Review: Arslan Senki

Like most of the series I reviewed previously, Arslan Senki wasn’t one of the shows I intended to watch. I finished up Mushishi at that time, so I was looking for current shows I passed on watching. Needless to say, I didn’t have any expectations for it. However, towards to end, it has impressed me.

Arslan Senki is about a boy named Arslan who was given quite a shake by reality when another country had tried and successfully conquered his home country, forcing him to flee for safety. As a crowned prince, he was naive of his surroundings and what the real world was like, so the whole thing was quite a shock for him. Honestly, I would think that being royalty you are taught to learn about war and politics, among other necessary subjects. I guess, he was too sheltered from all that. He was taught how to fight though albeit terrible at swordsmanship. The plot tells a story of how Arslan will take back his country and get the throne. However, the season ended with somewhat a cliffhanger. Although Arslan and Company conquered The Keep of Saint-Emmanuel, we still don’t know how their fate will unfold when they try to take Ecbatana. If I knew they initially intended this way for it to end, I would have hoped that they made this to 20-22 episodes instead. There were some episodes that fell flat from the previous scene/episode’s excitement—it could’ve been cut short but was prolonged—and then there were episodes that would been better if it had extra time frame. An example would have been the Jaswant arc: I would cut a few episodes of those and put it more to the battle of The Keep of Saint-Emmanuel. For a battle that was probably the peak of their excursion, it was “so-so.” Its best fight though was between Daryun and Hermes.

I thought the characters on the series was relatively written well. Hermes was a strong villain (not just talking physically). His resolve and determination was well-founded, and his backstory wasn’t too “lame”; and I like seeing villains written just as well as the protagonists are. It was impressive to see the character development on Arslan, most especially. He started out as naive and gullible boy who accepted what was presented to him, no questions asked. He knew nothing of the world outside. He didn’t know what he stood for and couldn’t comprehend that there are beliefs other than what his country had. Towards the end, even though he was still too kind and too trusting, it wasn’t baseless. He knew what he was going to do, what kind of King he wanted to become, and how he was going to achieve it. I believe a King, or whoever person is in charge, is only as good as the ones that are loyal and support him. Physically he’s weak, but the people that are on his side does a great job at what they do. They might not have gone through a whole lot of character development as is with Arslan, but I thought they were just the right characters to guide him for his goal. I wish there were more scenes that talked about how Narsus strategizes. His character was shown as the best strategist, but there wasn’t a whole lot of ways to convince him that he was. There wasn’t any excitement for me to see how he planned their battles. It was direct to the fight itself. In a dramatic structure, you can say there was no “rising action” to the “climax.” Pardon me if it’s all difficult to understand since I’m terrible at explaining. In other words, the characters were pretty well-written; my favorites were Farangis and Daryun. Not to mention the main characters’ VA cast was quite good.

The art and animation was relatively fine. Again, it’s one of those anime who has a fairly nice and detailed background and setting, but the character animation itself was quite bad on different angles. The designs were good though, don’t get me wrong, but when they were animated it was appalling. The CG was also terrible. There were only a handful, maybe 2-3 scenes that wasn’t that bad, but overall I wasn’t too pleased with it. Decent animation on the opening and ending themes; the songs fit them too. Another thing I was impressed though is with the SFX. As I mentioned, earlier the last fight between Daryun and Hermes was nicely done and the sound effects had enhanced the viewers’ enjoyment. It was pretty cool to my ears. Having said that, I don’t think the show fell short on the action scenes for sure. We had a fair amount of it besides its narrative, considering its storyline. It was bloody when it needed to be, even though until to this day I’m baffled as to why anime exaggerates blood spills—a little too unrealistic at times.

I may have good things to say about the series, but I have to say that this show is not for me. I might have enjoyed the action scenes but I felt the plot was too lacking or could’ve been directed in a better way. I thought 25 episodes was too much if they left it like that in the end. It didn’t keep me on edge, and I like being interested throughout the show. There were a lot of downtimes for it too hence I wished it wasn’t 25 episodes. One thing I like was how this series tackled the politics between the state and church. I’m probably one of those that personally believe on the separation of state and church in the government. Etoile’s character is majority of what the people are in this world right now. They blindly follow the beliefs they were taught because that’s what they grew up with—that’s what they are used to. They don’t like it when they’re being questioned on their actions because it questions their beliefs making them uncertain, and people don’t like being unsure of things—they feel lost. Who wants that? Anyway, I don’t want to go too philosophical right now, but that’s one of the good topics talked about in this series. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it as much because I’m just not too interested with historical shows, but putting those feelings aside I think it is a recommendable show if you’re into historical/action.

Animation/Art: 3.5/5
Story: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.75/5
Sound/VA cast: 4.75/5
Enjoyment: 2/5
Overall: 3.5/5

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2 thoughts on “Review: Arslan Senki

  1. ” it is a recommendable show if you’re into historical/action.” If someone is into historical it isn’t recommendable. Horse jumping on back of war elephant with grace and ease is top example of absurds that authors show on screen. These armies have no clue, what they are doing.

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    • Lol! Well if you put it that way, I suppose. My pool of historical shows is very limited, barely existent so with its decent plot line and ok battle scenes, I put it as “recommended.” Although if you delve into too much of the details such as what you’ve noted, it /will/ come off as silly. Personally, I don’t know much about ancient military tactics and formation so I can’t really give my thoughts in that regard how the “armies have no clue what they are doing” if they are based on anything in real life at all.

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