My thoughts on the eighth episode of Arslan Senki.
With the inclusion of the post-ending scene, I’m glad we didn’t sit on the more or less heavily insinuated identity of Silvermask for any longer. I think the pacing of the reveal was perfect – first they presented new information that alluded to a fresh and likely possibility, then they acknowledged the possibility as the correct one and ultimately, after next episode, we will have the visual reveal; the man behind the mask.
While the show could still throw us for a loop and dismiss all of these well-matched likelihoods and blatant declarations as red herrings as to who Silvermask really is… that would be uncharitable in the extreme and I actually really like the potential trajectory of the plot at this point. While it is not unheard of, the reality that Andragoras was a traitorous brother and took the throne and Tahamenay for himself is an appealing idea as it both rules out the more classic and simplistic story of: Prince loses his kingdom to an evil foreign presence and must somehow defeat them and regain rulership of his country. This would all put Arslan in an interesting position, not only because his actual right to the throne would be legitimately questioned but because he would have to come to terms with what his father had done (on top of whatever else is shrouded in vagueness in regards to Arslan’s lineage).
Pretty cool episode overall and with these things in mind we have a pretty good idea of why Kharlan turned ‘traitor’ against Andragoras and Pars despite the fact that he was never able to speak openly about why. I can’t entirely agree that he was a heroic figure for what he did as his actions lead to the deaths of many thousands of Parsians however it feels good to know that his actions were not meaninglessly malevolent and he was doing what he thought best at the great expense of others. With that said, the one qualm I have with this episode outside of maybe a few drops in animation quality of little note, was that Arslan seemed to grieve too much at Kharlan’s passing – pleading desperately with him to live.
It is entirely understandable that Arslan is naive in someways and the show has gone out of its ways many times to prove this however for him to feel no outrage at Kharlan while not even knowing the intent of his actions is a bit farfetched. To Arslan, the man that bled out before him was a traitorous man who essentially brought about the destruction of his entire county, the slaughter of his people, and any harm that befell his father or his mother. It makes perfect sense that Arslan would request an elegy for Kharlan’s fallen soldiers as they were, regardless of what they did, men of Pars with families and ties back home and in his mind at least were somewhat less responsible than Kharlan himself. I suppose I just found Arslan’s sympathy somewhat baseless even in light of his compassion for the other Parsians.
Hopefully next week we will get the full reveal of Hermes as I am interested to see where the story goes after everything is out in the open (except for perhaps Arslan’s questionable lineage?)