My thoughts on the seventeenth episode of Arslan Senki.
I’ll start out by saying that this episode was one of the best if not the best episodes to come out of this series thus far due to it’s increased consistency in the way of art and animation along with it’s myriad of plot payoffs.
What I think this episode did best was it’s execution of the thematic comparison I brought up last week of the difference in leadership between Arslan and Gadevi – I expected this contrast to manifest itself in a climactic way however I did not anticipate it happening so soon nor in such a fantastic fashion. To start into things, at first I was taken aback by Arslan’s loss of composure as Narsus had gone out of his way to draw attention to the necessity of this beforehand and I was somewhat crestfallen by his inability to do so given that he hasn’t had great development as of late. As the episode continued however and as I thought about it, I really enjoyed seeing Arslan threaten Rajendra so violently as it showed a desperation and anger we had never seen from him as well as speak to his attachment to Daryun. Rajendra’s father’s words towards Gadevi on the matter of Arslan’s composure spoke quite directly to the difference between the two characters and I found his ability to see Arslan’s outburst in a caring way to be interesting and refreshing.
I don’t particularly care for the character of Gadevi because of his one-dimsensional ‘evil’ nature however the show at least did enough to draw proper parallels between him and Arslan in the way they treat their subordinates. The way in which the show brought about Gadevi’s ruin was perfect in how it stemmed from this difference in treatment as well as his callous actions. Not only did his chosen man lose the duel but his choice to reject the ‘God’s decision’ and attempt to seize the throne and his murder of Mahendra all affected the outcome of the story in great ways. In his mistreatment of his allies, in this case Jaswant, he provides the context for Jaswant’s saving of Arslan after the fighting breaks out (along side Jaswant’s additional desire to not involve Pars in his nation’s dispute). In Gadevi’s killing of Mahendra he loses favor with his men and we see that their royalty was mostly due to Mahendra’s presence in the first place and so we see again Gadevi’s comeuppance stem from this character trait. All in all, while Gadevi was an overly simple and evil character the conclusion to his role in the story (I would think?) was done fantastically and allowed for some great scenes on the part of Arslan and Jaswant.
To finally comment on the fight itself, the animation was better than most of the fight scenes have been thus far with the exception of Narsus’ and Daryun’s fight with Hermes earlier on and the way in which it played out was engaging and exciting which is more than I can say for a good deal of the battles recently. All in all a pretty good episode and while it doesn’t quite make up for the lackluster content and delivery of late… it does help a great deal. If the conclusion of the show is anything like this than I can’t wait to see where the story goes and how the finale will play out.