Sorry guys, episode eight of Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu is definitely the last episode for this season (I checked for news and stuff). I know, I’m sad too! Before we get to talking about the future of this series though, let’s first head on to what happened in the exciting conclusion of this amazing show!
In the previous episode, Shagad’s plan to remove Arslan from power in Gilan and take the city for himself was thwarted by Narsus’ craftiness. After he was brought to justice, Étoile and Merlane arrived and asked the crown prince for help.
We’re taken to see the events occurring in the lives of different people involved in this last chapter. Let’s first start with Prince Hilmes, who had just broken ties with Guiscard and Lusitania after rescuing Princess Irina. He was being pursued by the enemy forces, but managed to beat them when Sām and his units joined as reinforcements. Sām then informed the prince that he found the whereabouts of the legendary sword, Rukhnabad. I was wondering when that key item would come into play again, so hearing about it after all this time made me feel fulfilled somewhat. They managed to track it down at the old Kingdom of Maryam, where Archpriest Bodin was hiding.
There, Bodin was trying to instigate the remnants of the Maryami people into doing the bidding of Yaldabaoth, but it was actually just for his own advantage. He was using the Rukhnabad as proof that the heavens had forsaken the Parsian heathens. Unfortunately for him, Hilmes finally got there with a super dramatic entrance and kicked his and his supporters’ butts. I thought the fight scene there was sorely lacking, but you gotta admit that Hilmes seemed really cool fighting Bodin and scaring him away. I was honestly hoping that the arch-priest would finally get killed though because he’s a pest to everyone. In any case, at last, Hilmes safely got hold of the sword that will serve as proof of his rightful kingship.
Next, we’re shown what the people in Peshawar Fortress were up to. They were preparing to launch an attack on the Lusitanian forces and free the people of Pars. Some of the generals were conflicted though, because of the way King Andragoras treated Arslan, so they were wondering whether or not to follow the King. Kishward, the most conflicted of them all, managed to find the secret letter Vahriz wrote to Bahman. For those who’ve forgotten, that letter was mentioned in the first season and it was about the true identity of Hilmes and Arslan, as well as the conflict between their fathers. He was about to read it when Queen Tahamine stopped him and gave it to her husband, as servants shouldn’t meddle with royal affairs.
Andragoras said that all royal families just look glamorous on the outside, but are tainted with histories of bloodshed and killing. He said it so easily like it’s something that can’t be avoided, even though it’s also true in a sense. But Andragoras’ decision to usurp his brother out of the throne was definitely just out of his own greed for power. So I agree with Kishward when he said that, since Arslan isn’t of royal blood, he might be spared from that curse of power and murder.
Last, speaking of our young protagonist, his story continued off from Étoile’s plea to help King Innocentis. If it wasn’t for his command to attack Pars and invade Ecbatana, our young hero wouldn’t have this bad a conflict with his father, wouldn’t have to put his life on the line in countless battles, and wouldn’t have to see the death of so many people. But Étoile promised that if they help her king, she would persuade him to leave Ecbatana once and for all after he’s saved. Who is Étoile, though? She isn’t a powerful figure in Lusitania, so what good are her words, right?
The answer should be obvious then, but knowing Arslan, his kind-heartedness makes him quite unpredictable. They found out that his father is setting off to retake Ecbatana, and when he does, surely Lusitania will want to take it again. The cycle of death will never end that way. But, if Étoile succeeds in her promise, not only will fewer people be harmed, but the rift between the two kingdoms might stop forever. It’s a plan that definitely sounds more like him!
Eventually, all these stories converged into one end goal and meeting place, which I think was the best thing about this episode. King Andragoras, Prince Hilmes, and Prince Arslan’s companies were all heading to reclaim Ecbatana. They were all Parsians, but they each had different motives. King Andragoras wanted it for power. Prince Hilmes wanted it for his right to be king. Prince Arslan wanted it to stop bloodshed. So, who among them will be able to reclaim his throne?
Truthfully, I felt that the episode was a bit overloaded and rushed, but I also felt that it was just right. Maybe, it was just the arrangement of scenes that made it seem like they crammed everything in one episode. I’m also not sure what else they could have added to make the pacing slower and smoother.
On the other hand, I don’t think they could’ve have made a better season finale than this, that is, if this is heading towards a third season. If they aren’t, then it’s just awful! The major plot hasn’t been concluded at all! The first season indeed felt like it had more to it, but it ended on a proper note, so it was alright. But this is seriously a cliffhanger! The only thing they managed to do was make us clamor for a third season, so not delivering it would be unacceptable! But if that was actually their plan in the first place, then great job, staff!
Moving to the art and animation, I’m quite pleased that the last episode had lovely drawings and animation, especially the fighting scenes! Some drawings couldn’t be saved from being ugly, but they were mostly in zoomed out shots and background characters, so it’s forgivable.
I know I’ve been constantly expressing my sadness about how Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu only had eight episodes, but now that this season is over, I honestly think that it’s just perfect that way. Unlike some series that had more episodes but filled with scenes that could have been done away with, here we’re assured that every scene we got in every episode is important. Everything leads either to a characters’ development, or to the development of the plot. There was no time wasted at all!
Art-wise, the quality definitely had a huge leap from the first season! Everything was mostly consistent, except for some hiccups in the middle episodes, but aside from that, you could truly see the dedication of the animators in making this show look lovely! The expressions on the characters’ faces matched the amazing voice-acting, and the backgrounds helped make us feel like we were there.
So, overall, I’m giving this series an 5/6!
And with that, let’s hope this wonderful show gets a third season so that we can continue to have the pleasure of watch Arslan on his path to being a fine king! Till next time!