The Heroic Legend of Arslan

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan
(Arslan Senki)
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
Anime film
Directed by Mamoru Hamatsu
Produced by Toshio Suzuki
Written by Tomiya Miyashita, Kaori Takada
Music by Norihiro Tsuru
Studio Animate Film
Licensed by Central Park Media
Released August 17, 1991[1]
Runtime 57 minutes
Written by Chisato Nakamura
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
Original run November 1991September 1996
Volumes 13
Anime film
The Heroic Legend of Arslan II
Directed by Mamoru Hamatsu
Written by Megumi Matsuoka
Studio Aubec
Licensed by Central Park Media
Released July 18, 1992[2]
Runtime 60 minutes
Original video animation
The Heroic Legend of Arslan III-VI
Directed by Tetsurō Amino (III – IV)
Mamoru Hamatsu (V - VI)
Written by Megumi Sugihara
Studio Movic, J.C.Staff
Released October 21, 1993September 21, 1995
Episodes 4
Written by Hiromu Arakawa
Published by Kodansha
Magazine Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine
Original run July 2013 – ongoing
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (アルスラーン戦記 Arusurān Senki?) is a Japanese fantasy novel series. The author, Yoshiki Tanaka, started writing Arslan 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.


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 Persia. 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, Darün. Backed up by only a few more companions, including the philosopher/swordsman/tactician Narses and his young servant Elam, Farangis, 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".

Novels, manga, and OVAs[edit]

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 additional popularity of these 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.

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 video game was released in 1993 for Sega Mega-CD.

Yoshiki Tanaka's novels have no relation to the 1976 novel called Arslan written by M. J. Engh which is set in the present.

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. [3]

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. ^ アルスラーン戦記 (in Japanese). AllCinema Online. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "アルスラーン戦記 II" (in Japanese). AllCinema Online. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]