Category Archives: Arslan Senki

Arslan Senki Episode 6

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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: Ken’ichirō Murakawa [storyboard writer for Steins;Gate episodes 6, 16 and 21 / storyboard writer for Sword Art Online II episode 20 / storyboard writer for Jormungand episode 6]

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


Even up to this point of the story we’re just touching the surface of volume 1 of the novels.  This has been all exposition and prologue for a larger story about Arslan and his quest in finding people that will support him in reclaiming his kingdom.

I’m very glad that I’m re-watching this series.  It’s extremely patient and does away with the notion that this will be a fast-paced series.  A lot of anime, both series and film, suffer from this style of storytelling.  This episode for the most part completely removes Arslan and company out of the picture as they’re waiting out Kharlan’s troops in hopes that he ends their search for them. The big part of this is when the inevitable happens, Ectabana falls.  This is a great time for the story to move back towards the city and how the people of Lusitania will improve the broken city.  Like I’ve said before there isn’t a good kingdom, as the viewer we get a good look on even the harshest of times within each country.  We haven’t had the scenery of Lusitania that we’ve had on Pars in the first few episodes but the characters and their devotion to their God gives a solid perspective of their kingdom.  An extreme harsh reality for both sides.

This episode focuses on people imprisoned by the Pars kingdom as slaves and how Lusitanian soldiers  take that situation and spin it to their own advantages.  The only two people upholding the Pars King’s ambitious are the sensible Commander Saam and the brutal, un-compassionate Garshasph.  Two soldiers on the same side with very opposing viewpoints.  The Queen is unsettled by the situation at hand and is more worried about her own wellbeing than that of her husband or son.  Pointing to the possibility that they aren’t his real parents.  At least that’s the feeling I got when Saam tries to convince her to reward the slaves before anything worse happens and the only response is that she will think about it.

My favorite part of this is where Silver Mask infiltrates the very same aqueducts Gieve was sent through to escort the body double of the Queen.  The encounter with Silver Mask and the fight that ensues between them explores the idea that Gieve doesn’t hold any altruistic values.  This does pose an interesting question, how would he feel if the Pars kingdom were under Arslan’s rule?  A young prince owning up to responsibilities, pulling the same weight as the slaves.  It might not have been said yet but I feel that how he’s accepted Narsus as court painter and Daryun to protect him it’s not a huge surprise that he’ll probably be leaning on the work of slaves too!  Slaves that had always been the heart of Pars’ power and the fortified walls that keep their kingdom safe.

CG at the end was very strange.  Most of the soldiers weren’t even animated and just thrown in with CG and had the same faces. Come on Sanzigen! Quit being lazy!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10

 

Arslan Senki Episode 5

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Episode Director: Nagahama Norihiko [ TRIGUN episode director for 23 / Blood+ episode director on 34 / storyboards on a ton of hentai/ecchi series]

Storyboards: Kenji Setou [ Log Horizon ending director / Gakusen Toshi Asterisk director]

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



The original novels are wonderfully written. It’s a shame they’ve never been released in English.  Only the first two volumes have been unofficially translated.

Ah yes!  Just as we’re getting to know Lord Narsus this episode throws a curve ball–  the introduction of Gieve.  While Shapur’s death shows off Arslan Senki‘s lack of sympathy for each side waging war whom he’s killed by is the most interesting segment of this episode.  It adds mystery to this war tale.

A deceptive and womanizing young man that at first in order to win the heart of a lady-in-waiting acts as Prince.  When the Queen wants to meet the person that killed Shapur, Gieve turns out to be someone else entirely– an oud musician with average skills with a bow.  Whether that is the truth or not barely touches the surface of his character.  Daryun swears loyalty to Arslan but Gieve is vastly different in that he’s only loyal to himself.

Initially I was a worried about Narsus predicting everything but he is a tactician and his background serves him well in being a suitable strategist for Arslan.  Given that he’s been able to predict the invading army’s strategy of bringing down Ectabana from within.  It’s clear as day that the city is rotten at its core, the zealots attacking them is proof enough that neither side is viewed as favorable.  Arslan wants to find his own path and these actions plays with the idea that he’s searching for an answer that is definitely far removed from the the current battle between the two armies.

Speaking of the armies, the Lusianian priest, Bodin, that captures Shapur reminds me a lot of those theatrical stage mimes.  He’s got energy when he speaks and is very expressive with his movements.  Too bad Sanzigen couldn’t animate this better, there were quite a few scenes that had some terribly animated facial expressions.  Bodin is the stereotypical moustache villain that’s firmly fixated on his own teachings being the teaches of their God, Yaldabaoth.  This goes back to to the whole perspective of Arslan Senki‘s portrayal of its kingdoms being inherently bad.  Not one side is purely good, their actions might be viewed in their own kingdoms as righteous but outsiders may think otherwise.  It’s what we’ve got from that entire sequence between Bodin and Shapur.  Very intense.

I’d like to point out how amazing Gieve’s seiyu is.  KENN delivers an endearing, passionate and comical performance.  He’s gone from gruff nonchalant voice-work to extremely dramatic between his portrayals of Hibito Nanba from Uchuu Kyoudai to Kiseijuu‘s Mitsuo.  This is one of the best characters we’ve seen so far in Arslan Senki!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

 

Arslan Senki Episode 4

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Episode Director: Yoshitaka Makino [Chihayafuru episode director 2 & 9 / Terraformars OAV episode director 2]

Storyboards: Yoshitaka Makino

Script: Machida Touko [Akame ga Kill! writer on episodes 5 & 6 / Hitsugi no Chaika series writer / Samurai Champloo writer on episode 10 / Wolf’s Rain screenplay writer on episode 22]



In the early 90’s Tatsunoko Productions with the assistant of Production I.G., MADHOUSE and a few lesser known studios of today adapted the story of Arslan in six Original Video Animations [OVA]. I saw that version years ago, Arakawa’s design in this anime is a nice treat.  It still retains a lot of the hearty story the original had but with a ton more emotion.  What’s interesting is that the first two episodes of the 90’s OVA tackles a lot more than even this episode lays out for us.  These first four adapt the first chapter at a relatively smooth pace.  I’m glad to see they’re taking their time with Arslan Senki.

Arslan Senki is a huge story and this point in the anime is still far from reaching the first volume’s largest reveals.  This episode points a question to the audience–who exactly is Arslan?  On the outside he’s a noble, having grown up around money and power but his birth is the big mystery.  Whose is his father and does he have the right to claim the throne? The first episode (which interestingly enough was anime original) gave us a slight glimpse of a 19th century world from the eyes of a boy and the people he would meet on his journey.

Cue the violence and betrayal for the next few episodes and we’ve arrived to a section of the story that asks if Arslan is capable of achieving his goals, what sort of man will he grow up to be and how will the people in this episode–Daryun, Elam and Narsus aid him in his quest?  The highlight, however, is that this focuses a lot more on Narsus than it does Arslan and how he came to be the great strategist under King Andragoras.

I really like the comedy between Daryun and Narsus.  They have been longtime friends and you can clearly see that with Daryun’s humorous comments about Narsus’ skills in painting.  Great to see how even Arslan chimes in by appointing him as Court Painter! Great writing!


 

OP: “Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai Kore wa Boku-tachi no Kotoba” (僕の言葉ではない これは僕達の言葉) by UVERworld

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Directed by: Noriyuki Abe

Storyboards: Noriyuki Abe

I’m not too fond of this song. Poor choice for the content of this series.  Generic and sounds like it would be a better fit for a shonen series.  This is going to be a long running series since a season two has been announced and I feel like there should have a cultural ring to it.  UVERworld’s song here sounds very pop-sounding with a mix of hard rock.  Would be better suited for a kid’s action series.  Usually, I like UVERworld’s work on anime but this was bad. Setting that aside, the animation was better than the actual show!

ED: “Lapis Lazuli” (ラピスラズリ) by Eir Aoi

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Directed by: Naomi Nakayama

Storyboards: Naomi Nakayama

This was fantastic! Eir Aoi’s dramatic note changes left quite the impact on the stunning visuals.  There wasn’t much movement rather it utilizes a collection of zooming in & out transitions between the main cast and its villains.  Really good!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

 

Arslan Senki Episode 3

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Episode Director: Koji Aridomi [Production Assistant on various Studio Ghibli films including: Pom PokkoPorco RossoOnly Yesterday / Episode director for X episodes 2 and 10]

Storyboards: Naomi Nakayama [Setting Production of Kemonozume / Casshern SINS episode director for 19 and 22]

Script: Makoto Uezu [Series Composition for the following animated works: Akame ga KILL!AuraYūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru / Screenplay writer for Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace]


Author Yoshiki Tanaka wrote in Silvermask to be a fine antagonist.  Hiromu Arakawa’s designs help get across this dark aura surrounding him really well.  He’s a man of the cloth, and from what we’ve seen of him, lives only for revenge.  I was a bit worried about Kaji Yuuki because of his repertoire in playing supporting roles.  Many times its feminine male characters and keeping that in mind Iwasn’t sure about how he’d handle portraying the villain of this series.  Given the only scenes Silvermask is shown we see him as a man filled with rage.  Yuuki certainly pulls this off.  Though I am curious about his calmer scenes later on, hopefully all his energy in this episode doesn’t flatten out his not depiction of him.  The most impressive performance, however, has got to be from Kaneto Shiozawa (Narsus)!

The build-up to his introduction and Vahriz defeat was spectacularly moving. Previously, the Pars Army had been crushed by the Lusitanians and Kharlan’s betrayal witnessed by Prince Arslan fuels Silvermasks actions tremendously. Vahriz, as killed warrior and seeing him kill numerous Lusitania soldiers only to be killed in a single hit by Silvermask was expected but still allows for this to be a strong Persian story.

After all the fighting these past two episodes this one lands an ending with a new appearance by Daryun’s long-time friend Lord Narsus of Daylam and Elam.  Daryun’s conversation with Arslan about Narsus being a strategist unparalleled in this world makes me wonder if he will be the one to tell the story or if it will be Arslan’s own actions.  Sometimes this can pose an issue in the narrative because it can allow for Arslan to lack in development while the others around him move and talk for him.  Narsus looks a lot like Arslan and makes me wonder if he’s his actual father.  Even Andragoras holds him in high esteem and furthers this possible theory!

Lusitania is viewed as this religious country with their views about God: they use it here as a shield.  This episode illustrates this point nicely where two soldiers are talking and reflect on the atrocities they’ve committed in the name of Yaldaboath for the sake of gaining more land in Pars.

This and GANGSTA are two series more inclined to try and sell its source material and act as a good teaser for them.  It’s been recently announced that a season 2 is in the works for 2016–this is great because we are just touching the surface on this show with episode 3!  A full cour (25 episodes) wasn’t going to be enough to adapt Arakawa’s manga.  The animation in Arslan hasn’t been consistent and yet it still manages to envelope a captivating story about a Prince taking back his kingdom and the people risking their lives in order to support his cause.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 6/10

Arslan Senki Episode 2

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Would like to let my readers know that I will be hosting a full Space Dandy 26 episode series marathon at a theater.  I’ve secured official dates and they are eager about me hosting monthly.  I pick the series or film and host an event on it with raffle prizes.  I’m thinking of doing the first season of Psycho-Pass for October and the first season of Mushishi for November!

Very detailed animation–  especially the fire sequence!  It’s great that we are getting to see Arslan’s maiden battle right at the beginning here because this series is going to be needing every episode it can get in order to build his journey up in reclaiming the loss he experiences here.  For the sake of his father King Andragoras III being so stubborn and for himself in growing up and not being so blinded by an everything is peaceful notion just because he’s lived inside the palace walls all his life.  What the manga author Hiromu Arakawa did so well with the manga and the pacing here:  it’s not jumping ahead and forcing the heroic character Daryun until it was absolutely necessary here.  He’s got a hunch that something is off about the Lusitanian army setting a trap for them and this show doesn’t brush off the fact that just because your on the same side doesn’t mean you agree on everything that distract the overall narrative.

There big take away theme in this episode is “sin” and this episode focuses on this with Pars suffering a great defeat resulting in a ton of casualties.  The Lusitanians are considering savages from the Pars perspective because if no one believes in their religion then they should be punished.  From the Lusitanian’s point of view it’s that the Pars army are viewed barbaric because they hold a long-standing traditional throughout their land–  slavery.  The human race waging war against each other because of ideals–  doesn’t this sound like another series that has aired recently?  Aldnoah.Zero.  Arslannknows how to get it right because it focuses on the greater outcome of both sides rather than individual emotional experiences of its main cast.  It really helps when the series writer works on the eipsode in more detail–  Makoto Uezu wrote the wonderfully paced Katanagatari so I am certain this series will be flowing smoothly as it goes on.  I am curious though about how he is going to handle the complexity of Edogawa Ranpo’s collected works in the Summer Noitamina anime Rampo Kitan.

The first episode pointed out a pretty large possibility that the King isn’t Arslan’s real father–  I can see the similarities between his mother just not his father.  This strongly suggests the idea that perhaps Arslan was adopted by the Royal Family.  I think what nails this on the head with this episode is Kharlan’s betrayal–  he’s .  He’s been forthcoming about the coming attack and him going off to scout ahead is quite a huge foreshadow of the later events in this episode!  The sound effects in this are incredible–  the scene where the horses fall off the cliff,  Kharlan’s sword fight against Arslan and the very end where Daryun arrives to rescue him!  I just hope that with how detailed the animation was this episode they don’t run the budget dry before the first half finishes up!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Arslan Senki Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

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PLOT: In the prosperous kingdom of Pars lies the Royal Capital of Ecbatana, a city of splendor and wonder, ruled by the undefeated and fearsome King Andragoras. Arslan is the young and curious prince of Pars who, despite his best efforts, doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a proper king like his father.

At the age of 14, Arslan goes to his first battle and loses everything as the blood-soaked mist of war gives way to scorching flames, bringing him to face the demise of his once glorious kingdom. However, it is Arslan’s destiny to be a ruler, and despite the trials that face him, he must now embark on a journey to reclaim his fallen kingdom.


When author Yoshiki Tanaka began his fantasy series Arslan he started it around 1986.  I want to point out that this is the second time in the last year that we’ve had a manga from the 80’s be adapted into a televised animated work.  Hope to see more in the future–  perhaps Urasawa’s Pluto?  Would love to see that animated by MADHOUSE!

Arslan is lengthy and from what I’ve followed up on it’s still ongoing.  Most of Tanaka’s works have been adapted into an animated format of sorts Tytania which was decently executed is one of his more recent works in the industry to be adapted.  His popularity though stems from the Legend of Galactic Heroes series– around 162 episodes and three feature films!  Tanaka knows very well how to write solid and at the time unrivaled stories using methods that are complex and inventive.  As good as this writer is I’d like to see him direct an original work–  it would be interesting to see his fresh ideas on screen.  I have no doubt in my mind Arslan will be awesome. There are around 14 volumes so far!  According to history the origin of the story about Amir Arsalan dates back to a much older time and quickly evolved into a story of narrative legend during the 19th century that involves a merchant child discovering he is actually the heir to the throne of Persia.  In the early 90’s there have been several Japanese renditions of this known as the Heroic Legends of Arslan.  An animated feature film in 1991, a sequel in 1993 and ova’s in-between ’93 and 95 were animated by the largest retailer in Japan–  Animate.  With of course the help from studios Aubec [a company that isn’t around anymore], MADHOUSE, Production I.G. and J.C. Staff.  A manga by Full Metal Alchemist author Hiromu Arakawa began in 2013 which is what this anime adaptation will follow.

Noriyuki Abe the director of BLEACH and GTO helms this version and with what I’ve seen of the first episode could be one of his more stronger works.  I think what really blew me away about this episode was the music.  Dog of Flanders composer Taro Iwashiro writes music throughout this that reminds me a lot of Michiru Oshima’s resonating orchestra movements with a mix of Kousuke Yamashita’s temperamental tracks.  Well-balanced and has an inspiring tone to them that builds on the situation young Prince Arslan is placed in this episode.

Venturing out into the capital city his naivety of the world turns upside down when he sees his father Andragoras III returning after a favorable battle against the nation of Lusitania.  Killing for their own religious ideals speaks a lot about how this show will handle this sepration between the adults in authority to the children that live in poverty.  The three young kids picking a fight with the Lusitania boy fuels Arslan’s journey towards becoming a boy in a very influential way.  Prince Arslan gets kidnapped by the boy and they both get a taste of perspective.  The boy sees how the Pars Kingdom handles its slaves and its not pretty;  the Prince witnesses the harsh reality that the Lusitania boy arrives at while they are escaping soldiers but that doesn’t falter his own identity at all!  I loved the part where Arslan saves the boy from slipping on the giraffe–  really portrays youth with such authenticity.

Daryun as little as we saw of him will play a vital role in teaching Arslan the ways of the world and like we saw with this incredible ending Arslan will be showing him a thing or two about saving a life.  The narration gives us a solid follow-through on what to expect and how we are going to see Arslan start his journey onto the battlefield.

Moving back to this idea of harsh reality it’s neat to see how the parents of the troubling kids are handled–  they beg for forgiveness and only place blame on themselves out of the love they have for their children and respect for the King.  Arslan freeing them enhances this idea that he is still just a boy without any aggression.  A timid prince that I’m sure will change as this epic fantasy series evolves!  Best premiere of any show I’ve seen this season so far with some really strong characterization!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10