Eight episodes into Alderamin on the Sky, I’m finally open to giving it a recommendation and if you’ve been following this show then you probably aren’t surprised as to why I’m giving this recommendation now after a relatively emotional episode.
Alderamin on the Sky follows Ikta Solork and four of his allies who are citizens of the Katjvarna Empire. This is a military fantasy series, so there was no doubt I was going to keep up with it even though I found it was relatively imperfect. The main character, Ikta, is a genius akin to anime’s greatest geniuses (as in Lelouch, Light, type) though unlike those series, Ikta is the only genius in the show, and he has no rival in that regard, what that entails is that, every other character’s flaws are accentuated in the face of Ikta. Aside from one bout of rash anger, he’s been mostly a gary stu, and the fact that he hasn’t truly seen his intelligence challenged has made it so that Ikta feels forced of sort.
Ikta is lazy, and his entire mantra behind his tactics is to avoid putting in as much effort as always, he makes ‘scientific’ decisions instead of riding on emotions for the most part. Ikta’s four friends are Yatorishino, a member of highly militaristic and traditional family and the straight and narrow soldier of the group, Torway, coming from a prestigious family as well and the group’s gentle sniper, Matthew, comedy relief and coward with… I suppose a heart of gold, and lastly Becker, the shy healer. When they save the empire’s princess (thanks to Ikta’s intelligence), they’re rushed up to the positions of officers, something Ikta despises but his four friends were aiming for. I could talk more about the characters but really, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re one dimension but two would be accurate.
Unfortunately for the five, the upper classes of the empire’s military consists of mostly incompetent, cowardly, one dimension bad guys (with like one single rare exception that randomly disappeared from the cast a couple of episodes back) and Ikta consistently has to upend their bad decisions with smart tactics through the use of his friends more complementary specialized skills. The issue here is, Alderamin on the Sky hasn’t had any sort of real conflict till the recent episode and even with that, nothing has legitimately challenged Ikta. Going back to his ‘scientific’ decision making, the recent episode puts Ikta in a position where he can ride on emotion and take a dangerous costly risk, or he can make the ‘scientific’ decision that will keep those under him entirely safe but will take the lives of others out of his hands.
For once, Ikta appears to be not an entirely perfect character after all. Now, don’t get me wrong, he still seems rather flawless but from the perspective of the reader, we now have a reason to see Ikta as unlike the perfect being he was shown to before. He cannot save everyone and he won’t win the day indefinitely, he too has to make sacrifices, and though he can coldly make those sacrifices, it’s pleasant to see he won’t move forward in this series without losing as well.
Now, I still believe that ultimately, Ikta needs a competent rival to match him, perhaps a new prodigy his mentor picked up in the rival kingdom, the Republic of Kioka but with only five episodes left in the main series, I’m not sure we’ll be seeing that and thus, we’ll have to wait to see Ikta somehow gets a more legitimate foil as we come to an end of the first season (and of course, to see if we’ll get more seasons).
Not a total recommendation. This show dropped the feels, and the feels were strong enough for me to rush this post up BUT it’s still such a flawed imperfect show that really needs to add a million times more feels. At the moment, I’m watching this out of the bored habit that I don’t have much to do before my overnight shifts, it’s not like re:Zero where I’m desperate to get to the next episode. But I mean, if you want to discover an interesting military fantasy world in anime form then this isn’t a real bad option. It’s light on legit tactics though and extremely slow paced so you’ve been warned.