The Heroic Legend of Arslan
|The Heroic Legend of Arslan|
|Written by||Yoshiki Tanaka|
|Original run||August 1986 – December 14, 2017|
|Original video animation|
|Music by||Norihiro Tsuru|
|Released||August 17, 1991 – September 21, 1995|
|Runtime||60 minutes (#1–2)|
35 minutes (#3–6)
|Written by||Yoshiki Tanaka|
|Illustrated by||Chisato Nakamura|
|Published by||Kadokawa Shoten|
|Magazine||Asuka Fantasy DX|
|Original run||November 1991 – September 1996|
The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Japanese: アルスラーン戦記, Hepburn: Arusurān Senki, lit. Arslan War Records) is a Japanese fantasy novel series written by Yoshiki Tanaka. It was published from 1986 to 2017, with sixteen novels and one side-story in the official guidebook Arslan Senki Dokuhon. Set in ancient Persia, it is loosely based on the Persian epic of Amir Arsalan.
It was adapted into a six-episode original video animation adaptation released from 1991 to 1995. It was also adapted into a manga series by Chisato Nakamura, which ran in Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Asuka Fantasy DX from November 1991 to September 1996. In 2013, a second manga adaptation illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa began in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, which was later adapted into an anime television series.
The story is set in a legendary vision of an indistinct amalgam of over a thousand years of ancient Persia and nearby other countries. While the world in which it takes place is one where magic obviously exists, said magic is of an extremely limited nature. Until the middle of the anime, the only magical happenings involve a few spells and a giant, humanoid monster. There are many evil monsters such as ghouls and winged monkeys, appear in the second half of the novel series. Especially the first half of the series 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.
The story follows the exploits of Arslan, the crown prince of the fictional kingdom of Pars, and it is divided into two parts. In the first part, Pars is taken over by the neighboring nation of Lusitania after Arslan's father, King Andragoras III, falls victim to a treacherous plot led by some 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 and tactician Narsus and his young servant Elam, also Farangis, an aloof, cold priestess, and Gieve, a travelling musician and con-man, Arslan stands 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", who is later revealed to be another contender to Pars' throne. In the second part, Arslan, now king of Pars, divides himself between defending his country against several external threats, including Silvermask, who is still at large, seeking to claim the throne for himself, and addressing the needs and hopes of his subjects.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2016)
This section possibly contains original research. (November 2016)
The protagonist's name appears to have been taken from the popular Persian epic of Amir Arsalan. Other than this anachronism, Arslan and his Parsian enemies and allies primarily share many parallels with Cyrus the Great and other historical figures of 6th century BCE Persia (albeit with several liberties taken), whereas the conflicts with the Lusitanian forces (which bear the Byzantium Orthodox cross and the Varangians of Kievan Rus') – despite mostly French names and a certain religious zealotry implying a connection to the (Catholic) Crusades (again, with liberties taken)– appear to be based on the East Roman–Persian Wars,specifically those of the 6th century CE. Furthermore,several names of prominent Parsian characters appear to be taken from known important figures throughout Persian history as well as the historically unsubstantiated legendary parts of the historiographic Persian epic Shahnameh. Additionally, supernatural elements mostly based on ancient Near East mythology increasingly play a role as the series goes on.
The original novel, Arslan Senki, was written by Dr. Yoshiki Tanaka. Though he is primarily a novelist, Tanaka's works have been adapted 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 sixteen novels in the Arslan Senki storyline. 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 in the Asuka Fantasy DX shōjo magazine from 1991 to 1996 and compiled into thirteen volumes.
A second manga adaptation of Arslan Senki started serialization in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in July 2013, illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, best known for the manga titles Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. This adaptation is simul-published by Crunchyroll, while Kodansha Comics is publishing the manga in North America since 2014.
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" in 1991–1992, which is why each one is hour long, rather than the traditional half-hour, and were produced by Kadokawa Shoten and Sony Music Entertainment Japan. A second OVA series of four episodes that followed up the first OVAs was released in 1993–1995.
Both OVAs were licensed by Central Park Media and were released on DVD and VHS. 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. This caused a lot of inconsistencies in both dubs. 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 final 2 episodes of the Arslan anime to make its way to the United States.
The first video game based on The Heroic Legend of Arslan was released in 1993 for Sega Mega-CD. A strategy RPG in the vein of similar titles of the era such as the Fire Emblem series, it serves as a companion to the OVA series.
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