Arslan Senki – 19

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It’s time for another prince to take the spotlight.

spring15-irenesWell, it looks like that while Arslan was away, the mice didn’t really play all that much. We come back to Ecbatana pretty much the same way we left it. Yet, for the first time this series, we’re going to give the young prince a break and take a look at an older prince who is just as determined as his cousin, and ten times more driven.

I guess to a degree, many could consider this a throw away episode of filler at first, since it involves mostly all supporting characters. However, on the contrary, this is an episode we should have had a while ago. While we’ve been rooting for Arslan and his entourage, we forget that there is a hurt and angry young man out there who has been wronged and is trying to assemble his own forces and garner support from those who will believe him. Yes, we get Prince Hermes point of view this week and it turns out that despite how he’s been portrayed so far, he and Arslan are actually not as different as one may think.

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Meet: Team Hermes

It’s been a few episodes since we’ve had a look at the more human side of the man in the silver mask, and even then I concluded that he was quite a bit like Arslan, but had gone through more hurt and pain and betrayal with no support or guidance from others, leading to what good that was in him, being corroded by his hatred, anger, and desire for revenge. And yet, it is times like these, among those that are loyal to him, that we see him as a relatively normal guy, and if we didn’t already have Arslan, even I would have joined Sam to be on his side.

It’s been no secret that the forgotten prince was only using the Lusitanians to gain access to Pars and unseat Andragoras, and he has no love for them whatsoever and is actively planning on how to crush and expel them. You have to feel a little sorry for Lusitania, as they are being plotted against from two sides without realizing it, but then this episode reminds you just what kind of zealot pricks they are, and your sympathy vanishes.

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Dude! She’s NOT into you! Get over it! This is beyond pathetic…

Just as Rajendra tried to use underhanded ways to take down Arslan, even when he was his ally, Guiscard isn’t stupid, and he doesn’t trust Silver Mask as far as he can throw him. So to take care of two birds with one stone, he commands the visitor general to take down Bodin, who’s been causing quite a bit of trouble in his exile from the capital. He hopes to take out some of Hermes’ thirty thousand, all Parsian troops, at the same time. 

Hermes knows this, but interestingly, he’s created his own entourage to match that of his cousin, though it’s still in its fledgling stages. And like his cousin, he will listen to the advice of those who council him, showing another side of him that is suited to leading others.

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Which prince is the better beguiler? 

Calvary Captain Sam has joined Hermes’ side as the “Narsus” of his team, giving council and strategy to the prince. After having been allowed to live after nearly dying during the fall of the capital,  he feels a debt of gratitude towards Hermes and he feels it right to serve the wronged prince, especially after his session with Andragoras, who looks to be a lot thinner than when we last saw him. We’re also not sure if he’s still retaining all his senses anymore either.

When Sam asks him if he did in fact kill his own brother and try to kill his nephew, the usually blunt monarch was unusually rather vague. We actually get some new information this time in regards to some kind of prophecy, and the reoccurring bloody history of the Parsian royal family. Could we have an Oedipus prophecy situation here? I really hope not, or at least let’s leave the incest out of it…

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What secrets do you hold my king?

Honestly, I kind of wish Sam hadn’t joined up with Hermes and had instead fled to join Team Arslan, yet, like he said, it at least makes things a little more fair. Arslan has a bunch of heavy hitters in his group, Hermes does need someone to at least make this a little more equal.

As a tactician, Sam is no Narsus at least from what we’ve seen so far, but he’s really hasn’t had any opponents to show off against thus far either. The battle this episode was so short and simple, and Bodin is such a one-dimensional villain, that Narsus could have dealt with this guy in his sleep, and likewise, he’s no match for Sam either. Seriously, this guy is so easy and idiotic, that he gives up a prime position of having the high ground, and sends all his fellow zealot soldiers to the slaughter, because of a single petty act of intimidation.

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My villain mustache is telling me that I haven’t snarled enough . I must try harder!

The battle is pretty easily won by Hermes’ forces, with very little casualties on his end. Yet, it’s really what happens before and after this battle that’s got my interest. Sam finds a familiar friend and ally in Kubard, an ex-cavalry captain who basically went his own way after the Battle of Atropatene. We haven’t seen him since episode 3 when he was arguing with Shapur. Even then, it was evident that he was disenchanted by the actions, of the royals, and that hasn’t changed, even after he meets Hermes for the first time. Both of them acknowledge the civil war that is on the horizon as soon as Lusitania is dealt with, as neither Hermes nor Arslan will back down.

One thing that I did notice is that while Hermes’ response was the truth, he doesn’t inspire like Arslan does. Arslan’s demeanor, his nature, and his actions all speak for themselves, and it is that, that gets others to follow him and give them their loyalty. With Hermes’ followers, Xandes is just as much trying to get revenge and he’s a bit of a kiss-up, and Sam feels like he owes the royal family, as well as Hermes personally, for saving his life from a near-lethal blow that the prince himself inflicted! Excuse me, but Hermes, with rulers like that, who needs enemies?

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Raison D’etre

I have a strange feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Kubard, and that he might just have a different response if he ends up running into another Parsian prince. I’m not so sure about Sam either. Depending on how things go, he might stay with Hermes to the end, especially after having sworn his loyalty, and in that case, he’s in for a pretty sorrowful end. However, we’ll just have to see how it goes from here.

In the end, we see that even if Lusitania is taken out, the conflict would be just beginning. And everyone is forgetting that despite the coming battle for the throne between Arslan and Hermes, there’s still the fact that Andragoras, while captured and languishing in prison, is still technically the king. Though considering how he’s been chained up to the point that doesn’t allow him to walk, and he’s probably been sitting in his own excrement and urine and in a damp dark dungeon for six months, I doubt he’ll ever be the same again, even IF he survives by the time Lusitania is finally driven out.

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First step towards the future.

We don’t see much of Arslan this episode, except at the episode’s prologue and epilogue. We see that he has finally made his decision, and made his first move as future ruler by formally declaring war against Lusitania, and also making a proclamation that Pars’ long-lived institution of slavery is over. I don’t know how this will go over with Andragoras or the nobility of Pars, but we’ll have to at least acknowledge the fact that Arslan has made his choice and is willing to follow through with it no matter the consequences.


The thing is, that while Hermes is willing to kill Arslan because of the mistaken idea that he’s the son of his sworn enemy, I highly doubt that Arslan has the same resoluteness in regards to his adopted cousin. Honestly, I wonder how hard Arslan will actually fight his own family for the throne, especially since Hermes should by all right, have it. And even if the young prince does gain it, how will he keep it without everyone calling his legitimacy into question now? There are too many people who now know or suspect the truth behind Osroes death and know that Hermes survived. Too many that could call out Arslan’s possible bastard status and his possible illegitimacy to the royal household. While Narsus, Daryun, and Arslan’s entourage consider Arslan the best candidate for the throne despite his questionable birth, they will be the minority. Our young “liberator” has quite a bit of uphill battles left to fight.

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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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4 Responses to “Arslan Senki – 19”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Kamen Prince: The Movie.

  2. zztop says:

    Today’s endcard artist is Oogure Ito, aka Oh!great. Known for his detailed art and action-packed fanservice, he created manga such as Tenjho Tenge/Heaven & Earth and Air Gear*.

    *Yes, the same one where US President-elect Barack ObamaJohn Omaha switches bodies with a female character.

  3. skylion says:

    …this is getting very close. I feel the writer should start citing Dumas, pere ala L’Homme du Masque Fer…and maybe even Vingt ans apres only, vaguely middle eastern?

  4. BlackBriar says:

    A very Hermes-centered episode. It makes him, in a way, look like the underdog of the story. Maybe I’d have rooted for him if I didn’t already know what he intends to do to Arslan. And if he actually got through with it, he’d have caused a civil war beforehand.

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