adaptation from the 90s ended after adapting book seven.
        If this season was two cours like the previous, it would have been sufficient to adapt both books and give the anime series a satisfying ending. Four episodes aren’t enough unless they go anime original or rush at ridiculous levels.

        The last novels have bad reviews, in particular book 15 which was published 2 months ago has been harshly criticized. Fans are feeling the quality of Tanaka’s writing has deteriorated over the years and aren’t happy with the way he is handling the characters.

        Stilts edit: Hid the title of book seven, ’cause it feels like a bit of a spoiler. Damn spoiler titles.

      2. Sorry about the title.

        It’s sad, but for better or worse, time passes. The publication years:
        1 – 1986
        2 – 1987
        3 – 1987
        4 – 1988
        5 – 1989
        6 – 1989
        7 – 1990
        8 – 1991 (start of Chisato Nakamura manga and OVA adaptation)
        9 – 1992
        (hiatus, OVA ends in 1995 adapting until end of book five/start of book six when Arslan is exiled. Nakamura ends her manga in 1996 after 13 volumes adapting the first 7 books)
        10 – 1999
        11 – 2005
        12 – 2006
        13 – 2008
        (hiatus, Hiromu Arakawa starts her adaptation in late 2013)
        14 – 2014 (same date as first volume of Arakawa manga)
        15 – 2016 (same date as fifth volume of Arakawa manga)

    2. I was under the impression this season was only 8 episodes because of the scheduling on TV. After the eighth episode has aired, it loses that slot to The Seven Deadly Sins.

  4. The premiers this season have been nothing sure of spectacular! Finally the industry is starting to realize that moe moe kun stuff isn’t cutting it and are making shows that are doing their own thing with the premises they have instead of what’s “in” right now. Not only that most of the character interactions this season are normal: no yaoi no yuri no incest or pedo stuff. This season reminds me of the 90’s back when shows could beat to their own drum and we fans weren’t delusional assumers that we are now.

  5. I HAVEN’T read the novels or the spoilers, but from the last few lines of the episode (“What awaited Arslan and his company in the port city of Gilan was a new fight”) and the preview, I’m guessing the cargo that the merchant ship is carrying is slaves with Shagad somehow involved in the trade. Possibly (but this might be a stretch) the pirates are actually the good guys who are trying to rescue the slaves on the ship – this show has a tendency to turn characters who are initially villains into surprising heroes.

  6. Shagad would perfectly fit the “insider” leader of the pirates role…
    Even the obviously inept and corrupt viceroy might be right as the broken clock twice a day shows correct hour…
    Shagad doesnt strike mthough as full-time villain. He might yet join forces with Arslan if things play right…


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