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
アルスラーン戦記
(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
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
Manga
Written by Chisato Nakamura
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Asuka Fantasy DX
Original run November 1991September 1996
Volumes 13
Manga
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
Episodes 25
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 written by Yoshiki Tanaka. It started to be published in 1986 and as of 2014 there are 14 novels and one side story in the official guidebook Arslan Senki Tokuhon. It is based on the Persian epic, Amir Arsalan.[1][2]

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.

Origin[edit]

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

Overviews[edit]

Setting[edit]

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, there are underlying themes exploring the repercussions of slavery on a society, having an absolute monarch who treats the poor as cattle, and religious obsession.

Plot[edit]

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 III, falls victim to 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, also 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", a cousin who has brought together his own forces to reclaim his rightful throne.

Characters[edit]

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), Aaron Dismuke (TV anime)[3]
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. He also grows smarter and wiser as journey goes, wanting himself to be a king fit for his people to serve and not despair of.
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), Ricco Fajardo (TV anime)[3]
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; his uncle Vahrez told him to swear, by his sword, his allegiance to prince Arslan.
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), Christopher Bevins (TV anime)
The tactician of Arslan's party and an excellent swordsman. 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. Only joins Arslan's party after the prince says that he would allow him to become the court painter.
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), Justin Briner (TV anime)
A young boy who serves Narsus. His parents were slaves freed by Narsus, hence his loyalty towards his master. Elam also grows into a friendship with Arslan and becomes a friend to him protecting him when his life is ever in danger. He also seeks to travel outside of Pars toward south to study the legendary cities that hold knowledge of old stories.
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), Jerry Jewell (TV anime)[4]
A traveling musician and womanizer, who is also a skilled bowman and swordsman. He joins Arslan's party out of his infatuation with Farangis, but later shows true sympathy for the young prince and is curious about what kind of kingdom he will make.
Farangis (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.
Alfreed (アルフリード Arufurīdo?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kumiko Watanabe (OVA), Manami Numakura (TV anime)
The daughter of the chief from the Kot Clan, who's saved by Narsus from Silver Mask/Hermes when the latter killed all her companions including her father. She's greatly attached to Narsus and even refers to herself as Narsus' wife/mistress which greatly irks Elam.

Kingdom of Pars[edit]

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), Christopher R. Sabat (TV anime)[3]
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. He is kept alive as a prisoner after his kingdom's fall.
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), Stephanie Young (TV anime)[3]
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 her hand.
Vahriz (ヴァフリーズ Vafurīzu?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Masaru Ikeda (OVA), Eizou Tsuda (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Cole Brown (TV anime)
Vahriz is Daryun's uncle, who serves as the right-hand man for Andragoras III and swordsmanship instructor for Arslan. He asks his nephew to give his loyalty to Arslan and protect him at all costs. He was killed by Silvermask.
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), Kent Williams (TV anime)[3]
One of Andragoras' loyal retainers. He sets a trap for the Pars army that leads to the kingdom's downfall and now serves Lusitania. He was killed by Daryun, but before dying he reveals that Andragoras is still alive.
Shapur (シャプール Shapūru?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Katsuyuki Konishi (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Josh Grelle (TV anime)
One of Andragoras' loyal retainers. He was captured during the battle of Atropatene and presented at the gates of Ecbatana, where he yells to the soldiers that before he's tortured to death by the Lusitanians, they should kill him. He's put out of his suffering by Gieve.
Kishward (キシュワード Kishuwādo?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Daiki Nakamura (OVA), Hiroki Yasumoto (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Jarrod Greene (TV anime)
One of Pars' Marzban and the trainer of the hawks Azrael and Sirrush, that are very fond of Arslan. He was stationed at the Peshawar Fortress during the Battle of Atropatene.
Kubard (クバード Kubādo?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kazuhiro Nakata (OVA), Kenta Miyake (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Chris Ryan (TV anime)
One of Pars' Marzban known for being a heavy drinker. His ultimate fate at the battle of Atropatene is unknown.

Lusitania[edit]

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), Vic Mignogna (TV anime)
Leader of the Lusitanian army and the main antagonist. His true identity is Hermes, Arslan's cousin and the son of Osiris. He leads the invasion of Pars to reclaim the throne as his father was the rightful king who was murdered by his younger brother Andragoras. He became afraid of fire after the assassination attempt that severely burned the right side of his face.
Etoile (エトワール Etowāru?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Mitsuishi Kotono (OVA), Yumi Uchiyama (TV anime)
Voiced by: (English) Unknown (OVA, Manga UK dub), Ryan Reynolds (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 are not right and holds a firm Yaldaboathian belief that all men are equal. It is later revealed that Etoile is a girl; whose real name is Ester. She cross-dresses as a boy so she can fight with the other knights.
Bodin (ボダン Bodan?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Koichi Kitamura (OVA), Shiro Saito (TV anime)
The Grand Inquisitor and archipriest of Lusitania, and a servant of Lusitania's God: Yaldaboth. He enjoys torturing and killing those he considers "pagan" and is disliked by Guiscard for his extremism.
Innocentius VII (イノケンティス七世 Inokentisu Nanase?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Tamio Ooki (OVA), Toshiharu Sakurai (TV anime)
The current King of Lusitania and ruler of occupied Myriam and Pars, and the elder brother of Guiscard. He becomes infatuated with Tahamine at first sight and wishes to marry her, despite her coldness and the advice of his counselors.
Guiscard (ギスカール Gisukāru?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Juurouta Kosugi (OVA), Takehito Koyasu (TV anime)
The Supreme Commander of the Royal Lusitanian Army and Grand vizier. He is the brother of the current king of Lusitania, Innocentius VII and serve also as his advisors. He seems to be the true ruler of Lusitania, since his brother is considered incompetent.
Xandes (ザンデ Zande?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Kiyoyuki Yanada (OVA), Masakazu Morita (TV anime)
Kharlan's son, who serves Silvermask in hopes to achieve his vengeance against Arslan and Daryun.
Montferrat (モンフェラート Monferāto?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Atsushi Ono (TV anime)
A Lusitanian General who doesn't seem to share his country's religious fanaticism.

Shindra[edit]

Rajendra (ラジェンドラ Rajendora?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Hideyuki Umezu (OVA), Kousuke Toriumi (TV anime)
Jaswant (ジャスワント Jasuwanto?)
Voiced by: (Japanese) Hiro Yuuki (OVA), Wataru Hatano (TV anime)

Media[edit]

Novels[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).

Manga[edit]

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,[5] while Kodansha Comics USA is physically publishing the manga in North America.[6]

OVA series[edit]

The popularity of the novels 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] The TV series is directed by Noriyuki Abe, with Makoto Uezu acting as scriptwriter.[10] 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. The young soldier then tells Arslan of his religion in Lusitania to show Arslan that slavery may not be as acceptable as he might think. 
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 while killing cavalry captain Vahrez and his men. 
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. Meanwhile Gieve is expected by a Nobleman to escort a double of the queen into a tunnel system under Ecbatana. 
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 in the underground tunnel system. Silvermask makes use of the 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 Farangis, who is in search for Arslan. Upon learning 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"
"Uragiri no Eiyuu" (裏切りの英雄) 
May 24, 2015
Kharlan continues his pursuit of Arslan, unaware that he has fallen for Narsus' scheme. 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"
"Kamen no Shita" (仮面の下) 
May 31, 2015
Daryun and Narsus infiltrate the capital in search for information, coming across Silvermask in the occasion, while Arslan has another encounter with the runaway prisoner he met years before. 
10 "The Lord and Master of Kashan Fortress"
"Kashaan Jousai no Omo" (カシャーン城塞の主) 
June 7, 2015
Arslan and his subjects seek refuge in the Kashan Fortress, governed by Lord Hodir, but it does not take long for the party to realize Hodir's true intentions for sheltering them. 
11 "The Road to Peshawar"
"Peshawaaru e no Michi" (ペシャワールへの道) 
June 14, 2015
On their way to the stronghold at Peshawar, Arslan's party is pursued by a force led by Xandes, Kharlan's son who seeks to avenge his father and they are forced to split up. And Gieve learns the true nature of the prince's personality. 
12 "A Knight's Loyalty"
"Kishi no Chuugi" (騎士の忠義) 
June 21, 2015
Silvermask slaughters a band of thieves and when the leader's daughter, Alfreed, is about to be killed as well, Narsus appears to rescue her. Meanwhile, the rest of Arslan's party regroups and fights Xandes' forces, including the mysterious sorcerer that aids him. 
13 "Two Princes"   June 28, 2015
Arslan and his companions reach Peshawar in safety, but there is some discord among the generals regarding the prince's request for aid. Uncertain if he is up to the task of liberating the kingdom, Arslan is attacked by Silvermask. 

Video game[edit]

A video game was released in 1993 for Sega Mega-CD. A Musou-esque game will be released on September 17, 2015 on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan.[11]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bento Bako Weekly: The Heroic Legend of Arslan volume 1". ComicAttack. 
  2. ^ "The Heroic Legend of Arslan". Anime News Network. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Justin Rojas (2015-06-05). "Broadcast Dub English Cast Announcements At A-Kon 26". Funimation.com. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  4. ^ https://twitter.com/VoiceofBevins/status/617714468928163840
  5. ^ "Crunchyroll Releases Aijin, Koe no Katachi, Arslan Manga". Anime News Network. 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  6. ^ "Kodansha USA Announces Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Release". Anime News Network. 2014-03-22. Retrieved 2015-01-01. 
  7. ^ "Multiple Announcements From CPM, Animeigo, Pioneer". Anime News Network. 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  8. ^ Justin Sevakis (2007-12-13). "Buried Treasure - Heroic Legend of Arslan Part 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  9. ^ "Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  10. ^ "The Heroic Legend of Arslan Anime's Main Staff, April Premiere Unveiled". Anime News Network. 2015-01-03. 
  11. ^ "Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Gets Musou Game for PS4, PS3". Anime News Network. 

External links[edit]