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
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 4
Anime television series
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Written by Makoto Uezu
Music by Taro Iwashiro
Studio Liden Films, Sanzigen
Licensed by
Network JNN (MBS)
English network
Original run April 5, 2015September 27, 2015
Episodes 25 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Original run 2016scheduled
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 aired in 2015 with a second season confirmed to air in 2016.


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.



The world of Arslan is modeled after the period of the crusades. 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 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.


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 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 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", who is later revealed to be another contender to Pars' throne.



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,[3] while Kodansha Comics USA is physically publishing the manga in North America.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] The TV series is directed by Noriyuki Abe, with Makoto Uezu acting as scriptwriter.[8] The series aired from April to September 2015 on MBS and other Japan News Network stations in Nichigo timeslot at 5:00pm. A second season is scheduled to air in 2016.

Video game[edit]

A video game was released in 1993 for Sega Mega-CD. A Musou game was released on October 1, 2015 on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan.[9] Koei Tecmo announced on July 30, 2015, that they had picked up the Western version of the game, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, which is scheduled to be released in February 2016.[10]

See also[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.


  1. ^ "Bento Bako Weekly: The Heroic Legend of Arslan volume 1". ComicAttack. 
  2. ^ "The Heroic Legend of Arslan". Anime News Network. 
  3. ^ "Crunchyroll Releases Aijin, Koe no Katachi, Arslan Manga". Anime News Network. 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  4. ^ "Kodansha USA Announces Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Release". Anime News Network. 2014-03-22. Retrieved 2015-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Multiple Announcements From CPM, Animeigo, Pioneer". Anime News Network. 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  6. ^ Justin Sevakis (2007-12-13). "Buried Treasure - Heroic Legend of Arslan Part 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  7. ^ "Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Gets Anime". Anime News Network. 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  8. ^ "The Heroic Legend of Arslan Anime's Main Staff, April Premiere Unveiled". Anime News Network. 2015-01-03. 
  9. ^ "Heroic Legend of Arslan Manga Gets Musou Game for PS4, PS3". Anime News Network. 
  10. ^ "Arslan: The Warriors of Legend coming west in early 2016, Xbox One version added". Gematsu. 

External links[edit]