School’s Out For Summer

Hiromu Arakawa & Yoshiki Tanaka
The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 3

Arslan V3

The Heroic Legend of Arslan book 3 collects issues 11 to 19 of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s Heroic Legend of Arslan light novel series.

Pars has fallen and its king has been imprisoned, but Prince Arslan is still free. Traitor Kharlan is determined to prove his worth by capturing Arslan. Kharlan has a small army at his command, whereas Arslan counts but four people in his force — and that only if he counts himself.

Mithran Priestess Farangis arrives with companion Gieve, inflating the number of warriors in Arslan’s group by a munificent 50%. Bad luck follows good: a treacherous porter hired by Arslan’s group seizes the opportunity to collect the bounty on the prince’s head. He hastens to inform Kharlan, who, sure he knows where Arslan is headed, leads his men into the mountains. Victory will be his! Um, no.

Meanwhile, back in Pars, the Lusitanians are too busy burning religious texts and looting the city to honor their promises to Pars’ legions of slaves. The slaves opened the gates to the enemy in hope of freedom. With the city in hand, the Lusitanians are not interested in losing their free labour force, particularly given that many of the slaves are either unbelievers or recent (thus suspect) converts to the Lusitanian faith. This does not bode well for the conquerors.

Arslan and his allies, safe from pursuit for the moment, are convinced that King Andragoras is still alive. He may not be alive for long, as the Lusitanian king is determined to marry Queen Tahamine once she is a widow, Time, then, is of the essence. The six must find out where the king is being held and rescue him. Piece of cake.


The art is very much Arakawa’s. The women are beautiful and most of the men are pretty. There is a superabundance of graphic violence. The labored plotting (here, reader, let me tell you what is happening) seems to be Tanaka’s. Tanaka’s other series, The Legend of Galactic Heroes, also shows a tendency to explain at length what strategies are in play, as a kindness for those readers who don’t care to do the heavy lifting themselves.

I’ve not read the original light novels on which this series is based, so I am not sure if the comedic elements — in particular, the frankly self-admiring Farangis, (who is far too intelligent to deny how very smart, beautiful and skilled she is) and Gieve’s obsession with the one woman who will never say yes to him — come from the original source material or if Arakawa created them for this adaptation. Without those elements, the story might come across as a bit too earnest, as naive Arslan struggles to become a ruler who is both kind and effective1 and to find that balance before the invaders burn his nation to the ground.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 3 is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: Or neither, in which case his advisor Daryun will likely simply kill Arslan in order to keep him out of power. I really don’t expect this 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 on the table.


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