Fans have been raving about Alderamin on the Sky since the release of the first light novel in 2012. Originally titled Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyo no Aruderamin, the series were written by Uno Bokuto and illustrated by Sanba Sou received much hype, and would eventually go on to receive a manga as well as the anime adaptation. Both the light novels and manga are ongoing, though plans for a second season of the anime have not yet been announced. It should be stated that this review will strictly be looking at the anime, as I have read neither the light novels or the manga.
I immediately became worried from episode one about the dynamic between the main characters, as they were all quite literally thrown into a room and forced to spend time together. Typically with this method, characters are made to seem like they are close and upholding strong friendships from the start, without any chemistry or much time devoted to building it up. I am happy to say that this was not the case for Ikta Solork and his companions. The show does a nice job of showing the progression of friendship between not only the group as a whole, but the characters individually interacting with one another privately. By the end of the season, the friendship between them does not feel forced or faked.
One character that seemed to really stand out was Yatorishino Igsem, or Yatori for short. While other characters like Torway, Haro, and Princess Chamille seemed to fall flat, Yatori’s character has depth. I very much enjoyed episode five, titled Two for One, in which we see more of her backstory and receive a better understanding of who she is, where she came from, why she is so skilled and cold, as well as her relationship with Ikta.
Ikta Solork, the main character, and focus of the series, was very much standard. His character definitely makes a journey as he discovers what it is he fights for and the difficult responsibilities that come with being a general in war. The problem lies within the depth of his character. It feels too much as though Yatori is more interesting than Ikta, who has much unexplained backstory. It would have made more sense the other way around, and would’ve avoided the apparent disconnect with the main character of the series.
Other than Yatori and Ikta, Matthew is the only other notable character with some growth, as he learns to come into his own and step up in the face of war, even when he is frightened. It would have been nice, however, if all of the characters had more growth throughout the season.
While most 13-episode anime series attempt to cram too much story into a small amount of time, Alderamin on the Sky seems to have the opposite issue. The story’s highlight is in the characters’ inner emotional and mental struggles. These issues alone could carry through a simpler physical story and have a greater effect than what actually happened. The personal conflicts were sidelined while we were introduced to several different antagonists over the course of the episodes. This causes for certain plotlines to be utterly forgotten about and/or not addressed, like the toxicity of the Remeon family, or the Empire’s thievery of the Sinack spirits, or the animalistic side of Yatori threatening to take over. All are extremely intriguing on their own but unfortunately are never brought back into the light. My only thought is that perhaps there are plans for a season two, and that these plotlines will be picked up again and shown in greater detail.
The main story arch of Ikta’s rise in rank and shine of militaristic genius is fine in its own respect, though even that doesn’t seem entirely complete by the sudden end. This story has immense potential and a platform to achieve brilliant storytelling. I only hope that it is able to be continued because otherwise, it feels only half-complete.
As far as 13-episode animes go, it isn’t bad by any means. Its faults are in its management of story elements. What should be focussed on isn’t and what shouldn’t is focussed on too much. I appreciate its action sequences and style of animation. Mixed with the constant strategic thinking that the anime puts the viewer through, the experience is thrilling. The music composed by Kenji Inai is breathtakingly gorgeous. It fits each scene perfectly, adding to the emotions that are being portrayed on screen.
I give Alderamin on the Sky a 7/10 rating. It’s worth a watch, especially for fans of the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise; it fits the same kind of militaristic yet fantastical feel. I can wholeheartedly say that I am glad I saw this anime and that I’m hopeful for a second season!