After last episode’s mix of heartfelt emotion and brutality that ended the episode, I had not expected to be finally delving into the backstory between Ikta and Yatori so soon.
However, to my great surprise and pleasure, this is exactly what we ended up with and the series is all the better for it.
Opening with Yatori reflecting on the events of the previous episode, and noting both how Ikta is a form of strength as well as a weakness for her, we organically slide into the story of how they had met one another and started to become the duo that they are in the present.
It’s handled expertly and really does a lot to characterize both of them by exploring where they originate from and how that has influenced their mindsets.
The fact that it is told exclusively from Yatori’s perspective is also a real perk to the episode. Finally giving her voice priority has elevated the story from just being focused around Ikta’s accomplishments and allows her to feel like more of an individual herself, despite the emphasis on her dynamic with him.
Other than the emphasis on Yatori’s character, we’re finally given a chance to actually “meet” Ikta’s family, as well as his mentor – the scientist Anarai Khan.
We are also shown the event that solidifies the relationship between Ikta and Yatori as they’re set upon by wolves while out on a geological survey.
The mixture of Yatori’s already highly skilled swordplay, as well as Ikta’s blossoming genius are melded together in a visceral attempt at survival against the pack of highly intelligent wolves.
It’s all handled exceptionally and, while ending on the information already known from Chamille’s haughty declarations in episode two about Ikta’s family, we’re clearly set up for this relationship of theirs to become something more vital to the progression of the story.
However, I cannot talk just about the story of this episode. The presentation on both the animation and audio fronts deserve to be acknowledged as well.
Madhouse went above and beyond here and provided something that was consistently animated and fluid in motion. Rather than relying on a lot of talking heads segments, the episode went for more active conversations and interactions between the characters.
Add in the effort put into their fight with the wolves, and everything on the animation front was exceptionally well done.
Then there was the audio. While the vocal work has been great from the start, this episode pushes it further to provide the difference between the young versions of the characters while also working to maintain enough similarities that they never feel too different.
At the same time, we’re also treated to an utterly gorgeous piano centric soundtrack for the episode. It sets the mood, and also enhances every scene it’s used in; going above and beyond what was to be expected.
Overall, the fifth episode of Alderamin on the Sky is the best episode of the series so far. Telling a self-contained story about the history between the two leads, it is a marvelous mixture of animation, storytelling and audio work that pushes it to the heights of what makes the medium great. The future of this series is looking bright.
Episode 5 Rating: 10/10
Alderamin on the Sky streams new episodes Fridays on Crunchyroll.