TheHeroic Legend of Arslanbook 3 collects issues 11 to 19 of Hiromu Arakawa’s mangaadaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s HeroicLegend of Arslanlight novel series.
Parshas fallen and its king has been imprisoned, but Prince Arslan isstill free. Traitor Kharlan is determined to prove his worth bycapturing Arslan. Kharlan has a small army at his command, whereasArslan counts but four people in his force — and that only if hecounts himself.
MithranPriestess Farangisarrives with companion Gieve, inflating the number of warriors inArslan’s group by a munificent 50%. Bad luck follows good: atreacherous porter hired by Arslan’s group seizes the opportunityto collect the bounty on the prince’s head. He hastens to informKharlan, who, sure he knows where Arslan is headed, leads his meninto the mountains. Victory will be his! Um, no.
Meanwhile,back in Pars, the Lusitanians are too busy burning religious textsand looting the city to honor their promises to Pars’ legions ofslaves. The slaves opened the gates to the enemy in hope of freedom.With the city in hand, the Lusitanians are not interested in losingtheir free labour force, particularly given that many of the slavesare either unbelievers or recent (thus suspect) converts to theLusitanian faith. This does not bode well for the conquerors.
Arslanand his allies, safe from pursuit for the moment, are convinced thatKing Andragoras is still alive. He may not be alive for long, as theLusitanian king is determined to marry Queen Tahamine once she is awidow, Time, then, is of the essence. The six must find out where theking is being held and rescue him. Piece of cake.
Theart is very much Arakawa’s. The women are beautiful and most of themen are pretty. There is a superabundance of graphic violence. Thelabored plotting (here, reader, let me tell you what is happening)seems to be Tanaka’s. Tanaka’s other series, TheLegend of Galactic Heroes,also shows a tendency to explain at length what strategies are inplay, as a kindness for those readers who don’t care to do theheavy lifting themselves.
I’venot read the original light novels on which this series is based, soI am not sure if the comedic elements — in particular, the franklyself-admiring Farangis, (who is far too intelligent to deny how verysmart, beautiful and skilled she is) and Gieve’s obsession with theone woman who will never say yes to him — come from the originalsource material or if Arakawa created them for this adaptation.Without those elements, the story might come across as a bit tooearnest, as naive Arslan struggles to become a ruler who is both kindand effective1 and to find that balance before the invaders burnhis nation to the ground.
1:Orneither, in which case his advisor Daryun will likely simply killArslan in order to keep him out of power. I really don’t expectthis series to turn into a re-enactment of Gordon R. Dickson’s“Call Him Lord”, but it is clear that’s an option that is onthe table.