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