What They Say:
Arslan’s small group is reunited at Peshawar and they begin looking at using the army there to take back the rest of Pars.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Two-cour shows like to do this thing where they drop something big at the end of the first cour. With the next episode of this show in particular being (spoiler) a recap, it’s all the more customary to have some real oomph to the last episode of new material for an extra week. To be fair, this series has had quite a few very eventful episodes lately, so it wouldn’t be a big change to have yet another one. Still, it feels like there has to be a little something special this time, so let’s see what can be packed in after the journey to Peshawar has finally been completed.
A lot of the early parts of the episode are ostensibly slower talking pieces. However, the meatiest content often results from such moments, and while there is certainly some time dedicated to amusing little character bits, there’s some definite substance to be had as well. We already know that Arslan’s family wasn’t the greatest, and that Hermes was the rightful heir to the throne before Andragoras pulled off his despicable stunt. There seems to be even more to our naïve, infinitely good-natured title character, though, more things that likely won’t sit right with him and will paint his cause in some grayer shades before long. Nonetheless, the journey to Peshawar was largely a success for gaining valuable allies, especially since this team has done remarkably well with so few people until now but certainly can’t pull off the big moves they need to. Oh yeah, and Alfreed is there, but she doesn’t contribute much beyond being smitten with Narsus and jealous of the perfection that is Farangis. At any rate it’s a nice change of pace to have the gang in a legitimately friendly area with good people (many of them well-realized characters) all around.
But before the audience even gets any other news about Arslan, it’s important to remember that he and his allies don’t even realize who their great enemy Silver Mask really is. Arslan, as we could guess, is ignorant of the fact that he is in fact not the most rightful crown prince out there. Nothing is going to change that without the man himself, and so Hermes appears to take on Arslan directly, the first showdown between the crown prince that should’ve been and the one who has taken his place, the two major opposing sides of this story as it appears thus far.
Hermes does everything in his power to remind us that he is most definitely the villain, to such an extreme that it may lose him some credit as a believable character. On the other hand, the trauma that has defined who he is as a person was plenty extreme itself, so it’s not impossible to think that such a person would end up in this state. It’s important to have him lay just how bitter a grudge he possesses for Arslan out on the table, as we didn’t have such a vivid metric for his animosity until now. Arslan shows his growth by standing his ground and of course his teammates come to his aid, but the damage is done when a man loyal enough to die for Arslan’s sake acknowledges this sadistic madman as the true heir to the royal bloodline, there’s no more room for pretty fantasy of pure, unambiguous righteousness and heroism for Arslan.
At the end of the first cour and before a recap episode, we get an episode with a decent enough turning point. Hints are dropped regarding more mysteries of Arslan’s origin, and Arslan finds out firsthand that he’s not the rightful heir he thought he was. Our hero could be a little different now.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.