Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu – 02

Daddy issues…

Arslan Senki 2 - 02 -1The battle for the throne of Pars becomes even more interesting – and complicated – even as the battle for Peshawar comes to an end for now.  Much like Shoukigeki no Souma, Arslan Senki seems to have pulled out of the driveway doing 80 MPH in its second season, launching right into those battles without much preamble or interruption. But ultimately this series is at least as much about the political and familial struggle as the military, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Arslan Senki finds the right balance in an eight episode mini-cour.

Arslan Senki 2 - 02 -2The downside to this episode is the same one that’s been the trip-wire for Arslan from the beginning, namely that the resolution of the fight against Turan once more came down to Narsus being the smartest guy in the room.  My issue here is that we see the same basic template repeating itself – he comes up with a brilliant plan, lays a trap for the enemy, they fall into it and Arslan’s side triumphs.  If there was a wrinkle this time it’s that Narsus didn’t let Arslan in on his plan (which has happened only occasionally) – in fact the boy’s ignorance was a crucial part of Narsus’ strategy.

Arslan Senki 2 - 02 -4The issue with Turan isn’t totally resolved, since one of their generals killed the king for ordering a retreat after it was clear the raiding hordes were going to be routed utterly.  But for now they’re licking their wounds, leaving Arslan to deal with an altogether more dangerous enemy – his father (or most likely, not).  Turan is an “honest” foe, as Narsus says – direct and straightforward, and thus an ideal foil for his credulity-stretching strategic genius.  And with the help of the as-always impeccably-timed Gieve (and his presence is welcome, as he brings a lot to the table as a character) turning back Turan is pretty straightforward.  But dealing with Andragoras is anything but straightforward even for Narsus.

Arslan Senki 2 - 02 -5I would like to think Narsus had some sort of contingency plan in mind for this development, though he’s clearly surprised that it’s happened so soon.  Andragoras’ return to the picture was always going to be a potential problem, unless Narsus’ idea was to kill him on the sly in the dungeons after liberating Ectabana.  Narsus and Andragoras are fundamentally incompatible as allies of course – in fact I was very surprised the latter had nothing to say about the former’s presence in his son’s retinue – given that Narsus was exiled for disagreement with the fundamental tenets of Andragoras’ rule.  And Arslan’s stated goals for Pars are now likewise incompatible with Andragoras’ rule.

Arslan Senki 2 - 02 -6So what now?  It hadn’t occurred to me before, but I wonder if it’s conceivable that Arslan and Hilmes could end up in an uneasy alliance.  They both have the same enemy now, effectively.  And there was no acknowledgement by Andragoras that Arsslan had done a fine job not just surviving, but gathering an army and retaking territory.  Instead he effectively accused Arslan of treason for acting in his name and sent him into exile, not to return until he had an army of 50,000 soldiers (a staggering sum in this setting).  It’s not logical, but obviously Andragoras knows Arslan is a threat to his rule, and he’s seeking to sideline him for as long as possible.  Arslan and Andragoras was probably always destined to be this series’ final showdown, but we’ve been set on that path now far more clearly than ever before.

 

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14 comments

  1. I am not sure I like this development of his “father” showing up, taking control of his army and ordering him into exile. I just hope this development does not end up “Jumping the shark” with this series that I love.

  2. K

    It was in the old manga, in the old OVA and, I suppose, in the original nove.

  3. S

    “and Gieve’s presence is welcome, as he brings a lot to the table as a character”.
    Wait, what? no he doesn’t! Compared to a cardboard cut-outs maybe, but what does he do that is not predictably tiring?

    This episode did nothing but disgust me in how one-dimensional and unrealistic everyone is. The immortal Daryuun, the godlike boring genius of Narsus and his cohort of tropes and cliches. Only Estelle(?) and Arslan brought something to the table, and very little at that. Nope, I’m out, hopefully for good this time.

  4. If you dislike the show as a whole that much, then yeah, I’d guess Gieve doesn’t do anything to change that. If you like the story and the characters generally, then Gieve is a nice contrast to the rest of the cast.

  5. The battle was a real snoozefest, but at least the highlight of Andragoras returning was pretty great. There aren’t many series like Arslan out there and I appreciate the way its portraying medieval battles, but the series really needs more shake ups like these in order to stay interesting.

  6. K

    Simply put Narsus needs a decent challenger…same as daryuun…but i am suspecting we will get that in later episodes….I still love the development with the father as i really didn’t expect that to happen…or happen so soon….I am reading the current manga as well but man they take forever to release chapters….Keep up the good work Enzo.

  7. Z

    Watching the OP, I would say he might be getting a rival this season . . . on a boat.

  8. That was certainly my thought.

  9. A

    I’m confused! Can anyone please explain why Androgoras wasn’t killed when he was initially captured? I mean in history a king who has been overthrown is killed if captured

  10. Silver Mask probably wanted to convince the Pars army to join his side by making Andragoras admit that his crimes and that he was the true heir to the throne. He’s threatened Andragoras multiple times in the last season, only recently going off to find the sword as a replacement to assert his claim; which is why Andragoras escaped now as he would most likely be killed if that happened.

  11. o

    Abs – In some history, captured kings weren’t always immediately killed, at least not initially. Caesar captured Vercingetorix, and hauled him back to Rome before killing him. And Cleopatra was kept alive until she killed herself. It’s weird, but not unheard of.

    I’m finding the exile thing… interesting. Daryuun failed a test – he defended Arslan (probably unnecessarily), so showed a bit early that his loyalty is to Arslan over Andragoras. So on one hand, Andragoras is seeing that Arslan has successfully gathered troops and competent advisors, who may or may not transfer their loyalty back to Andragoras, which is a threat to his rule. On the second hand, that’s probably what Andragoras would have wanted in a son. On the third hand, he didn’t really seem to expect Arslan to turn into a warrior – he was more tolerated as something to make Tahamine happy. (Wonder if we’ll get more info on her fate next episode?)

    So the exile could be remove a potential threat. It could be an excuse to send him to a place where he’s slightly less likely to get killed. Or it could be a challenge to see what he’s actually capable of. I’m guessing it’s all three.

    And the thing with Hilmes is getting curiouser and curiouser, especially since he failed to get the fancy sword that would prove his legitimacy….

  12. Andragoras didn’t kill Arslan because he didn’t want half his army turning on him; this is Arslan’s army after all, which Arslan and Narsus took great pains to convince. There’s no redemptive element to Andragoras so far so I’m pretty sure the series is painting him as a real baddie.

  13. A

    Caesar I’m guessing did it to make a public showing of his execution? Wonder why Cleopatra was left alive? History is fascinating, thanks for the feedback 🙂

  14. a

    this show is why I respect arakawa and studio bones so much! they are not a people pleasers they are not going to change character relationships just because the vocal majority demands it in other words pandering. studio bones and arakawa aren’t looking at fanart and fanfiction and going” well fans really want most of the male characters in love with each other so we’re going to put all that into our next arslan season just because” sigh I wish more studios would do what the source material says not what the “fans” say.

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