The pacing of Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu is such that it’s hard to believe we only have two episodes left, but here we are. Obviously in dealing wth an epic like Tanaka-sensei’s we’d still be very much in setup mode at this point, but there are always the possibility that the anime would push things along n the interest of manufacturing an ending. If indeed that’s to be the case, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of it so far. The transition from plot expansion to contraction certainly hasn’t begun yet.
The is another episode (the second in three weeks) in which Team Arslan are minor factors. It actually continues the plot thread begun a couple of weeks ago, featuring the flashbacks to Hlmes’ time in exile. That makes me wonder why this wasn’t episode five, because in fact last week gave us the aftermath of what happened in Ectabana in this episode and I don’t see anything in last week’s ep that we needed to see before this one. We now know the manner in which Guiscrd duped Etoile into taking the fall for killing his brother (though that actually didn’t end up happening).
The education of Etolile has been a slow process, but she seems to be slowly gaining an understanding of how the world works. Having stumbled across an imprisoned Innocentius, she does a very naive thing by going straight to Guiscard carrying the king’s complaint. And it ends up predictably disastrous, as this was a perfect opportunity for Guiscard to try and get the Maryam princess to do the deed he doesn’t want to soil his own hands with. For her part, the princess isn’t going to let her blindness stop her from exploiting all these opportunities fate seems to be throwing her way to strike out at the Lusitanian royal family which has caused her so much heartbreak.
Also complicating matters is Alfarid’s brother, who’s allowed himself to be captured in order to try and rescue the princess. She’s about to be burned at the stake for stabbing the king (who much to Guiscard’s dismay has survived her attack thanks to his voluminous rolls of subcutaneous fat), which gives him the perfect opportunity to make his move – but Hilmes beats hm to the punch (he does manage an assist) and he scoops up Etoile (who was about to be beheaded) on his way out.
So where does that leave us wth two episodes left? Another crack has appeared in the Lusitanian facade, with Iron Mask now openly opposing them. Hilmes is reunited wth his childhood love. Alfarid’s brother and Etoile are riding to meet wth Arslan, each wth a reunion in their sights. As for the hero himself, he’s about to head to Safdie island in search of a pirate treasure which would represent the seed money in building his army, and Shagard is none too happy about that. It might just be Toile’s reunion with Arslan that proves the most interesting of those threads, as she seems to have finally come to understand that personal integrity trumps nationality and religion in the world she’s now living.