Alderamin on the Sky – Mid Season Review
Alderamin on the Sky:
Original Air Dates: July 8, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: The Katjvarna Empire is at war with its neighbor: The Kioka Republic. As tensions are mounting one womanizing, self-obsessed, arrogant young man, Ikta travels across the sea alongside Yatrisino, a level-headed heir to her noble family, Matthew, a wanna-be of royal blood whose family is hardly remembered and others. But when their ship is hit by a nasty storm, it forces their party to abandon ship.
As they attempt to disembark safely, Ikta is forced to save a young girl who, as it turns out, is the princess of their kingdom. When the group reaches a nearby shoreline, they discover they’ve drifted into enemy territory. Now can Ikta and the rest get the princess back across the border safely?
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Ikta was a huge detractor during our Preview Coverage earlier this season. We found his womanizing, arrogant, and obnoxious personality to be a major hinderance to our enjoyment of the series. The unfortunate truth is that, outside of a flashback into Ikta’s childhood, he remains as unlikable as ever. He’s still hitting on girls and getting mad at any guy who dares to be more handsome than he. It’s a tired and often overdone character flaw that feels too forced and in your face to feel funny as intended.
Linny: If you are not fond of the lazy but brilliant and somewhat arrogant MC trope, Ikta is going to get on your nerves and test them for a greater part of the show. So far, he seems to embody some of the worst aspects of that trope. He wins encounters with ease very often and seems to think all women, save for a handful, exist solely to be treated and used as sexual objects. And of course, since we have the stereotypical brilliant upstart of a hero, we get the jealous seniors and troop mates who despise him for being just so darn good at everything and for disrespecting their prestigious elite force by not wanting to actively be a part of it. I’d love to discuss other characters in depth but almost all of them seem to exist mainly to give Ikta someone to rescue, impress or insult depending on the situation.
Tom: Outside of Ikta, I’d say only two other characters get any kind of significant screen time, or development. Igsem, the fiery red head who’s damn good with a a sword, appears during Ikta’s flashback and thus we become more familiar with her character, although she’s so subdued emotionally that she still feels at a distance. Princess Chamille, whom they saved in Episodes 1 and 2, also gets some brief characterization, but Alderamin seems far more concerned with its plot and Ikta than any of the other characters. In fact outside of these three I’d argue the other two male leads exist as little more than trumped up supporting characters who happened to have names. Remion, who has a sibling issue with his older, asshole of a brother, gets little development from that angle and the whole plot line feels like it exists as little more than lip service to the existence of his character and his problems.
Linny: Being that a large chunk of the show and the focus is on Ikta coupled with the fact that he’s a rather well known trope archetype, this causes the show to play out in a manner that might seem familiar and predictable to more seasoned audiences. A lot of the events and incidents follow the textbook formula that comes with having an arrogant but brilliant hero. What further mars the show’s appeal is the lack of world building which can make the story feel incomplete. When the audience feels like it doesn’t know much about the universe in which our story is based, a lot of the elements and ingredients feel completely alien and seem to be jammed in as mere plot devices rather than feeling like a natural occurrence or development.
Tom: I agree that Alderamin doesn’t feel all that unique, and indeed the quality drops off during episode two and much of the third. However, despite its flaws, I found myself enthralled by the end of episode three, through four, and even enjoyed myself in five’s flashback. It’s during Alderamin’s story arc involving a mock battle where we’re finally introduced to the few redeeming qualities within Ikta if not the entire show itself. The intricacies of the battle keep things feeling fresh and mysteries introduced in episode six help to pique my interest going into the second half of the season.
Linny: Harking back to what I was harping on earlier, the magical sprites are an extremely awkward part of the world of Alderamin. They’re never really explained or addressed to the point where it feels like the show assumes the audience is already familiar with the light novel it’s based on. These sprites are often randomly used for sentimental effect which feels weird considering they’re barely treated as actual sentient beings and more like magical parts of weapons. They also vary so much aesthetically from the rest of the visuals, which causes them to stick out even further. If there is anything I would recommend about this show it is that it might have some appeal for viewers who enjoy military-centric stories. Halfway through the show, we have had a mock battle and one on one showdowns highlighting the strategic skills and the combat abilities of Ikta and Igsem respectively.
Tom: The spirits never become more than a gimmick, used entirely to ensure that technology, or more importantly science, takes a backseat within this world and kingdom. Because there’s so little attention given to the little creatures, I frequently forget they’re there. It feels like an afterthought, an element whose sole purpose is to act as a bandage to keep the series on track and on point. It’d be nice if these creatures felt more integral to the story and I can only hope they’ll gradually get more attention in the coming weeks.
Linny: My favourite part of Alderamin is it’s animation. The studio involved, Madhouse, is well known for their animation quality, style and their touch is very much noticeable in this series as well. The animation always looks vibrant and on point, helping the show feel like a truly classy production rather than another quick, low budget attempt at selling and promoting merchandise for a franchise.
Tom: Alderamin has been a wishy washy experience. I was mixed on the first episode, but optimistic. Then over the next two weeks I found myself growing increasingly annoyed with Ikta, and unengaged by the events unfolding. Finally it pulled itself around and I find myself willing to cautiously recommend this series. Alderamin has potentially engaging developments, but its characters remain less than appealing. For viewers who are less interested in becoming attached to characters, and more interested in intriguing twists and turns, Alderamin is worth a look in.
Linny: As someone immediately revolted by some of Ikta’s more sexist and arrogant lines, I’ve yet to warm up to him even now. Unfortunately, as he is the main focus of the story, if you found him insufferable, you might want to skip Alderamin. However, the show does have a decent military based plot and build up so for those who are looking for that theme and can overlook under developed characters, Alderamin does has the potential to be entertaining.
Alderamin on the Sky is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.