Summer 2016 Anime in Review: The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance

Wow, I’m starting these early this season.  Then again, this is what happens when a series is only eight episodes.  You can expect a Planetarian review in a little bit because that one is only five episodes.  I really wish that this sequel season was more than eight episodes.  In the end, I felt like this short season accomplished so much more than eight episodes of the first season did.  More character development, more unique locations, and cleaner cgi throughout.  Let’s look at this more specifically.  Just beware the spoilers in this article.

If you watched the original series, which you should do before touching this considering that it’s a sequel thing, then you already know this cast.  The young king wanna-be, the infinitely loyal and bad ass swordsman, the snarky strategist who wants to be a painter, and add in your basic other role playing character archetypes.  There is also another prince who wears a mask covering his burn scar and a female who hides her gender to take part in her country’s military campaign.  Character wise, the biggest changes come from the princes themselves.  Arslan becomes more confident and knows what direction he wants to go by the end of the eight episodes.  Hermes, the other prince, is given more characterization other than being the angry prince who wants revenge for what happened to him.  While revenge is still something he seeks, more of Herme’s backstory is explored and he’s given more of a purpose to go alongside his revenge seeking.

Once again, only eight episodes? Why?  I mean, a lot of things happen.  The Parsian King escapes prison, Arslan is banished to the coast city that has its with pirates, Hilmes breaks his relationship with the Lusitanians and continues on his quest for succession by obtaining Parsian legendary goods of kinship, and the Lusitanians are having an increasingly worse time ruling Ecbatana.  The Legend of Arslan is more story focused instead of character focused, so what the characters do feels really stale at times because it feels like everything the characters do is already plotted out on a grid instead of moving organically, but this season handled all that much better by feeling more organic.  Not just “this needs to happen so this can happen in the future” kind of stuff.  The first couple of episodes feel like a reset of stand points because it’s only Arslan and his crew again, but that is not a thing to worry about as the episodes continue.

From an animation, I feel like this was much better than the original series.  The soundtrack is the same as the first season so there is a sense of continuity throughout it.  The battle animation with the horses and their riders looked completely terrible and fake in the first series too.  I won’t say that it’s gotten to the point that you can’t tell that it’s cgi, but the movements are less stiff and more organic.  Also, every bodies cgi face felt less wrong this time.  A lot more flow as well.  From an individual main character to main character action stand point, it’s just as well choreographed as the first season, but there are a lot more environments for the action scenes to happen in.  Like ships.  Characters fight on ships and it’s awesome.  The art design and setting of location is on the same great level, but the coast city really gives a much needed added variation to the series because deserts and castles gets boring after a while.

IF you have watched the first season, then I almost feel like you have watched this already anyway.  If you haven’t and you liked the first twenty-five episodes of Arslan Senki, then you will definitely like this.  Especially if you missed hanging out with these characters as much as I have.  The worst part of finishing this is immediately wanting a third season because the last episode has an epic cliff hanger to a battle of larger proportions then any part of this series have ever had.  The stakes are impossibly high and so are the number of people involved in the fight.  Can’t wait to see it, if it gets animated. You never for sure if another season will arise.

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