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