Our team has agreed to help Rajendra take the throne of Sindhura from his brother Gadevi and so their combined forces march toward the Capital. Despite their alliance, Daryun and Narsus do not trust Rajendra. This seems to be immediately confirmed when Rajendra proposes that he and the Parsian troops split up and circle around Gadevi for a surprise attack. Could he have been any more obvious?! While on the way to the Capital, Team Arslan runs into Fort Gujurat and must find a way to cross through.
I think the writers of this show are struggling with trying to figure out how Arslan fits into their team of super amazing heroes. When Rajendra proposes his “I’m obviously trying to lure you into a trap” plan of splitting the forces by nation he does so by catching Arslan alone after his New Year’s ceremony. This was a perfect opportunity for Arslan to use what he has learned from Narsus and come up with a counter scheme to reveal to his teammates. Rajendra’s insincere proposal is too ludicrous to NOT be a betrayal. Why not let Arslan discern that for himself and deal with the idea that gathering and maintaining allies is a risky proposition in war?!
Instead of trying anything for himself, Arslan calls a round table with our ridiculously invincible team and asks Narsus to solve all his problems for him.
Narsus suggests that he let Rajendra play his little game and that Arslan should provide a guide, map, and oxen to “aid” in his passage. This is clearly going to result in some clever trap going off later on for Rajendra’s side. It’s beginning to become clear that Arslan is incapable of doing much on his own. It actually undermines the whole scene prior to it where Arslan goes through his New Year’s ceremony and all the Parsian troops chant his name and appear loyal to the core. I guess Kishward offers a really good dental plan or something.
In order to get to Sindhura, the team must cross through Fort Gujarat. Narsus suggests they try and do so peacefully. They decide to send envoys to attempt to persuade the leader of the fort, Gauvin, to let their massive army through. Jashwant, the man who was sent as a spy by Gadevi’s minister is sent along with Gieve to be the envoys. Jashwant and Geive get into a scuffle prior to being chosen as envoys so it’s obvious that Gieve knows he’s a traitor.
Gieve proposes to Gauvin that he should let Arslan’s army pass so that he can claim a handsome reward when Rajendra is crowned King of Sindhura. After Gieve has supposedly gone off to enjoy the company of beautiful women and drink all night, Jeshwant reveals to Gauvin who he really is and convinces him to attack the Parsian troops from behind as they move through the dead of night.
Jeshwant goes to out to pretend he is following Arslan’s troops (who apparently are rallied to attack) in and plans to light a flare to signal Gauvin’s troops as to when to attack. He is of course discovered because Narsus has read the entire script to the show already. Gauvin and his entire squad are killed in a surprise attack as Arslan’s archers emerge from all the supply wagons-turned-Trojan Horse wagons and wipe them out.
This entire scenario is brilliant in theory but it’s absurd because of how cleanly it’s pulled off and how much happens off screen. Narsus has clearly staged it so that he tricks Jaswant by telling him of the plan to act as envoys, but secretly plans to storm the fort by night. He then somehow must have predicted that Jaswant would reveal himself AND convince Gauvin’s forces to try and attack. He then had to have converted all the provision wagons such that could easily come apart and filled with archers?! Jaswant never reports back to Arslan that Gauvin has been pacified and none of the preparations for Arslan’s team are shown on screen. The entire battle just plays out like it’s staged (and it…kinda of is) and nothing goes wrong for unbeatable team Arslan. Are you kidding me?! If this kind of battle plan is this easy to pull off how are we supposed to feel any tension in this show?! When is Arslan actually going to come up with a plan for himself and stop relying on his comrades to do everything.
Jaswant is set to be executed due to being a traitor but Arslan and his soft-hearted nature let him go. If the ending credits have anything to say about it he is probably going to become a party member. Afterwards, the gang proceeds as usual and Narsus and Daryun discuss the fact that Arslan is likely not royalty.
Despite my gripes with this episode, I enjoyed the little part after the end credits. I was wondering if this episode was going to touch on the fact that Arslan has had to absorb the fact that his is not in fact heir to the throne of Pars. Watching him ask Daryun who he is and understanding that he doesn’t feel like he belongs anywhere added some much needed character. I still think Arslan is getting off WAY too easy in this show but it was nice to see him struggling with this notion. Daryun stating that he is loyal regardless of Arslan’s birth status was a nice team moment.
Arslan…buddy…can I give you some advice?! Sailor Moon already takes the cake for making besties with her enemies using love and kindness. You can’t usurp her. You might want to….start acting like a king and learning some tactics because you aren’t convincing me of your heroic legend here.
A weak and ridiculous battle strategy plays out like a cakewalk and once again, Narsus is essentially doing everything. Arslan was given a fantastic opportunity to act on his own and it was squandered by the writers’ inability to give him a part to play. Everything from start to finish in Episode 15 was predictable. The art direction held together for the most part but I was very disappointed in this episode overall. Here’s to hoping there’s some big master plan in the works for Arslan and his climb to the throne. Hey…at leasy Gieve is having fun.
Streaming on Hulu
Links: Wikipedia, My Anime List
Pingback: Rolling Review – The Heroic Legend of Arslan (14) – The Con Artists