My thoughts on the twenty-third episode of Arslan Senki.
My biggest fear going into this episode and moreover – going into the war in general, was how much CG would be used given the show’s history of using it somewhat heavy-handedly in far less demanding situations. While the archers firing back at one another in full CG was a bit visually irritating the rest of the CG, while it was plentiful, was used well enough that I didn’t feel like this episode was dominated by it entirely like it might have been. The episode struck a decent balance between using CG for a lot of the wider, overhead shots of the combat while splicing in regular shots of the soldiers fighting or dying which gave the scenes enough diversity in my eyes. I think overall the use of CG here, while always garish in juxtaposition to Arslan‘s art style, was acceptable.
With only 2 episodes remaining I have to imagine that the majority of the conflict is resolved in the next 24 minutes of the show which seems like a daunting task as we will likely open with the cliffhanger scene between Etoile and Arslan. A good deal of this episode was somewhat generic fighting while featuring a handful of Arslan’s generals and those of note from Lusitania and while it wasn’t the most compelling content in and of itself, I did enjoy the simultaneous duels between Daryun and Xandes alongside Kishward and Sam. I like Xandes enough as a character as he carries with him the weight of his father who was one of the more interesting characters in the series in my opinion given his tough choices early on and the reveal of the implications surrounding his betrayal – Xandes’ brute strength is fun to watch as it puts him on a similar supernatural level as Daryun himself and so seeing these two exchange blows while fighting for a similar cause was one of the more engaging scenes of this episode and was pulled off decently well.
To add to this, the clash between Kishward and Sam, while taking place in horrible lighting like all of the sewer/aqueduct scenes, was similarly interesting in that they both fought for something they saw as a noble and just cause and the show provided good enough context for these two claims to feel legitimized yet wrong in each other’s eyes. Their bout was interesting though it would seem that Kishward gets captured after disarming Sam and so a drawn-out battle in enemy territory may not have been in his best interest but we’ll have to see what happens with him hopefully next episode. Hermes is looking demented as ever, smiling to himself, looking enraged even when alone while thinking upon Arslan – Sam argues with Kishward that while Hermes may be possessed with vengeance now he will become a capable ruler in the future and I wish the show did a better job of hilighting this latter trait and possibility as it touched upon some episodes ago. The current portrayal of him somewhat demonizes the character, further pitting him against both Arslan’s and the viewer’s interests.