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 at least some hope for next season.