I knew right from the moment I saw the PV of Alderamin on the Sky that I was going to love it. It reminded me so much of GATE (which made it more ironic when the same band that did GATE’s OPs did Alderamin’s) with the art style, the universe and the character designs, so that was a major plus going in.
Then the show started and what I got was a human-specific, fantasy military anime that pretty much matched my expectations.
The anime starts off fantastically. We have six characters stranded on an island after a ship gets attacked and they realize their not only in enemy territory, but one of them is the Princess of the country that this enemy nation is fighting. So they have to figure out a way to get across the border and back home. Enter Ikta Solork, the tactical mastermind of the show. Through his wits and intelligence, they manage to create a plan that gets them back home. However, Ikta’s desire to stay out of the military comes to an end when returning home, as he and the others are knighted and are thrown into the military. And thus begins the real story, Ikta’s first missions as an officer in the military.
There’s one thing I really didn’t like about this and that’s how each character’s individuality and their unique looks kind of went away. They were clothed in military uniforms and were now fighting for god and country. Ikta’s really the only one of the five who really has a unique personality after that point, the other four are just soldiers from then on. Yatori’s the closest of breaking free of this, but that’s more because of her being a badass swordswoman than her personality.
But once the show really gets going with the military aspect of things, the show gets interesting again. The realism of war, including a few deaths that really made me sad, it’s on full display here. Hell, there’s a moment early in the series that I got upset at the main characters for, because I believed they killed three innocent soldiers for no reason. The show isn’t pretty, it puts war on full display. People will die and they will die unjustifiably so.
The animation does a fantastic job at showing this. Blood is a common sight, the colour palette of the show is often red and orange, to really set the tone of constant danger. The intent is there, while there is comedy and a tiny bit of ecchi in the show, the common theme of this anime is war and death. And it’s Ikta’s personal mission throughout the anime to reduce that as much as he can and often failing to do so at times.
At the same time, there is enough filler in between the fighting and depression for some comedy and potential romance. Ikta is a womanizer, so he’s often the butt of a lot of the jokes, especially in the first half of the series when he gets himself into trouble here and there because of his nature, aka getting into a lot of girls’ beds at night. But by the time the later episodes come in, it’s all hands on deck, Ikta’s at the top of his game and you’re wondering just who will survive the final battles ahead.
Speaking of the battles, they’re all fantastically done, both in animation and plot setup. When Yatori or Nanaku are fighting, it’s badass as all hell. When Ikta is setting up traps and ambushes, while Torway snipes the fuck out of people, it’s cool and makes the show more than just a bunch of guys getting stabbed and speared.
If you’re looking for an anime with a good mix of comedy and suspenseful action, this is a pretty good pick for you. If you like military or fantasy anime, this is a pretty good pick as well. It’s hard not to suggest this anime to people, even with the flaws I have with it.
Because seriously…casual Yatori is so fucking sexy. I was so upset when they put her in a boring uniform for the final 10 episodes. Boring!