「列王の災難」 (Retsu-ou no Sainan)
“Calamity of Kings”

The crisis in Ecbatana, explained.

On Revealing the Turn, Then Going Back

It’s an odd decision, to reveal the crisis Irina and Étoile were embroiled in at the end of last episode, and then rewinding to explain it. Let me say first that I don’t believe stories need to be strictly linear, and sometimes they can be enhanced by doing otherwise; I wrote a post on how the Deadpool movie only worked because of exactly this. Not all stories depend on the surprise, and there was a certain interesting experience to knowing what was coming and then seeing how everyone got there.

That said, it probably wasn’t to the story’s benefit on the balance, if only because it necessitated a lot of expository narration at the beginning of the episode. It also allowed us too much time to realize what would happen. Hermes would save Irina, right? Right. Here’s the best way I can explain it. Recall The Dark Knight. (I’m on a superhero movie reference roll. Also, spoilers incoming, if you’ve been living under a rock.) Remember the scene where The Joker gives Batman a choice, and tells him where Harvey and Rachel are held? That scene only works—and only if you’re unspoiled the first time—because the frantic pace prevents the viewer from thinking about it until the conceit is revealed. Of course The Joker isn’t a reliable source, right? But you don’t think about that, and wham.

I think I mostly just wanted to talk about that. It’s a good scene. The reveal here isn’t nearly so clever, and we would have assumed that Hermes would save Irina even if it was told linearly and quickly. Which brings up the counterargument: Did we really lose that much by being spoiled their false accusation? And did not the revelation here that Irina actually did do something add a little surprise that wouldn’t have been there if we hadn’t been primed to think she was only falsely accused? Mayhaps. I don’t have the answers, I just bring the questions. ‘Cept all the times I claim to have the answers, but I’m mostly just making it up. That’s kind of my job.

Guiscard’s Lesson

If anything, I appreciate that Guiscard seemingly learned from the debacle with Andragoras, and resolved to rid himself of problems immediately. He would be in much better shape at the moment had he done that a long time ago . . . though he might have Arslan’s army on his doorstep, which would have sucked a bit. Regardless, I can appreciate a character learning from their mistakes, even if he’s too chickenshit to go full-Andragoras and get rid of the king shamelessly. Is arranging your older brother’s deth really different than just ordering someone take care of it? And then at least you’re assured of the deed being done. Half measures, Guiscard. They do you no good.

Is Hermes Actually a Big Ol Sofite?

No. He’s still a brutal, murderous bastard who would kill thousands of his own people to claim a blood-soaked throne. He does have his soft spots though, mostly notably (and singularly) for his blind princess. He probably thinks it’s hot that she almost killed a Lusitanian king. He’s freaky that way.

Étoile Back on the Arslan Train

I am enjoying Étoile’s long march from zealot to decent human being. (She always was, but that fanaticism was worrying.) Realizing that reuniting with Arslan is her best course, because if nothing else he’s a good man, further solidifies her as brighter than the average ancient cookie. Also, it’s mad shipping fuel. Just kiss already!

Pirate Gooooooold!

Seriously? Pirate gold? Not sure if I’m excited or incredulous that Arslan’s troup is going to go after pirate gold, of all things. Probably both. And will someone exile and/or kill Shagad already? Dude is just lurking back there, plotting your downfall. I hope this pirate gold thing is all a Narsus ploy to encourage Shagad to act. Getting outed over pirate gold would fit that greedy bastard nicely.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The crisis in Ecbatana is revealed. Étoile & Irina survive, with timely recused from Hermes & Merlane. Save the blonde waifus! #arslan s2e6

Random thoughts:

  • After Irina so badly missed when trying to stab Guiscard, why did he think she would be able to kill the king properly? She’s no blind swordsman. Guiscard needs to get his shit together if he’s going to graduate to A League villain in this whole endeavor, seriously.
  • I think Irina’s only real strike against Lusitania was when she fumbled the assassination, which inconvenienced and annoyed Guiscard. If she had succeeded, she would have lost. Yay for incompetence!
  • Two sides, one scared and one blind, screaming at the same god as they fumble about and try to kill one another. For a Japanese story, Arslan Senki sure captures the essence of western religious war nicely.

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  1. I am not sure if it count as a non-linear story, because it wasn’t in the episode but in the preview of the last one.
    By the way, isn’t strange that there isn’t a preview in this episode??? O_o

    Perhaps Guiscard, thought that a blind girl was enough to kill his fat idiot brother. But, am I the only one that find fun that Innocentis VII is saved Show Spoiler ▼

    XD Show Spoiler ▼

    Seriously? Pirate gold?

    Yep. It remind me about a story when Conan finds a treasure, just on time to pay the army to depose a crazy king.
    A hundred million gold coins is the service pay of a lot of people. If they pay 1 gold coin each day to each soldier, he would have enough money to pay a 50.000 strength army during 2000 days. I think that it is enough to return to his father. 😛

      1. It wasn’t in the preview last episode. The previews have entirely different formats (heavy on the narration, etc). It was part of the episode, it just look place after the ED.

        You have a point there. I am not sure…

    1. https://randomc.net/image/Arslan%20Senki/Arslan%20Senki%20Fuujin%20Ranbu%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
      Priceless reaction from Guiscard, being so fat can give such big miscalculations. I hope his vein pops one day.

      On the side note, LoL on how her brother said something like “I hardly believe she seduced the prince with her womanly charms.” Well, Arslan does seem to be the type that is into tomboys.

      Anyway, I hope this sheds some light into Etoile’s eyes. Seriously, since she believes that her superiors are considered to be “saints,” as they believe in the same God, only to find herself be framed by some conspiracy.

      1. To add insult to injury, Irina also believes in Yaldabaoth and was asking for His favour when trying to kill Innocentius. A reminder that just because Lusitania uses it for casus belli and their fat king considers himself to be “God’s proxy upon this earth”, they don’t own the religion.

      1. Depends on the first episode and how I’m feeling. It’d be a bit goofy to not have covered the original (which I wish I did) and cover a 4-ep special, but it really depends on the first episode and how I feel. I’ll intro it, at least.

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Arslan%20Senki/Arslan%20Senki%20Fuujin%20Ranbu%20-%2006%20-%20Large%20End%20Card.jpg

    Today’s endcard artist, Hirokane Kenshi, is a seinen mangaka famous for his ongoing Kousaku Shima series. Running since 1983, it depicts the life and times of white-collar worker Kousaku Shima as he ascends the Japanese corporate ladder.


  3. Loved it. Not that often that the arch-villain gets to ride in to save their princess.

    I know hermes is probably doomed but just wrote a short fan pic in my mind where after losing the final battle he finds him self crippled and betrayed by the cultists but thanks to loyal men he ends up in exile with his love and realizes how rotten a person he was and what he really should have been seeking.

    Giscard you have a reliable man make sure the princess wins and kills the brother in the room. Even with how out of shape the King was a blind, untrained, unfit woman is not sure to win a fight with a man trying to avoid being killed.

    Pirates did not keep hidden treasure anywhere. There are no worse criminals in history than pirates there is no way they would trust each other enough to store a combined loot anywhere, pirates split the loot after each sail and any hidden loot was an individual’s share but often they would store that in gems and coin in a money belt on their person, Henry Avery’s men after getting the greatest haul of loot ever went their separate ways and retired, several returned to England and some were caught their loot mainly hid on their persons. It’s interesting that Avery the most successful pirate of the the golden age in the West is not well known now, I speculate it’s because he retired alive and never was caught where the more known pirates all were caught and killed. Avery was called the King of the Pirates in the West at the time so he was most famous at the time. There was not Pirate King in the West though. In the east large pirate fleats and armies were organized as organized crime groups basically rouge states and they would have a treasury but that would be guarded at a heavy fortified base not hidden.

    I assume the story of treasure is a trap because of above, fictional stories of hidden pirate treasure, and popular belief that pirate hid treasure were common when the pirates were active.

    Yes maybe Étoile can fight as a women finally, and get a kiss.

    Alfred is 16 so she is not ending up married with anyone till she makes it to 18, she is also not getting any action either 😛 Historically accurate teen to older relationships especially the ones that were positive are very rare in any media.

    1. It’s always good to see some love for Hermes around here. His sudden rescue saves not only one, but two Parsian Queen candidates despite it meaning he has to cut off his alliance with Guiscard, yet the only thing he gets is “he’s still a brutal, murderous bastard”? Tsk, tsk.

      Hermes’ problem is that he’s in the wrong genre. In Classical stories, his pursue of revenge would be considered rightfully righteous, any moment of heroism a sign of his obvious virtues and any ill that Andragoras and his nation faced would have been considered divine punishment for his fratricide (typical, gods tended to punish many for the crimes of one person). But in shonen, he’s the villain.

      And completely agree about the pirate treasure. I do hope it’s a trap, because not only real pirates didn’t do it, but even for this fictional ones it looks strange they knew where it was but nobody did anything in 80 years. I mean, why attack ships when you can get richer in a faster and technically more lawful way?

      1. Him saving the girl and being a murderous bastard aren’t mutually exclusive. Like all human beings, Hermes contains multitudes. That he saved a life doesn’t absolve all the ones he has expunged in pursuit of his own vengeance.

        You’re right that he would be the protagonist in ancient myths. Probably it’s good we’ve moved past that. Those guys (and they were always guys) were DICKS.

      2. The reality, though, is that he really is still a brutal, murderous bastard. Never mind that his path of vengeance is rightfully righteous, the problem with Hermes is that that’s the one and only path he recognizes, and all else is for him nothing but bullshit. He works better here as an anti-hero, but protagonist? Not in a million years.

        But despite all that, I can at least respect that when it comes to achieving his goals and ambition, he doesn’t take any indecent paths like Guiscard. I like him as an anti-hero, but that doesn’t mean I’d root for him.

      3. That he saved a life doesn’t absolve all the ones he has expunged in pursuit of his own vengeance.

        Oh, come on, we all know that in fiction saving a sympathetic named character on screen counts more than thousands faceless deaths XD

        Joking aside, as far as we know most of the Parsian cast (with the exceptions of current!Arslan and adult!Narsus) are complicit or downright guilty of the continued pain, suffering and deaths of thousands of slaves. However, apart from two “special episodes”, it’s mostly off-screen villainy compared to the Lusitanians’ on-screen one. Aside the aforementioned heroes (who always have sensible and anachronistically superb convincing arguments), only religious nutjobs call them down for it.

        The Legend of Arslan is good, but it’s not subtle at all when ensuring its heroes get always the moral high ground.

      4. Oh my yes. The Parsians aren’t the good guys of this story. Like most nation state-level conflicts, it’s more of two bad guys battering each other, though sometimes one is less bad than the other. (Though even that usually comes down to perspective.) That’s usually how wars work.

      5. Oh my yes. The Parsians aren’t the good guys of this story. Like most nation state-level conflicts, it’s more of two bad guys battering each other, though sometimes one is less bad than the other. (Though even that usually comes down to perspective.) That’s usually how wars work.

        “There are few wars between good and evil: most are between one good and another good.”
        Fleet Admiral Yang Wen-li (Legend Of Galactic Heroes)

        And I agree completely. 😛

  4. Blind princess does get her hands dirty, Hermes does a villainous rescue, but most importantly Etoile goes back to Arslan, let the shipping commence!
    With sea/pirate themed season on Arslan’s side, bonus points for shipping them onboard of a real ship.

  5. You know Stilts-san? Society really does a number on a person, specially when teaching you horrible things. Racism and relious fanatism are the prime examples of that but slavery also counts for this story; they teach that all of this this are normal, that is the way the world works and the sweet innocent child is corrupted even before learning to spell “racism” but, sometimes, there is this person born with moral compass so strong that no matter what society throws at them they know what is right and wrong no matter how they were raised. Like Drizzt do Urden of the Forgotten Realms, he knew his society has suprely mess up so he had to get out of that hell!.

    In this story we have Étoile, this beautiful queen to be has always felt that the way his country does things is not exactly right so her fanatism never truly corrupted her soul and now that reality has shattered her beliefs is safe to say that she is getting of rid of all that nasty demons Lusitania put inside her. I think Arslan must take this as Queen, no questions ask, a girl this strong capable of being honest with him is worth a million times more than some pirate gold!.

    1. Humans are only as good as the systems they inhabit, generally. It’s just that sometimes those systems fail in their unintentional goal—’cause very little of this is planned out—and someone accidentally gets the right idea. Or the wrong idea, on the other end of the spectrum.

      Most people are only as good as the systems they inhabit, but some are heroes and villains regardless. I don’t much think that has anything to do with anything innate, though that’s a discussion for another time.

      1. @Kinai

        That’s what I read from one of the previous Arslan posts here. I wouldn’t know how much of it is true, but then I see in its Wikipedia page that it’s been running from 1986 and I think to myself, maybe it’s beginning to stagnate. That’s what happens more so than often for series that run for too long. All good things must come to an end after all, and what better way to preserve a story’s quality than to give it a good ending and not risk running it for too long.

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