The Heroic Legend of Arslan

Arslan has the questionable distinction of being the crown prince of the kingdom of Pars. A gentle person in a militant kingdom, he doesn’t really fit. Especially with a father known for his warrior prowess. When the kingdom falls through treachery, Arslan survives through the intervention of a committed follower. Now he must survive as a nation of invaders seeks to stamp him out. And does he even dare try to take back his throne?

This is available to watch on Funimation’s streaming site for free with ads, or without ads if you have a subscription. http://www.funimation.com/shows/the-heroic-legend-of-arslan/home

One of the first things that stands out about The Heroic Legend of Arslan is the characters. The plot is an adaptation of an existing work done by the artist who drew Fullmetal Alchemist, and the character designs bear her distinctive style. Likewise, we’re  introduced to a huge ensemble, ranging from the nameless Lusitanian boy who challenges Arslan about slavery to the factions within the Pars royalty.

I have a hard time deciding who my favorite characters are. I quite enjoyed the tactician Narsus, whose clever plans do much to help Arslan’s tiny band succeed against vastly larger forces. Elam, a servant of Narsus and quiet warrior in his own right, was another. Elam convinces Narsus to let him go with on the basis of his cooking, as between a prince, a warrior, and a former-noble-turned-artist, none of them actually knows much about domestic chores like preparing dinner.

The story leans more towards historical fiction with a tiny dash of fantasy, taking as inspiration one of the Crusades and telling the story from the viewpoint of the son of the king of Persia. But it mostly picks up the flavor of these events and goes on to tell its own story.

The ending leaves things open enough that I hope another season is in the works. Arslan ties a few things up, but the greater story is still unfolding. All in all, this is an excellent show both for anime fans and those who may be new to the genre. I rate this Highly Recommended.

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