Arslan Senki’s premiere episode sets an almost perfect foundation for the series. For with their being a culture clash, which leads to war; characters with enough personality to remember their unique names; and there seemingly being only a focus on characters and story, rather than ecchi moments, this series definitely stands out amongst the rest of the spring releases I’ve seen thus far.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
In the year 317, we are introduced to our players. There is the Lusitanians who, due to the belief of the god Yaldabaoth, are at war with both Maryam and Pars. Though the Lusitanians aren’t necessarily the villains. Through an unnamed boy, we learn their believed cult nation fights more so for man to be equal, as opposed to how other nations are in which slavery is as ingrained into the economy as much as food or gold.
Enter Arslan, the heir to the Pars kingdom, who encounters a young blonde Lusitanian captured in battle. Through their discussions come Arslan questioning all he has been taught, as the blonde drags the boy around as a hostage, and it leads to perhaps a shift in his thinking. For, previously to meeting the blonde boy, Arslan considers slavery a good option for the defeated. They are fed, are part of a kingdom set in the heart of the continental highway, and are relatively safe. Though, with the passing of time, it seems all the positives Arslan believed his kingdom held are falling from his father’s grip like a clenched fist trying to hold sand.
There is something to be said about an anime which relies more on developing characters, presenting a culture clash, a complex war, and even complex characters, versus being like how Game of Thrones sometimes feels, and just diluting everything to sex and violence. For while Arslan is your everyday simple character, and is unoriginal, at the same time we are presented a world in which it may be interesting to watch him grow in.
This is partly due to Arslan presenting himself as someone curious, someone willing to try to learn besides whatever he has been indoctrinated with, and coming off as someone who may favor diplomacy and understanding to war. Which, naturally, will put his life at stake, as seen when the blonde kidnapped him, but it could lead to many an interesting tale. Especially considering that, at the end of the episode, he is forced to do battle and, with parents like his, likely politics will begin to inject itself in coming episodes.
Perhaps the sole negative here is the lack of female characters which may have a strong role in Arslan’s journey. For while Arslan’s mother, Queen Tahamenay, is mysterious, possibly dangerous, and cold, it seems she may be the only woman of interest we may be presented. That is, assuming there won’t be female soldiers, spies, or a love interest, to fill the void.
Overall: Watch It
Unlike Plastic Memories, or even Owari no Seraph, there isn’t a lot of stumbling around and a slow build to the good part. Arslan Senki premiere episode sets a solid foundation of which to build off of, and for you to speculate what may happen in the future. And with the only negative being the lack of female presence, which can be fixed in future episodes, this isn’t much to pick over to create significant criticism.