「決別」 (Ketsubetsu)
“Parting of Ways”

Just because the true enemy’s identity was obvious doesn’t mean the adventures in Gilan aren’t a whole lot of fun.

Down with the Viceroy

The swift campaign of Arslan’s team against the corrupt viceroy felt wholly like a D&D sidequest to me. In the best of ways, mind. It’s the type of sidequest that’s quick and potentially uncomplicated, and many a party could (and would) just break down the door and beat the confession out of the viceroy, but it can become something story worthy depending on how the party tackles it. Sending Farangis and Jaswant to seduce and spy on the viceroy while Gieve snoops around and seduces the evidence out of a courtier is a lot more fun than dumb violence. Is it just me, or was Farangis having fun with the subterfuge? If only for the imminent comeuppance. This is the kind of sidequest that adds character to the world, and enriches the party’s legend by doing in half an episode what would take other characters an entire arc to manage.

Shady Cynic Shagad

The reveal that Shagad was behind the pirates was utterly expected. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, but it hardly qualifies as a twist. I was personally more interested in Shagad and Narsus’ dueling philosophies. Whereas Narsus has turned into an optimist and idealist in his old age, Shagad has gone the other way, changing from a boy of fire and conviction to a base opportunist. Shagad seems like the kind of person who calls himself a realist, when he’s really a cynic who won’t admit it. I’m happy that the arc of my own life thus far has been in line with Narsus’—a cynical youth giving way to an optimistic adult. It’s a much better look than the reverse, as Shagad shows.

Also, just a pet peeve: capitalism and trade are not zero sum games. Someone does not have to lose for another to win. Transactions are entered into when both parties feel they’re making out better for the interaction, and that’s not mutually exclusive. A brewer has a lot of beer, and each pint isn’t as valuable to her as those same pints are to a hundred thirsty drinkers. Trade ought to let everybody win. Not only is Shagad a bastard, he’s wrong too.

Viceroy of Gilan, Graaze

I for one heartily approve of Graaze’s coming elevation as the new viceroy of Gilan, just as I heartily endorse Narsus’ latest stratagem. In particular I liked how he used the dam to screw with the tidal currents, even if I have a feeling that wouldn’t work with the volume of water in the ocean; oh well, at least it was strategy instead of Arslan Senki magic to the rescue. Plus, the fire barrels, the merchants boarding the pirates, and the game breaking Daryun? Just fun again. I so enjoy these adventures, for as long as they’ll last.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Shagad’s role was obvious, but the viceroy’s fall and the pirates’ defeat were just so damn fun #arslan s2e5

Random thoughts:

  • Don’t insult Arslan while Farangis is listening. She’s protective of the little whelp.
  • At first I was surprised Narsus sent Farangis to seduce the viceroy, since he just met her earlier that day, and the viceroy not recognizing her strained my credibility somewhat (I figured it was due to the veil), but then he still didn’t recognize her even after he was caught and tied up. Turns out the guy just doesn’t notice anyone who isn’t a threat or a potential plaything. Glad that wasn’t a mistake; it was a character feature.
  • Even ancient Parsians were arguing about income inequality. Some things never change.
  • D’aaaawww, Daryun has a new friend, just as Narsus is losing his old one.
  • Whoa, what the fuck has been going on in Ecbatana? All the Parsian princes’ potential blonde waifus are in trouble. Panic!
  • Author’s note: BIG NEWS! I released my second novel, Freelance Heroics, this past week. If you haven’t read my first book, for which this new one is a sequel, I also released a slightly updated version of that, so check it out. (Ebook only for both right now—the print versions will be out this next week or shortly thereafter.) I know some of you hate it when I mention my fiction, but don’t be hatin’. This is a big deal, and people like you are exactly the ones I want to read these things. Please check ’em out and tell me what you think.

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.

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  1. Shagad turning out to be the power behind pirates was ahrdly surprising, but I am still curious how it will end. Not exactly doubting Arslans victory, but in waht way it will happen.
    Meanwhile, Farangis and Gieve doing the seducing on 2 separate ends of the covert action were amusing enough.
    Narsus totally pwning the pirate fleet with fire-rafts, currents manipulation and tip-of-spear Daryun backed by Graaze and his sailors was fun to watch too.

  2. Yes simple and fun and I know the author can do very complex space battles based on real history so I know this was what the story demanded not a limit of the author.

    I think the current was exaggerated but real effects in the age of sail take forever, ships often maneuvering under 10 miles an hour it only gets exiting in books otherwise the typical four plus hour battle would bore. I do think they needed twice as many small attacking ships to make the battle more real with the pirates outnumbered but that takes more animation so I’ll live. I think the fire barrels were more to hide the approach of the smaller ships so the pirates could not run or use missile weapons on them. This use of fire is different fire rafts were normally larger with the hope of taking a ship out where these were quite small and as we saw no ship was taken out by them so they were more a annoyance to deal with and smoke producing.

    Yep unfortunately the I do business to stroke my ego by being number one is too common, along with herd thinking that leads to booms and busts are flaws in capitalism. I see capitalism the same way I see representative democracy, major flaws but better than the other systems within limits.

  3. I always hate OP that spoil the whole season. It’s like fairy tail, the OP is literally a clip show of what happens in the entire arc to come. Still fun to watch though.

  4. Regardless personal opinions on the virtues and sins of capitalism, the moment Shagad started praising the use of pirates as a clever and “fair” tactic and taking issue at Narsus criticizing the mastermind behind it, he was basically painting a “It was me!” label on himself.
    So much for the tactician.

    And talking about tacticians, aren’t events in Ecbatana developing too quickly? Last time, Guiscard was Andragora’s prisoner and just rescued, and the blind princess was travelling. Now Guiscard seems to have had his brother killed off-screen and somehow the princess is going to be burned at the stake. Seriously, what happened? I guess the anime is taking some liberties with the pace of the plot, isn’t it?

    1. Guiscard said that Etoile “orchestated His Majesty’s assesination.” That doesn’t mean that Guiscard’s brother is dead. He could be talking about Androgoras escape, but unlikely.

      They already took a lot of liberties with the battle in the last episodes of the first season. As somebody said in this same comments section, I can live with it. But I want more episodes, please.

      By the way, if season 2 would have 25 episodes as season 1; I think that they could finish the first part of the story.

    2. It was a definite whiplash moment. I’m on the fence whether it’s in a good way or not. It definitely promotes a surprising feeling, but still way out of nowhere. Will have to see how they build on it next time.

      1. Well the ending already kind of spoil us that Arslan si coming to the rescue of his future queen ao I´m not to worried about Etoile. Besides, Arslan has had a soft spot for the girl since childhoold so it would be very interesting to see his reaction when he finds out about this, I predict a 99% of probability that he´s going to storm out in rage like he did at the begining of the season when those hostages were killed.

    1. https://randomc.net/image/Arslan%20Senki/Arslan%20Senki%20Fuujin%20Ranbu%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2039.jpg

      I know seriously. Notably things have escalated very quickly, in terms of positive and negative, Arslan already took over a town and now some Waifus are going to face some heat, literally.

      Notably I hope this sheds some light to this girl’s eyes. Since episode 1 she ranted in how her religious country was superior, because it its religion, which justified immoral actions such as book burning and so forth. Now I hope she turns into a rebel later in the story.

  5. For me this was the episode when the show came close to breaking it self due to the way Narsus strategic genius is portrayed. Simply put Narsus is so OP that he badly needs a nerf, a serious set back or a worthy adversary that actually counter-balances him. Because at the moment Narsus seem to be enjoying his own form of plot armour as nothing ever goes wrong with his plans. The laws of nature get bent a bit so that Narsus can change the currents of the ocean using a mere dam, his unmaned fire-rafts strike the enemy ships with the precision of radar guided anit-ship missiles while the pirates completly forget that they are aboard galleys which traditionaly are quite nimble and capable of significant bursts of speed. Even with a sideways current they should have evaded most if not all of the fire-rafts.

    Now Daryun is certainly OP in combat but his success is first and foremost down to his own skill and he is shown fighting enemies that give him pause or even inflict injury on him. He does not need his enemies to behave like idiots in order to defeat them.

    Now despite my complaints I do like Narsus as a charcter, the problem is that the way his skill as a strategist is portrayed in the anime comes very close to killing any suspense as the watcher by now knows that his plans never go awry.

    1. This is because unlike the authors masterpiece Legend of the Galactic Hero’s Narsus has no one close to equal except Silver mask and Silver mask has not yet fully tried a military course of action in part because he gets to off by his rage and he really does not want the side he is supporting to win. In Legends because it has 162 episodes and several movies it goes from almost all admirals are dumb except one to a master mind on both sides with their teams of masterminds. So yes until Narsus gets a foe it not quite as interesting even if in history some masterminds never got someone of their level as foe.

    2. I agree. This season in particular so far hasn’t served Narsus well. This ep, and the earlier episode where he managed to trick two enemy flanking cavalry detachments into charging each other, both required MAJOR handwaving.

      On top of that, everything revolves so much around the success of core characters that I’m starting to think they don’t even need a supporting army!

  6. An ok, fun episode. As some of the commenters stated, there were some predictable events but that’s fine. Strangely, my only peeve is that Arslan should have been the one to recommend that Graaze be the new viceroy which would show that he is thinking ahead and not just going with what Narsus recommends. Some decisions can be his own. Surprised on mention of the post credit events. Why was that Stilts?


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