WHEN YOU PLAY THE GAME OF PARS, YOU LIVE OR YOU– WAIT WRONG SERIES. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Series: Arslan Senki
Episodes: 25 Season 1, 8 Season 2
Status: COMPLETE with 2 OVAs and possible 3rd season or movie?
This is another series I would have never picked up if it were not for my husband. Sometimes, that man has good ideas. Sometimes.
Arslan Senki, to me, is like the more innocent and yet just as dramatic animated version of Game of Thrones. You have multiple kingdoms (houses) vying for control of an empire, and a ruling family drenched in bloody secrets with a son of questionable lineage. An invading nation of people uses coaxed betrayal that leaves the kingdom torn to pieces and vulnerable to attack on all sides; the king is imprisoned, the prince and his knight set off to create a force strong enough to take back the capital, and a third player– Silver Mask– plays the strings from behind the scenes in order to seek his vengeance.
In the end though, there can be only bloodshed. The current canon of anime series ends with the King escaped and in control of Arslan’s army marching back to retake his capital, Arslan arriving from his as-good-as exile to the coast with an army trying to take back the capital before his Lord Father, and Silver Mask is arriving from Zabul Fortress with his army of followers who wish to instate him to the throne that was stolen from him by his uncle, the King.
It’s some messy business. Blowing up castles, tyrants and traitors, Crown Princes not of the bloodline for appearance who view all as equals (Jon Snow anyone?), brothers killing brothers in order to gain the throne, daring knights and scrutinizing strategists and wild bandits, revenge and bloody mayhem.
Obviously, in this whole mess, we follow the innocent 14-year-old Crown Prince Arslan.
The one who has done no wrong and yet gets tied up in a battle that was never meant to be his and yet somehow became it. After all, he’s not the King’s son, nor is he the Queen’s son. His father stole the throne by murdering his brother and burning his nephew alive (except, as we learn, he escaped to live and burn in his need for vengeance– I sniff a Targaryen, I do). He has always been drastically kinder and softer than his Lord Father, as is proven when he helps free a slave in the first episode.
Don’t take your eyes off that slave boy. He’s important. Or rather… she’s important.
His father falls into the trap of the Lusitanian army, and Arslan finds himself lost in the fog and at the mercy of his kingdom’s betrayer until Daryun, the Black Knight, arrives to save him. They run off in search of Narsus, a strategist previously exiled by the King who lives the life of a hermit painting terrible portraits, and begin to find a way to retrieve the royal capital of Ecbatana in Arslan’s name.
Their journey introduces them to many new friends and foes, and tests Arslan’s mettle as the a king vessel. They overcome many hardships, fight many battles both by way of word and sword, all the way to Peshawar Citadel where they meet up with other Parisians who would back Arslan as King.
Until the King escapes, and effectively exiles Arslan until he can amass an army of 50,000 to fight for his father. The problem?
Arslan no longer views his father’s ways as the right ones. He is ruthless and cruel. Arslan wants to build a better nation, where all are treated as equals. He wants the slaves to be freed. He wants to accept their enemies with respect instead of terrorizing them with force.
And Silver Mask? All he can see is revenge. Revenge, and Princess Irina.
It’s a mess. I loved it. The cliffhanger of Season 2, with the three Kings vying for their place upon the throne drawing their armies to their capital that is falling apart under the Lusitanians, was the worst. How can we not KNOW how this all comes out? We need to see Andragoras stripped down and ruined, his ambitions destroyed. We need to see how Arslan, the king who sentences a merchant to a year of life as a slave for enforcing slavery, manages to usurp his cousin when he-truly- has no rightful claim to the throne but so badly being the change of a treacherous bloodline that Pars needs.
I need to know! This isn’t SUPPOSED to be Game of Thrones! YOUR NOT SUPPOSED TO END A SEASON ON THAT KIND OF NOTE!
I’ve heard rumors of a movie being used to tie up all the loose strings; it could work, but I would much prefer a 3rd season. I can’t imagine once Arslan takes the throne that his trials will be over. I don’t see him killing Andragoras or Hermes to ensure his place in the monarchy.
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
AND I WANT TO SEE WHAT THESE TERRIBLE PAINTINGS OF NARSUS’S ARE.
5/5. If you liked Full Metal Alchemist, you will definitely appreciate the story telling of Arslan Senki.