So we return once again to Arslan Senki, and already the dynamic of our main cast is being formed and more shown about them. In particular Farangis is given alot of character details given, and its all very interesting. Apparently, the reason she is here is due to the fact the temple she lives at was founded in celebration of Arslan’s birth. So, the high priestess called for one of their order to go and aid the prince in his hour of need. Farangis was sent, but in truth i wasn’t because it was an honor..but because all the other priestesses were jealous of her many talents. That’s one thing I really like about Farangis; she’s awesome and she knows it and she won’t stop from saying it.
Even though she knows her order sent her on this quest to get rid of her, she is fighting of her own will to aid Prince Arslan, since she hates how the Lusitanians are butchering people and wants to help stop them. Gieve seems ready to follow her, even if it means serving the prince, because he’s insanely infatuated with her. Possibly because his charms don’t work on her, or possibly simply because she is that damn hot, he seems committed to following her, even as she finds him just annoying in his pursuit.
As they head out, we go back to Kharlan, who’s raising all sorts of Cain and looking for Arslan mercilessly. It shows a man saying he helped Arslan and his party, and told them they were heading south. Kharlan thanks him the way informers usually are in fantasy series.
He realizes the informer was actually on Narsus’ side, and was trying to lead them astray. However, amusingly, while the informer did say Arslan has only 4 people in his group, Kharlan refuses to believe it, saying he must have at least a hundred. Where those men would have come from in such a short amount of time, I have no idea. However, when he receives word that Arslan is heading north, he quickly has his troops go after him..and right into Narsus’ hand.
He’s rather pleased with how his ruse fooled Kharlan. That is a straight Kansas City Shuffle right here. Its clear how, in this mountain pass, it will be easy to do all sorts of damage to Kharlan’s forces. However, one thing he didn’t predict; a masked lady with a knife striking from the shadows.
They exchange blows until they find out who each other are. Once she knows she’s found the right people, Farangis joins in the battle plans, as does a reluctant Gieve. Well, with so many badasses at his side, will Arslan prove the weak link in his group?
Once again, when push comes to shove, Arslan is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Despite this being only his second battle, he shoots down multiple soldiers with no hesitation. He calls our Kharlan and as each soldier comes, he takes them down. Elam gets to shine too with his bolas, but one thing I like is how, despite Arslan being kind and meek and humble, he’s still a warrior and times like this show it. He’s got the makings of a king and warrior, even though he’s still so young and inexperienced.
Of course, his allies do help quite a bit in routing the troops with fear and terror.
Eventually, Kharlan is sick and tired of his soldiers’ idiocy, and moves to take on Arslan personally. Since he’s a prominent villain, he can get past the usual dangers and face Arslan. Arslan beseeches him that he’s a good man, so why would he decide to betray his homeland?
Kharlan is clearly taking the blame to hide something bigger, but he won’t tell at this time. He fights Arslan, and looks ready to kill him but then Daryun intervenes. Their fight is extremely cool, its rare you see fights on horseback and its actually cool to see. One thing I especially like is the finisher, where Daryun makes Kharlan think he’d got Daryun’s back exposed, but then slams him with the butt of his spear, taking him out of the fight. Well..that doesn’t, but Kharlan then falling on his own spearhead does.
They don’t get much from Kharlan as he’s dying, and they can’t quite torture him since..well, he’s dying. However, he does leave them with several important bits of information, that king Andragoras is alive and that “the rightful king will take the throne.” His words don’t make sense now, but actually it shows a much bigger reason and adds more sympathy to Kharlan’s actions. However, the main focus for Arslan is that his father is alive, which he’s shaken by. Despite how cold and harsh Andragoras is, Arslan shows he really does love his father and has likely been worrying about him ever since the lost battle.
After Kharlan dies, and as the sun rises, Arslan talks with Gieve and learns his mother is alive as well. He plans to move next to rescue them both, but firs, he asks Farangis to give an elegy to Kharlan’s men. Despite them being his enemies, he wants to give them a proper send off and deaths as warriors. While Gieve scoffs that Arslan is naive, it shows Arslan’s humility and compassion. He knows these men weren’t evil, only soldiers who were doing as they were told, even if they hated it, and they deserve respect. Its something really admirable I like, and I really want to see the interactions they all have now that the group is gathered. They’re all grew characters and really fun and I am excited for their future adventures.
That’s where the episode ends…except it doesn’t. After the credits, we cut to Andragoras in chains alongside Silver Mask. He talks with him and then..reveals his true identity, if not his face.
This now puts alot of new things into perspective, answers alot of questions, and also raises new ones. We know Silver Mask’s true name, why he hates Andragoras, why he helped Lusitania invade Pars. He is the true heir to the throne, and likely was exiled or perhaps has attempts on his life when Andragoras took power. This is really fascinating. While Arslan is our hero, his father is incredibly harsh, brutal, and now we know, a usurper. While Silver Mask is vicious and cruel, and we have no idea if he’d be any better a king than Andragoras, he’s got a far more compelling reason for his actions. Kharlan’s treachery makes sense too; he was perfectly loyal…to the man HE believed was the true king of Pars. Of course, there’s many more to wonder about, how he survived, how he joined Lusitania, and most importantly, how does he plan to take the throne? The Lusitanians don’t know his true identity by the looks of it, so its a matter of how he will work to oust them and cement his own seat of power. Its a brilliant twist done very well, and the one thing I find so chilling is that when Silver Mask leaves, Andragoras begins laughing like a mad man…and we have no idea why. So much left to know but that’s what makes it fun.
Honestly, I loved this episode. It had great characters, great moments, was engaging and fun and moving and awesome and shocking. I just love shows that really explore cool big ideas and have such engaging characters to them, and its just beautiful. Keep it up Arslan Sneki, I’m here for the ride all the way,