Episode 1 Impressions: The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Once a novel turned 6 episode OVA, now a manga turned TV series; The Heroic Legend of Arslan is a story that has seen many iterations. Now with a new team including director Noriyuki Abe and story creator Yoshiki Tanaka, the wealth of potential can’t be ignored.

e1heroiclegendofarslan03Synopsis
At the heart of the continental highway lies the Kingdom of Pars and the Royal Capital of Ecbatana. It’s a lively and flourishing nation that is feared thanks to the current Emperor.

However, despite its status and powerful leadership, the current prince Arslan is far from being revered as a valid candidate for the throne. He’s timid, innocent, and ignorant of the world around him. Be it by his pampered life, or upbringing. His father gives him little notice and his mother equally shuns his presence.

As the Emperor returns home from crushing the Lusitanian army who sought to invade the ally nation of Maryam, he returns with a slew of prisoners from the battlefield. The presence of such prisoners is appalling to the citizens of Pars because the Lusitanian nation is a cult of the god Yaldabaoth and their teachings are to kill all those who are not of their belief.

Despite the dangers of such prisoners, Arslan enters the commoners sector to ask the Lusitanian prisoners of their lands and people. A foolish move as the e1heroiclegendofarslan07prisoners would rather take his life than speak to him. Even still, his curiosity leads him to finding the young Lusitanian boy who was captured on the battlefield who has taken a few local boys prisoner to escape. After attempting to persuade the boy to let his captives go, Arslan is taken captive instead since the boy believes he’s just a common pampered noble.

After running from the kingdom’s guards throughout the streets of Ecbatana, Arslan gets some brief moments to speak to the Lusitanian boy. Attempting to understand each other, the obvious ignorance of Arslan to the harshness of slavery is made apparent. At the same time, the logical fallacy of the Yaldabaoth belief is called out by Arslan. The Lusitanian boy claims that Yaldabaoth belief is that all men are equal, unless they choose to be heretics, at which point they are treated different and killed.

After reaching the kingdom’s end, the Lusitanian boy leaps from the edge wall into the water below with Arslan in tow. While Pars Calvary Captain Daryun attempts to shoot the Lusitanian boy as he flees on horseback, Arslan calls for him to yield his aim. Leading to the boy making it away safely.

e1heroiclegendofarslan10Following this whole ordeal, the boys who were originally taken captive by the Lusitanian boy are brought before Arslan to be executed for causing the events that lead to him being held captive. Although Arslan orders them to be let free. This compassion, as well as his before bravery, leads the boys to aspire to be part of the cavalry that will serve him.

Thoughts
I was definitely holding my expectations at a minimal coming into this retelling of the Heroic Legend of Arslan. While I do still own the original OVA, it’s been far too long to say if it holds up or if this new telling will be any better. Of course, having a season of episodes to work with will be a fine change to the old 6 episode OVA. Then again, we’re talking about much shorter episodes.

Despite my held expectations, the new telling has been pretty solid thus far. In just one episode, we were introduced to the setting, the characters, the world, and even the beliefs in a way that was entertaining and exciting enough.  A welcome perspective from a rather ignorant prince that definitely doesn’t realize some of the faults in his upbringing.

That’s not to say that Arslan is dislikable, even with his ignorant mindset. He’s innocent and still likable. Not the annoying brat one would come to expect and typical for this type of situation. He’s more kind-hearted and misled. Which allows him to be followed and the quest he’ll have to partake in will be believable.

I was happy to see that the more shattering changes early on were not rushed into, despite being a close occurrence to the beginning. Even if it felt a bit teasing. It just makes me desire to see it unfold even more.

With all that said, it’s a good-looking show, and easily immersive. I was glad to see that despite using CG, it was still well done. I look forward to this telling of Arslan, and definitely suggest looking into it if you’re a fan of the setting.

This show is streaming on Funimation.com!

Episode 1: The Glory of Ecbatana

THUMBS UP!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Great Potential

Pros:

  • Good world building
  • Good characters
  • Good pacing
  • Visually solid

Cons:

  • None

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.