We’re only four episodes into Alderamin on the Sky, but it seems like it will be joining Re:Zero and Rokka of the Six Braves as a far different take on fantasy than is normal for light novel adaptations.
As someone unfamiliar with the original source material for this one, I cannot compare the two, so this will be purely focused on the anime and what it has presented.
And what a presentation it has been. Before I get started on the story, which is probably the most distinctive part of this series, I want to discuss Madhouse’s animation and audio efforts.
After the huge success they received with One Punch Man last fall this may look like a step down to some, but Alderamin on the Sky is a gorgeous series with some compelling character designs and a really interesting world.
Unlike the purely Western and Central European settings of many other fantasy series, this one takes a page out of Rokka of the Six Braves book and goes for something a little more tropical. It personally gives me a Mediterranean vibe more similar to Greece than anything else.
Character models can be a little hit or miss at times, but each of our leads and important characters are quite distinctive from one another so far, so even when the models are slightly off they’re still easily identified. It’s a pretty picture overall.
Then there’s the audio, which is used expertly to provide mood and atmosphere, without ever feeling overbearing.
Now, the story presented so far is where this series really shines. Over the first four episodes we’re given two smaller arcs, and they have done a fair amount to really set up the world that we’ll be diving into as the rest of the series progresses.
For starters, this conflict between the Katjvarna Empire and the Kiorka Republic has been efficiently used as a backdrop to the events that have currently gone on. Rather than thrusting us right into the conflict itself, it has been used to set the stage magnificently for a different story.
And this is where the characters come into play. Although we don’t know too much about all of them yet, the six who we’re introduced to in the first episode – Ikta, Yatori, Torway, Matthew, Haroma and Chamille – have been given enough information to make them worth following.
However, it is Ikta and Yatori who have really stolen the show so far. Through the first arc detailing their shipwreck behind enemy lines, and subsequent safe return to the Empire, to the second arc and it’s greatly enjoyable training exercise, these two have shown a sense of trust and camaraderie that is just begging to be explored.
Ikta’s the lazy genius, a character archetype that was far more common a few years ago, and is a great lead that reminds me of characters like Jalan Kendeth from Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War Trilogy. He’s flawed and lusty, but unintentionally heroic at the same time. It’s a great contrast that should work out well over the entire series.
At the same time Yatori is his complete opposite. Driven by duty and honour, she is a fearsome warrior that stands by the Empire unflinchingly. She’s his total opposite and yet a great support for him. Something that, at the climax of episode four, as she devastates the traitorous soldiers who attempted to kidnap Princess Chamille, seems to be Ikta’s role for her as well.
So far this series has been great, and is doing what Madhouse struggled with their adaptation of The Irregular at Magic High School; managing to blend world building, and a genius protagonist, together in a more tightly paced package.
Episodes 1 – 4 Rating: 8.5/10
Alderamin on the Sky streams new episodes Fridays on Crunchyroll.