The Heroic Legend of Arslan (アルスラーン戦記 Arusurān Senki?) is the title of a Japanese fantasy novel series. The author, Yoshiki Tanaka, started writing Arslan in 1986 and is still writing it as of 2008, with the current number of books at 13 novels and one side story in the official guidebook Arslan senki tokuhon. It was made into a manga (which went ahead and came up with an ending on its own), two anime films, and a four-part, unfinished anime OVA.[n 1]
In the 19th century, Naqib ul-Mamālik (نقیب الممالک), royal story teller of Nasereddin Shah's court, king of Iran, became popular for creating the tale "Amir Arsalān-i Nāmdār", and the Japanese story is set in a fantasy setting resembling historical Persia. Many characters have names originating from the Persian epic of Amir Arsalan.
Neither the novels nor the manga of The Heroic Legend of Arslan have been translated into English; therefore, this summary deals with the anime OAVs. As it directly focuses on the events of the first OAV, the characters names as they are translated there will be used (see "Names" below).
Arslan has two qualities that make it unique among anime fantasy tales. While the world in which it takes place is one where magic obviously exists, said magic is of an extremely limited nature. Until the end of the anime, the only magical happenings involve a few rare occasional spells and a giant, humanoid monster. There are none of the races typically associated with a fantasy realm, such as elves or dwarves. It is, at the core, a war story taking place between human nations. In addition to this, there is an underlying theme of exploring the repercussions of slavery on a society, having an absolute monarch who treats the poor as cattle, and religious obsession.
The story opens with a battle between the armies of Palse and Lusitania. The king of Palse, Andragoras, is quickly proved to have poor judgement and a quick temper, as he demotes one of his most loyal servants, Daryoon, on the word of a man who proves to be a traitor, Kharlan. In this first battle, the Lusitanian army deliberately leads the Palsian forces into a seemingly-simple assault. The assault turns into a bloodbath, as the Lusitanians booby-trap the battlefield by soaking the ground in oil. Not only do the Palsian war-horses slip and break their legs, but the enemy forces set the oil on fire, burning many of the soldiers alive.
Daryoon's uncle, Eran Vaphreze, takes it upon himself to lead the king away from the battlefield before Andragoras can be discovered and killed by enemy troops. Before he rides off, he commands Daryoon to dedicate himself to protecting the crown prince, Arislan. While Daryoon rides off to seek out the prince, Vaphreze and Andragoras attempt to escape. They are unsuccessful — Vaphreze is murdered by the leader of the Lusitanian army, an incredibly strong and enigmatic warrior who, because of his unique headgear, is known only as Silvermask. Silvermask declines to kill Andragoras, preferring instead to kidnap him and drag him back to his stronghold in Zahburu Fortress.
Having survived the Lusitanian assault, Arislan and Daryoon seek help for their cause, in the form of the philosopher/swordsman/tactician, Narsus. After a bit of trickery on Daryoon's part, they convince Narsus to help them in their cause. Narsus' young boy servant, Elam, goes with them.
As this goes on, Lusitanian troops march to the capital city of Ekubatana; in order to convince Queen Tahamine to surrender her city. An interrogator of the Lusitanians — a high-ranking cleric named Jon Bodan — tortures captured Palsian soldiers outside its gates, declaring to all who would hear that he will only stop when Ekubatana surrenders. While she refuses, the city is eventually invaded successfully. The Queen is captured, and the city's buildings, sculptures, and sacred writings are all destroyed.
As Arislan travels around, trying his best to avoid being located by the armies and agents of Silvermask, he meets two others who are convinced to join his cause of re-taking and rebuilding Palse. Pharangese, an aloof, cold priestess of Misra, is sent by her holy order to protect and serve the prince — a fact which she considers to be natural, as she is the wisest, most beautiful, and most deadly.
There is also the travelling musician and con-man Gieve who is no mean swordsman himself. Gieve actually makes his first appearance when he, defying both a strong wind and a long distance, successfully shoots one of Jon Bodan's victims, sparing the poor soldier anymore misery and humiliation. For his skills with a bow, Gieve is paid well, and is also offered the chance to serve as the Queen's bodyguard as she attempts to escape the besieged Ekubatana. While making their way out of the castle, Gieve learns that the "Queen" he is escorting is actually a double for Her Majesty, in order to permit the real Queen to escape in a more secretive fashion. When she is captured by be city's attckers he escapes on his own, encounters Pharangese, and declares that he will dedicate himself to following her. She simply tells him to help protect the prince.
The most obvious stumbling block to Arislan's ability to re-take his kingdom is his utter lack of an army. As it is ironically observed at the conclusion of the first episode, with six fighters at his command, they have doubled their forces, and will only need to take on 50,000 enemy soldiers each. The subsequent episodes chronicle Arislan's plans on finding an army to back him up. They also cover wide and sundry sub-plots, Silvermask's identity and motives, how Andragoras came to the Palsian throne, and the introduction of various new characters.
Arslan is an epic tale, and like all epic tales, it has an overwhelmingly-large cast of characters.
- Prince Arslan/Arislan: The fourteen-year-old prince of Palse, around whom most of the action and fighting in the series is taking place. Arislan is frequently misinterpreted by those around him as being a weakling, because of his effete appearance, naivete, compassion, and optimism. While these are true to a point, Arislan is also philosophical, intelligent, and charismatic, able to rally even the most apathetic of people to his cause. He is dedicated to his friends, especially Daryoon, at one time threatening to kill an ally who had got Daryoon into a particularly nasty situation.
- King Andragoras III: The ruler of Palse, and father of Arislan. Andragoras is disliked by most of the main characters, and not without reason. At different times, he is cold, hot-tempered, acts without thinking his actions through, and even paranoid.
- Daryoon/Darün: Formerly a high-ranking military officer, Daryoon is demoted from his position in the opening of the anime. His new mission is to protect and serve Arislan. Daryoon and Arislan become close friends. In the style of samurai, Daryoon is loyal to a fault, and at point tells Arislan that whatever his true origins may be, Daryoon regards him as his prince. His fighting skills are so legendary that, at one point, Prince Lajendra praises him as the greatest warrior in both Palse and Shindra.
- Narsus/Narcasse: Narsus was once a chief adviser and tactician under Andragoras, but because he spoke out against the king's continuing practice of slavery, he was removed from his office. In addition to being a brilliant tactician, Narsus is also an incredible swordsman, an intelligent philosopher, and a not-so-skilled painter. He is Arislan's advisor, and Daryoon's close friend.
- Eran/Elam: A youth whom Narsus bought out of slavery, Elam intends to serve his 'master' until he is old enough to live on his own. Cunning in his own way, he acts as spy to gather useful information through various disguises. He faces something of a struggle with Afurido for the affection of his master Narsus.
- Gieve/Guibu: Gieve is the only player who does not make a strong allegiance to any side in the various battles that take place. While he self-identifies as a musician, it would be more apt to say that Gieve is a rogue-of-all-trades. He is the most versatile fighter in the series, capable of using a sword, a bow, or a lance, and also claims that he can play any instrument in the world. Gieve is also known for breaking the fourth wall: when he is alone, he will address the audience and narrate his thoughts on what is going on in the story (though it could be said that he is merely talking because he loves the sound of his own voice).
- Pharangese/Farangis: Aloof, defiant, strong, and cool; Pharangese is both a dedicated cleric to the goddess Misra, and the most-skilled female fighter on the planet. She maintains her mystique throughout the course of the story, so that little is known of her personally. According to her own account, she was the most beautiful, intelligent and capable member of her order; when a prediction was made that a servant of Misra must protect Prince Arislan, the other clerics selected her to go, out of jealousy.
- Silvermask: In the beginning, all that is known about Silvermask is his obsessive desire to torture and kill both Andragoras and Arislan. He is serving as the leader of the Lusitanian forces but is in fact a Palsian himself and soon commands a regiment of collaborators. He is so named because of the ornate silver helm he wears; it has large silver bull-horns attached to it, and completely obscures his face. He later reveals his face to Andragoras, now his prisoner, who recognises him as Hermes, the son of King Osiris, Andragoras' brother and predecessor. Hermes' face is partly burnt by a fire he accuses Andragoras of setting as part of the coup that made him King.
- Bajon: An ancient necromancer who is in the service of Silvermask. Though he serves Silvermask, it is obvious from the start that Bajon has his own agenda, and is merely waiting for the right moment to implement it. His importance to events in the story grows as time goes on. He is also, interestingly, the only villainous character (other than Jon Bodan) who has no human or redeeming qualities.
- Queen Tahamine: The Queen of Palse, and Arislan's mother. For a mother, she is very cold towards Arislan. The reason for that is revealed later in the series.
- Alfreed/Afurido: Afurido has a rather fantastic entrance, in which she attempts to assassinate Silvermask as revenge for him slaying her clan, the Zotto. Afurido is assisted by Narsus, who, she decides, she is in love with. She follows Narsus around, but does little else, other than fight with Elam for Narsus's attention.
- Valphreze: Daryoon's uncle, and one of the leaders of the Palsian army. He's quickly shown to be both loyal and wise, which makes his almost-immediate death all the more tragic. After his murder at Silvermask's hands, Valphreze still remains, after a fashion, as a source of inspiration for Daryoon.
- Kharlan: Formerly a high-ranking military officer for Palse, Kharlan betrays his kingdom in the opening scenes of the first OAV. In spite of his betrayal, Kharlan claims that he is utterly loyal to his kingdom. His vague statements regarding the true identity of the rightful king of Palse both confuse and cast doubt in the other characters.
- Guiscard/Guiscarl: The younger brother of Inocentius, the king of Lusitania. Guiscarl is dedicated to the idea that he might one day rule the kingdom officially, although he already does so 'under the table'; he is intelligent, forceful, and well-loved by his underlings. His forces are allied with Silvermask's, although the two men's goals are opposed to one another. In spite of this, both are united in their desire to see Arislan dead.
- Lajendra/Rajendra: One of the two crown princes of the nation of Shindra, a country bordering Palse. Lajendra is feuding with his brother, Gardeep, over who gets control of the nation when their ailing father dies. Lajendra's claim to the throne is based solely on his charisma; as he is a bastard the king sired with a mistress, and Gardeep is the son of the king and queen, he has far less of a legitimate claim to the throne. Lajendra is conniving, wicked, duplicitous, and highly amused at the world, known for saying outrageous and horrible things with a carefree laugh.
- Gardeep/Gadevy: One of the two crown princes of the nation of Shindra. While Gardeep's claim to the throne is legitimate, he is no less heartless or conniving than his brother. Gardeep also is unable to balance his ruthlessness with charm, and is even willing to defy the gods if it will seal his ambitions to rule.
- Quishward/Quishwald: Along with Bachman, Quishward guards Peshwald Fortress, one of the few Palsian strongholds that does not collapse under the might of the Lusitanian army. A dedicated fighter, Quishward has perfected an ambidextrous fighting style. He also goes to battle with his pet eagle, Azrael, who has been known to both attack enemies and warn its master of danger with a piercing shriek.
- Bachman: One of the other lords who maintains the Peshwald Fortress. Bachman is a torn and haunted man, burdened with the secret of Silvermask's true identity.
- Lucian: Another one of Palse's feudal lords. Lucian arrives on the scene while the group is staying in Peshwald Fortress, and offers his services to Arislan. Though he has a grand entrance, he is not a very actively-exploited character, as he prefers to work behind the scenes.
- Jon Bodan: A twisted and evil cleric of Iarudabohdo, the continent's only monotheistic religion. Bodan is the religious leader of Lusitania, and his word holds an inordinate amount of sway over the actions of the Lusitanian forces. His introduction into the series shows him mercilessly torturing a soldier outside of the gates of Ekubatana. He also orders the burning of the sacred writings kept in Ekubatana, because they are loathsome and "pagan". Jon Bodan is one of the few villains who is unsympathetically evil.
- Estelle/Etoile: A religiously-fanatical Lusitanian who attempts to assassinate Arislan. She is captured and imprisoned. Instead of having her executed, Arislan spares her life, and is interested in finding out what her motivations truly are.
- Isfan: Little is told of Isfan, other than the fact that his brother, Shapool, was the man being tortured by Jon Bodan in the first OAV. He arrives in the third OAV in order to take Shapool's place as one of the ruling lords of Palse. When Isfan learns that Gieve "murdered" his brother, he does not take to the idea very well.
- Osiris: The identity of Osiris becomes a pivotal plot-point in the series.
- Qbad/Kubard: A minor character, one of the former lords over the Palsian army. Though he lost both his rank and his army, Qbad dealt with it all with good humor, and became a simple wanderer. He is featured in a sub-plot involving Princess Irina.
- Merlein: Afurido's older brother, and the only other member of the Zotto tribe who has survived. Merlein had many problems with their tribe, as his father—who openly despised him—made it clear that Afurido would inherit leadership of the clan, and not him. One day, when the clan left to go pillaging, it left him behind, and never returned. Merlein went to find his missing clan, and along the way, he ran into Qbad and Princess Irina. He makes it his new mission to escort Irina to her destination.
- Princess Irina: An incredibly sheltered girl, Irina is the princess of Maruyamu, another kingdom which was successfully invaded by the Lusitanians. She is wandering from her conquered kingdom on a quest to find a man called Hermes, with whom she is in love. It is notable that Irina is blind, and is led about by a handmaiden who 'sees' for her.
As stated above, Arslan is a war story, and as such, romantic relationships are essentially non-existent. The overwhelming majority of the large cast consists of soldiers of all stripes, most of whom are at least in their 30s, and none of whom has a wife or a girlfriend who is mentioned. They are portrayed as men being married to their careers and to their country. The only exception is Gieve, who, when he goes to collect his reward for sparing Shapool from torture at Jon Bodan's hands, is accused by one of the Queen's handmaidens as being a liar. He apparently told her that he was a wandering prince in order to get into her bed.
What romance there is in the series appears to be entirely one-sided. Arfurido fawns over Narsus, who usually appears highly uncomfortable at the attention. Gieve constantly flirts with Pharangese, who, if she responds at all, is cold and uninterested. And while Princess Irina and Hermes do indeed love one another, their relationship is so convoluted that it is almost impossible for them to ever be happy.
The distinctly male-heavy cast, which also features several bishōnen and biseinen characters, has led to a moderately strong (relative to the size of the fanbase in America) yaoi fanbase. Supporters of this view tend to be fans of Daryoon/Arislan or Daryoon/Narsus.
Fans of het pairings usually support Gieve/Pharangese, or Arfurido/Narsus; it could also be argued that Arislan's interest in Estelle is due to a romantic crush on her. However, it should be noted that the story itself can be enjoyed without placing any emphasis upon romance at all.
Nations and Tribes
Much of the storyline is intimately related to the lay of the land in Arslan. This is because many conversations between characters involve discussions of battle-tactics and the movements of armies. Such discussions are difficult to follow until later in the series, when Narsus draws a map of the continent from memory. The narrator of the series then refers to this map when describing the action in subsequent episodes.
- Palse: The largest kingdom of the unnamed continent. It is located in the center of the continent, and is bracketed by Shindra and Lusitania. Palse is regarded as the shining star among the other nations, it being superior in size, artistic output, and in peacefulness. Palsians have a feudalistic monarchy, in which the will of the king is carried out by various lords. They are a nation, based around the Parsis of Persia. It is ruled in the beginning by Andragoras III. Its capitol is Ekubatana; other important locals include the Bashuru Mountain range (where Narsus and Kharlan both live), the Peshwald Fortress, and the port city of Giran. In keeping with the themes of Amir Asalan, Palse is probably modeled after ancient Persia which is called Pars or Parse in Persian.
- Lusitania: A smaller nation, Lusitania is regarded as an inferior kingdom to Palse. Lusitanians are all religious fanatics who are determined to convert the rest of the world to their religion by the sword. They are more barbaric and less cultured than any other nation. Because of this, they can dedicate themselves more readily to war—though they go to war with no allies to speak of. They are officially ruled by King Inocentius, but in reality, the kingdom is run by his brother, Guiscarl. Lusitania finds a historical precursor as a western-Iberian civilization. In the mythos of the Heroic Legend of Arislan where many place-names rhyme with their real world counterparts, Lusitania may refer to Macedonia, the arch nemesis of ancient Persia. Since, symbolic personification often derive inspiration from multiple events/people, the European names of the Lusitanians hints that their religious zeal may also have been inspired by the Crusaders. Alternatively, it could also incorporate the embodiment of Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century CE.
- Shindra: Another, smaller nation; little information is actually provided about Shindra, other than details about its princes. Generally, the Palsians view the Shindrans as being selfish and untrustworthy; however, the Shindrans are also fearsome warriors who use elephants instead of war-horses in battle. They are ruled by a theocratic monarch—the king's most powerful advisors are his high priests, and their gods are charged with deciding which prince may rule the kingdom. As regards the country's real-world model, it is most heavily based on Sindh or the Indus Valley.
- Maruyamu: A minor country, even in comparison to the others. Maruyamu is most notable for its non-existence: in order to fuel the army being put together to invade Palse, Lusitania first invaded its smaller neighbor. Maruyamurs worship the same monotheistic god as the Lusitanians, though they are noted for being less barbaric and violent. When they were invaded, the king parlayed with his captors, bargaining to turn his country over to them in exchange for his life and the lives of his family members. After he signed Maruyamu over to the Lusitanians, they murdered both him and his wife. Their two daughters, Irina and Johanna, managed to escape to Palse. It is based loosely on the Eastern Roman Empire.
- Zotto Clan: A nomadic tribe, the Zotto's origins are not made clear in the anime (though it is possible that they are meant to be a representation of the Saka or Scythians who were renowned for their horsemanship as well as skilled archery. The Sakas and related tribes were nomadic/semi nomadic and fiercely independent. Historically they resisted encroachment by the Persians as well as the Greeks, linguistically though they were related to the Persians. In the beginning of the second OAV, in fact, the Zotto have already been wiped out by Silvermask. The only survivors are Arfurido and Merlein.
The fictional world of this story created in the anime, manga, and its novels is heavily based on Persian art, history and culture and those as well of Central Asian art, languages, and religions. This is quite clear in the naming of the characters (the names of most Parsian characters comes from ancient Persian legend, such as 'Shahname'), although there is some controversy over how each character's name should be spelled and pronounced. In the manga, for instance, the title character's name is actually spelled in several different ways, and in turn the anime pronounce characters differently in order to fit his or her speaking style. The main protagonist has been referred to as "Ars'laan", "Arislaan", "Aslaan", and "Arisulan" depending episode, language used and country being broadcast in. Likewise, the character of Daryoon has had his name spelled/pronounced differently from "Darün" to "Dariun".
When the first two episodes of the OAV were released in America by U.S. Manga Corps, all of the character and kingdom names were "translated" into equivalent-sounding names, primarily in Indian languages and subsequently in Persian languages as well. When subsequent episodes were translated and released in America by a different production company, Central Park Media, they came with a footnote stating that the Japanese company who owns the rights to the anime took issue with how the names were translated, and insisted upon a literal translation of the names as they are pronounced in the series. Thus, the official names of the characters sound more like Japanese mispronunciations than they do actual titles—such as Gieve becoming "Guibu". Others, however, have been returned to actual Persian,Indian and Central Asian names, such as Darün and Farangis.
The only exceptions to the naming theme is Narsus/Narcasse and Hirmes. Hirmes may be an alternate name of Hermes, which is the name of a god; although he is Greek in his origins, the Greeks were well-known to the Persians, as the Persian Empire was in conflict with the Greeks during the Greco-Persian Wars, Alexander the Great's conquest, and the Roman-Persian Wars. Narcasse's name is neither Persian, Central Asian nor Indian; the closest equivalent appears in Greek, with the name "Narcissus". Though the name might be equivalent to the Persian Shah Narseh during the Sassanian dynasty whose name has been spelled as Narses, Narseus and Narsus as well.
Actual historical references
The events of The Heroic Legend of Arslan are based on Iranian history, and on an epic poem dating from the mid-19th century, which is itself loosely based on the Shahnama. The anime story displays many other Persian historical, mythical, and religious icons, entities, and events. Listed below are some of the more notable cases:
- Andragoras: In the year 245 CE, the satrap of Parthia--the Persian equivalent of a viceroy--revolted against the newly-crowned Seleucid emperor, Seleucus II. The satrap was named Andragoras. Andragoras openly defied the Seleucid emperor by issuing coinage displaying his own image wearing the royal diadem. As it happens, his rebellion spelled out his own doom. The Parni, a nomadic tribe native to the region, took advantage of the chaos created by Ecbatana's revolt against the empire and invaded the nation. Two years after the original revolt, the Parni tribe successfully took Parthia, killing Andragoras in the process.
- Arislan: The epic poem itself, titled "Amir Arsalan", was told to the Shah of Persia by a naqqal (storyteller) named Muhammad 'Ali Naqib al-Mamālik. Muhammad never transcribed the poem himself, but the daughter of the Shah, who also loved the tale, eventually transcribed it and preserved it for history. The story begins with the Banu of Rum ("Lady of Constantinople" in Persian). Rum (also called Arz-e-Rum) is the name Persians used in midieval times to refer to Anatolia. It is still used today as a geographical name in Turkey as the province of Erzurum. In the story, Rum is conquered by European invaders, and its pregnant Banu forced to flee for her life. She becomes wedded to an Egyptian merchant and gives birth to her child, Arsalan. The merchant claims the child as his own. Eventually of course, Arsalan learns of his royal origins and takes it in his mind to reclaim his throne.
- "Arislan" refers to Arsalan.
- "Arslan" (or Aslan) is the Turkish word for 'Lion'. It is also used in the Chronicles of Narnia, straightforwardly, as the name of the lion.
- "Bachman" refers to Bahman, a character from Shahnama.
- "Bahador" refers to the Bahador in the Shahnama.
- "Daryoon" refers to the great general Darius.
- "Demavand": In the story, "Mount Demavand" where "Lord Silvermask" seeks the mythical sword to destroy his enemies. In the Shahnama, the sword refers to the weapon used by Fereydun to slay Zahak The Dragon King. In Persian mythology, Zahak was buried at Mount Damavand.
- "Dilam" (the port where the blind "Mariam" lands) refers to the south caspian coast of Deylam for whom the Deylamid dynasty were named after.
- Ecbatana: In 245 BCE, the region of what is now Iran was ruled by a kingdom known as Parthia. Parthia, whose capitol was Ecbatana (now know as Hamadan), was a loosely centralized kingdom. It dominated the region between 150 BCE and 226 CE, and is known for being one of the region's major pre-Islamic empires. In its original form however, Parthia was a far smaller area, composed of the northernmost areas of Iran (centered at Nysa), and was a part of the Seleucid Empire.
- "Ectabahana" refers to Ecbatana.
- "Jon Bodan" refers to the 16th-century French scholar and philosopher Jean Bodin, who advocated the use of torture in the course of rooting out suspected witches.
- "Lusitania" is an ancient name for a region of the Iberian peninsula including Portugal. Alternatively, given that many place-names in the mythos often rhyme with their actual historical counter parts, Lusitania may refer to the nemesis of the Achaeminid Persian Empire: Macedonia.
- "The second Mani" (Narsis) refers to Mani; the wise prophet, renowned in Persian tradition as a great artist.
- "Misra" refers to Mithra.
- "Palse" refers to the name "Pars", which is a province in Iran and origin of the word Persia used to refer to Iran.
- "Peshawal" refers to Peshawar.
- "Pharangese" refers to Farangis, a character from Shahnama.
- "Tahamineh" refers to Tahmineh, a character from Shahnama.
- "Yaldabor" refers to Yaldabaoth, a gnostic deity.
- "Zabol" refers to Zabol.
- The crystal ball used by the sorcerers of "Lord Silvermask" for scrying refers to the Persian mythical Cup of Jamshid, where wizards would use the magical object to observe the seven heavens with it.
- In the final episodes, an actual Zoroastrian chant is heard in Persian language with the Towers of silence in Yazd in the background.
- The "Great Continental Road" refers to the Achaemenid Royal Road. It may also refer to the transcontinental Silk Route.
- The burning of books can refer to more than one incident. The library of Persepolis which contained royal inscriptions of the Avesta was burned by Alexander The Great as he entered Persepolis. During the Islamic Conquest of Persia, the Arab conquerors reportedly burnt the Persian royal library, as recounted in Haji Khalifa's book "Kashful Zunoon."
- The map that "Narsis" draws for "Arislan" is a correct depiction of the ancient Persian empire.
- The head gear of the "Lusitanians" may speculatively refer to the Arab Army during the Islamic conquest of Persia.
- The mass suicide by the zealots and followers of Jon Bodan may refer to the mass suicide committed by the Jews of Qumran at Massada during a Jewish revolt against the occupying Romans.
Novels, Manga, and OAVs
The original novel, Arslan Senki, was written by Dr. Yoshiki Tanaka. Though he is primarily a novelist, Tanaka's works have been 'translated' into manga and anime forms before. His novel Ginga eiyu densetsu became Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Sohryuden became Legend of the Dragon Kings. There are eleven novels in the Arslan Senki storyline thus far. These novels were illustrated by legendary mangaka and character-designer Yoshitaka Amano (whose other works include the character design for several Final Fantasy games and for Vampire Hunter D).
The popularity of the Arslan Senki novels was so great that it became natural for it to make a transition to manga form. The thirteen-volume manga was written by Tanaka and illustrated by Chisato Nakamura. The additional popularity of these manga led to the creation of a series of OAVs with character designs adapted by Sachiko Kamimura. The first two OAV episodes were released as "movies", which is why each one is an hour long, rather than the traditional half-hour.
Because of the aforementioned issues regarding translations and names, as well as possible issues with funding the project, it took an extremely long time for the Arslan anime to make its way to the United States. While they originally began production in 1990, as of 2006, they have still not completed the story. Even so, the final two chapters of the OAV arc were not made available until years after the first four had been released, in 2002.
A video game has been released in 1993 for Mega CD.
Yoshiki Tanaka's novels have no relation to the 1976 novel called Arslan written by M. J. Engh which is set in the present.
- ↑ The anime series was originally released as two films and four OVAs. The films were subesquently combined with the OVAs in more recent releases, and the titles of the releases: one with four episodes (2x1h, 2x30m) and six episodes (6x30m).
- On The Heroic Legend of Arslan
- Review at THEMAnime
- The Encyclopædia Britannica's article on Andragoras
- A review of "Amir Arsalan", complete with a story summary
- Fan-site containing geographical locations in the anime, character information, and links to fanfiction
- AnimeCafe's reviews of Arslan
- A small index of Arslan fanfictiontl:Heroic Legend of Arslan