Alderamin on the Sky (or Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin) is a military fantasy anime that mostly works. The lack of ending is a bit of a problem as is the overall pacing, but if you like Ikta’s approach to life you’ll have a lot of fun along the way with a fun enough cast and some interesting ideas.
What is it about?
A lazy boy (who is also an outrageous flirt) is going to take some exam for the army (because a friend of his has asked him to) but while on route their boat starts sinking and they are forced to bail. Naturally they rescue a princess and then end up behind enemy lines. Though really that’s only how the story starts and we’ll move through more than one military campaign during this series.
While I have written a full series review below you will find my thoughts on each episode of the series.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 1
Not what I was expecting. I very nearly just skipped right past this series thinking I was sick of the every guy joining the army and being amazing and all the girls flocked to him.
While there is definitely a bit of that, Alderamin on the Sky distinguishes itself in two ways.
One, they aren’t currently sitting in a military school and doing training games that may or may not take on a serious tone later.
Two, the main character actually seems to have a bit of a personality and child-hood friend girl doesn’t seem either the overbearing sister type or the pathetic wimp.
Whether I enjoyed this first episode so much because it defied my expectations or because it was good I’m not sure. Looking forward to the next episode.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 2
Really loving Alderamin so far. It’s been awhile since a pure fantasy (other than Snow White) has really caught my attention. And Endride (which was my last attempt at this genre) was truly, unwatchably dreadful and I gave it away by episode 4.
Mostly I am finding the protagonist interesting. Yeah, he’s got a dark past and it’s damaged him so the standard orphan with chip on shoulder cliché is well in effect but he isn’t grating on my nerves and I genuinely want to see how he will deal with the situation he’s now been thrust into.
Possibly this will lose momentum once the introductions are over and done with, but I’m really hoping for something good here. The first two episodes definitely impressed.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 3
Okay, they went to officers school and part of me rolled my eyes thinking that they just couldn’t resist shoving our characters into a school setting and I expected this episode of Alderamin to go downhill from there.
And yes, there is the usual bullying scenes and our eccentric (lazy) protagonist sticks out like a sore thumb, but then we transition into a training exercise and it feels like a real combat situation (rather than two characters having a duel for the sake of it).I also like that none of our main group seem to be the hotheaded type that rise to needless provocation. That type of character tends to bore me to tears.
Also, Solork’s command issues linked to past indiscretions is a nice touch as it adds some weight to the playboy persona he occasionally adopts but we haven’t really seen any direct evidence of in the series. I continued to enjoy this series and was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it continues to be even while it doesn’t feel particularly new.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 4
Yatori is really impressive.
With Solork being so much smarter than anybody else (which makes you wonder how anyone has won a battle prior to Solork showing up) I was really worried that all of his companions would exist just to be pushed around by him and to show off how smart he was.
Yatori in this episode of Alderamin shows that she is capable of seeing through his strategies (even if her rigid adherence to the chain of command prevents her from doing much about them) and that she can act on her own. We already knew she was physically impressive but this episode showcases that aspect as well.
I’m really enjoying this series and I’m glad that Yatori has had a bit of a moment in this episode. The softer aspect of her personality that came through at the end was nice as well. She really is starting to feel like a character rather than an accessory.
But, can they do something about the Princess? Her character at the moment serves little purpose other than to create a sense of drama.
Oh, and I almost forgot to point out that they won the war game. Seriously though, that one was never in doubt.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 5
I kind of know I’m into a show when they deliver a whole episode of flashback and I still love it.
Alderamin timed this perfectly. Just when they’ve shown how well Yatori and Ikta work together we go back to where it all started for them. It’s a cute and charming episode and the wolf siege has just the right amount of drama to be affective. That said, because the entire episode is essentially a flash back the plot this week kind of crawled to a halt.
Overall, great character development, still a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy, and I really can’t wait until the next episode.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 6
While from a plot point of view this episode of Alderamin seems weaker (just another obvious set-up for Ikta to show off his amazing brain), the characters and the writing of this anime continue to make for a pleasant viewing experience.
The change of location was nice and the interactions between characters, new and old, were entertaining and the episode passed swiftly. At some point they are really going to need to explain why all these guys have spirit helpers with them because that aspect has been woefully under-explained and at times we forget the spirits exist at all until the plot calls upon them to act.
This continues to be one of the strongest series this season.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 7
Alderamin continues to be better than it probably should be. Last week they lay the foundations for a new conflict, this week we see the first stages of that conflict and next week we’ll probably see our core characters resolve the conflict or at least make steps to resolve it. It really shouldn’t be as interesting as it is but I’m totally hooked.
Every episode passes quickly and I just love watching the interactions between the characters. It would be lovely if not every official in the Empire was actually a jerk, but clearly we’re not going to have that wish fulfilled, but otherwise there are some really interesting supporting characters appearing in this anime.
Also, this anime is getting my vote for quote of the week: “Common sense arguments only work on people who have common sense.” Truer words were never spoken.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 8
Continuing the battle in the mountains things take a turn for the worse this episode due to the inept command and lack of preparation for a battle that by all appearances the commanders instigated but weren’t ready for. While this helps to endear us further to the core group and to really feel for the plight of the soldiers, it also feels like something is lacking.
The entire military cannot be made of idiots, regardless of Ikta’s personal views. The obvious trap set up early on in this episode takes some of the emotional punch out of the final scene but Alderamin continues to be a very solid show.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 9
It feels now like this battle is getting stretched out for the sake of it. While there are some very cool moments in the battle and Ikta has a few moments of self-reflection, overall nothing really progresses.
The military are still trampling through the mountains, blindly trying to fight an enemy that knows the terrain and is really, really ticked off. One character who raised a death flag during an early conversation somehow managed to avoid it whereas another character walked straight into his death trap. Unfortunately, I didn’t care enough about either of those characters to be really affected by it.
Alderamin is still my surprise favourite for the season (in terms of new shows), but this episode was so-so.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 10
After last week’s rather ordinary episode, this one seemed to go out of its way to hit us hard with some of the best things about Alderamin.
First we re-established why Ikta and Yatori are actually still the heroes of the story even though they are officers in an army that pretty much sucks. We then get a very humanizing moment for Ikta that works quite effectively as he apologies to someone (for something he didn’t do) and bears the consequences (which will be permanent).
What I liked most about this moment was his explanation afterwards where he points out he didn’t have time to win with words. Seeing him forced into unfavourable action really helps make his character believable when so many times he seems to breeze through situations unscathed.
The core group all renew their resolve and have a bit of a pep-talk before we’re back to business (I wonder if they’ll bring the Princess back or if she’s just stuck narrating for the rest of the battle). We’ve also established a new enemy and this one seems like it will be a challenge to fight. They may have taken binary opposition a bit too far in the strategist from the opposing army but it looks like we are in for an entertaining battle.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 11
After setting up a conflict between two geniuses last week, this episode really just had the two of them testing the other out. As a result, we had a skirmish with some loss of lives but nothing really decisive. Everything really feels like it is just waiting for the real show to begin.
With that said, I’d like to criticise the main theme of the second half this week, where Ikta’s second in command and Matthew both came to the realisation that people are going to die in the rear guard action. I really hate this in stories about the military where people in the military suddenly realise they might die. It always leaves me thinking ‘what did you think was going to happen when people stood and shot at each other?’.
That said, it looks like we have 2 episodes to go and I’m fairly curious as to how this will actually end.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 12
With one episode to go there weren’t any surprises this week but that didn’t stop this episode from being dramatic and engaging. It was excellent to see Ikta and Yattori’s relationship continue to be a pertinent motivator even amongst the crisis.
It was also great to see Torway not just be involved in the battle but actually making some decisions about how to deal with a situation on his own (with only a little prompting). Possibly the weakest aspect of the episode was Ikta’s inability to figure out what the enemy was up to (given some of the insights he’s had previously it just seemed plot convenience for him to get stumped now).
That said, I’m really looking forward to the last two days of this retreat to see how they handle things.
Alderamin on the Sky Episode 13
Ikta finally woke up and figured out a plan to get around the unsleeping guy and that was nearly anti-climatic in the end. Not because turning the tables mid-battle with words alone (after a show of force) isn’t impressive, but the fact that it happened mid-episode followed by a stilted and awkward conversation between the two (with a wonderful barrier of fire separating them) just kind of made it all seem kind of blah.
The rest follows Ikta and the Princess reuniting and her very odd request that makes a really bizarre amount of sense given the context.
“You will lose the war in the right way.”
That said, now I do want this show to continue because while watching these characters and this conflict I’ve kind of become invested in where things will go and while it is tied up enough that we could leave it here, I’d really like to see more. But, all things considered, it seems unlikely that another season will come along.
Images from: Alderamin on the Sky. Dir. T. Ichimura. Madhouse. 2021
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Hope you enjoyed.