What They Say:
The bulk of Arslan’s people set out for an uninhabited island in search of hidden treasure, but back in Gilan, there is still the unresolved matter of the mastermind behind the pirates.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With only one more episode, things have to move fast! As such, Arslan’s core fighting force is out of the picture due to a tip that a treasure island is not far away and Shagad reveals himself as the villain behind these rumors as well as the pirate attacks that have plagued Gilan all along, unnecessarily so considering how well hiding his villainy was going for him but not completely unbelievable given his confidence and the arrogance that has been hindering his thought process as things have been going his way. It’s a lot going on in a short period of time, and they even manage to deal with all of it and bring Arslan up to speed on what’s been happening elsewhere, all by the end of this single episode. That’s a lot of ground to cover, especially when it involves a lot of fighting and philosophies to be thrown around by various characters, but it doesn’t suffer as badly as it could from such fast pacing. The less important pieces are treated as such, with occasionally little more than brief mentions, while the meat of the story gets a relatively decent amount of time to be explored and make its points and counterpoints. In particular, this arc that has made up most of the season is about Narsus and Shagad possibly more than it is about Arslan, so their final confrontation is the key piece that needs to be given the most attention.
Most of the points that are made aren’t especially original or unique, but they continue on one of the primary themes of the series and one of Arslan’s passions that he has been campaigning for all along. The subject has been examined with slightly more ambiguity in the past, but Shagad’s perspective has more to do with his history and experiences that keep him from having the same level of compassion that would cause him to see eye to eye with Arslan and his closest followers. Some of his logic is sound in theory, but the missing component is a respect for human life, which is what sets Arslan apart from anyone else with as much power that we’ve met or heard of. The battle may center on these two, but naturally encompasses the conflicts of several large groups of fighters with a variety of combat, as is almost always the case in this series. The CG models haven’t been nearly as distracting in this season as the first, but this episode certainly suffers from some of the issues prominent to such matters, with many bodies striking against each other in a way that resembles puppets being controlled by someone with no experience than people.
The ultimate reward for everything involving Shagad’s character is Arslan’s clever punishment, something that we’d all surely love to see carried out but will likely not experience directly. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine how much more we’ll see happen in general. While the television season is barely halfway over, this series in fact only has one episode remaining, which seems especially questionable as the next great adventure for the protagonists is set up at the end of this episode. After the events of the previous episode, it would be less acceptable for it to not be touched upon at all, but leaving only one episode for Arslan to get involved with something so big seems like almost as unwise a choice. The first season had closure that this seems unlikely to.
A great deal of ground is covered as the plot around Gilan and, in particular, Shagad reaches its climax and resolution. However, those are things that it would appear the season as a whole cannot obtain in its final episode, as a major new story is unfolding with only that one left to go.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.