Arslan Senki Episode 5 (Taunting at the Wall)

We are back again to Arslan Senki, and things are really starting to escalate, even though there’s still alot that’s being set up. Our main cast doesn’t do much for the latter half of the episode, so we shall begin where we left off. Narsus has joined Arslan, and apparently so is his ward, Elam. For actually really funny reasons.

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Of course, the importance of food never is ignored in something Hiromu Arakawa had a hand in. Its nice having little comedy bits like this, they help develop the characters while also providing levity, which we will certainly need this episode. We also see how Arslan quickly has taken to Elam because he nevr was able to hang out with people his own age in court. It further shows the kind, gentle side to Arslan and shows how he may improve.

Anywho, they know Kharlan’s guards will eventually get out of the trap hole and so are on the move. However, they know just heading straight for the capital would just be walking into an ambush, so they decide to wait it out in a cave. Its naturally distressing for Arslan and Daryun, as Lusitania is likely at the capitol moving to take it.  However, Narsus is right, they need to play this smart. Both her and Arslan play some strategy game and discuss what likely will happen.

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Narsus brings up in this conversation a very interesting point. Namely, why he should worry about soldiers when he has men like Daryun, who can take on an entire company on his own. Narsus discusses how a true leader needs to plan so even the weakest of his soldiers can gain success, with proper strategy and guile. You can’t expect strength from every soldier, so you need to plan, and relying on strength alone is dangerous and risky. He also points out this was h case for the King, who believed in the power of his army so much he fell into these several traps and was utterly crushed.

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They discuss the defenses of Ectbana, the capitol city, as the Lusitanians troops have made their way there, raiding and butchering every village on their path, slaughtering everyone. When they finally get to the city, they have something special to show the Parsian people, a high ranking general captured.

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Cannot for the life of me remember his name, though.

We are also introduced to the vey creepy high priest of the Lusianians, who is beyond twisted and messed up in the head.

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He plans on dismembering this general slowly for his “heresy” and torturing him in full view of the people. Not only does this work for the zealotry of their own soldiers, its a powerful but of psychological warfare for them. The people are already afraid, and this could easily be used to further crush the morale of the city.  However, our captive general is having none of it.

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I may never remember your name, but you are awesome captured dude.He’s like “No…fuck you guys and your stupid god” and then asks his fellow Parsian soldiers to shoot and kill him so he won’t be tortured by the enemy. Unfortunately, they’re too far away for their arrows to reach as many are fired and the high priest jeers, but then..

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Mance Rayder says hi.

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The queen, impressed by this guy’s skill decides to bring him before the court to learn who he is and reward him for his actions. No everyday you get paid for killing one of your country’s high generals. I’m wondering, btw, where the king is in all of this. If he’s dead, why wouldn’t they say so? If he’s captured, why wouldn’t the Lusitanian soldiers parade him out, since he’d be an even greater show of their power? Its all very curious indeed…

Anyways, we see our wayward archer, who’s a pretty charming fellow.

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He says he’s a traveling musician, who also happens to be excellent with archery, swordsmanship, and other skills. And apparently, seducing maids, as one of the queen’s own attendants claims he told her he was a prince, likely in a very intimate situation. He acknowledges that what he said wasn’t true, but he wasn’t lying to her, he as giving her a wonderful story…yeah….freaking musicians.

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He’s requested to play (likely to make sure that wasn’t a lie too) and so he does, and we have a rather neat musical number where he plays while showing the brutal battle outside. It shows how bad things are, but how the city is doing everything it can to defend itself. If you’ve seen the 2nd and 3rd LOTR movies, you’ve seen the sort of things here before. Battering rams, trebuches, etc.

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While in some ways still enigmatic, we get at least a little more on the queen, who both rewards him for his deeds and the song, but shortchanges him because he seduced and lied to her attendant. She doesn’t punish the attendant at all, which itself is interesting and says alot on this queen and culture. Overall though, her cold exterior makes it very difficult still to see aha her feelings are at this given moment.

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The episode ends with a big stinger for the end. Narsus explains how one would bring down the capitol, despite the strength of its walls and soldiers. He loins out he simples solution, someone on the inside opening the doors. And who would do such a thing? The thousands of slaves, many likely Lusitanian, who live inside the walls. The enemy armies call out, inciting them to revolt and help them take the city, offering them freedom if they rebel. This is interesting for a couple reasons.One, it takes Narsus’ urgings beyond merely the ethics of slavery, but the pragmatic matters as well. Its likely Narsus saw a situation like this, where the slaves of Pars would be given the opportunity to rebel and take over. It gives the foreboding image that this glorious city built on the backs of slaves,is going to burn very soon.

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However, this leads to a puzzling thought. We’ve seen no survivors on the Lusitanian’s army and their path. Did they simply free any slaves they found? Will they truly just let the slaves go free, or will they be forced to convert to their god? How much in the moral grey area is our antagonists? I guess we’ll find out once the city falls. This was a good episode to once again build up hat dramatic tension as we know, big stuff is going to go down, and a nice intro to a character Aslan’s likely meeting very soon.

(PS. Know what would be awesome? If this show was in the same universe as Fullmetal Alchemist. I mean, the politics, governments, war. And it’d be so easy. Just make a reference to the far kingdom of Xerxes and its done. It’d be so awesome.)

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