「紅虎の将王」 (Beni Tora no Shouou)
“The Red Tiger Sultan”

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. After breezing through some state subjugation, Altair is certainly unwilling to slow down and smell the roses, immediately jumping us into the beginning of a large Turkiye civil war. Well, technically a dispute between sovereign powers, but you see that’s what makes it fun. As with Phoinike’s conquest Altair thrives on theory of international relations, and this new arc won’t be any different. Not when Mahmut is once again front and centre.

While we could go on about the terminator that is Abiriga or Altair’s excellent taste in women, the standout for me once again lay in the politics. It’s common sense for everyone to band together in the face of a common enemy, and yet here’s a group of guys squabbling while the enemy is massing at the gate—seems a little counterproductive, until you consider human nature. Whether one thinks of humanity as inherently good or bad, we all desire being treated as equal. If an opportunity presents itself to push for that equality (in whatever form), we tend to use it. Thus Turkiye’s dependencies using the Balt-Rhein threat to push their claim of state equality. If Turkiye needs their assistance to fend off the empire, why is it unwilling to treat its subjects with an appropriate amount of respect? Sure Balt-Rhein may have stirred the pot with some honeyed words and respect is arbitrary, but no one would have jumped at the bit if there wasn’t an underlying desire for more. Liberty is simply too tantalizing a prospect to give up without a fight.

What makes this argument all the more interesting is how the players are using it. We all know Balt-Rhein’s endgame (take over Turkiye’s stewardship role), but Zaganos and Balaban are the fun ones. Balaban’s objectives—besides acquiring more pretty boys—are murky at best right now, but I firmly bet he intends on seizing control of Turkiye for himself. He almost assuredly convinced/coerced the fellow “satellite” sultans to reject Turkiye’s federation (with some Balt-Rhein assistance), and likely plans on using a concocted war to solidify and expand his power base. The man clearly values power over everything, and nothing is more powerful than ruling an empire. Zaganos on the other hand seeks the same, but for Turkiye. Well intentioned or not, Turkiye’s federation will ensure its dependencies remain dependencies while preserving Turkiye as the dominant power—you wouldn’t use economic coercion or military backed coups to create it otherwise. It’s incredibly disingenuous for Zaganos to claim he’s acting in the Stratocracy’s best interests when pursuing a similar goal as its weaker members, but this is ironically how politics often operates: you go around saying nice doggy until you find a rock big enough for the purpose. Zaganos’ strategy may be questionable, but there’s no denying he cares deeply about the future of his country.

Of course the one who may suffer most for it all is Mahmut. Stuck in the middle of a tinderbox with a spark in transit, his actions could very well determine how the inevitable conflict plays out. Unlike with Hisar though, Mahmut now has some knowledge to apply, a pair of friends eager to help, and one blondie fully aware of his hidden potential. We may not know what’s going to exactly happen next, but you can bet it’s going to be wild.




    1. Thanks for enjoying them, I’m glad my ramblings can be of use 🙂
      I try to get these out the day the show airs, it’s the time most people will be looking for a place to discuss it, and it prevents me from procrastinating and winding up having to rush writing later 😛

  1. I was very surprised by the brisk pacing in this episode…I had to rewatch some bits to make sure I fully understood what was going on…I am sure I muttered ‘its gone GoT S7 on me!’ 🙂 …I am not sure how many episodes are left but if there is only a few i don’t mind the pacing. I am enjoying the power struggle.

    1. The pacing is quick, but I think it suits the material better (especially with the latest arcs), no sense of dragging or monotony/filler you can get from these types of shows. Really does feel a bit like Game of Thrones actually now that you mention it, although the war and politics in Altair is done better 😛

  2. For someone so smart Zaganos Pasha sure is an idiot, the moment you trying to get rid of anyone that does not agree with in the name of the greater good you are monster, not much different from Minister Louis and the Blat-Rhein Empire. His heart ,ight be in the right place but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    1. Definitely agreed, particularly when it comes to men under their commands. Like Louis, Zaganos has no qualms about sacrificing his men (i.e. Mahmut) if his plan goes awry, which is not the sort of thing instilling loyalty in your subordinates if they discover it—which someone always does. Zaganos may be right regarding Turkiye’s survival and have the best intentions, but all it takes is one wrong move and he’ll be thrown to the wolves so the rest can save their skins. These types of men are always the primary target for the ambitious.

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