The Heroic Legend of Arslan

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan
The Heroic Legend of Arslan.jpg
Cover of the first volume of The Heroic Legend of Arslan as published by Kadokawa Shoten on October 1, 1986
(Arslan Senki)
Genre Fantasy, Adventure, Action
Novel series
Written by Yoshiki Tanaka
Illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (Kadokawa),
Shinobu Tanno (Kobunsha)
Published by Kadokawa Shoten (older edition)
Kobunsha (current edition)
Original run 1986 – ongoing
Volumes 14
Original video animation
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Directed by Mamoru Hamatsu (1-2, 5-6)
Tetsurō Amino (3-4)
Written by Megumi Matsuoka (1-2)
Megumi Sugihara (3-6)
Music by Norihiro Tsuru
Studio Animate Film (1-2)
J.C.Staff (3-6)
Licensed by Central Park Media
Released August 17, 1991September 21, 1995
Runtime 60 minutes (1-2)
35 minutes (3-6)
Episodes 6
Written by Chisato Nakamura
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
Original run November 1991September 1996
Volumes 13
Written by Hiromu Arakawa
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original run July 9, 2013 – ongoing
Volumes 3
Anime television series
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Written by Makoto Uezu
Music by Taro Iwashiro
Studio Liden Films, Sanzigen
Licensed by
Anime Limited
Network JNN (MBS)
English network
Original run April 5, 2015 – ongoing
Anime and Manga portal

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Japanese: アルスラーン戦記 Hepburn: Arusurān Senki?) is a Japanese fantasy novel series. The author, Yoshiki Tanaka, started writing the novel in 1986 and is still writing it as of 2008, with the current number of books at 14 novels and one side story in the official guidebook Arslan Senki Tokuhon. It was adapted into a manga, which caught up with the novel and then received an original ending, and ran from November 1991 to September 1996. It also received two anime film adaptations, and a four-part, unfinished anime OVA.[n 1] In 2013, a second manga adaptation started serializing at Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, with illustrations by Hiromu Arakawa. An anime television series based on the Arakawa manga premiered in 2015. Yoshiki Tanaka's novels have no relation to the 1976 novel called Arslan written by M. J. Engh which is set in the present.


In the 19th century, Naqib ul-Mamālik (نقیب الممالک), royal story teller of Nasereddin Shah's court, king of Iran, became popular for creating the tale "Amir Arsalān-i Nāmdār", and the Japanese story is set in a fantasy setting resembling historical Iran. Many characters have names originating from the Persian epic of Amir Arsalan.



Arslan has two qualities that make it unique among anime fantasy tales. While the world in which it takes place is one where magic obviously exists, said magic is of an extremely limited nature. Until the end of the anime, the only magical happenings involve a few rare occasional spells and a giant, humanoid monster. There are none of the races typically associated with a fantasy realm, such as elves or dwarves. It is, at the core, a war story taking place between human nations. In addition to this, there is an underlying theme of exploring the repercussions of slavery on a society, having an absolute monarch who treats the poor as cattle, and religious obsession.


The story follows the exploits of Arslan, the crown prince of the fictional kingdom of Pars, which is taken over by the neighboring nation of Lusitania after his father, the king Andragoras, falls victim of a treacherous plot led by one of his most trusted retainers. After barely escaping with his life, Arslan rejoins his loyal servant, Daryun. Backed up by only a few more companions, including the philosopher/swordsman/tactician Narsus and his young servant Elam, Falangies, an aloof, cold priestess and Gieve, a travelling musician and con-man, Arslan must stand against overwhelming odds to assemble an army strong enough to liberate his nation from the Lusitanian army which is led by the elusive warrior known as "Silvermask".


Main Characters[edit]

Arslan (アルスラーン Arusurān?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kappei Yamaguchi (OVA), Yūsuke Kobayashi (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Ben Fairman (OVA, Manga UK dub), Greg Baglia (OVA, CPM dub)
The crown prince of Pars and the main protagonist. During his first battle, his kingdom of Pars is conquered by Lusitania as a result of Kharlan's backstabbing. He's very gentle-natured and soft-spoken, unlike his father, and is very kind; he cares about those around him and values their lives over his own. At first oblivious to the dark parts of Pars, after meeting Etoile, Arslan becomes more aware of the evil his country is capable of and desires to learn about Lusitanian beliefs.
Daryun (ダリューン Daryūn?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kazuhiko Inoue (OVA), Yoshimasa Hosoya (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Steven Pacey (OVA, Manga UK dub), Edward Britton (OVA, CPM dub)
Arslan's loyal servant. He saves Arslan when he was about to be killed in his first battle. He is the one who suggests Pars retreat in their second war with Lusitania, due to the many unfavorable variables the environment presented, but the concerns fell on deaf ears; his concerns were justified as Pars fell to Lusitania in the battle. He is very protective of Arslan and protects him with all of his being.
Narsus (ナルサス Narusasu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kaneto Shiozawa (OVA), Daisuke Namikawa (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Daniel Flynn (OVA, Manga UK dub)
Tactician of Arslan's party and an excellent swordsman, but he considers himself an artist first and foremost, even though his paintings are terrible. He predicted that Andragoras disregard for strategy and the situation with the slaves will eventually lead to Pars' ruin.
Elam (エラム Eramu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Nozomu Sasaki (OVA), Natsuki Hanae (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Deborah Makepeace (OVA, Young, Manga UK dub), Kristopher Milnes (OVA, Manga UK dub)
A young boy who serves Narsus. His parents were slaves freed by Narsus, hence his loyalty towards his master.
Gieve (ギーヴ Gīvu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kazuki Yao (OVA), KENN (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Timothy Bentinick (OVA, Manga UK dub), Harry Krause (OVA, CPM dub)
A traveling musician and womanizer, who is also a skilled bowman and swordsman. He joins Arslan's party out of his infatuation with Farangis.
Falangies (ファランギース Farangīsu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Masako Katsuki (OVA), Maaya Sakamoto (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Pamela Merrick (OVA, Manga UK dub), Simone Grant (OVA, CPM dub)
A priestess with a cold, aloof attitude, sent to assist Arslan on behalf of her temple.


Silvermask (銀仮面卿 Ginkamen Kyō?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Shūichi Ikeda (OVA), Yūki Kaji (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Sean Barrett (OVA, Manga UK dub), Oliver Wyman (OVA, CPM dub)
Leader of the Lusitanian army and the main antagonist.
Andragoras III (アンドラゴラス Andoragorasu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Akio Ōtsuka (OVA), Takayuki Sugo (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Douglas Blackwell (OVA, Manga UK dub), Roger Rifkin (OVA, CPM dub)
King of Pars, Arslan's father. Known for his stubbornness and preference of power over strategy, Kharlan's betrayal and Silvermask knowledge of Parsian tactics led to his and his army's disastrous defeat.
Tahamine (タハミーネ Tahamīne?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kazuko Yanaga (OVA), Atsuko Tanaka (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Deborah Makepeace (OVA, Manga UK dub)
Queen of Pars, Arslan's mother, with a cold attitude towards him. It is said that her striking beauty was the reason for several nobles to betray and kill each other for their hand.
Kharlan (カーラーン Kārān?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Rokuro Naya (OVA), Tōru Ōkawa (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Ray Lonnen (OVA, Manga UK dub)
One of Andragoras's loyal retainers. He sets a trap for the Pars army that leads to the kingdom's downfall and now serves Lusitania.
Etoile (エトワール Etoiru?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Mitsuishi Kotono (OVA), Yumi Uchiyama (TV anime)
A boy from Lusitania that is the same age as Arslan. He was taken captive after the first war between Pars and Lusitania, but managed to escape and flee to his home country by using Arslan as a hostage, three years later, he serves as a page to the king's younger brother. He is the one who sheds light to Arslan that the ways of Pars isn't right and holds a firm Yaldaboathian belief that all men are equal. It is later revealed that Etoile is a girl and her real name is Ester, she cross-dresses as a boy so she can fight with the other knights.



The original novel, Arslan Senki, was written by Dr. Yoshiki Tanaka. Though he is primarily a novelist, Tanaka's works have been 'translated' into manga and anime forms before. His novel Ginga eiyu densetsu became Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Sohryuden became Legend of the Dragon Kings. There are eleven novels in the Arslan Senki storyline thus far. These novels were illustrated by manga artist and character-designer Yoshitaka Amano (whose other works include the character design for several Final Fantasy games and for Vampire Hunter D).


The popularity of the Arslan Senki novels was so great that it became natural for it to make a transition to manga form. The thirteen-volume manga was written by Tanaka and illustrated by Chisato Nakamura. The manga was published by Kadokawa Shoten.

Because of the aforementioned issues regarding translations and names, as well as possible issues with funding the project, it took an extremely long time for the Arslan anime to make its way to the United States. While they originally began production in 1990, as of 2006, they have still not completed the story. Even so, the final two chapters of the OVA arc were not made available until years after the first four had been released, in 2002.

A second manga adaptation of Arslan Senki started serialization in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on July 2013, illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, best known for the manga titles Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. This adaptation is currently available for online-exclusive purchase at Crunchyroll,[1] while Kodansha Comics USA is physically publishing the manga in North America.[2]

OVA series[edit]

The additional popularity of the first manga led to the creation of a series of OVAs with character designs adapted by Sachiko Kamimura. The first two OVA episodes were released as "movies", which is why each one is an hour long, rather than the traditional half-hour and were produced by Kadokawa Shoten and Sony Music Entertainment Japan. A second OVA series that followed up the first OVAs released in 1995. Both OVAs were licensed by Central Park Media and were released on DVD and VHS.[3] The English dub for Part 1 was produced by Manga UK (who had also licensed the anime in the same region, while Part 2 was dubbed by Central Park Media themselves.[4] This caused a lot inconsistencies in both dubs.

TV Anime[edit]

A new television anime series to be based on the Hiromu Arakawa manga was announced on November 2, 2014.[5] The TV series is directed by Noriyuki Abe, with Makoto Uezu acting as scriptwriter.[6] The series premiered in April 2015 on MBS and other Japan News Network stations in Nichigo timeslot at 5:00pm. The opening theme is "Boku no Kotoba Dewanai Kore wa Boku-tachi no Kotoba" by UVERworld, and the ending theme is "Lapis Lazuli" by Eir Aoi

Episode list[edit]

No. Title Original air date
1 "The Glory of Ecbatana"
"Ekubatāna no Eiga" (エクバターナの栄華) 
April 5, 2015
Prince Arslan from the Kingdom of Pars finds himself into a predicament when a young prisoner from the nation of Lusitania holds him hostage in an attempt to escape. 
2 "Age Fourteen, Maiden Battle"
"Jūyon-sai, Uijin" (十四歳、初陣) 
April 12, 2015
Now fourteen years old, Arslan takes part in his first battle against Lusitania, and all odds seem at the Parsian army's favor, until his father, the King Andragoras III, falls victim to treason by Kharlan, one of his generals. 
3 "The Knight in Black"
"Kokui no Kishi" (黒衣の騎士) 
April 19, 2015
Arslan is rescued by his loyal servant Daryun and they must run away from the Lusitanian forces, led by the General Silvermask, who ambushes and captures his father personally. 
4 "The World-Weary Strategist"
"Ensei no Gunshi" (厭世の軍師) 
April 26, 2015
Arslan and Daryun seek the help of the retired tactician Narsus, but convincing him to join their cause will not be an easy task. 
5 "The Royal Capital Burns, Part One"
"Ō Toenjō ~Zenpen~" (王都炎上 〜前編〜) 
May 3, 2015
While Arslan and Daryun enlist Narsus and his servant Elam's help, Lusitania begins their siege in the royal capital of Ecbatana, and the actions of Gieve, a wandering traveler draws the attention of Queen Tahamine, while the Lusitanian soldiers call for the slaves inside the walls to join them in exchange for their freedom. 
6 "The Royal Capital Burns, Part Two"
"Ō Toenjō ~Kōhen~" (王都炎上 〜後編〜) 
May 10, 2015
Gieve escapes Ecbatana after having a clash with Silvermask, who makes use of the underground tunnels to strike the palace from within, while the Lusitanian forces, assisted by the slaves, break into the capital and conquer it. 
7 "The Beauties and the Beasts"
"Bijo-tachi to Yajuu-tachi" (美女たちと野獣たち) 
May 17, 2015
As the Lusitanian army plunders the capital, Gieve meets the beautiful priestess Farangies, who is in search for Arslan. Upon knowing that Kharlan intends to raid the nearby villages in order to capture them, Arslan and his companions decide to take the fight to the enemy. 
8 "The Treasonus Hero"   May 24, 2015
Kharlan continues his pursuit of Arslan, unaware that he fell for Narsus' scheme and his forces are ambushed in an unfavourable terrain, where Arslan's party meets Gieve and Farangis, who join their cause as well. Meanwhile at the capital, Silvermask confronts the captive King Andragoras, revealing his identity and motives. 
9 "Beneath the Mask"  

Video game[edit]

A video game was released in 1993 for Sega Mega-CD. A Musou-kind of game will be released in fall 2015 on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The anime series was originally released as two films and four OVAs, Recent releases combined a film with the OVAs: four episodes in one release (2x1h, 2x30m) and six episodes (6x30m) in an other.


  1. ^ "Crunchyroll Releases Aijin, Koe no Katachi, Arslan Manga". Anime News Network. 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  2. ^ "Kodansha USA Announces Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Release". Anime News Network. 2014-03-22. Retrieved 2015-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Multiple Announcements From CPM, Animeigo, Pioneer". Anime News Network. 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  4. ^ Justin Sevakis (2007-12-13). "Buried Treasure - Heroic Legend of Arslan Part 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  5. ^ "Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  6. ^ "The Heroic Legend of Arslan Anime's Main Staff, April Premiere Unveiled". Anime News Network. 2015-01-03. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]