Arslan Senki – 20

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“Hey, since I do most of the work, how about we split the series title, huh? How ’bout 60/40?”

spring15-irenesWell ask and you shall receive. Just last episode, I asked the question of, would Arslan have the will to fight his cousin for the throne, with the same amount of determination and force that Hermes will? Well, while he might not be quite as driven as his cousin, Arslan found his resolve in this episode, which is good progress I’d say. But before we really get to any of that, we first have to look at what is the status quo now for our young prince.

Firstly, one formal declaration of war later, and suddenly every Parsian warrior comes out of the woodwork to answer the prince’s call and join together in his fight against Lusitania. Well, that’s all well and good and all, but can somebody tell me where the heck all these Parsians came from?!

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Okay, we’re 20 episodes in, we really don’t have time for a bunch of new characters.

I mean, come on! Arslan’s been roughing it from one end of Pars and beyond to the other for months, and the only ones that had his back through thick and thin, were a disgraced captain, his banished best friend, an ex-slave, a thieving con-man, an exiled priestess, a bandit princess, and a traitorous spy. Now all of a sudden, all the warriors of Pars that weren’t somehow captured or killed by the enemy, have come out of nowhere to be by their liege’s side simply because he decided to formally declare war against an enemy that has invaded and destroyed their people.

While I’m happy for the help for the cause, excuse me if I don’t rush to sing your lauded praises for your “bravery” or put you in the legends hall of fame.Arslan20 (5)

We now have enough people to actually hold court? Where exactly were all you guys hiding?

So Arslan is gathering an army to help him to take down the Lusitanian threat, but with that comes problems that the team hasn’t had to face before. The bigger the operation the more chances there are for things to go wrong. Already we can tell that there are those there who just want to throw their weight around. There are those that are already wanting to bully Arslan’s entourage. (The nerve of them…) And the prince has few ways to stop it. Because the culture that is both displayed in this series as well as of the ones that made it, prize age over skill to a degree, it’s decided that Arslan’s right hand man (his grand vizer pretty much), should be someone older, even though Narsus, who has been doing a phenomenal job, has been fulfilling that role for a much longer time. Narsus is okay with this and is actually the one to suggest it, as long as he stays in charge of the army. I’m not sure if I agree with this move, since I know nothing of this new guy, and I happen to come from a culture that will put the youngest man on staff as the CEO if he’s got the knowledge, connections, and skill. But if Narsus suggested it, I’ll trust that he knows what he’s doing.

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“Okay, 70/30 and nothing less, or else you’re on your own.”

Also, from the way that he was looking at Arslan, and how he brought it up when Arslan asked for his advice, I have a feeling that Narsus is trying to start the weening process, as the boy comes more and more into his own. To step away more and more and let Arslan stand on his own two feet. Yet, I’m not so sure, I think that it might be a little too soon for that yet. It hasn’t even been a year yet since the two have met, I think Arslan is going to need to lean on Narsus and Daryun for at least a year or two more before beginning to go without the training wheels.

Arslan himself is not so happy with all these changes. Everything is going so fast, in-fighting is already becoming a problem, he knows that most of these people don’t agree with his ruling against slavery and are just waiting for the war is done with the Lusitanians before making their real thoughts known. And now he has to think about also dealing with his cousin that he’s never known, who wants him dead and had a justifiable right to the throne that he was supposed to inherit.

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The weight of the world on such young shoulders…

He’s only a fourteen year-old boy and this is way too much to deal with for such a young mind. He knows what Daryun and Narsus want to hear, but the same kind heart that they are loyal to him for, is the same one that can’t find any desire to fight against his cousin who has already lost so much. And as much as I too have sympathy for Hermes and what he’s been through and all that he’s lost, I also have to agree with Narsus and Daryun that, what he did to the Parsian people to get back what he lost is just as deplorable as what the Lusitanians have done. He is destroying his own people in trying to get throne back, and has become a hardened cold-hearted murderer in his quest for vengeance. He doesn’t want the throne because he wants what’s best for the kingdom, he wants it because of a position that was stolen from him, and that’s it. Hermes, as much as I feel sorry for him, is no worthy to be king.

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A killer of the coldest variety

Arslan, despite being so young, doesn’t want to become king for the position alone. He wants to truly make his country better. He will even go against his own countrymen if it means making Pars into a better place. Because it is his home, and he wants what’s best for it, even if he has to fight others, including his own family, to make that dream a reality.

It takes the entire episode for Arslan to come to this realization and find his conviction. But it’s a conviction that he finds, thanks to the inspiring words of an unexpected old frenemy.

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Well, I guess it’s time for my quarterly appearance in this series…I really should call my agent about my screentime.

This episode we get the fourth appearance of the young Étoile, the only Lusitanian that we can actually root for, and the only one that Arslan can probably call “friend” even if neither of them have ever even learned each other’s names yet. The young Lusitanian soldier volunteered to go and scope out Arslan’s fortress stronghold, a job that strangely no one else has been ordered to do yet. Honestly, do the Lusitanian rulers and their forces simply not think that the prince of Pars amassing an army of Parsians in the north, people who have renowned for having warrior’s hearts, as a very dangerous potential threat? I know that Bodin is a dangerous, if idiotic man, but I think an enemy rebellion might be of some importance.

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Anyway, Étoile goes on a solo undercover mission as a female entertainer to find out more about what’s going on behind those fortress walls. After a few misunderstandings and a bit of trouble, the two fated enemies turned friends, meet again once more. Étoile has been an igniting point for many of Arslan’s decisions, being his inspiration since he was 11 years-old, and though not to the same degree, Arslan has been a turning point for the other as well, showing that not all “heathens” are bad guys, and that maybe, just maybe, this one doesn’t have to die.

Under the female disguise Arslan doesn’t recognize his friend/enemy, but the words that are said, inspire just as much as they always have, reminding Arslan of why exactly he wants to be king, and that despite his questionable familial connections and legitimacy, and that his cousin has a better right and is a stronger leader and fighter, he has the greater goals and the stronger dreams for Pars, and because of that he can’t let Lusitania or his cousin beat him.

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Revelation from a vaguely familiar source…

And it was all because of the words of one boy…or is it?

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I guess, I will finally get to the part that everyone has been talking about, and yes, I’ve known from Étoile’s introduction that many suspected him of being a reverse trap, especially since in the original novels, Étoile is in fact a female in disguise. However, this being the adaptation of an adaptation of the novels, there have been a quite a few things that have have been changed from the original version, and it wasn’t clear whether this version of the blond renegade would be female like in the original, or continue to be male. And while pretty much everyone thinks that this episode proved the former, to tell the truth, I’m really still on the fence.

While yes Étoile does have a female voice actress and has some feminine features, it’s never been told to us directly that he is in fact a she. Even in this episode, despite how good he looks in long hair and a dress, they still decided to never definitively tell us, and the way he had to actually work to act like a female made me hesitant. Elam was a better “girl” than Étoile was trying to be. And I can’t really see a girl, even one who was the biggest tomboy ever, having to remind herself to raise her voice’s pitch to sound more feminine. Also, I do find it strange that Étoile has her family friend’s permission to be in the armed forces, and yet still has hid her sex all this time. And she seems to be the only female in the Lusitanian army, we never even see any others hiding in disguise. It’s very possible that I’m just being stubborn and not seeing what’s right in front of my face, but I guess I need more direct validation than simply what they showed us this episode before I start calling Étoile a “she”.

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Hey, if it’s true, OTP all the way! ^_^

For all you shippers out there, I will be the first to join you if and when that validation comes. The would make the cutest couple ever, and I’m a hopeless romantic after all. 😛 But for now, I am perfectly fine with Étoile as he is and hopefully one day becoming a best friend to Arslan, and that their differences in culture and background will bring new life to both of their countries.

And a bright future looks to be on the horizon as with renewed vigor, Arslan plans for the future with his men ready to have his back. It’s time for the invaders to get out and go home…more than likely in body bags.

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Time to get down to business.


So, we’re nearing the end here with only five more episodes to go. Our young prince is getting closer and closer to his goal but it is still a long ways off. How will they drive out Lusitania, and will Hermes’ plan end up coinciding with their own? And what about those shadowy sorcerers? For some reason, I don’t think that they are in this just to help Hermes. And what did Hermes promise them to get their aid anyway, you don’t just get something for nothing you know. And after all this planning, Arslan still has a father that is still king and is still alive, will things go back to the way they were when his dad returns to the throne? And what was with that prophecy he mentioned? And will we EVER find out about Arslan’s true parentage before the series is over? I’m not sure if this series will get a sequel, there is definitely a great amount of story that has yet to be told so I’m hoping. We’ll have to see.

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A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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23 Responses to “Arslan Senki – 20”

  1. zztop says:

    …there is definitely a great amount of story that has yet to be told so I’m hoping.]

    Part 2 of the Arslan saga is still a work in progress, and that’s if the author doesn’t go on extended hiatuses between volumes. (ex. There was a 7 year hiatus between Vols 9-10, and 6 years between Vol 10-11).

    • IreneSharda says:

      That is a long hiatus. No wonder this series has been going on so long, he’s worse than R.R. Martin.

    • BlackBriar says:

      That’s a total of 13 years for one series. A ridiculously long time. I’d imagine a considerable number of people would’ve outgrown and forgotten it long before the continuing volumes came along. Patience is a virtue but everything has a limit.

  2. HannoX says:

    can someone tell me where the heck all these Parsians came from?

    You have to remember what kind of society this is. At a guess they were waiting for someone to lead them and that someone had to have a claim on their loyalty. Since all these captains & lords are more or less equal jealousy probably prevented them from following one of their number. (“Why should I take orders from him? I’m just as good as he is.”)

    But now the crown prince has appeared, someone of higher social class than they are. Him they can follow without feeling they are demeaning their own status by following someone who is of no higher status than they are.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I know, but it just seems that many of these guys can out of nowhere now that Arslan isn’t in extreme danger. I mean if the Lusitanians were able to hear where Arslan was and chase him around, I can’t see how these warriors and nobles didn’t hear about that and go to his aid then. Also, from what we were seeing earlier, the Lusitanians were taking away everyone’s property and holdings, so were all these nobles just on the run all this time? I’m just wondering if they were trying to plan a rebellion in hiding and then found out about Arslan and headed for the fortress then?
      Also, the heir apparent of a conquered nation is holding court in the north and the invaders don’t seem to be too concerned. I’m really wondering why Guiscard and the others don’t send bigger contingent than just a tiny volunteer squad to check out this very real threat?

      • HannoX says:

        As for the Parsian nobles not going to Arslan’s aid earlier, following Narsus’s advice they were mostly trying to hide. It was only when they got to the border fortress in a presumably remote area that they surfaced. Okay, the nobles should have heard of Arslan then. But to them he was still an untried boy and his small retinue didn’t inspire confidence. However, his forces did beat back the Sindhuran invasion and helped put the younger son on the throne.

        Now Arslan looks like a potential winner and if they help him win they can expect rewards. Up to this point most of them probably pretended to convert to the Lusitanian faith and/or were in outlying areas the Lusitanians hadn’t gotten to yet. But now the equation has changed and aiding Arslan despite the risks presents potential rewards worth the risk.

        You are right, though, that the Lusitanians essentially ignoring the threat that the crown prince of Pars presents is a plot hole big enough to fly the starship Enterprise through. I can think of a couple of reasons why. They also regard him as an untried boy with no name advisers and thus not a threat. Or they expect Hermes to deal with Arslan and thus save them the trouble and the loss of true believers fighting him.

        But the anime should have dealt with this matter. It’s not like it would have taken much. A short conversation between the Lusitanian prince (forget his name) and his advisors would have sufficed.

        • IreneSharda says:

          I guess I’ll give them that. We haven’t seen their side of the tale so I’ll just think they were in hiding until they heard Arslan’s call.

          Though, like you said, I find it strange that all the Lusitanians were after Arslan while he was on the run, but now that he’s actually amassing an army, they ignore him? And they can’t think that Hermes is dealing with it since they just sent him to deal with Bodin. I’m going to guess Guiscard has a plan of some kind, he’s not stupid like his brother.

          • HannoX says:

            So far Guiscard doesn’t seem stupid and I hope he isn’t. One stupid younger brother prince is enough for a show. And Arslan and his group need a real challenge to overcome on the way to his sitting on the throne for a truly satisfying payoff for the show.

            • IreneSharda says:

              Honestly, I think the biggest challenge isn’t going to be the Lusitanians, it’s going to be daddy dearest. Arslan may fight off the invaders, but he’s not king even after that, since Andragoras is still alive. Will Andragoras mess up everything that his son has tried to do, after Arslan does all the work to get the country back? I really hope not, but the guy has no kind feelings towards his son, I mean he even killed his own flesh and blood to get the throne, so I don’t think he’ll be too happy at all the popularity Arslan has been getting. He’s going to feel threatened by Arslan, who went from the weakling that he last met, to the much stronger and experienced person we see now. It reminds me a little of a David and Saul situation. And with Andragoras still as king, he can do whatever he wants with Arslan. Even execute him or banish him if he wants. So I think the real challenge will be there.

            • HannoX says:

              That is still a challenge to Arslan taking the throne. But I think somewhere along the line Andragoras is going to die, although it may be after a confrontation with Arslan.

      • HannoX says:

        For the most part following Narsus’s advice Arslan and his retinue have kept hidden until they reached the border fortress in a presumably remote area. It wasn’t until then that the Parsian nobles should have learned of him. But to them he was still an untried boy and the members of his retinue seemed of little account.

        However, his forces beat back the Sindhuran invasion and helped put the younger son on that throne. Now Arslan looks like somebody who could be a winner and supporting him could reap big rewards. Coming to his aid has the potential of rewards worth the risk of doing so. Up to now they may have been pretending to have converted to the Lusitanian faith to keep what they have or the Lusitanians haven’t had time to get around to them.

        You are right, however, that the Lusitanians ignoring the crown prince of Pars is a plot hole big enough to fly the starship Enterprise through. I can think of a couple of reasons. To them he is also an untried boy with no name advisors and not a danger to take seriously. Or they may figure on Hermes dealing with him and that way they don’t have to risk and probably lose the lives of some true believers.

        But the anime should have dealt with this question. It’s not like it would have taken a lot to do so. A short conversation between Guiscard and his advisors as to their strategy towards Arslan would have sufficed.

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      …can someone tell me where the heck all these Parsians came from?

      This! Is! Sparta! Parthia!

  3. Painboy says:

    Where is this being shown website-wise, if you don’t mind?

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Well, that’s all well and good and all, but can somebody tell me where the heck all these Parsians came from?!

    Well, I can say the series showed us the main battle against the Lusitanians but not with those lower down in the Parsian ranks. The big dogs got most of the spotlight. And like Peshwar, they most likely have other sites throughout the region.

    Okay, we’re 20 episodes in, we really don’t have time for a bunch of new characters.

    Agreed. Unless they get ample screen time within the next 5 episodes, they’ll easily be forgotten and so it will defeat the purpose of introducing them in first place.

    I can’t say I’m surprised about Etoile being girl. The day she and Arslan met was one thing (because she didn’t start to develop physically and had really short hair) but grown up three years later, as I kept looking at the face, something felt off. If not for the difference in eye color, she’d have looked a little like Winry Rockbell.

    I felt cheated though, watching the two interact with each other. The entire time, I was waiting for some occurrence to happen that would’ve given away the true identity to at least one of them and see the reaction.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well, I can say the series showed us the main battle against the Lusitanians but not with those lower down in the Parsian ranks. The big dogs got most of the spotlight. And like Peshwar, they most likely have other sites throughout the region.

      That’s perfectly true. Pars is a big country, it took Arslan a while to even reach Peshwar. I can see the other warriors who didn’t go to the battle in Atropatene holding up in the outlands or something, and then by the time they got word of what was really going on and found out that Arsan was alive and making a plan of attack, it took them some time to get to Peshwar.

      Agreed. Unless they get ample screen time within the next 5 episodes, they’ll easily be forgotten and so it will defeat the purpose of introducing them in first place.

      True, there are so many characters now, we really just need to keep up with the ones we got. I remember Lucian simply because they decided to shoehorn him into the inner circle even though he doesn’t feel like he’s earned it yet.
      I remember Esfan because he’s the younger brother of Shapur and the two look a lot alike and different from all the character designs that they are distinctive. Plus Shapur made quite an impression in his short screentime, so I’m interested in meeting his younger brother.

      As for the other two new guys, I just remember one is a blowhard and the other is a Naruto reject. 😛

      With Etoile, I won’t be surprised if he really turns out to be a girl, I’ve been expecting it for a while, but I was also completely comfortable with it continuing to be a boy. I just want final conformation though, since sometimes even this episode, it felt like a guy faking being a female.

      I actually thought that Arslen recognized him when he was first trying to get Etoile out of the castle. But then it turned out not. But I’m really waiting for when they eventually learn each other’s names. I mean it’s amazing that it’s actually gone on this long with neither finding out.

      Also, Etoile now knows important information like when the Parsians are going to attack and how many men there are and the fact that there is dissension. All things that could be dangerous for the Lusitanians to find out. Now Narsus could be prepared for this as usual, but I don’t see how he would know that Etoile got in, but I can also see him preparing for it anyway.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I just want final conformation though, since sometimes even this episode, it felt like a guy faking being a female.

        You mean like how well Elam pulled off pretending to be a girl. Especially when the seiyuu voicing him (Natsuki Hanae) is undoubtably male.

        Here’s the truth on Etoile:

        Show ▼

        • IreneSharda says:

          Actually, Elam did a better job of pretending to be a guy than Etoile did. His voice was even better done. I was rewatching the episode for this review and the more I watched it the more I was willing to admit it, but I was also perfectly okay with Etoile being a guy too. I still need conformation from the show, but I’m already starting to get used to the idea.

          I wonder how they will do this in the dubbed version since they got a guy to do the voice for Etoile there. In English, you might get female VAs to do young male characters but not usually the other way around. And it becomes an even bigger problem when they get older. So, that will be interesting.

          Was this from MAL? I’ve read something similar to that on there, but they still called Etoile a guy. I’m wondering if someone just edited that recently…

          • BlackBriar says:

            Was this from MAL?

            Yes, from the highlighted “Etoile” link just above. I put the information in spoiler tags to save time.

      • HannoX says:

        I think Narsus is assuming that Lusitanian spies have learned much of this information. Merchants are going to be bringing supplies and goods to sell, entertainers and prostitutes will also be showing up. Unless the Lusitanians are extremely stupid it’d be a given that they’d slip spies in amongst all those people coming and going. And I’m sure Narsus isn’t counting on the Lusitanians being extremely stupid. Arrogant and over-confident, but not extremely stupid. So I’m sure he already has a plan to deal with that and has probably put out some false information setting up another one of his traps.

        • IreneSharda says:

          I’m going to think so too. I was horrified when that one guy decided to drunkenly shout to the rooftops the day that Pars would attack.

          However, like you said, this is Narsus we’re talking about. He probably has a plan within a plan within a plan, and then about 18 contingency plans just in case the first few don’t work. 😛

          • HannoX says:

            There’s always someone with no idea of security. But you can take advantage of that.

            In the Navy in the 1970s I was assigned to the USS Enterprise, at the time the largest attack carrier in the world. One time before our carrier group left the Philippines for a cruise in the Indian Ocean the word was put out that we’d anchor off Karachi, Pakistan for several days for shore leave. No doubt there were sailors who after a few drinks in the local bars mentioned this.

            Naturally, we had a Russian cruiser tagging along keeping an eye on us when we left. We anchored off Karachi and sent off a helicopter carrying outgoing mail and to pick up mail for us. One of the great things about a nuclear powered ship is there’s no smoke to indicate you have steam to run the main engines. “Knowing” we were going to be there for a while, the Russian shut down his boilers.

            Once the helicopter returned with our mail we upped anchor and tore out of there at flank speed. We even left our escorts behind. With no fires in his boilers the Russian couldn’t follow us. So there was the world’s biggest attack carrier at loose in the Indian Ocean without its tail. I don’t imagine the Kremlin was very pleased with that.

            So Arslan’s team may have announced an incorrect date to their soldiers and will attack at an earlier date to catch the Lusitanians off-guard.

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