A thief and a priestess join the party!
Story: Yoshiki Tanaka
Art: Hiromu Arakawa
Translation/Adaptation: Lindsey Akashi
What They Say
PRINCE ARSLAN TAKES A STAND
Though Arslan and his party have escaped Kharlan’s forces, Kharlan will stop at nothing to capture the former prince of Pars. To draw out Arslan, Kharlan has an underhanded plan to massacre innocent villagers until the prince makes his appearance, but Arslan will not stand idly by while the lives of his people are at stake, so he heads out to take on Kharlan and his army of over one thousand soldiers. Though it may seem like Arslan’s sense of justice is far from strong enough to take on Kharlan’s overwhelming military might, with Narsus’ razor-sharp wit, Daryun’s unmatched prowess as a soldier, Elam’s excellent bow skills, and the help of two new and formidable allies, Arslan has more than a fighting chance to prevail and journey closer to reclaiming his once lost kingdom.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Arslan’s legend marches ever forward. Narsus and Daryun take the opportunity to suss out what the army is up to. Kharlan has his men out to find the prince, and the Prince’s small troop are out to stop them in turn. The levels the invaders are willing to stoop to in order to lure Arslan out are what drives Arslan to plunge forward into danger. A trap is set and countered. The action plays out quickly, with the army overconfident in it’s numbers and Narsus using Arslan’s courage and the terrain to spring a trap of his own. The battles are still just as fierce and bloody as the previous volumes, far more vicious than FMA ever was. Arakawa plots out the action clearly yet dynamically, with plenty of theatrical posturing and rage twisted faces.
We’re introduced to a new character for our cast, the warrior priestess Farangis. Improbably outfit aside, she’s a shrewd woman who’s a excellent archer and has some magic skills as well. I have to question the decision to trust her so quickly, even if Narsus has a good reason for doing so. Gieve is not so trustworthy, but he’s now in over his head and has no real option except to serve Arslan.
Our first real hint of the extent of magic in the world of Arslan is shown in this volume. Farangis calls on Djinn, which we don’t actually see, to help her suss out the motives of Gieve. The silver-masked man converses with a dark sorcerer whose cabal created the fog which obscured the battlefield in volume one. The magic is subtle, not the showy fireball stuff, and not likely to turn into people hitting each other with lightning.
The story is still firmly rooted in it’s politics. The traitorous Kharlan’s motives remain a mystery to the reader by the close of this volume. It does become clear that there was a divide somewhere along the line that believes that King Andragoras was not the rightful heir to the throne. Which is where the identity of the silver-masked man is finally revealed to be that of Hermes, the son of the late king Osroes, Andragoras’ brother. For us this reveal doesn’t mean much, not yet, but it does further taint the nobel aspirations of Arslan. Rallying an army might be tougher if this information comes out to the general public.
By the end of the volume Narsus and Daryun have snuck back in to the city in search of the captured King. There they are confronted by Hermes, identity unknown to either man, but whose swordplay is nearly a match for Daryun’s own abilities. Back in hiding Arslan has a run in with the Lusitanian boy he has met once before. That boy is a soldier now, searching for the friends taken into slavery. Arslan breaks the news to him that those friends are long dead and the boy gives a bible to him before departing.
Arslan and his supporters take a prime opportunity for an early counterstrike against their foes. It’s good to see Arslan not wavering from what needs to be done, showing signs of the leader that he will become. Farangis is an interesting addition to Arslan’s supporters, proving to be a good archer and knowledgeable about the low magic of their world. Arslan and the others are slowly growing on me, but I’m more curious about the history of the silver-masked man. Treachery in royal families isn’t that unexpected, so I’m wondering what the real twist in that scenario might be. King Andragoras seems to be hiding many dark secrets in his past which are finally coming back to destroy his country and threaten his son’s future.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A –
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: May 12th, 2015