The Heroic Legend of Arslan - Reviews

Alt title: Arslan Senki

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Ymarsakar's avatar
Aug 22, 2015

This story reminds me of the OAV which the creator of Legend of Galactic Heroes did, but then couldn't finish. It was also about a land called Pars and a Prince that lost his inheritance.

Graphically and aesthetically, it's been changed significantly from the bishounen view of the previous unfinished version. The ouji or Prince is softer looking, more effiminate or young than like the unreal otherwordly artwork of the previous version. But let's continue on to the meat of this series.

Setting wise, this is alternative history, set in Persia in a time when they were fighting religious fanatics. If people know their history, they can kind of guess what time period that would be, since Persia was only conquered and destroyed by one religion in the world's past, and it wasn't Christianity. Even though in this series, you'll see a lot of crosses. Things have been modified a little bit, but this is definitely the Persia before it was conquered by Islam. Even the noble titles like Marzopan is similar to a Count or Baron.

Plot wise, you'll mostly see small unit tactics in warfare, some imperial or royal politics and intrigue, plus some action scenes from the Prince's warrior vassals. The atmosphere is more of a commanding officer, a king, where most of your economic or military prowess is in your vassals, your followers. This is different from shounen genres where most of your power rests in the MC, the main character.

Overall, I think I enjoyed Kingdom, set in Warring State era China, as well as the older Heroic Legend of Arslan and Legend of the Galactic Heroes more. The application of the themes felt better. So those would be my recommendations for people to watch, if they want to see more things similar to Arslan Senki, to get a sample base up.

If you have ever played Crusader Kings II, this anime series will feel very familiar to you.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
8/10 overall
noname0302's avatar
Oct 8, 2015

A very pleasant surprize. With the best anime, you usually have a story that is somewhat unique. This implies some amount of supernatural. Arslan Senki doesnt have a special story in this way. Its pretty simple. Anime like this usually fade into boredom or go apeshit mad and ruin everything like Berserk. 

What is Arslan Senki? Well, to get the full picture, imagine FMA, Game of Thrones, Avatar: The last airbender and Berserk(not the last episodes, instead the good part) put together.

How can you go wrong?!

Story: the basic plot is simple. A kingdom is conquered, the prince flees and gathers an army to reclaim his country. We get a lot of twists and turns worthy of Game of Thrones. The way the battles are choreographed is also very good. We dont just get mindless broodshed, we get genuine tactics, may that be fake camps or mannequines to fool their opponents. The story is not as strong and unforgettable as FMA, but out of the source material its probably the best anyone could manage. 8/10

Animation: Exquisite. The backgrounds are THE BEST(you want to find good anime wallpapers, take a random screenshot of Arslan Senki) I have seen up to date. The character animation is also top notch. The only downside is that when you have to animate hundreds of people at once, you have 2 choices. CGI or draw till your hands bleed. They chose CGI, it was not a good idea. Most of the animation is very good, but in fight scenes the lower quality of the CGI shows, so animation gets 8 instead of 10 because of this. 8/10

Music: not epic, but memorable and good. 8/10

Characters: Some people(the ones who think being a "critic" means you have to hate everything thats nice) will say their weak, stereotypical and idyllic. I wont. The characetrs are very good, they all have their place in the anime. As for Arslan. He is the archetype for the perfect prince. Hes a whimp sometimes, but really comes forward when needed. Also, he can hold his own in a fight even against more skilled opponents.
Some characters are not the most original(we kept referring to Hermes as Prince Zuco with my girlfriend for a reason - i know the Arslan manga is older than Avatar - one stole from the other, for sure). 8.5/10

Overall: All the aspects of this anime are very solid and they create a more than satisfying overall picture. Arslan Senki will be one of my all time favorites and I eagerly wait a second season. 8.5/10

I can strongly suggest it to fans of FMA or FMAB: you wont find anything more similar, but Arslan has better backgrounds. Also fans of Magi, Avatar should like it a lot and if you liked the episodes of Berserk in which crazy demons didnt rape women, you will also like this. 

One of the best animes this year, if not the best(I havent started watching Gangsta yet). I find the 4.12 rating very low compared to usual anime-planet tendencies. 

Have fun!

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
Zundranei's avatar
Jun 9, 2016

 If you like anything medieval, you will most definitely love this.  The fights are great, the characters are great, and the music fits every scene perfectly.  You get to watch as the the protagonist grows stronger and you get to really understand his personality and the personalities of his companions. I'm really looking forward to season two and I will most definitely read the manga.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
asterris's avatar
Jul 5, 2015

This was entertaining to watch. I have not watched the earlier OVA of this and don't plan to. I reccomend to those who enjoy a classic medeival story. At first, I thought it the mood in this anime would be darker than normal conisdering the first view episodes, but the tone shifted the more positive and optimistic for the rest of the series.

Story 6.5/10

This was a classic but well-done story of the prince that reclaims the kingdom and dreams of changing the system...with some little additions to the plot that make it refreshing. One of them being how the viewpoint for both sides is more 'gray' than normal. Sure, there is a clear antagonist person/groups within Lucianna(not sure how to spell that, but I mean the enemy invading country), with its zealous and corrupt religion, but Pars also is at fault for it's continued dependence on slavery, which is shown within the first couple episodes and the introduction of a likeable character from the 'enemy' side. We'll have to see if they take this furthur or not, but it's more indepth than Kingdom, which this anime reminds me of (this is less simple and better in my opinion, though Kingdom has its own charms). The story also includes some strategies, and battle plans that are fun to see within a slightly political show like this, though it's not as specific as Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. Its a nice middle, though it's slightly more on the action side. Some parts/actions, however, are pretty obvious, but overall I still find it entertaining. One more aspect is...magic...??? I think, or dark arts, or talking to Djinn, or something like that, which we've gotten vague hints of, though I don't know if they will or if it is wise to delve into the magic side of things too much.

EDIT: They do not dive into the magic parts, non of the questions along the lines of 'why can some people come out of dark holes in the ground' are not answered by the end. HOWEVER, they wrapped up the story well enough, no ending in the middle of  a battle or tournament. I'M LOOKING AT YOU SHOKUGEKI NO SOUMA AND GANGSTA. There was also a side story in another kingdom, which I actually liked more than almost the main plot, the battles were very interesting there and I liked the 'foreign' flare it had.

Animation 9/10:

Fluid, detailed, and pretty with lovely landscapes and backgrounds. I think it sets the tone well, with the action scenes being my favorite. Well, maybe not the larger battle scenes...but the smaller ones. Though it's cool to see a character stand and build up energy for 2 minutes and then release an awesome magical attack, it is often the flurry of attacks and precise movements that are even more exciting to me, because they just look so cool! Well, it's more expensive I'm sure, because it takes more time to make all the movements and have them be coherant, but this is the kind of action you get in this show. More than once can you witness a scene where a 'strong' character does this, Daryunn in particular. Character design is fairly interesting, and fits within the realm well, (it could be just me but I love Arslan's white hair & adorable blue eyes!) with the main characters having a style that keeps them somewhat appart from the other characters. Frankly I'm fine with any outfit as long as it's not some sort of uniform where practically everyone wears the same thing. Or ugh, I'm looking at you The Ambition of Oda Nobuna! Main character that wears a boring single color school uniform the whole time in the past!!! Sorry went off on a tangent, the outfit design in this is acceptable. 

Sound 7/10:

This is always a personal opinion thing, but I really do enjoy the opening and the ending, as well as the animation in it, I even listen to them, which is something I rarely do. But well, to each their own in this category. I didn't like the second half OP and END as much, but they were still ok. I would say music was fine but not great.

Characters 7/10:

Not all of the main cast is that unique, but I find them well done and likeable all the same. Arslan, our main character, is young, humble, at times naiive, kind, poised, has a pet hawk, sees some of the gray between Pars and Lucianna, and seems to be the making of a good king for the improvement of the kingdom of Pars. He's the typical nice guy, but seeing how he learns and changes his attitude from encounters and the outside world is a nice way to flesh him out a little and show that he's developing as a character. Daryunn is a loyalist and overprotective, Gieve is the womanizer/thief that grudingly helps the cause, and then there's Narsus with his paintings and strategizing. Last is Elam and Falangies, which frankly I'm glad there's at least one woman that knows how to kick *** and be cool, even if she is wearing really risque clothes (Better than nothing!)... They're not amazingly fleshed out, but they meet the standards and are interesting enough to watch. Standards being none of these characters annoy me and many of them have some development and multiple personality traits.

Edit: I felt that by the end I wanted more screen time with some of the main cast, there was enough, but there was also a lot of time spent on plot set ups on the enemies side and with other minor characters.

Overall 7.5/10:

I enjoyed this Anime, and I think others who like action or old time kingdom settings will too. Likeable characters, good animation, and a normal plot with some refreshing aspects. Overall, it was stererotypical, but enjoyable to me. Thus it was good enough to merit a 7.5/10, but not quite original and interesting enough to me to make an 8.

6.5/10 story
9/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Sep 29, 2016

COMPARATIVE EVALUATION
When this anime was announced, many expected the best show of the millennia. The reason was the story being written by the author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and the artwork being done by the mangaka of Full Metal Alchemist. Both titles are exceptional and are even in my top 10. Unfortunately, Arslan ended up being not even top 1000 material. It lacks the semi-realistic character designs of LOGH, its cast lacks the charisma and individual importance of FMA, and it even looks bland compared to the ethereal artstyle of the 90s version of Arslan.

Another way to view it is like the 2 Star Wars trilogies. The 70s were a space opera masked as a fairy tale, thus keeping expectations low and succeeding in the longrun. The 00s on the other hand were a fairy tale desperately pretending to be a space opera and self-imploding right away. It’s the same thing with Arslan; it’s not as good as it wants you to think it is. It’s a silly fighting shonen that tries to present itself as a serious historical epic and fails miserably at it.

SCRIPT
The general premise and overall plot are fine; it’s always cool to see a prince trying to gather an army and protect his kingdom from various enemy factions. It reminded me of a simpler Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The problem lies in how it translates from its original script to a modern series. You already know it if by any chance you watched Guin Saga, or have read epic fantasy books from the 70s, such as Conan the Barbarian, or Erlic of Meliborne. They are very dry compared to modern books and very hard to appeal to a younger audience.

The storyboard planners seem unable to understand why direct translations of a script do not work outside the decade they were made in. An update is necessary when you want to create something mainstream, which is not limited to animation. It’s the exact same problem with Parasyte from a few years ago. A pretty damn good manga that the animators decided to make it seem like it takes place today where everybody has cell phones and access to the internet. The artstyle is new but not its presentation. This disconnect is essentially making the characters to feel very anachronistic, as if they are 50 year old men pretending to be 15 year old boys.

CAST
Speaking of boys, why the hell is Arslan the protagonist when he is the most boring of the bunch? Everybody around him is ten times more capable and interesting than he is. I understand that by choosing him to as the lead, the show turns into the coming of age of a naïve prince, slowly becoming a capable king thanks to his interaction with all sorts of mentors. That may seem like it was worth it at the end, but it sure doesn’t make him an interesting lead. He’s completely worthless and passive to the most part, and even looks like a girl. Why does he even have so many loyal subjects? Ok, fine, he is the lawful heir to the throne, but in those chaotic times, the moment you were showing weakness, you were executed and the throne was taken by the strongest man available. The story doesn’t feel plausible from the get-go because of that simple fact.

Say anything you didn’t like in LOGH or FMA, but you can never complain about the protagonists. They were capable, charismatic, and the story doesn’t begin with them being greenhorns. We saw how they improved in flashbacks and whatever happens in present time is the peak of their power. That’s what makes them compelling. To make an analogy, it’s as if you are watching Romance of the Three Kingdoms from the perspective of the Han emperor, a completely worthless ruler that was being manipulated by everyone. He sucks compared to every general and advisor around him, and that’s exactly what Arslan is in his own story.

Speaking of everybody else besides him, they are a fine bunch of cool guys and gals, each one usually specializing in some sort of skill. It’s ok as long as you see them as no more than rule of cool, but falls flat if you try to see them from a perspective of realism; they are closer to the Avengers than masters of ancient warfare. It’s not like Romance of the Three Kingdoms had that much realism either; it’s just that it can be very immersion breaking when you are supposed to be watching historical events that happened in ancient Persia and everybody is breathing fire. I didn’t have this problem with LOGH, since that was taking place in the far future and most head scratching moments had to do with technology and physics that could be excused simply as futuristic science.

By the way, do you know what else LOGH didn’t have that Arslan does and can be very immersion breaking? CGI crowds! I can tolerate plastic looking cars or spaceships but not hundreds of Lego toys pretending to be fighting each other. It made everything fake looking and cheap; I didn’t care about anyone dying because of it.

LEGACY
I can go on bitching about a dozen other things, but you get the gist by now; it’s not a good show. It’s poorly animated, the protagonist is terrible, the plot is childish, and as a whole it was promoting itself as legendary when it’s just a throwaway mediocrity. Once again modern sucks and retro wins.

4/10 story
5/10 animation
8/10 sound
4/10 characters
4.5/10 overall