OP: 「天鏡のアルデラミン」 (Tenkyou no Alderamin) by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets
「嵐の邂逅」 (Arashi no Kaikou)
“A Stormy Encounter”
I love a good fantasy, whether it be books or live-action or anime – I love something otherworldly, yet with clear inspirations and connections to our reality. Political fantasies are my ultimate favourite, but I’m content with a good war-torn story as well. That’s the kind of show I expect out of Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin, even if it’s originally a light novel and they don’t tend to produce the best results (though there are always the welcomed exceptions). I went into this looking for something that could get me excited about the world these characters inhabit, and part of me is excited to see what awaits – but not thanks to what was presented in this episode. For the most part, I was rather disappointed with how we were introduced to our main characters. In fact, the parts that intrigued me most were the scenic shots, the mentions of political warfare going on in the background, the details of the enemy warships. Everything else felt like a poorly produced first draft that should have been re-written and heavily edited upon second reading.
Having all the important characters come together on a voyage to take a military exam should make for an interesting scenario, but it falls flat when we actually meet the characters. While some have complained about their designs, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them; perhaps they can be a little stiff at times, but I’m much more worried about their personalities than their appearances. I’ll start off with Sorouku Ikta (Okamoto Nobuhiko) who has achieved the remarkable feat of making me thoroughly dislike every part of his character. I can’t decide what annoys me more: the sexual harassment when he’s around the opposite sex or the fact that he’s such an epic badass who knows what he’s doing all the time and everyone else is dumb in comparison. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but this episode made it seem like he’s going to sit on his golden throne and prove why he’s the best at every oppertunity, and I’m not here for that sort of lead character, even if the world and ongoing war intrigue me. I’m sure most people will like a main character with attitude like him, but I felt myself becoming more annoyed by him with each passing scene.
In comparison, Isgem Yatrisino (Taneda Risa) was much more reserved, even if she is your typical red-haired anime chick with a sword. We don’t learn much about her in this premiere, but I prefer that mysterious air to arrogance and annoyance. She’s probably one of my favourites of the group, with the Princess of the Katjvarna Empire, Chamille Kitora Katjvanmaninik (Minase Inori), landing the top spot. Her being my early favourite is not because she’s a blond-haired loli with attitude, but because I love narratives that focus on princesses trapped in awful situations, whether it be on the battlefield or fighting a war with their own words. She’s presented as childish – as she should be – but she is also aware of her situation and clearly has an agenda of her own since she snuck onto the ship in the first place. Other than that, the other three characters fall into their respective archetypes: the soft-spoken medic, the pretty boy, and the (not funny in the slightest) comic relief sidekick. Perhaps they will make a lasting impression in future episodes, but for now they didn’t really stick out to me.
I don’t want to make it seem like I hated this episode, because I didn’t. In fact, I’m sure I will keep watching this if only to see how the military warfare will pan out, especially since they’re starting out in enemy territory. What’s disappointing to me is that most of the characters haven’t made a positive impression in this opener. Perhaps this could have done with a two-part premiere like Re:Zero or Rewrite, but not every title has such luxury. I suspect Alderamin will both entertain and annoy me, but I’m willing to put up with that if it manages to deliver a worthwhile fantasy show at the end of it all. We’re so used to “alternate world” fantasies that something straightforward and traditional like this feels like a rarity, and I do hope it proves itself better than its many alternate world counterparts.