My thoughts on the ninth episode of Arslan Senki.
I’ll start off by saying that this episode, while featuring a pretty good action sequence between Daryun, Narsus, and Silvermask, took the biggest hit in art and animation I have seen thus far in the show. A lot of the character designs were a bit lax when drawn at a distance but plenty of the close shots were pretty horrendous as well. This because all the more obvious when contrasted with the great animation from the climactic fight. Many shots of Farangis and Arslan are pretty awkwardly drawn and I can only hope that we see a return to form come next week.
It was interesting to see some insight into Yaldabaoth this week – its roots in archaic Lusitanian as “sacred ignorance” came on a bit strong though. It was clear that the show was attempting to paint contradictory sides between the belief and faith of Yaldabaoth and those who merely use it as a means to justify their wants and needs. Narsus and Daryun are certainly of the mind that the Lusitanian’s are at some level being led on in this manner however by way of Etoile we have equal insight into someone who truly believes in the ‘glory of Yaldabaoth’. Then we have the return of Bodin, the Archpriest, who most clearly represents extremism within their belief system however it is actually unclear to me whether he is a depiction of religious fanaticism or of one who is self-serving under the guise of Yaldabaoth.
It doesn’t matter a great deal which it is however we are clearly meant to hate him and he will surely get his comeuppance before the end of the show. The show didn’t allow for much subtext when concerning Yaldabaoth and so it felt a little hamfisted in its delivery however I am glad at least that the show is thinking actively about it rather than just throwing up some vague banner to unite the Lusitanians. With a copy of the book now in Arslan’s hands I think we can expect some further exploration into the actual tenets and beliefs associated within and get a better grasp on the concept as a whole.
Narsus was entertaining this episode as always, between his method of fishing for enemies and his legitimate offense at being called an ‘inept painter’. It’s good that the show maintains his levity while he still remains a serious character. This balance can be seen quite well in his dialogue with Silvermask (Hermes) as he gets quite offended by the latter’s insult – a good marriage of the comical and the serious as he lashes out at him. My only qualm with Narsus and Daryun this episode was that I wasn’t entirely sure what they were in the capital to do. The episode starts by telling us that they have infiltrated Ecbatana to locate Andragoras however after the scene with Bodin they both mention things about killing the emperor and his brother alongside the Archbishop. While this may have been directed at a later time, they then seem to go out of their way to make trouble once someone recognizes Daryun. While they retrieve some rumored information about the previous King, their methodology was shoddy and ultimately they had to retreat because of their actions.