Category Archives: Arslan Senki

Arslan Senki Episode 16

Episode 16 Production Details

Episode Director: Kazuo Nogami (Episode Director on Ninku episodes 18, 28, 35 and 43 / Episode Director on Denno Coil episodes 7, 9, 11 [alongside Tomoya Takahashi], 18 and 20 [alongside Masaru Yasukawa] / Episode Director on BLEACH 284, 293, 300, 311, 320, 326, 333, 340 / Episode Director on Gin no Saji [Silver Spoon] episode 3 / Episode Director on Terra Formars 10 and 11 [assistant episode director])

Storyboards: Kazuo Nogami

Script: Aoi Shushiro [Script writer for Samurai Champloo episode 10 / Series Composition writer on Hamatora / Script writer for Galilei Donna episodes 5, 9 and 10]


We’ve seen this many times before.  Narsus outwits Arslan’s enemies and this episode wasn’t much different on that front.  There needs to be more personal dilemma for Narsus rather than an over-powered strategist, some kind of slip-up needs to happen to build his character out better. I say this because Narsus is yet again faced with overwhelming odds and still manages to come out on top.  Rajendra has 50,000 soldiers and Gadevi has 150,000 men including drugged war-elephants.

Narsus thinks ahead by misleading Gadevi, pulling  his soldiers out of Gujarat leaving behind dummy soldiers (literally) for them to square off against.  It takes a turn for the better when Rajendra, haven’t being told of the plan, is caught by surprise when his army shows up to battle Gadevi.  It’s great to see that the plan isn’t  being told to us in plain view and even, we are surprised by how Narsus’ strategic skills are put to use in a battle with two other armies.  The tactics used in this were fantastic, however, unlike the first few episodes there wasn’t too much tension developed.

This is where  I want to mention that the director on this series is Noriyuki Abe, the general director of BLEACH.   While, BLEACH was known for information drops right before a battle, revealing a plan to an enemy even way before it occurs. This was problem for this show however Arslan Senki steers (for the most part) clear from that (for now) and designs a wonderfully written set-up to its battles especially in this episode.  Too bad the tension and the animation aren’t polished–tons of heavy action scenes detracted away from the importance of this battle.

The aftermath of the battle  with Gadevi also portrays quite a vicious image of him.  He’s ready to execute Jaswant before the Vizer steps in and this alludes to how Arlsan is viewed by the company that he keeps.  Jaswant notices the difference in how Arslan treats his loyal subjects as opposed to Gadevi.  It this entire scene that explores how immature Rajendra and Gadevi’s sibling squabble is. Making matters worse is when the old king, Karikala wakes up and isn’t too pleased to hear his sons are bickering, costing thousands of soldiers’ lives. Given the situation it makes sense, during these times, that there would be a duel before the Gods. Using Daryun for this battle is just a small piece for Arslan understanding himself, his allies, and the world accepting him as the future of Pars.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10

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Arslan Senki Episode 15

Episode 15 Production Details

Episode Director: Fumio Maezono (Storyboard on Diamond no Ace episodes 5 and 15 / Episode Director on Photo Kano episodes 2 and 8)

Storyboards: Hiroshi Hara [Key Animator on Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta episode 11 / Storyboard on Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu episode 9 / Storyboard on Blade & Soul episode 9)

Script: Aoi Shushiro [Script writer for Samurai Champloo episode 10 / Series Composition writer on Hamatora / Script writer for Galilei Donna episodes 5, 9 and 10]


This show continues to have trouble with animation.  Especially when it comes to action scenes–Jaswant fighting Gieve had some poor facial animation and choppy hand movements.  Putting that aside, Arslan Senki‘s soundtrack is one of the best of 2015.  Incredibly moving pieces that enhance the less detailed visuals at times!  Can’t wait to hear more from Taro Iwashiro!

Narsus continues to be a driving force into the story of Arslan Senki.  He’s thwarted Kharlan’s assassination attempts towards Arslan and company, recruited many followers and last episode pincer attacked Rajendra into an inevitable alliance that would prove even this time around that the journey isn’t just about Arslan taking claim to the throne.  Gadevi sends the spy Jaswant into Rajendra’s ranks in order to turn the tables on the young prince Arslan.  It isn’t until Jaswant is recruited to the Sindhuran fortress where we see his true nature.

I believe what makes this show truly spectacular, as a whole, is how Narsus becomes so focused aiding Arslan one step ahead of everyone else.  Yet he’s unable to wrap his head around the constant bickering between Elam and Alfreed.  It just goes to show how trusted Arslan is having these soldiers and advisers follow him.  This also relates on how peaceful Arslan will be going further.

An easy success for Arslan with the battle gainst Guavin.  Deciding to release Jaswant rather than execute him goes to show his respect for human life and an impact on Jaswant it will be later.  It will make a huge impact on him because he was an orphan and loyal to his vizier–freedom is something he doesn’t know all too well of.

This episode gradually shows us Arslan’s resolve and how he will use peace to bring neighboring nations together.  The truce between Pars and Rajendra using the war elephants should prove to be interesting because it will be a test of adversity for Arslan.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Arslan Senki Episode 14

Episode 14 Production Details

Episode Director: Koji Aritomi [Assistant Director on Princess Mononoke / Episode Director for Kill la Kill’s episode 8 / Assistant Animation Director on Patlabor WXIII]

Storyboards: Takashi Yamazaki [storyboard writer for Shokugeki no Soma‘s episode 6 / key animator for Yu Yu Hakusho‘s episode 79]

Script: Makoto Uezu ( Script on D-Frag! episodes 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 / Series Composition on Akame ga Kill! / Script on Arslan Senki episodes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 17, 24 and 25)


The animation took a drop in quality this time around. Lots of CG Animation.  And if I’ve mentioned before the CG is awkward in Arslan Senki.  It doesn’t fit and in the first few episodes had used the same character models for its Persian soldiers. When this aired the previous week took a break–giving us a recap episode of the story so far.

This new episode features a new dynamic with the addition of a new opening and ending sequence. Previously we learned that Sindhuran Prince Rajendra is an opportunist. In order to put himself in a good position as a general and eventual claim to the throne of the country he takes advantage of the chaos within Pars.  He’s fearless and bold, however, this episode quickly points to the notion that he’s a bit of a fool.  Going after Arslan and not noticing Narsus’ suspicions makes light of this.  It also foreshadows the ending of this episode as well.  Not to mention his own general seeing this mistake will be a downfall for Rajendra.

Cleverly, it isn’t until now that we see Arslan viewed as a symbol of the rebirth of Pars instead of a military commander. I really like how Narsus spins the 10,000 Peshawar army to Arslan’s advantage. Splitting their forces, creating a ploy using Gadevi’s men by using the terrain to create a pincer attack around the enemy. Ultimately trapping Rajendra in a situation that forces the two in an alliance and by the end seals the deal using alcohol and blackmail.

The introduction of Gadvei’s spy here also proves Narsus talents as a strategic advisor as he even sees this alliance opportunity with Rajendra too enticing to pass up.


OP: “Uzu to Uzu” (渦と渦) by NICO Touches the Walls

 

Directed by: Yuzuru Tachikawa

Storyboards: Yuzuru Tachikawa

Such a better song to use!  I like how subtle the movements are in the animation until it builds up into the chorus and action sequences!  Mitsumura Tamura’s voice has an amazing range! Overall it does a great job in depoicting the large cast this anime has shown us so far!

ED: “One Light” by Kalafina

 

Directed by: Naomi Nakayama

Storyboards: Naomi Nakayama

Not as good as the first ending but still pretty decent.  It’s emotionally inviting using Kalafina’s popular orchestra mixed with a slight edgy rock sound.  Only issue though is that it sounds like your generic Kalafina song.  It has a similar visual feel to it (Nakayama directed the first ending too!) that the cast is progressing on a grand adventure to reclaim the country.

Animator Spotlight:

Satoshi Kimura

[Previous Works Include)

  • Terra Formars character designer

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OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Arslan Senki Episode 13

Episode 13 Production Details

Episode Director: Takashi Yamazaki [Also credited as Takayuki Tanaka, as a pen-name] ( Key Animator on Yu Yu Hakusho episode 79 / Storyboard alongside Masami Shimoda & Takuya Sato on Selector Infected Wixoss episode 11 / Episode Director on FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood episode 23 / Episode Director on Shokugeki no Soma episodes 16, 20 and 21)

Storyboards: Takashi Yamazaki

Script: Makoto Uezu ( Script on D-Frag! episodes 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 / Series Composition on Akame ga Kill! / Script on Arslan Senki episodes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 13, 17, 24 and 25)


I cannot believe it has been since November that I last discussed this anime series.  Amazing how time flies and I’m glad to be getting back into re-watching this show.  After this episode there was a recap for the next week when it aired.

Finally!  We’re at Peshawar, the last outpost of the Pars Empire for everyone’s journey.  With the return of Narsus and the young girl he saved, Alfried presents to us a new theme in this series in more ways than one.  Respect and how it can be earned.  Narsus was once well-respected within the Pars army even by its King for his unparalleled abilities as a tactician. Elam’s comical banter with Alfried in this episode illustrates how this group is going to become stronger as time goes on but that its bound by the loyalties of two men–Narsus and Arslan.  Narsus gained the respect of Daryun a long time ago and and while he has his duties as a knight to be a shield for Arslan, Narsus is becoming the strength the young prince needs.

This episode even points this out with Kishward’s arrival and it solidifies Arslan’s principles to rebuild the entire social structure from the ground up.  Quickly we see that Arslan has shown potential to be an honest King when he says that “If we don’t make the new kingdom a better place, there’s no point in fighting for it”.  This statement alone sums up nicely his rationale of thinking!  Exactly the opposite of what Hermes’ goal is–he doesn’t care how the country ends up just that he rules it out of revenge of the King of Pars for stealing everything from him.  Which is why he’s going after Arslan and anyone related to the family.  Bahman being reintroduced here brings up what had troubled him when he was first introduced–Arslan’s origins.  When Hermes sneaks into Peshawar to confront Arslan is right where Bahman’s role is somewhat similar to Vahriz was to Arslan.

I really like how we actually get to see a flashback of a young Hermes training with Bahman.  Having built up rage inside of him and incredible swordsmanship we get a brave yet terrified view of Arslan–realistic for a 14-year old boy to act in life or death situation.  Unfortunately though Hermes’ over-exaggerated performance is his undoing when Arslan aims the torch towards him depicting he has a fear of fire due to his past.  Seeing Narsus, Daryun, Falangies and Kishward come in to save the day was rewarding.  Simply because this series’ past couple of episodes has been about gaining the trust of companions and Bahman getting killed at the hands of Hermes enhances this incredibly well! Fantastic episode!

It’s a shame that the animation by LIDEN FILMS and Sanzigen is extremely thick and heavy in this show. It doesn’t work too well. Those fight scenes could have been more fluid than what we got and there were many times that the character models were not completely drawn in.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Arslan Senki Episode 12

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Episode Director: Hiromichi Hatano [Episode Director on Baby Steps episodes 9 and 16 / Episode Director on Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu episodes 5, 11, 17 and 23 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Osomatsu-san episode 6]

Storyboards: Hiroshi Hamasaki [Episode Director, storyboards and key animator on Space Dandy episode 3 / Storyboards and Key Animator on Terrar Formars opening sequence / Key Animator on Redline film / Key animator on Casshern SINS episode 24 / Key Animator on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin episode 6]

Script: Aoi Shushiro [Script writer for Samurai Champloo episode 10 / Series Composition writer on Hamatora / Script writer for Galilei Donna episodes 5, 9 and 10]


This episode’s animation quality was much better than last time.  Introducing yet another character in Arslan’s company, Alfreed.  The situation that arises from this is executed nicely.  Lusitanian Soldiers led by Hermes [Silver Mask] slaughter the Zot tribe–a band of pirates.  This sequence is a testament to Narsus’ motives–is he a genuine person saving 16-year old Alfreed because she’s a damsel in distress? Or is it that he’s wanting to challenge Hermes  to a fight again simply out of understanding his motives?  With Alfreed’s family now killed and without a place to return home to this sets the stage for Alfreed to be indebted to Narsus–accompanying him on his journey with Arslan.  She’s not feeling any sort of motivation to stay put–she wants to run away and this builds up on the eventually budding comedy between Elam and her vying for Narsus’ attention/affection.

I figured we would see more of the brother of Innocentius VII, Guiscard.  He seems to be the real ruler of Lusitania, he’s more level-headed than his brother and this episode points out how he doesn’t trust very many people including Hermes and Bodin.  This reminds me how glad I am that Bodin isn’t the main villain.  An arch-priest  abusing power through the church in order to carve his own ideals as Lusitanian principles.  This episode hints at the possiblity that Guisard might join Arslan because he doesn’t support the teachings of Yaldabaoth, he’s now turned the crooked priest and his followers into, as he calls them “common soldiers”.  Even removing the religious symbol from the King’s palace.

Now this is a series that gets characterization!  I’m glad that the creators chose this episode to depict Narsus (separated from the group) and his actions without Arslan’s safety in mind.  The first half of this episode is more slow-paced and for good reasons–it’s strategic.  The second portion focuses on Daryun fending off Xandes’ attacks.  For the first time, Daryun finally gets the reason why Kharlan betrayed the kingdom and he hears it from the son no less.

The big surprise is the use of magic.  It’s been foreshadowed before with mist and the Djinn and this episode uses it out in the open with the mysterious masked man transporting through the ground.  The battle is over-the-top and makes use of the fact that Daryun is very uninterested in politics or any kind of strategy.  Arslan returning to the fight in order to save his life changes his perspective on this quite a bit.  Falangies mentions that he might not be the true ruler of Pars by birthright but that is irrelevant.  It’s about merit (something that Daryun knows all too well about), the nature of his ideals and actions that make him most suited as King.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Arslan Senki Episode 11

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Episode Director: Mamoru Enomoto [ Episode director and key animator for Fairy Tail episode 44 / Episode Director for Ao No Exorcist episodes 7, 13 and 23 / Episode Director for Gatchaman CROWDS episodes 4 and 8]

Storyboards: Naomi Nakayama[ Director and storyboarded for Casshern SINS 2nd ending sequence / Director and Storyboarded First and Second endings for Arslan Senki]

Script: Aoi Shushiro [ Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace script writer on episodes 3, 4, 5 and 9]


This episode was extremely well-executed!  The music transitions during Silver Mask’s past and his burned face and the maid’s look on her face at him, even down to Kharlan’s son Xandes offering loyalty were just a nice touch to how powerful and slow-paced this anime is.  Silver Mask is generic in how he’s hell-bent on revenge against Andragoras’ family yet he’s got this ferocious intensity that makes him favorable especially in the eyes of his supporters.  This episode points out that Arslan still has a lot of work to do in order to prove how different he is from his father, King Andragoras.

The reveal this time around is that Silver Mask is the son Hermes of the previous king of Pars.  This episode is all about vendetta–Xandes wants to kill Daryun the very man that killed his father and supports Silver Mask’s ideals to claim what’s rightfully his.  I like how we are getting two perspectives of people that want to rule a kingdom.  Arslan proves his individuality out of the fact that he was raised for most of his childhood in a small village with, attending school and being cared for by a nurse maid.  Silver Mask from what’s been seen spent most of his time inside the castle receiving his father’s approval daily.  Arslan, not so much, simply because of how accepting he’s been of others.  Kindness and challenging Pars policies is what separates these two men.  This speaks a lot about his actions especially where he’s risking his life for Elam whom was thrown off his horse from Lusitanian pursuers.

A prince putting his own life before the life of a peasant whereas a few episodes ago Hermes referred to the Lusitanian soldiers as “savages”.  Narsus is training Arslan to have a strong mind, Daryun trains him in strength and it will be his experience through this journey to become King that will ultimately test his spirit.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Arslan Senki Episode 10

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Episode Director: Nishikata Yasuto [2nd key animator on BLEACH: Memories of Nobody / Episode director on Yu-sibu episode 7 / Episode director and key animator on Nanatsu no Taizai episode 22]

Storyboards: Nishikata Yasuto [Episode Director and storyboards for BLEACH episodes 132, 134, 136, 140, 164, 366 among other episodes / episode director for Gin no Saji episode 6)

Script: Machida Touko [Script writer for Samurai Champloo episode 10 / Series Composition writer on Hamatora / Script writer for Galilei Donna episodes 5, 9 and 10]


I still don’t like the opening sequence for this show.  Even after watching this series for a second time.  It’s too Japanese for a story that’s supposed to be about Persia.  The ending has striking visuals that counterbalance Kalafina’s song nicely.  The soundtrack, however, is absolutely spectacular.  Iwashiro Taro churns out one emotional piece one after another especially in this episode!  Dog of Flanders and Fullmetal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos had fantastic scores too!  I’m eager to see more of his work in the future!

I mentioned a few episodes ago about why I believe Narsus is aiding Arslan.  Out of a respect for Daryun and the political curious side of him.  He wants to see how Arslan will handle being King.  This episode clears out this facet of the story with Lord Hodir’s introduction.  His men save Arslan and his companions after a Lusitanian calvary tries to pursue them.  Wonderful use of the soundtrack during that chase sequence!  I really like Hodir because he’s a prime example of Parsian authority even down to its core.  He lives in luxury with tons of servants, rather slaves and remember back when the slaves took back the Pars Kingdom upon hearing the words of Lusitanian soldiers?  This part of the story comes rearing its head back and in a huge way!  Arslan is separated at night from Narsus and Daryun not to mention his other trusted companions–  Elam, Gieve and Falangies.  He wants to press upon his influence towards the young Arslan that he should marry his daughter.  This is where Narsus’ clever tactician charm comes into play!  The freedom of slaves is by and large frowned upon many that serve within the Pars kingdom–its policies have been around for years and Arslan desiring to change that widely affects Hodir’s status.

I like how this piece of the story reveals the true form of Hodir’s ambitions.  He wants control of the kingdom!  The battle that shows up at the end of this episode depicts the strength of Arslan’s ideals by visually illustrating the strength Falangies, Gieve and most especially Daryun have attained in order to protect the future king of Pars.  What makes this ending powerful is the slaves Arslan tries to free and they are the ones that wind up attacking him.  He’s still learning about the world both good and bad–Narsus teaches him that only through experience can someone build character and become worthy of ruling an entire kingdom!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

 

Arslan Senki Episode 9

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Episode Director: Hideki Kadota [ Episode Directorial debut for Arslan Senki episode 9]

Storyboards: 

  • Shin Nakashima[ key animator on Abarenbo Rikishi!! Matsutaro episode 1 / Key Animator on Arslan Senki episode 9]
  • Satoshi Kimura [ Character Designer for Terra Formars and Key Animator for Terra Formars‘ opening sequence / Action Animation supervisor and key animator on Arslan Senki‘s Opening 1 and 2 sequences /

Script: Touko Machida [Samurai Champloo script writer for episode 10 / Hamatora main series script writer / Hitsugi no Chaika series script writer]


Silver Mask bears his dark appearance simply because of burns from the past.  This makes sense and considering all the imagery we’ve had of Ectabana burning up in flames to Arslan’s Maiden Battle back in episode 2 in comes to no surprise.  Nice foreshadow.

There’s been a lot of talk from fans about the gripe people have with this series’ villains being too stereotypical.  Silver Mask is on a raged-filled vendetta.  A lot of anime fall into this category regarding it’s antagonists and anti-heros.  Lelouch of Code Geass wanted revenge against the family that took him in then there’s Light Yagami of Death NoteGankutsuo: The Count of Monte Cristo and even Heat Guy J. These series tackle this issue pretty well but it is, nonetheless, an overused trope.  Arslan Senki‘s Silver Mask emphasizes this during his highly-detailed animated fight against Daryun.  We’ve also got a bit of crazy in the mix as well.  The priest Bodin smacks his soldiers around and burns books and other historic artifacts left behind by the Pars Kingdom.  To today’s standards it’s very true   Heck his designs are quite of the top especially with his eyes and quick-tempered mannerisms.  Loved that scene where he’s laughing around the fire and where he threatens Lusitanian King Innocentius’ life out in the open.

These two characters may be over-the-top but it works in that we’ve got a complex set of good-natured characters trotting behind Arslan.  Not to mention the mystery surround the relationship between Queen Tahamenay and King Andragoras III should give some interesting sub-plots to a collection of motifs this series has been dangling in front of us this whole time–  civilization and what separates one society from another.  The second theme that’s pointed out is cultural prejudice.  The former is represented by how brutal the Lusitanians can be towards mankind that aren’t religiously accepting of their God.  We see that especially with Bodin’s actions to burn just about every cultural treasure Pars has valued.  The ladder is shown through the Lusitania’s rather despicable actions against people and the perspective that Pars is truly a slave kingdom.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

 

Arslan Senki Episode 8

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Episode Director: Kazuo Nogami [Episode Director for Dennou Coil episodes 7, 9, 11, 18 and 20 / key animator for Arslan Senki episode 8 / Episode director for BLEACH episodes 284, 293, 300, 311, 320, 326, 333 and 340 / storyboard writer for Btooom! episode 6]

Storyboards: Michio Fukuda [storyboard writer for Kekkai Sensen episode 9 / storyboard writer for STAR DRIVER episodes 5, 9, 14, 17, 20 and 24 / Key Animator on Summer Wars and Redline]

Script: Makoto Uezu [D-Frag! script writer for episodes 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 / Akame ga Kill!script writer for episodes 1-8, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24]


Prince Arslan isn’t your typical hero character nor is he shown as a fortuitous lead in an action series.  His strength lies in his curiosity of the world, which up until now, has been briefly illustrated through his naive attempts in understanding people.  Accepting Lusitanian soldiers like Etoile so easily and the slaves held captive by his own kingdom represents his youth as well as his passion to become a strong leader.  The first episode introduced death to him giving off an aura of authenticity to his character.  I really like how he’s growing in mind, spirit and fighting abilities.  He’s good for his age (especially with all the training with Vahriz) yet this episode doesn’t let go of the fact that he’s always been raised inside the capital walls.  At first, Elam, was very unfriendly towards Arslan and his status of nobility.

This episode shifts the dynamic to the point where Elam bows before Arslan in loyalty!  Daryun is a Pars warrior retaining the honor of his deceased uncle and keeping up with his promise to protect Arslan.  Narsus trusts Daryun and is welcomed with open arms by Arslan.  Out of respect for the young prince he accompanies him on his journey in order to test him whether it’s been shown on screen or not.  He wants Arslan to give thought to any action that he gives to his commanding officers.  Elam is simple in that he’s doing it out of modesty and sincerity.  Arslan greatly rounds these supporting characters out a lot and it’s nice to see this series takes it time with that! As for Gieve and Falangies provides the silent backbone (and humor) this show needs.  Falangies wants to be useful to Arslan given that she is told through the Mithra God.  As for Gieve he’s for appearances sake, is loyal only to himself and offers his bodyguard services to Arslan in order to get closer with Falangies.

The battle that unfolds with Kharlan is a true testament to the five staking their lives on the line for the prince.  In one of the neatest tightly animated fight sequences we get an up close and personal perspective of Narsus’ tactics and the aftermath that follows illustrates what Arslan will have to gain and even lose in order to become the King of Pars.

The soundtrack is probably the best collection of music Taro Iwashiro has ever made.  One of the most compelling scores he did was for the live-action 2003 film Memories of Murder but Arslan Senki (even in this episode) ended up being absolutely superb!  Grandiose and gradually engaging with a build-up in the strings department!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10

Arslan Senki Episode 7

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Episode Director: Guan Dai [Episode Director for Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei‘s episode 23 / Episode director for Overlord episode 7]

Storyboards: Takashi Yamazaki [storyboard writer for Shokugeki no Soma‘s episode 6 / key animator for Yu Yu Hakusho‘s episode 79]

Script: Makoto Uezu [D-Frag! script writer for episodes 1, 3, 4, 8 and 12 / Akame ga Kill! script writer for episodes 1-8, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24]


Something that Arslan Senki gets right is how the story leans the characters into action rather than the characters pushing the story along.  We get to see introductions on a few pivotal key characters–  King of Lusitania Innocentius VII and younger brother Giskari.  Innocentius illustrates the stupidity of people in this show wonderfully and how his brother Giskari is trying at great lengths to keep him from ruining his King’s reputation.  Their introduction is slightly sidelined by the Queen Tahamenay seductive influence. 

King Innocentius takes great notice immediately enamored by her beauty.  Clearly, this stakes out that she’s probably done this to countless men in the past and could have resulted in King Andragoras’ actions in the past.  It’s a nice side-story to play against with Silver Mask’s vendetta and Arslan’s claim to the throne.

As for Silver Mask he mentions in this episode how Lusitanian soldiers are savages and this points out the fact he’s merely using them for his own gain.  This is obviously aimed at Grand Inquisitor and Priest Bodin–given how horribly he tortured Andragoras’ retainer Shapur in front of the entire kingdom.  To keep control in Silver Mask’s own hand he must sacrifice a lot of people.  Personally, I think there’s a lot of similarity between Silver Mask and Queen Tahamenay.  What’s noticeable is how Silver Mask isn’t even of Lusitanian blood and yet Kharlan puts a ton of faith in him.  So the invasion was started by a traitor of the Pars empire and a mysterious mercenary.

Narsus sends Elam to Ectabana disguised as woman in order to access the situation within the kingdom.  Things are finally circling back to the beginning right when Elam meets Lusitanian soldier Etoile, the blonde haired boy that young Arslan met in the premiere. I believe it’s intentional this entire sequence plays out like it does because it foreshadows the possibility that Etoile is a lot less boyish than he was when we first saw him.  And the fact he’s voiced by Yumi Uchiyama [Usagi Drop‘s Kazumi Kawachi] is further evidence Etoile is a girl.

The highlight in this episode, for me, is the introduction of Falangies.  With the help of Gieve they are able to take out a patrol of Lusitanian soldiers where it’s revealed that she’s an archer and emissary for the Temple of Mithra. Both of them are very intelligent and the wit that comes across ends up being a strong side-piece of comedy in this action, drama war series.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10