19 CommentsHeroic Legend of Arslan / By Scamp /

The Heroic Legend of Arslan episode 2 – Oh no he betrayed me…who are you again?

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h52m27s684There’s a thing in sports where sometimes the greatest players don’t make good managers because they are incapable of understanding why less talented people can’t do what they themselves find easy and natural. They can’t explain to the lesser talents why they can’t do something the manager thinks should be simple. Or how a teacher incredibly smart at their subject is actually a useless teacher because they can’t engage with those students who are struggling to understand the basics. This is how I feel about Yoshiki Tanaka, the author of Arslan and Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and what appears to be his incredible memory.

He will flash across the names of multiple characters and somehow expect us to remember the names of every single bloody one. This was a common occurrence in Galactic Heroes and it’s starting to happen already with Arslan. There was a scene where they flashed the names of like 8 generals one after another. I of course remembered none of them bar maybe the one guy who spent his whole time drinking. Then towards the end of the episode they suddenly revealed that one of them was a traitor and I thought “oh snap…which one were you”? I knew there was going to be a betrayal because I read the plot description (and even if I didn’t I’m sure that narrator would have spoiled it for me anyway), but I thought it was going to be the sword trainer or his son or the queen. I only realised right when I went back for screencaps that it was the same guy advising the king that yeah we totally surveyed the terrain sure we did. I’m sorry but they all look the bloody same when they have the helmets on.

My confusion in following names is part of the reason why I decided to start blogging Arslan, because I feel like my failing memory is the only thing getting in the way of me completely falling in love with this show. I really enjoyed this second episode a lot. The writing is very clever in how it lays out things like character motivations and implies a lot without directly stating it. The conversation between the bearded dude and his son about whether Arslan resembled the king or queen implied a lot in there. Maybe Arslan is an illegitimate child which is why neither parent can care for him. Getting his son to swear specifically to Arslan shows that he knows something is going to happen in the future that will put Arslan in danger so he wants to give him the best protection he can.

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h57m30s976vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h57m40s752I can’t say I’m too fond of the animation quality, but even if it’s not as impactful nor as high quality as I would like, there are still neat ways of framing shots that I liked. The dramatic comparison between the king’s war cry and Arslan’s own wimpy little cry emphasised their huge disparity in commanding authority. The soldiers reaction to Arslan expressing simple concern about the weather drew complaints that he’s just a whingy little baby rather than an insightful strategist. Plus hey, while I may not be crazy on the animation, it includes scenes like Aniki here having people fly away from his horse, swooning like fangirls at a boyband concert.

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-12h00m38s239I feel like I could really get into Arslan in a deep way in a similar fashion to how I got deep in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. But while LoGH had over 100 episodes allowing me to take my time to learn all the character names, I won’t have that luxury with Arslan. The original novels aren’t even finished yet, despite the author writing them for over 30 years and being 14 books deep. Plus this is adapted from the latest manga adaptation by Hiromu Arakawa, the author of Full Metal Alchemist, and she only started writing this in 2013 and is only 3 volumes in (although news that she’s designing characters that haven’t appeared in her manga is promising that it will continue beyond that). I need to start learning these characters now. So to help I’m going to give them nicknames.

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h55m08s132Macho Gendo Ikari

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h51m03s070Arabian Santa Claus

vlcsnap-2015-04-14-11h53m18s992CG Hedwig


That’s enough for now. If you have better nicknames, or nicknames for those random generals that showed up, then do share with the class.

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  1. Varyn
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    ” I’m sorry but they all look the bloody same when they have the helmets on.”

    Racist Confirmed.

  2. Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Well, besides the names you’ve already given; we have Moustache Traitor and Drinky Scarface for two of the generals. I honestly don’t even remember the other faces but hey, probably most of them will die in the next episode or two so maybe we don’t need to worry too much yet.

    Oh wait. This is the kind of series where a character will have like, one line of dialogue in the first episode, disappear for thirty and come back to play a major role, isn’t it? I can’t handle that

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      I remember in Rose of Versailles they did that thing where they name a character and then 20+ episodes later he was super important. Admittedly that guy was Robespierre so that’s perhaps cheating a little.

  3. mwp
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Same old situation where everything goes wrong in the second episode. I’ve seen this a thousand times before. And I can never get tired of it. Hoping they’ll go back and expand on those moral debates relating to slavery and religion though, if anything, that’d be something that rarely gets discussed in this type of fiction, and I want to see more of it.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      I hope it does too. I have faith the author will tackle it. He likes his broad ranging topics certainly.

  4. D1360EX
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    There was Santa Claus, Aniki, Gendo Ikari and 2 or 3 generals among the adults, it’s not that confusing. Are you distracted while watching the series? Because it happened with Kekkai Sensen and it took a rewatch to get the details.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Why call it kekkai sensen when you have the awesome alliterate BLOOD BLOCKADE BATTLEFRONT you could call it instead?

  5. T1g
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Lets call the traitor Jafar. I feel like it is appropriate

  6. Lazy
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Just like in Galactic heroes, the important names are going to appear multiple times because the author know very well he has to accomodate your puny memory.
    Seems pointless to complain about that.
    Odds are you’ll remember the ones important to the story because, guess what they’re important to the story so they’re going to appear a bunch and do memorable stuff.
    Don’t get your panties in a twist if you can’t name all the cavalry captains’ names.

    • El Goopo
      Posted April 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      If we have the time and will to do anything more than nitpick about the naming issues, then this anime has far worse problems. Like, for instance, an over-the-top goofy King who hates his bastard son and has apparently won entire wars, despite having the mental capacity of a mayfly.

      • D1360EX
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        Well the king had allies for the last war, didn’t have his vassals betray him, was overconfident because they were fighting in home territories, and well he could be a Zapp Brannigan type of character, throw numbers at it until they die.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        The king is great! He’s got that powerful visage which makes you believe in him and his power. In this battle he was just misled by a traitor.

      • Gan_HOPE326
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        He also was an idiot because Aniki spelled out Battle Tactics 101 to him and he was like “lol bro you chicken”.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      The issue is the traitor had such a generic look to him that when he showed up and revealed he was the bad guy, I couldn’t place him. I mentally went back through the episode and eventually decided he must have been one of those captains who they shot through (which technically I was right).

  7. Nagisa33
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I keep seeing everyone as FMA characters.

  8. Mr. Anon
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Kharlan (the traitor) appeared like 3 times before his betrayal, which was probably supposed to help you remember them. Same with Daryun (aniki) and Bafreez or however you spell this shit (santa claus). All the other captains … I just assumed they were some random names being dropped only to kill them off instantly in the battle. Don’t remember any of them. This author obviously makes up like 12 characters for breakfast every morning, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he just discards a few dozen here and there like this.

  9. Lu
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Arslan = effeminate Edowardo-kun

  10. shytende
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    He has a Traitor Stache.
    I knew immediately that if there should be a traitor, it had to be him.

    And his actions are quite suspicious in inside.

    Though, it’s confirmation bias here I admit.

  11. Zephex
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    At least Arslan doesn’t has the amount of quality BBB has, there it is so kuch my eyes bleed. such a shame. Also, the battle of Aniki and Maskman (or The Mask) in the opening is pretty great

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