Altair: A Record of Battles – Anime Preview
Synopsis: In the desert nation of the Türkiye Stratocracy. Mahmut lost his mother twelve years ago in the war with the neighboring Balt-Rhein Empire. Driven to bring peace to his country, he became the youngest Pasha in Türkiye history. However, the threat of the Empire looms once again. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Altair feels a lot like Arslan, or a spiritual successor to it anyway. While it boasts a completely different aesthetic based more so off the culture and style of historical Turkey than Arslan’s more medieval trappings, there’s something about the overall art style, detail and design of the characters that gives this the same thick/heavy fantasy feel.
Linny: It’s almost impossible to shake off the deja vu for fans of The Legend of Arslan as Altair has so many similarities in settings, art style and even the story itself. I wouldn’t call it a copy cat by any means, just a story that happens to be set in a very similar world and setting. And in the case of Altair, we’re seeing the world through the eyes of a young government official who wants to use his power to protect the nation he is working for as opposed to a young prince who wants to unite and establish his own kingdom.
Tom: This episode is squarely focused on defining the status quo and the burgeoning hints of conflict that’ll guide the series through the rest of its run. There’s less of a focus on catching us up to speed on the world of Altair as a whole, offering instead this very narrow view through the plotting of impending war. If you enjoy fantasy worlds and historical settings there’s a lot to love here, but there’s no doubt it can feel overwhelming as the series does little to ease you into its detailed world.
Linny: That’s the issue. We get a lot of political intrigue, drama and development but very little time to actually bond and familiarize ourselves with the cast. Sure, you get a few more personal scenes and snippets of their lives, but it is completely drowned out by the political tension. In fact, right from episode one, the show makes it clear exactly who the true villain of the series is and has him already making several strides to achieve his end goal of ultimate power.
Tom: Mahmut is a go getter. He’s got a lot of passion, and that helps pull us into the story, although it’s doubtful you’ll feel all that attached to him. His backstory is shunted into the narrative and gives us a most bare bones understanding of his plight and drive. There’s a plethora of additional characters, but they act more as pawns for the story than individuals to latch onto in their own right.
Linny: Mahmut is definitely concocted to be a dashing and capable young man but one who still has a bit of innocence left in him, as is displayed by his frustration with the formality of the governmental proceedings, as well as his up close encounters with a confidant and sexy older woman. On that note, shout out to Altair for having a gorgeous tanned lady in its cast, something that isn’t super common in anime and helping spread some diversity.
Tom: Altair has me intrigued. If it can provide the same sort of historical political appeal as Arslan, and tell a period piece, fantasy war story, I’m all for it. It needs to give us time to latch onto its characters, and provide a little more meat to the world, but right now I’m optimistic about the series and feel its well worth checking out, especially for Arslan fans.
Linny: For fans of Arslan who have been missing the historical feel and setting of the show, Altair could be a sort of spiritual successor to keep oneself entertained while fervently praying for Arslan Season 3. Hopefully, Altair will slow down on its political content and flesh out its characters as it continues, in order to give viewers something to connect with and care about. Considering the title literally calls itself a record of battles though, anyone picking up this show should most likely look forward to an intense political and war drama accompanied by competent (for the most part) animation.
Altair: A Record of Battles is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.