「虹の都」 (Niji no Miyako)
“The Rainbow City”
That’s as far as Shagad goes, as a human.
Bait & Pummel
I’m deeply relieved that the whole pirate treasure was a stupid ruse on Shagad’s part that Narsus saw through immediately. I’m not surprised, but still, I worry. Going on a treasure hunt should be reserved for One Piece. Such a silly cliché doesn’t belong in Arslan Senki, not when it’s used straight.
Fortunately, that’s not what we got, and the fact that this Narsus ploy was easy to anticipate actually makes me like it more. It doesn’t feel as unrealistic, like the plan is only working because Narsus has the power of plot—a not infrequent problem with him, though I don’t lay that criticism at his feet as readily as others. Add onto that how Narsus didn’t have the whole thing planned out as well—didn’t it seem like he should have had a plan to stop Shagad from escaping on the boats other than jump on after him?—made the whole thing feel more like an adventure, less like a predetermined rout. Which is a lot more fun!
Is it just me, or is Arslan getting a lot more badass this season? There was his heroic anger earlier in the season, and now he’s cracking out this confident stride while his bird of prey flies to him at dramatic times. It’s really starting to show his growth from a timid youth to someone who is more openly displaying the leadership potential that Daryun and others see in him. His compassion is his greatest strength, but he’s going to need that authority and assurance too. He’s growing up so fast *wipes away tear*
Before this season began, I opined that the shorter season might actually be a blessing in disguise. While I’d love to see the rest of the story—and still want to see it; don’t crap out on us now!—the original two cours were at their worst when the budget ran low and they were trying to stretch the material to uncomfortably fit the alloted episodes. With only eight episodes, this season is being plotted much more tightly, and they’ve got the budget to go full sakuga on occasion. Narsus’s fight with Shagad was genuinely thrilling in a way that only a few fights in the entire series have been. (Character fights, that is—large-scale battles are on another scale.) It’s just nice to see the animators flex their skills. The results are nice.
I’m conflicted about Arslan giving Shagad over to a slaver. If he finds slavery to be so deplorable, why would he order it on an enemy? Though that’s probably my soft modern thinking, because the one-year term is fairly lenient, and it does have a karmic justice to it. What I know for sure is that Arslan praying for Shagad to become a compassionate man might have been the most stinging blow of them all. From the boy prince he dismissed, that’s gotta hurt. Good.
Please Help the [Enemy] King
Étoile asking for Arslan to send troops to save Innocentis is not what I expected, though I probably should have. She’s still loyal to her king, as a good knight should be, and stands against the usurper who is probably about to become her king. It’s definitely the kind of cliffhanger that makes me want to know what Arslan will do next week. The only problem: there’s only one more episode left! D’oh! C’mon, third season announcement. I don’t want it to end after only one more!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Shagad makes his play, & gets stomped by Narsus’s counterstroke. Plus badass Arslan, sakuga, Arslan’s mercy, & Étoile’s arrival #arslan s2e7
- I feel like the pirates operated too cohesively during the battle for a bunch of lawless ruffians, and I definitely don’t think they should have stayed behind to die to Daryun so Shagad could get away. That’s not pirate behavior. On the other hand, the Zot calvary decimating the irate light infantry makes total sense. Calvary beats sword-wielding infantry with minimal armor every time.
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.