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EP. REVIEW: The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance


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Sahmbahdeh



Joined: 05 May 2015
Posts: 712
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Wow, I literally could not disagree more on pretty much all points. The CGI is used much better this season, the animation quality, while occasionally clunky, is nowhere as bad as you make it seem, the characters are endearing, the direction is strong, the pacing is much faster than it was last season (which I consider a good thing), the emotional highlights work, the plot twists are good, and the narrative progression is going well. The show also still has that feeling of epic low fantasy I liked so much about the first season. Did we watch the same show?
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Blankslate



Joined: 30 Jun 2015
Posts: 413
Location: Atlanta, GA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:53 pm Reply with quote
Yeah I'd say the pacing, character moments, animation, and subplots are all significantly better than the first season. So I pretty much disagree with everything about this review. This second season is an improvement in every aspect. It's just too bad there's only 5 episodes left.
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ZiharkXVI



Joined: 29 Jan 2009
Posts: 208
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:37 pm Reply with quote
I guess I'm biased because I loved the first season so much. Everything the reviewer says is fair, I suppose, but exaggerated. I don't think the show has done anything badly except for some 3d missteps and not matching an expectation of something this show is not (I guess the original source material). It's just not for this reviewer, in my opinion - just like I don't care for Shokugeki no Soma. I watched only a couple of episodes, didn't care about what the show might have been doing well and focused on the parts that I thought were stupid. But of course, any review by me would have just been, "I really hate this." Why watch what you dislike? Maybe I'm being too hard, but I really like this show and i didn't even notice animation issues these episodes. I went back and I still am not sure there is anything wrong there.
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 795
Location: Latin America
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:41 pm Reply with quote
As much as I love this series, I was pretty upset at the fact that episode 2 has a serious problem with the audio editing... The music was far too loud and I could barely hear the characters.
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coldblueeyes



Joined: 18 Jul 2016
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:54 pm Reply with quote
Why even watch the show if it seems obvious you don't care about it? Give it a rest and do some other thing. It's not terrible to say you don't like it and move on.

For me this was almost a complete waste of a review, because instead of talking about the impovements from the first season and how the good and the bad balance each other, we see a personal opinion of someone that didn't like the first season and kept watching for god knows why - smells like half of the kabaneri hate band - just nitpicking a series that does not take itself that seriously.

Anyway, the biggest problem I have with this season is that we don't have 25 episodes to see this story and the characters. Other than that everything is much better than in the first season, from the animation to the plot to the pacing. Not just that, but for someone that didn't read the novels, but read spoilers, I'm loving every twist of the plot, and I'm liking how they are exploring other characters, and how we can feel the energy between Arslan and his friends.

There are faults in the series, of course. Clunky animation in some of the fights, especially with the horses, some faces are screwed every now and then, we have little time to know more about some of the characters, but still, not to talk that this series could be a lot grittier, and perhaps more profound, if it wasn't aired in the usual timeslot.

I love it anyway. It's fun, exciting, and every episode makes me wish it was longer.
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coldblueeyes



Joined: 18 Jul 2016
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:56 pm Reply with quote
Lactobacillus yogurti wrote:
As much as I love this series, I was pretty upset at the fact that episode 2 has a serious problem with the audio editing... The music was far too loud and I could barely hear the characters.


It was a problem with the broadcast - or with Funi. A day later, I think, the fixed episode was released.
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JacobC
ANN Contributor


Joined: 15 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:15 pm Reply with quote
coldblueeyes wrote:
Why even watch the show if it seems obvious you don't care about it? Give it a rest and do some other thing. It's not terrible to say you don't like it and move on.

For me this was almost a complete waste of a review, because instead of talking about the impovements from the first season and how the good and the bad balance each other, we see a personal opinion of someone that didn't like the first season and kept watching for god knows why - smells like half of the kabaneri hate band - just nitpicking a series that does not take itself that seriously.


A) All reviews are personal opinions, and if this review were more positive it would not be any more "objective" just because it is closer to something you agree with.

B) While we try to assign the most enthusiastic reviewer for each anime to that particular show, literally no one else on staff had kept up with Heroic Legend of Arslan. Seeing as plenty of other reviewers started the show (and did not finish it), I think it's fair to represent that more lukewarm point of view in reviews from the one person who did stick with it. The way we assign daily streaming reviews actually stacks things in favor of more positive all-around reviews for each show, but that's not always going to be the case. We have a large crop of writers to choose from, but sometimes there are shows with ardent fanbases (see also Rewrite and Berserk) that no one on staff is that enthusiastic about. Nothing we can do about it, and you are always free to disagree.
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Hameyadea



Joined: 23 Jun 2014
Posts: 3679
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:51 pm Reply with quote
After a full 25-episode season + 3 episodes from this season, the show is finally at the point were the 1990s OVAs ended on. From here on out, it's uncharted territory.
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ZiharkXVI



Joined: 29 Jan 2009
Posts: 208
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:31 pm Reply with quote
JesuOtaku wrote:
coldblueeyes wrote:
Why even watch the show if it seems obvious you don't care about it? Give it a rest and do some other thing. It's not terrible to say you don't like it and move on.

For me this was almost a complete waste of a review, because instead of talking about the impovements from the first season and how the good and the bad balance each other, we see a personal opinion of someone that didn't like the first season and kept watching for god knows why - smells like half of the kabaneri hate band - just nitpicking a series that does not take itself that seriously.


A) All reviews are personal opinions, and if this review were more positive it would not be any more "objective" just because it is closer to something you agree with.

B) While we try to assign the most enthusiastic reviewer for each anime to that particular show, literally no one else on staff had kept up with Heroic Legend of Arslan. Seeing as plenty of other reviewers started the show (and did not finish it), I think it's fair to represent that more lukewarm point of view in reviews from the one person who did stick with it. The way we assign daily streaming reviews actually stacks things in favor of more positive all-around reviews for each show, but that's not always going to be the case. We have a large crop of writers to choose from, but sometimes there are shows with ardent fanbases (see also Rewrite and Berserk) that no one on staff is that enthusiastic about. Nothing we can do about it, and you are always free to disagree.


I think we are just looking at the situation where fans of the show are reading this review and can tell when someone is not a fan. Even if I can see this reviewer might not have wanted to continue watching this, and of course, if we are all honest here, this show is not perfect and it is quite fair to have a negative opinion. I'm not bothered at all - and my disagreements with this review are detailed in the previous post and by other people. I don't think this is just more of the same, I didn't notice the proposed bad animation, and I like Arslan as a sort of naive white knight - that doesn't mean there isn't depth or development. I think it's sort of expected that we are going to get a lot of discussion like this since more or less fans are watching and reading. I'm just glad I don't have to review something I dislike because at the end of the day it's harder for me to come to the point of separating my feeling from telling us objective concerns. On the other side of the coin, it's also difficult when you love something though. Many a review I've read gives stuff a pass of they really are in love with the rest of the show.


Aside from all of that, I thought this season began with a bang. The sword, the battle, and Androgoras swooping in to screw everything up. 8 episodes is not enough to wrap this up.
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sven7



Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:06 pm Reply with quote
Yep - agree with most of the sentiment here. The reviewer got several things wrong last season. (I.e. it was claimed they were marching on Ecbatana when it was really Saint Emmanuel.) Yet! I respect her reviews, but also respectfully disagree with some of her opinions. It would be nice if there was a little more enthusiasm for the show, but that cannot be forced. (To another post's point - I do understand reviewing shows is based off of certain criteria and reviewers passions). Hopefully the new season can brighten the approach!

I definitely agree with her on aspects of the animation. The studio seems lazy at times. It's a sad state that such source material like this (and Berserk!) get treated this way, but such is the way of the industry. Rose has been very fair in her assessments of the animation.

Alas, as a fan of the show, I only hope the story does well to changer her mind! I love reading ANN reviews for differing viewpoints from my own. While I have disagreed with much of Rose's plot opinions, I respect that and hope she continues to give Arslan a shot!
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1080
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:45 pm Reply with quote
I'm another who thought the animation this season had improved. But the pacing has not. I have no idea what they're going to try to fit in in eight episodes, but it can't be the whole rest of the first novel arc. That would be insane. From the looks it will just be the southern pirate arc. I hope.

Right now they're just past the halfway point on the first arc (so actually there's no reason not to bring in new characters), that ends at the end of book 7 and would be a great place to end the anime. Alas, that assumes we get another cour after this one that lets them push to the final ending.

Re: characterization, that complaint always puzzled me. Arslan has clearly grown into his role as a leader figure, and that's really all that's required of this young man in this epic. Think of the tales of King Arthur. How much time was spent on characterization of him and his knights in the old epics? Next to none. They were each defined by singular actions, and those are the sole reason they exist. They're in heroic epics in which deeds were everything. The tale of Arslan is older still, and while this newer retelling from the eighties combines many of those legends into this one, it's still from a period in which epic fantasy was written to the same tune as those old legends. Characterization is not the point of tales like these, and if you're looking for it it's perhaps best to read another sort of story.

Despite the faults of this particular anime, I'm enjoying the chance to watch this epic, especially since it covers heroic fantasy of a culture we see too little of, that of the Middle East.
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Zhou-BR



Joined: 28 Feb 2008
Posts: 1182
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:10 am Reply with quote
I thought the first season's pacing was fine, covering four novels over 25 episodes, but this one's been rushed as hell. They're even resorting to exposition through narration in order to fill holes in the narrative, which I don't remember the first season doing at any point.

I suppose the five remaining episodes will cover the sixth novel, which is where the season's title comes from, but it's still frustrating that the anime will be one novel away from finishing the first phase of the original story. This shortened season was a terrible idea.
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SailorTralfamadore



Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 497
Location: Keep Austin Weeb
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:54 pm Reply with quote
keisuke7 wrote:
I definitely agree with her on aspects of the animation. The studio seems lazy at times. It's a sad state that such source material like this (and Berserk!) get treated this way, but such is the way of the industry. Rose has been very fair in her assessments of the animation.


Did you know, it's the same studio as the new Berserk? As well as Terraformars. Shocked

Quote:
The reviewer got several things wrong last season. (I.e. it was claimed they were marching on Ecbatana when it was really Saint Emmanuel.)


I sincerely apologize for this, btw. I have a hard time keeping details together in very worldbuilding-intensive, cast-of-thousands stories like this, especially when I'm not that captivated by them. But this is something I've actively been trying to work on in my reviews over the past year.

Quote:
Alas, as a fan of the show, I only hope the story does well to changer her mind! I love reading ANN reviews for differing viewpoints from my own. While I have disagreed with much of Rose's plot opinions, I respect that and hope she continues to give Arslan a shot!


Thanks a bunch! I really appreciate your confidence in my reviews. I hope I can continue to live up to it, even if we sometimes disagree about the series.
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DrunkAyanami



Joined: 27 Feb 2015
Posts: 86
PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:22 pm Reply with quote
I'm pretty lukewarm on this series myself and largely agree with Rose's assessments.

The fact that Game of Thrones is also an epic low fantasy adaptation that exists AND is airing around the same time just really hurts my enjoyment of Arslan.

I know I shouldn't compare the two, but it's difficult not to because "realistic" fantasy such as these is simply just not a genre that makes it to TV/movies very often.

The characterization in Arslan is kind of weak, but at least it's there: I get the motivations for all the characters involved, even when they're simplistic or outright annoying/stupid (in my opinion anyway... looking at you, Alfreed). Instead, it bugs me that all the major characters in Arslan have ridiculous plot armor. It bugs me that Narsus is a freaking perfect strategist and Daryun is the strongest knight ever who is obviously going to win against against anyone who isn't a very major antagonist. In sum, I guess it's largely the predictability of the show that's killing it for me. The escape and reclamation of the throne by Andragoras was a nice shot of "wait, what?" for me. Despite the fact that it felt like a plot device to relegate Arslan back to underdog status, I enjoyed the twist, along with Andragoras' total alpha-male assholeishness. I want more moments like that. Just give me something that doesn't follow a perfectly neat genre script. Although maybe that's asking for too much given the age of the source material?

Meanwhile, the CGI... Really anime, you are killing me with your CGI fight scenes with clone-stamped army men. Anime, please, STAHP, what are you doing? Again, I cant help but be reminded of amazing large-scale GoT battles are in comparison (yes, the budget is way bigger, but as far as CG goes, I'm referring mainly to how it's blended so seamlessly with camera footage).

But, I continue to watch, because I just can't get enough "serious" fantasy, especially when it's packed with politics and strategery.

Oh well, at least Arslan is a known quantity that straddles that line between "mildly enjoyable" and "mildly disappointing" for me this season.

Not like this season's Berserk was/is. I have such conflicted feels about Berserk right now.
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DangerMouse



Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 3798
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:27 am Reply with quote
Lost what I was initially going to post when the review first went up when my browser crashed but many have already brought up most of the points.

Sahmbahdeh wrote:
Wow, I literally could not disagree more on pretty much all points. The CGI is used much better this season, the animation quality, while occasionally clunky, is nowhere as bad as you make it seem, the characters are endearing, the direction is strong, the pacing is much faster than it was last season (which I consider a good thing), the emotional highlights work, the plot twists are good, and the narrative progression is going well. The show also still has that feeling of epic low fantasy I liked so much about the first season. Did we watch the same show?


Completely agree. Perhaps aside from wishing this was getting a full season and the quite thorough first season pacing, but the speed is all right so far.

Also, "too late to add characters" in the review makes absolutely no sense considering it's well known there's plenty of story left if they intend to continue adapting (and not do anything anime only too), like Sunflower said.
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