Alderamin on the Sky is about a fantasy world that is on the verge of an industrial revolution – if only religion weren’t determined to hold it back. Our story takes place in the Katjvarnan Empire, who are at war with the neighboring Kioka Republic and have been for what seems like an eternity. It is centred around two unlikely friends: Yatorishino Igsem and Ikta Solork.
Ikta is a student of science – forbidden knowledge deemed heretical by the continent’s primary religion – and a man who has a deep disdain for heroes, for the military, and for the Empire itself. Yatori, on the other hand, is the scion of the prestigious Igsem family, one of the most famous families in the Empire, and loyal protectors of the Katvjarnan royal family. Yet the two seem so close they almost don’t even need words to communicate.
Our story starts with Ikta helping Yatori cheat her way into the military academy she wishes to attend. Things don’t go as planned when the boat taking them to the academy is caught in a storm and sinks…
Alderamin’s story is narrated by one of the show’s key characters: Princess Chamille Kitra Katvarnmaninik. Chamille is the third princess of the Katvjarnan royal family, and is indirectly responsible for the events of the entire show. Her narration provides context and humour to each episode. For example, it is her that tells you – early on in the series – that Ikta Solork will go on to be known as the Invincible, Lazy General. Narration of this sort can be a tough sell in a lot of shows as it can often kill any attempt at suspense. Fortunately, Alderamin isn’t really relying on suspense so it worked perfectly, and it helped to establish the tone for this show.
Alderamin on the Sky’s greatest strength is a combination of intelligent writing and a very strong cast. While it is inarguable that Ikta is the star of this little series, each of the show’s major characters played a huge role in ensuring it never got dry. Ikta’s interactions with the other characters show off his genius in a way that creates humour to keep this war story from ever getting too heavy. This show also features one of the greatest dialogue moments I’ve ever seen in an anime, concerning – of all things – masturbation. I won’t spoil it for you, but I promise you, you’ll be laughing your ass off before that scene comes to a close.
Unlike a lot of war anime, the focus in this one is not just action. Sure, the fights are pretty intense and have some amazing effects, but the main focus here is the strategy behind the battle. Ikta is not a fighter, he’s a strategist… and one of the best the country has ever seen, though they don’t quite know it yet. And since the story revolves around him, it makes everything in the show a bit more thoughtful than you’d normally see. It’s a great change of pace from a lot of anime, and it allows our main character to get walloped from time to time – which sometimes is incredibly satisfying to watch.
One thing that we were constantly appreciating about this show was its attention to detail. They took time to consider the full impact of the culture of a place. Different regions seem to have different naming conventions, attire, cultural styles… it’s all very logical. It’s rare to have such thought put into the world of an action anime, and it helped to make me all the more engaged in this fascinating show. It also gave Ikta the ability to use this information in his strategizing, which was a nice touch.
The first season of Alderamin on the Sky sets the stage for a series that could go really, really well. It still has a ways to go, but what we have now is already a thoughtful, fun, varied action show. While there was certainly a ton of laughter to be found here, there’re even a few scenes that almost had me in tears. In the end, the show is incomplete, but what we’ve seen shows such potential that I sincerely hope for more.