Arslan Senki – 24

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We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!

spring15-irenesThis episode was called “the decisive battle” and for good reason, while not the final battle for the capital, this was an important battle for Arslan’s campaign. Taking the Keep of St. Emmanuel moves him and his forces closer to the the capital of Ecbatana, and gives them back more territory than before, but what did they have to go through to win the day this time?

A Commander in Chief

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We’ve been watching Arslan’s growth over the past twenty-four episodes, from the young timid boy of 11, to the young man that chooses to lead his armies as we see here. Going back to episode 14 when we first see him lead his men in his maiden battle, you can automatically tell how much he’s grown. Once a boy that had little confidence and desired his father’s approval, who could only timidly shout the warcry, now goes determinedly takes to the battlefield even though he doesn’t have to, and declares the battlecry of his ancestors with vigor and strength.

His speech to his men is nothing so boisterous and self-assured as his father’s before him, however, the speeches he gives are much more heartfelt, humble, and inspiring. He doesn’t spend all his time inflating the egos of his troops or filling them with false confidence, instead he simply thanks them for what they’ve done, voices the truth that they would never have gotten this far without them, and that with the help of the gods, they shall have victory and that he shall be their king.

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It’s a triumphant moment, that marks the final climax of the season. Most of our big players come out to play, as we continue the battle from last week. Kubard makes his second heroic appearance, the idiot warriors three all prove their mettle, and Alfreed and Farangis show that while they may be the only females in Arslan’s army, they more than carry their weight.

In all honesty the battle from technically doesn’t take that long, it’s really only the span of about two days. True, the Battle of Atropatene took even less time, but the circumstances were significantly different with one army significantly unprepared for the other, which led to its slaughter. This time, we have two armies that are on sort of equal footing. Sure one has about 30-40 thousand more troops and has a base made of stone and mortar, but there are a few things that act as buffers to make things just a little more equal.

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“Oh goddess, please give them the aim of the stormtroopers from times past and a place far, far away.”

Firstly, Arslan of course has Narsus and Daryun on his side that do much to correct the balance. Secondly, while both armies are equally motivated (fighting for one’s home, family, and way of life can fight just as ferociously as those who are fighting for their god and for their beliefs), the soldiers of Pars have been known to be the stronger of the two in battle and the more stalwart in a fight. And thirdly, well….

“Good, good! I can feel your anger. Let it flow through you!”

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Then there’s Prince Hermes, yes, let’s talk about him, since he happens to be at the center of two of the three centerpieces of the episode. The first is the confrontation he has with his cousin, where Arslan shows once again why he’s the better choice as king, seriously listening to Hermes’ case, understanding his plight, and yet not backing down. He even asks Hermes to join him in helping to rebuild Pars, showing how he’s even far different from the likes of Rajendra and can forgive past transgressions. Hermes doesn’t even bother to consider it, but it’s the fact that the opportunity was even offered, is the point to take home here and an attribute to Arslan’s character.

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But first, let’s talk about his contribution to the battle. Firstly, Hermes has been attributed to be the main force behind the planned downfall of Pars during the battle of Atropatene, and we have seen a few times that the man is no slouch in the strategy and tactics department. In fact, if you were to take Daryun, Narsus, and Anakin Skywalker’s rage and put them in a blender, you’d probably come out with something close to what Hermes is. So then, why exactly is it that in this battle, the Parsians have free reign and Silvermask seems to feel nothing or do nothing in regard to them storming the keep and running roughshod over his own forces?

Well there are two reasons that I have to attribute to that: one being the plot, and two being the writers. If that’s confusing, I’ll explain what I mean.  Plotwise, why didn’t Hermes do anything? Well, the easy answer is, is that simply–he didn’t care. His mind in completely on his cousin, Arslan is his obsession. What does he care about a keep that belongs to his enemies, and likewise what does he care about the slaughtering of Lusitanian soldiers? In a way, Arslan is doing his work for him, so they might as well go ahead! But then you say, we’re some of those soldiers Parsian? He doesn’t care if his own men get killed?

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Well, notice that the only time Parsian soldiers are mentioned are in Sam’s appearance and when Same was fighting in the aqueducts underground. Nowhere else do the other soldiers mention fighting their own countrymen. This is for a reason. Tell me, if you had a force of 100,000 and 70,000 of those troops were that of your own enemy while 30,000 were your own, which ones would you be send out to fight first?

And that’s another reason why the odds seemed so equal. Hermes rarely sent his own Parsian soldiers out to fight. Why let them get slaughtered if there were perfectly good riled-up Lusitanians to send to the sword? So really, Arslan’s army of approximately 60,000 is really going up against only around 70,000 enemy troops, which makes things far less one-sided.

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But regardless of the plot, I named the second reason that it turned out this way, as being because of the writers, and what did I mean by that? Well, the truth is, you know that realllly sweet battle between Daryun and Hermes, that was pretty much the best fight in the entire series? The one where Daryun finally met his match and actually lost? Yeah, that was pretty much all anime-original.

Change is Coming

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I said a few episode reviews ago that this series has become stuck in an interesting place in that it has moved way beyond the manga adaptation and now can only rely on the original novels for its story beats, but because it’s based on an adaptation, it has to deal with some of the changes that were made, as well as having to change some things themselves to suit their own adaptation. The original Battle for St. Emmanuel’s Keep was actually not as epic as this. This is no slight to Tanaka as the writer, but his book was at a different point as a novel than this series is, and so the writers had to change a few things to make this battle much more climactic than it originally was. Hermes and his forces were originally not in this battle at all, having been on their way back to the capital at this point in the original material. And thus, it was really just Arslan against the elderly Count Barcacion’s military leadership, and thus you can see why the battle was no problem at all for the prince’s forces.

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However, in order to now have Hermes in the battle for the climax’s sake, the writers had to find some way to keep this battle an easy win for Arslan without taking away too much from Hermes’ character, and yet, they are still following the original material’s storyline, so they had to return everything back to the status quo that it was prior to the changes. And that is why they had Hermes use very few of his own Parsian forces in this battle, and why the plot devices known as the sorcerers have shown up so prevalently this time around. They needed to keep Silvermask and his forces intact for the series going forth, and thus, there could be no significant deaths, therefore the reason that both Xandes and Hermes got the “black magic disappearing void” treatment.

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While none of this really affects this plot, as this is an adaptation and they are allowed to make as many changes as they need to, it’s just interesting to see where they are making changes and why.

Disappearing Like a Star in the Sky…

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Despite this epic battle, it was really the confrontation between Étoile (a.k.a. Estelle; I’ll get more into the alias next episode) and Arslan that we were really interested in. And I can’t say I’m surprised with how Étoile responded, and neither am I surprised that it was Elam that paid the price. Honestly, Elam was the only one of the main cast that it could have happened too. He and Alfreed are probably the two least useful of his entourage (which is saying very lot about the rest of them, considering how actually useful they are) and I think they would think twice about injuring a woman who was acting as his bodyguard. And so it was left up to Elam to take the hit. Why did it happen?

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Arslan, the kind and peace-seeking person that he is, was not going to face the young soldier that he had known with sword raised, and Étoile, with her hot-headed personality and tumultuous emotions, was going to go with the first feelings that came to her heart, which was shock and anger. She feels tricked, duped by this boy prince that she could have killed several times now, if she had only known! However, I do like that she doesn’t seem to be blaming Arslan for tricking her, but instead she blames herself for not seeing it all this time.

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What a twist!

Étoile is a fanatical girl, but I think that much of her feelings and ideal come from her naivety and her lack of knowledge at what’s really going in the world. She’s like a blindfolded swordsman who insists they can see and swings her sword around recklessly. Her and Arslan meeting was as fated to be as the stars aligning could make it. And while things have gotten much harder between them, especially after that end (and yes, it was cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason, most of the time they work, and this one worked), I can only think that something amazing with come from the two of them. Perhaps, after all the times that she has unintentionally helped Arslan find his way, maybe it’s time that he returns the favor and removes the blindfold from her eyes?

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Goodness knows the two will have time for a little heart-to-heart after this battle is over.

Pointless Sacrifice

While the battle was a victory for Arslan, he will actually remember it for a much more somber reason. The scenes of women throwing themselves to their deaths is a horrifying and jarring one for our young prince. While he’s seen the horrors of war and death on both the battlefield and the political arena, he’s never experienced anything like this. And it is something that will scar him for life. As for the women, I can see why they felt the act necessary considering their religion, their very limited knowledge of the Parsians, and the deplorable treatment of female captives at this point in time. And yet, I also see it as a waste, as if they truly see converting others as their life’s goal, then rather than committing suicide, would it be better to show your stalwart faith as a living example to your enemies? If you’re killed then, you become a martyr, here, the sacrifice just seems pointless.

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This is especially with Barcacion, who I think was even worse, since he seemed to be more knowledgeable than most on what was really going on in the world and that perhaps their religion wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And yet, I don’t think it would gone well for him after having lost the keep, to still be alive while he’s lost so many men and these women have thrown themselves off a roof. And yet, I can’t help but see his death as a waste too. But at least it was put to use as a plot point to bring Étoile and Arslan’s relationship to another boiling point. So there was that…


Well, next week is the final episode of the season. If the series continues to go the way that I see it going, I can’t see this series not having a sequel of some kind. Unless they leave it open in order to order you to read the novels that have never been translated, or the manga that doesn’t exist to this point yet either. There will be too many open questions by the series end to really call it a series finale. How this series decides to end will decide how I will feel about the series as a whole. A bad ending can kill an entire series that has been good so far, and while the absence of a sequel won’t necessarily “kill” this series, it won’t be good anymore either…

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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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7 Responses to “Arslan Senki – 24”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    From what you’re saying, a lot of original material went into this and various changes were made. I’d probably find that jarring while taking it in if I saw any of the previous works you frequently speak of.

    The Lustanian mass suicide after acknowledging their defeat and occupation was troubling to see and I didn’t like it. I really doubt any faith would allow suicide as an acceptable option. Especially seeing someone apparently quite kind and calm like Barcacion doing something so stupid. And how convenient to have Etoile show up just in time to see Arslan holding the blade and setting her off. The writers sure love to put their leads in that kind of piping hot water.

    Firstly, Arslan of course has Narsus and Daryun on his side that do much to correct the balance.

    The Lustanians would call that an unfair advantage if they all knew of their capabilities. Those two are OP in their respective fields. 😛

    This is for a reason. Tell me, if you had a force of 100,000 and 70,000 of those troops were that of your own enemy while 30,000 were your own, which ones would you be send out to fight first?

    I’d send the enemy part first, of course. The opposition mowing them down would do the work for me free of charge. And I’d make an excuse to the owner of the enemy section while incorporating the sentence “It was a necessary loss”.

    Daryun and Hermes second bout was more epic than the last. Got to admire the conviction and loyalty Daryun has for Arslan. A true rarity to see. Hermes, on the hand, is surely putting himself on the path to oblivion. Admitting his rage will never be satisfied adds to his detriment, it will be his undoing and showing he’s in league with a bunch of ominous sorcerers has got to hurt what little connections he has left with the Lustanians and his chances at the throne though he has the greater claim by direct bloodline.

    • IreneSharda says:

      One thing interesting about seeing different versions and comparing is that you know what’s coming, and yet you don’t because you don’t know what changes will occur and how they will diverge because of the new changes the adaptation decided to make.

      As for Narsus and Daryun I find it hilarious that the two most OP characters in the show are actually best friends. In most series they would be rivals, but then maybe that’s because their strengths are in two separate areas?

      Hermes is in that position of being a sympathetic villain. You want to stop him, and yet you do want him to get justice for what happened to him. I think I was right in comparing him to Anakin Skywalker in a way, and I think he might get a similar redemption at the end.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Oh, here’s something I came across some time ago: Seraph of the End Season 2’s English-Subtitled Trailer Previews fripSide Theme

    Among the upcoming characters, Daryun Yoshimasa Hosoya will be playing Makoto Narumi, a soldier who uses a Cursed Gear trident. From spear to trident. Nice upgrade.

  3. zztop says:

    Next week is the final episode of the season. If the series continues to go the way that I see it going, I can’t see this series not having a sequel of some kind.

    There’s still several big plot points that need resolving, like the mystery of Arslan’s real parents, Andragoras’s prophecy of doom and the true motive of the evil-looking shadow wizards.
    I’ll see if I can find anything.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well I’m not sure about the first regarding Arslan’s parents, but I have a pretty good idea about the second with the prophecy, and third with the sorcerers real motivation, we will get to it if they end up having a second season. We find out about it not that far from this arc and it has something to do with where Gieve was sent to.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    For those who want a re-watch of the epic fight:

    • IreneSharda says:

      This really makes me wonder who Hermes has been studying under the last 16 years. Or did he just continuously perfect himself for his plot towards revenge?

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