The Heroic Legend of Arslan returns to home video with the latter half of its 2015 adaptation again from Universal Pictures UK. If you remember, we reviewed part one some months ago, you can read that review here. Part two follows on from the previous release but also marks our departure from the current events of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga series. Being new story content that I had not yet experienced I was interested in seeing how well the story stands up as well as the technical aspects such as character designs, now let’s dive into the details.
“New alliances are made and battle lines drawn in the final twelve episodes of The Heroic Legend of Arslan Series One, collected in this limited special edition set. Following the events at Peshawar, Arslan and his companions find themselves fighting the invading Shindra army, led by Prince Rajendra and are soon embroiled in a power struggle between Rajendra and his brother Gadevi. An alliance with Shindra may be just what the young Prince needs to defeat Silvermask but still standing between Arslan and his final goal are villainous double crosses, spies for both sides, duels in the desert and an army of 100,000 Lusitanian soldiers. Arslan has come a long way on his journey from boy to king but is he destined to fall at the final hurdle?” – Universal Pictures UK
I mentioned in my review of part one how a large portion of the source material was cut in favour of giving the series a better sense of pacing. It’s true that the manga does tend to linger on specific moments but I found those to be to the benefit of character development. Regardless, the anime chose to steamroll through them in order to get to the action quicker. Quick side note: I personally don’t feel that the characters have suffered due to these cuts but then again I’m familiar with the manga so I can’t talk for those coming to the story for the first time with this adaptation. Now we start part two firmly placed within the action-packed half of the series. This definitely had a positive impact on the pacing of this half. A battle was never far off and the downtime in between never outstayed its welcome.
The story really does make some very large bounds in this half while at the same time feeling a little emptier on plot compared to the previous half. An odd combination, I’m sure you’ll agree, but while character development may not be at the forefront of this half-season some very significant pieces have been moved into place. The stars of this half for me personally were Prince Arslan who has had to prove his mental fortitude and abilities as a leader. Daryun and his physical prowess on the battlefield and for my personal favourite Gieve whom always appears to just be along for the ride while Farangis is about but we see that this is definitely a more loyal man than we give him credit for.
The Shindra storyline that began in the latter episodes of the previous set brings us some new companions in Jaswant and that’s about it. What felt like an odd side quest of sorts it had the potential to have a real impact on the events currently at play in the grand plot but upon its conclusion offered nothing of value. It’s unfortunate as the Shindra storyline did take up a large portion of this release and featured some very enjoyable moments. Jaswant himself had a much larger role during this arc than he does as an actual companion of Arslan. He still gets some minor screen time but becomes somewhat irrelevant come the end. A shame because I feel that while we know his story we don’t really know him as well as we probably should.
Like we mentioned in our review of part one, as this anime is an adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga, it uses the same art style. Of course though the anime has now passed the current manga chapters. The anime has kept to Hiromu Arakawa’s style of characters throughout though there does seem to be an increased use of CGI. The CGI animation is generally kept to large battles where there are a lot of characters on screen. It’s not bad by any means but is quite noticeable when you see the same animations used repeatedly.
In usual Universal style we have a plethora of language options available for viewers to choose from. We will, as usual, be sticking with the Japanese and English options and I forgot to mention in my previous review but the English audio cast features some very notable talents in Aaron Dismuke, Christopher Sabat and Vic Mignogna. Either audio option you choose though, you will be well served. The opening theme in part two is “Uzu to Uzu” (Swirl and Swirl) by NICO Touches the Walls which is pretty good and the ending theme is One Light” by Kalafina.
The extras in typical Universal fashion are brilliant and the physical release features some fantastic items and the quality is extremely high. Included in the set are character cards, twelve art cards, a double-sided poster and a 100-page visual guide/key art book. The discs are housed in an artwork covered digipack and that’s all housed in a rigid art box. If you’d like to see a more hands-on look at the extras included within this set then check out our unboxing article here. As far as on-disc extras go part two includes Music Clips and a Short Comedy collection.