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We’ve all heard stories of kingdoms at war with kings and princes fighting for their goals. Mix it up with a bit more complications like blood relatives aiming for the throne, greedy men hungry for power, and wealth, and you’ve got Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu!
This is actually the second season of the historical anime focused on Arslan, the Crown Prince of Pars. It continues from where the first season left off: after their victory at Ecbatana, Arslan and his army are suddenly faced with a new enemy threatening to invade their kingdom. Meanwhile, Hilmes sets out on his own journey to find proof of his right to be king of Pars. Then at Ecbatana, certain events are unfolding, all of which will drive our young prince towards his next journey on becoming king!
When I first heard that Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu would only have eight episodes instead of 25 like the first season had, I was quite surprised. I kept wondering how the production team would manage to fit a story that’s as amazing as the prequel into that short amount of time! But when I was already watching it episode by episode, it was actually quite nice! Yes it’s sad to not have more episodes, but for them to be able to deliver multiple stories in eight episodes without ruining the pacing and storytelling is outstanding!
They also managed to give more depth to Arslan and King Andragoras’ rocky relationship, and showed us a part of Prince Hilmes’ past that gave more insight on his character (I still can’t believe he has a ‘girlfriend’!). They introduced us to Narsus’ old friend, Shagad, as well, and he foiled said friend’s plan. All of these they delivered in such a short span of time! I guess there’s just a lot of things that were squeezed in, so some might see it as too rushed or cramped, but I personally think it was an amazing ride. I thought that it was actually even better than the first season! Every minute of every episode was spent on important things that drove the plot forward.
The best part about this season for me is how I’ve seen Arslan grow, both as a character and as a prince! I could never stop being proud of him in every episode, because he’s just such a wonderful boy! He became better at fighting, shown during than short one-on-one duel with King Tokhtomysh; he became better at leading like when he was forced to decide whether to save King Innocentis or not; he also became a better son, as when he respected his father’s decision to banish him. It was also heartwarming to see his loyal friends and allies follow him every step of the way. Even if they risked being punished if they didn’t abandon him, they still went out of their to be with him.
I also loved how the story narrated some characters’ point of views separately at the beginning. But at the end of it all, Andragoras, Hilmes, and Arslan’s paths converged at the same goal: to take back Ecbatana from Guiscard and the Lusitanians. The only difference was that they each had different motives: the first had his greed for power, the second had his right to the throne, and the third had to prevent bloodshed. How great is that!
I noticed that the quality of the art and animation went a few steps higher than the prequel. Maybe it’s due to having only a few episodes to spend time on, so the production team weren’t that stressed out and cramped on time. I absolutely adored how solidly drawn the characters are in most scenes, and their character designs are so eye-catching! There were still some hiccups and ugly drawings from time to time throughout the season, but they were mostly during zoomed out shots and fight scenes.
The backgrounds weren’t all that unique compared to other anime that have their backgrounds look like paintings. But the important thing with Arslan Senki’s backgrounds was that they perfectly breathed the atmosphere of the places. Combine it with the lovely background music and it’ll feel like you were right there with the characters! A perfect example was when the city of Gilan was introduced. Even during the first five seconds of it being shown, I already imagined how life must be like there.
Historical Setting – Arslan Senki is set in a fictional world, but the world-building is just so polished that it makes you believe it’s based on true events that happened ‘once upon a time’. I’m personally a fan of stories that revolve around kingdoms and their nobility.
War – You can’t have historical stories without a few battles, at least as far as I know. In this anime, war is the main focus, as it’s about kingdoms trying to invade other territories. We’ve seen Arslan fight against Tūrāns and against pirates, and Hilmes and Andragoras against Lusitanians. We’ve also learned about the Kingdom of Maryam that lost to Lusitania, and the many lives that were lost and ruined during that time.
Power vs. Family – King Andragoras overthrew his own brother and burned his own nephew just to take the throne of Pars. He even banished his own son, albeit adopted, just so he won’t risk being overpowered. Arslan was already gaining a lot of power after all. Prince Guiscard imprisoned and attempted to murder his own brother just to take the throne as well.
Friendship and Loyalty – One of the best examples for this is Arslan’s devoted allies! Like I mentioned earlier, they followed him even to exile, even though the task given to him was quite impossible. They actually won’t gain anything from it, but they still supported him all the way. In contrast, although they were once good friends, Shagad betrayed Narsus for his own personal goals. Étoile was also a good example of a loyal follower, since she risked her own neck just to help King Innocentis.
I’m just really happy with what the creators gave us with Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu! From the story and the art and animation to the lessons and message, everything was just wonderful! I hope they’ll give us a third season because I am not going to stand for that cliffhanger ending! I want to see more of Arslan’s adventures, his relationship with his comrades, his parents, and Étoile (I actually ship them!!), and how he’ll grow even more to become a fine king!
Did you guys enjoy Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu as much as I did? What were the things you loved or hated about it? Did you think it was too short, too rushed, or it was just fine? And more importantly, who else is hoping for a third season?
Leave a comment below so we can talk and share our opinions about it!
Don’t forget to check out our upcoming reviews of the Fall 2016 anime here on Manga.Tokyo!