English, French, Dutch, Japanese / English, French, Dutch, Netherlands
Universal Pictures UK is back with another impressive release, this time in the form of The Heroic Legend of Arslan Series 1 Part 1. I’ll admit that I passed on this series as it was simulcasting owing to the fact I had been following the manga the series is based on. Being familiar with the story, however, meant I knew what to expect and I was very curious as to how Liden Films and Sanzigen would handle the adaptation.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan follows titular character Arslan, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Pars; the first couple of episodes follow his growth over a number of years before a fateful event takes place. Now of age, Arslan is to participate in his first battle as the enemy nation of Lusitania sets out to take the royal city of Ecbatana. So sure of victory is King Andragoras III, failing to heed the advice of one of his trusted subject, he and his forces fall to the Lusitanian forces after a treacherous plot by one of his own men. During the battle, Arslan is saved by his loyal servant Daryun and together flee the battlefield to look for allies to rally behind the Prince.
The story is adapted from Hiromu Arakawa’s version of the manga which in turn is adapted from the original novel series by Yoshiki Tanaka. The anime features the Arakawa’s art style which may appear familiar to many as she is also the author of popular series Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon. The anime, as with the manga, takes a little while to really gain any momentum which can appear as slow-paced and possibly boring to some. The pace does pick up in the second half of part 1 but at the cost of cutting out quite a lot of the source material. In fact, by the end of part 1, we have caught up to where Arakawa’s is currently. Given that there is still another twelve episodes to go in season one and an eight-episode second is soon to conclude Arakawa’s material must have been passed over for the original novels while still retaining the art style.
The fact that one source material has been passed over for the original is not a bad move given that Arakawa’s version is a monthly publication. Using the original novels as the source gives the studio a lot more to work with going forward. The only issue I take with this is that they rushed over quite a lot of story and character development so early on in the series. Being familiar with the story already it wasn’t much of an issue but it might leave newcomers to the story feeling unfamiliar with some of the characters’ motivations.
As stated earlier, the anime uses Hiromu Arakawa’s version of the manga as its base for the character design and general art style. While I’ve always found it enjoyable, that style feels slightly lacklustre compared to that of Fullmetal Alchemist’s, though the series does feature some nice visuals. The Larger battle may leave a lot to be desired but the one-to-one fight scenes can be as exciting as they are visually impressive. Extra attention has definitely been paid to certain characters while in battle such as Dayun and Silver Mask which can make for very exciting viewing.
Like Universal’s release of Seraph of the End, there’re a plethora of language options to choose from, but of course for us, the most important will be the Japanese and English options. If you prefer options such as French and Dutch then you have been catered for. As for the Japanese and English options, both offer an enjoyable experience so you won’t be disappointed whichever one you go for. The opening “Boku no Kotoba de wa Nai, Kore wa Bokutachi no Kotoba” by UVERworld is very catchy and quite possibly one of the best things about part 1. The ending “Lapis Lazuli” by Eir Aoi is equally as good as the opening and it always great to see both an opening and ending that just work with a series.
On-disc extras include Trailers, TV Spots, Music Clips and a Short Comedy episode made up of eight smaller parts. When you’re talking extras it’s hard not to mention the sheer amount of physical extras that come with either the Blu-ray or DVD edition. If you don’t know what’s included with The Heroic Legend of Arslan Series 1 Part 1 then have a look at our unboxing article here. There’s definitely a lot to get your teeth stuck into there.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan Series 1 Part 1 is a decent watch however being familiar with the source material I can’t help but feel there’s some wasted potential there. Admittedly the pace is slow during the opening of the story and this is also apparent in the manga so with the pace picking up I’m looking forward to what Part 2 brings. The release itself by Universal Pictures UK is fantastic and everything has been produced to a very high standard which makes it very easy to recommend to collectors.