While watching Arislan, it's rather hard not to feel sorry for the common grunts. I mean, they appear, bluster about a bit, fail miserably at trying to look impressive, and then are hacked apart, drowned, burned, tortured, defenestrated, or any combination of the above. They're rather pathetic, actually. Anyway, getting back to (or on to, rather) the main topic of this article, this week, CJAS is showing the final two installments of Arislan. Actually, there are two other parts to Arislan, but as five has never been translated and six has either never been translated or never made, they're not going to be shown. What you see is what you get. Yes, this does mean that the series ends without any of the problems being resolved, but I suppose that that's something one must get used to while watching anime. If, however, you find that you have an undying urge to discover how the series concludes, there are a few options available. First, as the anime was originally a seven-part novel and then a thirteen-part manga, I suppose you could look them up. For those of us who can't tell Japanese letters from Martian, there's an easier way. The Anime Turnpike (www.anipike.com) has lists of homepages dealing with anime shows, and there are a few that deal with Arislan.
In this week's pair of episodes, Arislan's crew finally stops taking care of side issues such as staying alive and keeping Shindra from invading, and finally goes about liberating Palse, and as raising armies go, they do a pretty good job, creating a force of 110,000 virtually overnight. The battle scenes that follow are fairly well done, if a little short, and you finally get to see General Quishward kill someone with his two swords. I'm not trying to imply that the only thing that happens is a ton of bloodshed and slaughter, even though that description is pretty accurate; a lot more happens in this hour, such as character development and lots of it. In the course of episode three and the beginning of four, the cast is nearly doubled with the addition of minor characters like Tous, the self-proclaimed master of the iron chains, and more major figures like Melain, Arfurido's older brother and the second-best archer in Palse. (He has yet to meet a better archer, but he can always hope). Other important characters include Kubard, a one-eyed former baron marshal of Palse, and Ilina, the last surviving member of the royal family of Maruyam. Last but not least is Etoile, who is my favorite character from the series. She can't cut down enemy troops like wheat, she survives jumping off of high balconies, and she's a Lusitanian to boot, but she's got personality to spare. Lest anyone accuse me of negligence, I should mention the evil bastards as well (a.k.a. the bad guys), for they come out in force tonight. The glorious and holy leader of the Lusitanians is King Inokentis VII, who is too holy (stupid) to deal with mundane matters, but rather spends each day praying and trying to win the affections of Tahamenay, who quite effectively ignores his very existence. Taking up the slack for Inokentis is his brother Giskarl, whose ambition doesn't let him be that thrilled about being subordinate to a complete idiot.
And in case you're still wondering who this Hermes (Silvermask) character is, why he's helping the Lusitanians take over Palse, whether Andragoras really did kill his father, or how he keeps his mask from rusting and/or tarnishing, more will be revealed tonight. All in all, this final third of Arislan maintains the quality of the previous two while adding depth and more humanity to the characters. Although the ending gives no real resolution, it is solid and impressive enough to keep it from being a cliffhanger. With its lack of a conclusion and amazingly impressive main characters, Arislan seems rather similar to another anime title that was shown earlier this semester, RG Veda, but with one main exception. As this show wasn't made by CLAMP, everyone doesn't die in the end. Hopefully.