What They Say:
Lords and generals from across Pars rally to Arslan. But now, Arlsan must contend with newcomers jockeying for position and the very real possibility that he will have to fight Hermes for the throne.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As we push toward the homestretch of the series that was destined to have to choose between lacking a conclusive ending and making up its own, the imminent war between the two main players is finally in view, with the focus returning to the main cast as they discuss the next actions to take to achieve their goals. Before matters of military might, strategy, and tactics can even be put to the test, there’s the issue of our protagonist’s own desire to win that must be sorted out. As terrible a person as his opponent has proven himself to be, so too is he the rightful heir to the throne, and Arslan something of an imposter only put in his position by the despicable crimes of the former king’s heinous murderer. Being the saint that he is, Arslan can’t be fully convinced that denying the proper inheritor his birthright is the correct course of action, even if any onlooker could see that the kind of rule Hermes would bring to Pars would be worse than anything Andragoras could cook up in his deepest depravities.
This calls upon someone who hasn’t been in the series a whole lot despite being one of the two main characters in its debut episode, alongside Arslan itself. We’ve known the boy’s name to be Etoile for some time now, just not the fact that… it was never a boy at all. Apologies for the spoiler, but it’s very difficult to discuss someone without using gender-specific pronouns, so there you have it. This revelation is a big part of the episode, depicting Etoile in situations we could’ve never imagined before she revealed her true identity and that, under the armor we’ve seen covering her at all times other than in the first episode taking place long enough ago that she could look as much like a boy without hiding anything. It’s an old anime trope for reverse traps to turn out to be impossibly feminine and beautiful once the truth is out, and no attempt to subvert this is made in regards to our young and prodigious soldier. If she can continue to stand as a strong warrior, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if she ends up devolving into a moe archetype following her reveal, it will be a great loss in character. At least Farangis is always there to provide a female character with abundant supplies of both feminine charm and physical strength.
The point of all this, though, is to tie back to that first episode, bringing Arslan and Etoile back together to unknowingly continue their discussions on how a kingdom ought to operate. Although they didn’t exchange names or bring each other up much in the time after their initial meeting, it clearly served as a pivotal moment in their philosophies, especially for the sheltered Arslan; Etoile’s words and experiences were no doubt the seed originally responsible for the talks around the land of the young king-to-be proposing an abolition of slavery of all things. So it’s only fitting that, in his time of similarly critical decision-making, Arslan cross paths with Etoile once more to be reminded of what he stands for and why it’s important that he be the one to assume the throne and make these principles the law of the land.
As our protagonists approach the big battles to come, Arslan is uncertain that such a pursuit is the correct one. It takes his first great external influence returning to his side to remind him that he must go through with it. It’s not original or brilliant, but it has some sense of literary poeticism.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.