I'd been meaning to watch this title for some time, as a favorite song of mine (Ryoute Ippai) comes from it. Overall I liked it, but it ran from some complex political themes to some hard to believe contrivances. There were also a few stereotypical anime characterizations and relationships.
Regardless, what really stands out about this title, I read from a review by "Zereshk" on Netflix, "For those of you who dont know, Arslan's story is based directly (yet dicreetly) on Persian mythology... Too bad Hollywood has been ignoring this rich area of legend and literature due to politics, unlike the open minded Japanese, despite the fact that the Persian empire arguably was the largest superpower of antiquity, feared by the Greeks and Romans... The series tries to condense the entire mass of 3000 years of written Persian history (mostly from 500 BC to 600 AD), legends, and mythology into one (albeit loosely) comprehensive story. ... And besides, monarchy has been in continued existence in Persia (Iran) since the dawn of time. The struggle for the throne has never ended. "
I agree in that I find it astounding that so little of the region's mythology and stories have been popularized by Hollywood. I also find it strikingly appropriate that one of the story's central themes, demonization of the "Rusitanians" because of the war they wage in the name of their god, finds parallel in the context of modern day events in the same region.
The animation itself was rather poor, although the character designs were well done (albeit varying from episode to episode). I recall one beautiful scene in which a character named Farangese played her flute while the wind fluttered her hair. Unfortunately, there were numerous scenes that were comprised of a series of stills. Nevertheless, for all its faults in execution, I think they're reasonably outweighed by the weight of its subject matter.
A couple of things really stuck with me (from memory, so they're paraphrased). "Kings and empires may crumble away, but art is forever." And the second was a character's response (I forget which) regarding why a great strategist and a great general would follow Arslan, a 14 year old boy who, other than having noble blood, really has nothing to offer. The answer was an analogy in which a big boat with a good crew needs a large body of water to reach full speed. Of Arslan, the character said, "He is a lake now that one day may become an ocean."