The Heroic Legend of Arslan

volume 2 sleeve volume 3 sleeve

NB: The official UK title for volumes 1 & 2 is 'The Heroic legend of Arislan'

Director:     Mamoru Hamatsu (parts 1&2)/Tetsuro Amino (part 3)
Screenplay:   Megumi Sugihara
Copyright:    Yoshiki Tanaka/Kadokawa Shoten/Sony Music Entertainment

VHS version:
Language:     English
Label:        Manga Video

Volume:       1             2             3
Running time: 60 mins       59 mins       56 mins
Certificate:  PG            PG            PG
Catalogue no: MANV 1013     MANV 1022     MANV 1099
Price:        £10.99   £10.99   £11.99
Release Date: Jul 1993      Nov 1993      4th Sep 1995


Volumes 1&2:

The first thing you notice when watching this Manga Video release is that they are dubbed using English actors, which makes a change from the Americans we are so accustom to. Presumably this is to give a more authentic feel to the fantasy setting, and is a nice touch. All the actors speak very standard English throughout though, which tends to a lack of depth for the characters on occasion.

The plot, in case you're interested, concerns the adventures of a group of typical fantasy heroes, led by the young Prince Arislan of Palse. An army from the neighbouring country of Lusitania invades and conquers Palse, and the rest of the series details Arislan's quest to restore the throne to its rightful owner.

I've already reviewed both films for Island World's Mangazine and despite Lawrence Guiness' editing I still stand by it after having seen the final version. It's a great film, but unlikely to go down well with the teenage male audience that Manga Video is trying to appeal to. The only fault I can find with the dubbing is with the actor used for Prince Arislan. He gives the sort of monotone, characterless delivery that is all too familiar from previous releases. Apart from that, all the performances are well done and for once don't degrade the quality of the film.

Of course I'd be betraying the very foundations of anime fandom if I didn't rant on about some trivial failings. Firstly, in the original Japanese version, the writer invented a unique dialect for the Lusitanian characters to make them stand out. This was a nice detail that they have neglected here. The other quible is that Arislan's name was actually 'Arslan' in the original. 'Arslan' is the Farsi (Iranian) word for 'lion', which is appropriate to the character; 'Arislan' is meaningless.

Overall, one of Manga Video's best efforts so far, well worth the asking price. [Jonathan Weeks]

Volume 3:

After something of a long wait, the latest exploits of Prince Arslan have arrived. Plot-wise, nothing needs to be said - everything continues exactly from where it was left at the end of part 2. These episodes were made for video rather than theatrical release, and therefore don't look nearly as good as parts 1 & 2. Apart from that, there's nothing to discourage anyone who enjoyed the previous episodes from picking this tape up. [Jonathan Weeks]

Comment from newsgroups:

  Arislan has very heavy duty shoujo overtones. It is not your typical 
high fantasy Lodoss Wars affair. Much more accent on style and atmosphere. 
Heavily influenced by ancient Persia. So much more of an oriental fantasy, 
then westernised world of Lodoss. 
  It comes hardly as surprise, that it is based on Tanaka-sensei's 
novels - same man who gave us 'Gin Ei Den' - 'Legend of Galactic Heroes'.
And while anime only covers very beginning of the storyline covered 
by the novels, the novel fans are in no better predicament - several 
years since last Arislan novel came out. Tanaka-sensei should get into
habit of finishing the series, before starting on next one...
  On the second hand, the novels have _gorgeous_ covers and inside 
illustrations by one Yoshitaka Amano, who is mildly well-known amongst
fans for knowing how to put pencil to paper...