Arslan Senki – 25 [INTERMISSION!]

Arslan 25 (90)

All good things must come to an end…at least for now.

spring15-irenesAnd there you have it, the conclusion to the first season of the Heroic Legend of Arslan, which ended the way a continuing story should end–with an actual resolution all the while presenting the book cover of the next chapter, just waiting to be opened.

This last episode to the first part of this epic story served to give us both the aftermath of the Battle of St. Emmanuel, but also as an epilogue to the series that give us an idea of where this series may go next. We didn’t get a second season announcement like I had hoped, but the end was left open enough with enough hints and teases that I can’t help but think that we’ll see it eventually.

As for the episode itself, the very start of it has to deal with right where we left off at the end of the battle right off the bat.

Arslan 25 (7)Arslan 25 (10)Arslan 25 (11)Arslan 25 (16)

The battle has been won, but the war is far from over. 

I’m really glad that they didn’t extend the drama of the misunderstanding between Étoile and Arslan past the first few minutes. I know some melodramas that might have the misunderstanding extend for seasons, but thankfully no so here. Arslan has a few tense moments before he is saved from Lusitanian friend’s blade and Étoile is captured. The battle is over and the Parsians have won. Daryun is found and patched up, Kubard and Farangis share a pitcher of ale together, and Narsus takes stock of all the keep’s supplies to add to their own. The dead are gathered to be buried and Arslan and his men have quite a reason to celebrate. However, it’s interesting how they do so, Even after having won the battle, they aren’t dancing and singing and shouting with joyous jubilation like a stereotypical warrior race. They take things pretty calmly and are getting everything settled in order to go to the next leg in their war to get their homeland back.

Arslan 25 (39)Arslan 25 (40)

This isn’t the end of the war, this is only one step on a much larger journey. It is a significant step, but they still have a ways to go. I’m hoping that we will eventually be able to see that next leg to the journey, but for right now, they wisely decide to instead of progressing the plot, to do a bit of inward reflection, on both the characters and the series.

Boy Meets Girl…Again

“I’m sorry, no file in the bread this time.”

Étoile and Arslan have that long awaited talk finally, where now that all misunderstandings, secrets, and hidden identities have been done away with, they are finally allowed to get to know each other again for the very first time. While the talk is done between a set of bars and the girl in question tried to kill him, Arslan still has no fear of Étoile and still sees her as a friend. A very disagreeable friend, but one that he wants to know better anyway. They have a conversation in the dungeon where we learn of Étoile’s background, and how she was adopted into a house of knights, but because she was a girl, the house had no heir, and so she disguised herself a male, threw away her original identity of “Estelle” to bring glory back to her heir-less household.

Arslan 25 (3)Arslan 25 (4)Arslan 25 (23)Arslan 25 (20)Arslan 25 (22)

With her being able to have a backstory, we get a better idea of who Étoile is and that she’s very driven by her morals and her beliefs. It has shaped her entire life as short as it is, and so when Arslan tells her that he’s read her holy book several times and has come to the conclusion that those in power have corrupted it’s words for their own gain. It shakes her to the core, and she refuse to believe it. But you can see that Arslan has gotten to her, and he continues to get to her.

Arslan 25 (36)Arslan 25 (44)

Arslan acts differently than any royal she’s ever known, she doesn’t quite understand him or why he is the way he is. He gives her food even though he should be her enemy. He leaves the door to her cell unlocked because he trusts her. He is taking care of the Lusitanian wounded when they were fighting against him. He respects her beliefs and asks her to say a Lusitanian prayer over her fallen dead. He allows her to take the refugees back to her homeland. She’s perplexed by him, but no longer does she hate him. In fact…I’d say that a mutual attraction just might be arising between the two.

Arslan 25 (72)

“You’re not allowed to call me ‘cute’ yet. We’ll work up to that.”

This is the first episode that we see Étoile freely dresses and acts like a woman the entire way through. She isn’t used to it after hiding her gender for years, but being a woman to a woman is like riding a bike, you never really forget. She still calls herself “Étoile” rather than “Estelle” (which to me makes no kind of sense since both names are French female nouns that have the exact same meaning, come from the exact same Latin root word, and no self-respecting male would be named “Étoile”, especially at that time period) but I think it’s all just a matter of time. But in the meantime, I don’t mind since I like “Étoile” better anyway. She seems so awkward at times and likes to act tough even if she’s unsure of herself. I like how Arslan’s entourage seem to have taken a liking to her despite her nationality. Even Elam, who almost died because of her, seems to be okay with her. This will be good for the progression of her and Arslan’s relationship.

Arslan 25 (57)

In the original material, Arslan and Étoile don’t meet until this battle, and so while I think their dungeon talk held even more impact with Arslan not pulling any punches in regards to what her people have done to his, even getting righteously indignant at one point, the resulting romantic chemistry that comes up between them after feels too sudden and too fast.In this adaptation, them having that back history makes the very subtle spark between the two much more natural.

Arslan 25 (79)Arslan 25 (81)

I don’t know why, when I saw Étoile holding that newborn and how her maternal instincts, sluggish and slow but still very much there, finally kicked it, I could only see her eventually holding one of her own, but this one had platinum blond hair and eyes of blue. 😀

What Makes a Good King?

Arslan 25 (55)

I’ve looked around the net a bit, and I’ve noted that there is question going around whether or not Arslan is really good leader material. Some, and even the series itself, has brought up the fact that he is kind and good and merciful, almost to a fault. Is too much kindness in a leader a bad thing? Yes, especially if it’s not tempered by good sense. Yet, is Arslan really a good advocate for a ruler? I mean, if you ignore the royal family connections, would Arslan still be a good candidate to become king? Well, again, I would have to say, yes. Some have begun to complain that Arslan doesn’t really do much in his own story. He doesn’t really fight much, he doesn’t do the planning. What’s so special about him? Why should he be king, instead of say, Narsus or Daryun who are much stronger and smarter than him?

Well, I’m going to turn your attention to visual example. Everyone has seen a wheel, correct? For the purpose of this example, we’ll use a wagon wheel of the times. Now, at the center of said wheel is a point called the “hub”. If I were the cut the hub of a wheel out, it wouldn’t be much of anything. It’s not as big or as strong as the spokes or the rim that surrounds it, in fact, it really doesn’t do much alone in the center. Alone, it kind of just seems to sit there. The spokes on the other hand, seem to have a bigger job, as they are holding the wheel up, and they are long and strong and seem to do a lot of the work along with the rim. However, without that simple hub, what would become of that wheel? I think you can see where I’m going here.

Arslan 25 (54)

Arslan is the hub, the axis, of this operation. He doesn’t do much himself, but he doesn’t have to. His job instead is gather “spokes” around him to help him support the rim and thus the wheel as a whole. The spokes, like Narsus, Daryun, and Farangis, are strong and are much bigger than the small central axis point, and seem to do more to hold the wheel together. But without, the hub, they are just pieces of wood. Without Arslan, Daryun might have been killed or captured during the Battle of Atropatene. Narsus and Elam would still be watching things from the sidelines in his house in the mountains, having no reason to get involved. Farangis, would still be at the temple. Gieve would be dead, or just aimlessly traipsing about the countryside, getting away from trouble by the skin of his teeth. Alfreed would have been killed. Jaswant would have been executed. Kishward and Kubard would have had no one to get behind and probably would have joined Hermes as a last resort for saving their nation. All the people that support him, decided to support him, because of him. And because of that, Arslan doesn’t have to fight in every battle, he doesn’t have to come up with the plans. His job is to be the gathering point that people who are much stronger and smarter than him can come around and want to do those jobs for him.

Arslan 25 (14)

Daryun is a great military commander, but he’s no strategist or politician, and he’s not a man who’s good at making decisions that are not related to warfare. He’s a man that is used to following orders and using his strength to protect others and serve his country. He’s also pretty single-minded once he’s set his mind to a particular thing. This is all wonderful and suits his position as Arslan’s military guide and protector very well. But I would never think of him as a person that could serve as the leader of an entire nation.

Narsus, despite his awesomeness, I couldn’t advocate either. While the smartest man on the team and well ahead of his time, also being a master of politics, state, military tactics, and human nature. Narsus is also pretty arrogant if you haven’t noticed. Also, if you remember way back to when he was first introduced, he’s not a man that gets along well with others that don’t see the big picture. He’s actually pretty abrasive to those who aren’t on his level, and it’s why you often don’t see him leading troops on his own, without either Kishward, Daryun, or Arslan. He’s not a man that can gather people to him and act as an axis. Also, he’s a bit…bizarre, as most renaissance men tend to be. He places worth on the strangest things, and doesn’t care about anything else. Even if he could be, I doubt he’d even WANT to be king. For him the job would probably be a necessary drudgery if he actually had to do it. You don’t want a king like that.

Arslan 25 (51)

In the end, Arslan proved again and again that he’s not only best choice to be king, but he’s the best leader for these people. His heart and mind are all in the right place, and while he’s still quite young, he’s on the right path with the best people in his life to make sure he stays on it.

When the Lusitanian girl asks Farangis about Arslan and why they follow him, considering he’s different than any royal she’s ever known. Not arrogant or selfish, has no problem being among his people and others unguarded. He’s not very strong or a huge motivational orator, he doesn’t even make any grand promises. So, why is it so may follow him? And Farangis answers with this:

“The throne has no will of its own.

That is how I think of it.

Depending on who sits on it, it can be the seat of justice or it can be the seat of inhuman cruelty.

As long as it is a man and not a god doing the governing, he can never be perfect.

But should he neglect efforts to reach for perfection, a king will surely tumble down the slippery slope towards evil with no one around to stop him.”

Arslan 25 (61)Arslan 25 (62)

We have had so many royals in this series, so many different kinds with so many different ideals, reasons for wanting the power and position that comes from a monarchical throne. From Andragoras to Hermes to Rajendra. And yet, of all of them, it’s only been Arslan who has wanted the throne only for the purpose of help his people. He’s the only one who has shown to try to become better in order to help his nation and his people. A royal is just another kind of leader and if they forget that with the power and position comes a responsibility those that are within your kingdom. Arslan seems to be the only one who is really putting those people first and thinks of himself as a servant of the people rather than having the people serve him.

Arslan 25 (63)Arslan 25 (64)Arslan 25 (65)Arslan 25 (66)Arslan 25 (67)

And it is with this revelation that we come to the end of this series. The story is in no way finished. Pars is still being held captive, Hermes is still out there and has now revealed himself to Guiscard with the two deciding to plot together to get what they both want. Andragoras is still out there and his mysterious prophecy looms forebodingly over our characters. The spooky sorcerers have their own plans and their reasons can be nothing less than sinister. And Gieve, who does a wonderful job filling in the final narration, is still on assignment to a great mountain to find an object that may be Arslan’s key to proving his claim as king.

Arslan 25 (85)Arslan 25 (86)

There are still so many unanswered questions, and yet for now, this feels like a good place to stop for awhile. A year has passed since Arslan began this journey, and now 15 with his entourage behind him and the future ahead of him, the boy that would be king is ready to take on whatever challenges and obstacles that might come his way.

Arslan 25 (91)

For the boy who would be king…


So, that’s Arslan Senki, at least for now. How was it as a whole? Well, I have to say that while it wasn’t a perfect series, it was still a very well done series, with both heroes and villains we could love, a plot that was simple and yet sophisticated, and many twists and turns that kept us intrigued. The voice acting was superb and the music was excellent. I will miss all of these characters, and I’m hoping against hope that we will get a second season announcement soon. Both the manga and BDs are selling well and they’re about to release a new game for it, so I have to think that it’s popular enough. It could be that they are waiting for Arakawa’s manga to catch up, but we’ll see. I was thinking of reviewing the original 90s OVAs that, believe it or not, actually go beyond this series in terms of plot despite their much smaller collective runtime, yet I’ve decided not to in case of spoilers for a second season, if and when it comes. I’ll return to it at a later date, but for now, I can only say that I truly enjoyed Arslan Senki and will be awaiting the time that I can return to the sword and sorcery land of Pars once again.

Arslan 25 (87)


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.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

17 Responses to “Arslan Senki – 25 [INTERMISSION!]”

  1. HannoX says:

    Although he denied it, Narsus was worried when Alfreed was missing and relieved when she showed up. Is he, however reluctantly, coming around to thinking of her as a wife?

    • IreneSharda says:

      Please, I think of it more as worry for a subordinate and friend, like he would for Elam. It’s Alfreed and Elam all the way. The two have better chemistry. Narsus is way too old and too mature for her. We’ve never even seen a hint that he likes her that way, not even big brother/little sister way, more so that she’s one of the team and because she’s around him more, he does have affection for her, but love interest? Nope.

      • HannoX says:

        But Alfreed has made it clear she’s only interested in Narsus. I think the developing relationship between Alfreed and Elam is friendship. Because it’d certainly be nice if Narsus’s future wife could get along with his devoted follower. As for the age difference, in a world such as this one a man having a wife years younger is quite common. Heck, look at our society. There are a lot of men with wives much younger, although they are usually second wives married as trophies for successful men.

        • IreneSharda says:

          She’s young, her likes and dislikes will change. Any girl who just decides on the first meeting that they will marry, is more than likely not going to end up with said guy. I think that eventually she will lose her girlish stubborn crush and she and Narsus will remain friends, but I don’t think they are compatible. There is really absolutely no chemistry between the two. It’s more like she’s a female version of Elam that Narsus has decided to take in, and she just so happens to have a crush on him that he humors. And if age wasn’t a thing, they wouldn’t have brought it up when they first met.

          With Elam, I think their friendship and arguments could very easily develop into romantic feelings. Those two spend more time with each other than she does with Narsus alone, and both she and Elam still are growing up and need to mature. I think it’s all just a matter of time. Give it a couple more years. Narsus is planning on bequeathing his position to Elam a little after Arslan becomes king, and I think Alfreed would rather stay with Elam helping out there then go into royal painter/retirement with Narsus.

        • akagami says:

          I agree that it feels very one-sided. Eventually she’ll realize her unrequited love won’t go anywhere, and I don’t think she has any special traits that would tickle Narsus’ fancy and turn him around.

          Elam is also single-minded in his devotion to Narsus, although he has shown signs of growing devotion to Arslan that I would say the latter is probably slightly stronger.

          If and when Elam and Alfreed pursue anything is still a far ways away methinks.

  2. HannoX says:

    A king doesn’t have to be the strongest warrior in the land nor does he have to be the wisest man. The qualities he does need, though, are to inspire loyalty and have the ability to surround himself with good advisors. And having genuine concern for the kingdom and its people is also right up there as that is the best way to inspire loyalty beyond his immediate circle.

    Despite some problems, particularly with pacing spending too much time on some story arcs and not enough on others, this was one of the best shows of the year. I do hope we get a sequel to carry the story forward.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I do too! I think that it’s doing well enough to get another season, but that they’re waiting awhile. They have enough material to do several seasons, but I think that just finishing up until the point that he becomes king is good enough, though it’s going to take a bit until we get to even that point.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    A worthy cliffhanger finale to a great series. Going in and not thinking much of it, Arslan Senki gradually grew on me with its colorful cast of characters as much as its progressive story. Whether he wanted or not, Arslan was forced to become an adult before his time, concerning himself with the welfare of his people. Quite a heavy burden for a person only in their early teens and so he is a lead that is difficult not to be sympathetic towards because older men in his position probably wouldn’t have that resolve.

    Among a number of highlights, my personal favorite has to be Arslan’s interactions with Etoile in her prison cell. It’s simply interesting watching those two together and Etoile’s tomboy tsundere tendencies makes for some subtle humor.

    Of course we can’t have everything coming to a happy conclusion what with Hermes still freely roaming about, cutting under the table deals with Guiscard to basically stage a coup d’état to usurp the throne. I’m definitely sensing a “Cain and Abel” type scenario the way he asked Hermes if he’s able to make him king of Lustania. Hermes + Guiscard = The Deadly Alliance!!!

    Overall, a decent series to pass 6 months of time. It would sit well if a continuation was around the corner but it’s wise not to get the hopes up so soon.

    Side note: If you think about it, now that Arslan Senki is over and we’re in Fall again, we’ve gone through a year with two series about royals seeking to reclaim their stolen kingdom. Akatsuki no Yona being the other series to be mentioned. The funny thing is Arslan and Yona’s Su-won share the same voice actor.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Etoile and Arslan are cute together. I loved how she kept yelling at him and all he did was smile at her, which of course just made her feel foolish.

      Hermes and Guiscard now working together is an even more dangerous situation. Now, they can be open with each other, which could be worse.

      I’ve actually be doing series about royals since I’ve been on here. I came in the same time as Yona was ending. I started Arslan right after. I did Shirayuki this summer, and (surprise!) there will be a couple of series I’m covering this fall that also feature royalty.

      Well, what can I say, I’ve had a thing for stories about royals since I was little. I haven’t changed since. 😛

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’ve actually be doing series about royals since I’ve been on here. I came in the same time as Yona was ending. I started Arslan right after. I did Shirayuki this summer, and (surprise!) there will be a couple of series I’m covering this fall that also feature royalty.

        Well, what can I say, I’ve had a thing for stories about royals since I was little. I haven’t changed since.

        If this was some kind of audition, it would count as a typecast. Not that I’m one to talk since you already know where my interests/likings lie. 😛

  4. akagami says:

    This adds to a list of shows where I want to see where it goes, because there are still so many unanswered questions and plot points (joining Akatsuki no Yona and Overlord).

    I think it had some good pacing between the action and character building. I can’t finish pure action-centric shounen shows, because after a while I lose interest in seeing the same thing happen over again with (usually) an annoying main lead who grows stronger for no reason after each battle.

    Each character got sufficient face-time to build a good opinion (unlike Overlord, although that might be because of a large cast and only 1 cour). I like how they kept Arslan focused on his strengths and character… you know he’s never going to be a warrior-king like his father.

    Interesting that Arslan and Étoile never met till non in the canon material. I like how it was done in the anime, a number of small yet significant meetings leading up to now. She helped shape and form his beliefs, and now he’s helping her do the same. Fan-squeeee~~~

    I do wonder what happened to Sam. It would have been hard (yet not impossible) for Sam to break free. Very difficult, considering there was only two ways in, and the city was swarming with enemy forces. Although the Pars army likely would have given way to Sam (out of respect or his fame).

    • IreneSharda says:

      I believe Sam and all the rest of Hermes forces got out of there fairly unscathed. They probably left out the back ways or something. I explained in more detail in last episode’s post why Hermes forces didn’t really decrease in capacity at all, and it’s was more of a writing ploy by the writers than anything else. But yes, Hermes, Xandes, Sam, and the others will return in the next season that is hopefully coming.

      • akagami says:

        Kinda odd though, Sam was guarding the main building, which isn’t close to the fort’s entrance. Be surprising that he would flee for his life and leave Hermes behind, not knowing Herme would use magic to flee elsewhere.

        • IreneSharda says:

          I think it was probably known that they would regroup in some way if things went arwy. Sam is probably aware of the sorcerers by now. Also, Sam knows how to use the aqueducts under the castle to get out, so they probably used that.

  5. zztop says:

    Season 2 confirmed for sometime in 2016.

Leave a Reply