After managing to get past the battles concerning the royal successor for Sindhura, Arslan and company made their triumphal return to Pars to find Hilmes the brave general with the silver mask standing in their way. And by the time they somehow get Hilmes to stand down and they can be on their way to the capital once again, an even larger threat was fast approaching the land of Pars.
The boy king’s journey continues. The sequel of Arslan Senki (otherwise known as Arslan Senki: Dust Storm Dance) is a show that fans will easily get attached to. It’s not just because Arslan Senki takes place in a diverse cultural world but also with exploring the journey of the titular character Arslan, one could not help but have high expectations from the boy.
To be precise, the second season is noticeable for being only 8 episodes in length. Compared to the first season, that’s about 1/3 the run-time. Yes, you’re probably asking yourself something along the line of “then how will the story conclude?” The answer is pretty simple: it won’t. The series is more about the journey rather than the destination. As such, treat the storytelling more as a way to showcase Arslan and his co. as they take on new adventures.
That adventure begins with the war drama. Remember, Arslan Senki is more of a war story than a fantasy adventure despite having supernatural content. Arslan’s forces has their hands full in the beginning to deal with an invasion from Turan. While all this is happening, we are also introduced to a mysterious relic that Hilmes (Silver Mask) has his eyes on. A good deal of the first few episodes establishes the ruthlessness of the antagonists. In particular, Tokhtomysh (King of Turan) even delivers execution in order to draw Parsians into a trap. Anyway, I think the main point of the series is to establish the challenges Parsians must deal with to declare their independence. Arslan has also grown to become a well-respected leader known to even other countries. His maturity is shown with leadership, cleverness, and loyalty with his comrades. So much so, Gieve even returns with his services after going off on his own.
One of the more dynamic elements of Arslan Senki are the characters. Even though the main characters are well-established at this point, we still have characterization and subplot focused on them such as Narsus, HIlmes, Etoile, etc. Sometimes, I find the subplots about these characters to be even better than the main story because it makes us understand them more. Furthermore, their role in the series has influence on the overall story. For instance, Narsus’ reunion with his old friend Shagad shows his cleverness. They have a relationship that I’d describe more as acquaintances rather than best friends. Furthermore, we can easily see Narsus’ own ideologies about certain sensitive issues such as slavery. On the other hand, characters such as Hilmes gives us a decent insight about his past in this sequel. It shows a more gentle side of his character rather than the one we came to see on paper as a ruthless warrior. Even Etoile gets a major role in one of the episodes to showcase her importance. On the downside, new characters such as Grahze can only be remembered for their action and hardly anything else. Other previously introduced characters such as Elam and Falangies gets less focus compared to the previous season.
To say the least, the overall storytelling of Arslan Senki: Dust Storm Dance can feel a bit predictable. Now this might not be true for all fans but should be easily recognized for the plot about the pirates and merchant ship conflict. On the other hand, there are also episodes that are really important. As I mentioned before, the subplot context feels as though they have better storytelling than the main plot; Hilmes and Etoile being prime examples. Thus, it’s disappointing that the show itself is shrinked to 8 episodes to focus on the main story with what it already has to work with.
On the technical front, the art style of the sequel has more or less downgraded. This includes some of the more complex battle scenes involving characters with jerky movements. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still ‘wow factor’ when it comes to fighting in the show. Daryun and merchant captain Grahze proves that quite well. However, it’s more about the character expressions that feels underwhelming. On the plus side, the background settings improved with a more adventurous feel. The introduction of sea and merchant ships also offers some neat naval battle that is refreshing.
The soundtrack is still pretty similar compared the first season. It uses harmonic music to keep in pace with different scenarios ranging from simple conversations to intense battle scenes. Character voice mannerism is delivered well on most parts with Arslan being more noticeable for his maturity. One praise I would like to throw in would be Hilmes for his ability to portray personalities ranging from ruthlessness to sympathetic.
So what should you expect from the sequel of Arslan Senki? If you’re looking for a masterpiece, then it’s clearly the wrong place to look. Even on paper, the pacing of just 8 episodes should trigger a red alert. Less characterization on certain other main characters should also be expected as well. However, the sequel still offers a good amount of storytelling with its existing characters. Remember, the show isn’t just about getting to the end goal for Arslan but rather his journey to reach it. And for that, I think it’s worth to take that journey with them.
Did season one need another season? Well yes but not this. Basically my whole thoughts watching season 2.
The reason why season 2 did not add anything series is well, firstly 8 episodes was clearly pushing it. It just felt like hey so this is season 2 were gonna an unnecessary villain for like 2 episodes then say bye bitch. Which leads to another problem I have with arsenki character development. They don't really do it much like if you're gonna have a fight between two friends, wouldn't it be wise to go into their school days. Because Shagard was just there oh like Narsus has friends.
Well let's get to the little positives besides Geive being back. The opening (Tsubasa) was definitely one of the best this season thank you Eir Aoi. The ED (Blaze) was okay I mean I love Kalafina, but I think others enjoyed it more than me though even though I still purchased the song.
The animation looked worse with at times in the later half. Around the whole time Shagard was introduced it dropped.
So does season 2 warp up any lose ends no, If anything it makes more. Season 1 ends with a more satisfying ending than this. So it's hard to say if I'd actually recommend it, plus now it feels too cliché with the whole Arslan fam. Nothing in season 2 added anything for me the pirates and Shagard just didn't feel needed especially with no Shagard backstory. He was just your hey I'm here to be the betray my old friend villain, and be a butt everyone hates. I don't want another season after this like I did for season 1 the ending wasn't satisfaction at all. read more
I wonder what I expected out of this season. When I read that there were only going to be 8 episodes of content they originally planned on skipping, I didn't have much hope left for the anime. And somehow, it still managed to disappoint me.
Arslan Senki introduced an interesting, while not all too new, story. It's a low-fantasy, presented somewhat cartoonish - the story was kept interesting with exagerations and unexplained magic and a mysterious antagonist, Zuk- I mean, Hilmes.
In this second season, they decide to delve a little into Hilmes' past - we get some character development, and given incentive to care about him. And that's really nice... if it weren't the ONLY character development throughout this season.
The other characters from last season fall - no pun intended - completely flat. They are reduced to a mere herd of animals following and obeying their leader, Arslan and are pushed completely to the background. Arslan himself seems to be stuck at the character he obtained throughout last season, as well.
There are some new characters, but besides those that are part of Hilmes' backstory, there isn't much development either.
The characters are the only thing that could have carried the story. So that falls flat as well. A lame, minor antagonists and an overall uneventful plot are the main focus this season, while all the interesting stuff is happening in the background - which is mainly the only reason I kept watching. But for the most part, all I heard and saw was a run-off-the-mill story, with one-liners you could have probably found in a book called "Clichéd Dialogue in Fantasy Animes".
Narsus apparently knows all the enemy plans, as usual, but doesn't tell the viewer that he knows this, making all of his counter-plans seem like mere dei ex machina.
If the art and animation had been good, I would have probably enjoyed this as an average anime, but the staff only seemed to have the budget for low quality shots and still images. The CGI was bad, but, with the exception for some fights and the finale, the best animation troughout the season.
The voice acting decided to follow the this trend and all the characters spoke, beside for some returning characters, without emotion and only decent intonation - it was bland.
The music, however, was good; it fit the atmoshpere and knew how to hype up scenes. The sound effects, as well, were on point.
As we reach the end of the season, the story that had been unveiling on the background culminates, the animation gets back some of its life, and the characters some of their depth, giving me all hope for next season.
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