I’m a fan of the ongoing anime Arslan Senki, or The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and I think I’ve made that abundantly clear. I review the show by episode on SeaSlugs, and after creating the “A Cry for Completion” segment on this website, I premiered it with a post about Arslan. It’s pretty obvious that I like this show.
However, I’m a cynical guy by nature. I’m pretty sure that a proper adaptation of the original works cannot be done with just one or even two seasons. I decided to make a list of my reasons for why this show needs a sequel. These reasons are based upon the plot and characters of the show.
#4: “We’re a bit far from home”
For those of you who are up-to-date with Arslan, then you know that the main group of characters, the group containing Arslan himself, are a bit of a ways off from their home. In fact, Arslan’s quest for revenge seems to have been delayed for the time being, while he deals with the quarrel of the two princely brothers of Sindhura. While I don’t mind veering from the straight and narrow journey every now and then in a show, it does seem to scream, “We need more episodes!” in my opinion.
What would happen if they tried to end it now? It would mean that somehow, in the space of less than 10 episodes, the issues in Sindhura would be resolved, all of the plot gaps in Ecbatana would be resolved just in time for the group to arrive and have a final battle with Hermes. The show would become horribly transparent and predictable. They’d be better off just taking their time, and perhaps running into even more distractions and problems along the way back to Ecbatana, if they even make it past the Sindhuran problem. Oooo, that would actually be pretty cool.
#3: It has yet to prove that it was based on a Yoshiki Tanaka novel
Have you read or seen Legend of the Galactic Heroes? No? Well I liked it. For most anime connoisseurs, it’s a battle over whether their pretension, over-analysis or stuck-up reputations can weather them saying the same, and so you will sometimes here something like, “Oh, it was overdone and cliched”. You will not be hearing that from me, or from most people like me (in terms of anime watching habits and predispositions).
Why did I bring this up? If you’ve read my “A Cry for Completion” for Arslan Senki, then you know that Yoshiki Tanaka is also the original author of the novels upon which Arslan is based. It seems that Tanaka-sensei is trying something different with Arlsan, with many allusions to Eastern and Middle-Eastern civilizations (ex. Persia, Ancient India etc.). However, certain story-telling aspects repeat themselves in all of Tanaka-sensei’s works. We have yet to see all of them, and to avoid spoiling pretty much everything he’s ever made, I will not name any specific examples. However, suffice it to say that character’s like Narsus remind me of (hint hint) Yang Wenli or (hint hint) Siegfried Kircheis. I can’t say for certain, this is just my speculation.
#2: Too many unresolved characters
Let’s list them off, shall we? Here are characters who have unresolved motivations or who will most likely need more screen-time in order to resolve certain parts of the plot: Gieve, Farangis, Jaswant, Tahamenay, the hooded dudes helping Hermes, Innocentus and his brother Guiscard, Elam, Etoile, Bodin and his army, Andragoras, and the rest of Pars’ living Marzban. Let’s not forget the backstories that will be need to be revealed for a lot of these people. Yeah, if this show is going to be done right, you will need at to elaborate at least this much. Get on it.
#1: Arslan hasn’t done anything yet
I mean, seriously. Let’s be serious be for just a second here. His name is in the friggin’ title. It’s The Heroic Legend of Arslan. So why in heaven’s name is he so pathetic? The entire group up to this point has been carried on the backs of Daryun and Narsus. There can only be one answer to this. This season is actually a really, really small part of the whole story. Think of it like an image in a microscope. We are looking at a small part of the whole specimen as if that small part was the entire specimen. Just zoom out and what do you see? You realize that that small part you were looking at is so insignificant.
The thing is, there needs to be a sequel to start making this phase in Arslan’s life become overshadowed by his development over time. In order for a guy to grow up, there needs to be a beginning point, and I understand this. However, he still needs to start actually growing up. While Arslan has developed in certain aspects throughout the story, in terms of his beliefs and faith in his team, he has yet to become a reliable person. He is simply a symbol, a figurehead. Kind of a moral compass. However, he needs to be so much more than that before he can become king.
Thanks for reading, and indulging my irrational love of this show. If you have any thoughts about the prospects for another season, please put them in the comments below. Thanks again, and have a great day!