It’s hard being a Casanova in battle.

If asked at the season start whether Alderamin would be a good time waster I’d call you crazy. This was an adaptation initially offering your typical war story with boring, cookie cutter characters at best. Surprisingly, however, Alderamin slowly and quietly flipped that preconception on its head, turning a mediocre beginning into one solid show.

Part of the surprise lies with the fact that Alderamin (on the surface) it is fairly derivative. We already have similarly themed series, ranging from the excellent Valkyria Chronicles to the flawed Argevollen. What Alderamin does differently to its benefit, however, is execute its material well. Falling more towards Valkyria than Argevollen, Alderamin sticks to the realm of realism without succumbing to confusing and incorrect tactics (as Argevollen liked to do). The initial wargame between Ikta and the arrogant Sarihasrag for example was an excellent example of basic manoeuvre warfare and deception, while the final fight between Ikta and albino Lelouche Major Alkiniks fantastically displayed elastic defense, ingenious use of terrain, and leader psychology. For the military geek there is plenty to chew on here as few series ever tackle these concepts directly with such enthusiasm. Although I felt Alderamin started rushing in the latter half (specifically the quick transition between the Sinack and La Saia Alderamin fights), this does not take away from the strength of its material.

What really struck me about Alderamin, however, was not the tactics as much as the thinking on tactics. Most war stories treat tactics as static, strategies never changing no matter the weapon introduced or the effect it has. Alderamin, however, might be the first anime to consider the impact of minor technology on military strategy. The changing battlefield becomes the primary theme during the series, initially hinted at through Kioka’s air balloons and bluntly stated later with the implementation of rifling. Especially fascinating is the cultural responses to these changes. Kioka is eager to adopt any advantageous device for war, while La Saia Alderamin treat most technologies as affronts to God. Even among the Empire there are differences, with Yatori’s clan adhering to swords while Torway’s embraces the firearm. This chaotic (yet realistic) struggle to come to grips with such technological change on a personal, religious, and state level transforms Alderamin from a basic war story into a true (and entertaining) battle of minds.

Speaking of minds, no discussion on Alderamin would be complete without mentioning Ikta. Without a doubt our resident genius was the star of the show. Although beginning as little more than a womanizing Ryner Lute (of Densetsu fame), Ikta quickly grew into his own by season’s end. What made Ikta for me was his compassionate side. The frank chats with Yatori and the significance of that blood payment to Nana showed Ikta possessing a surprising (but not unwelcome) degree of honour and empathy uncommon for this type of character. Especially interesting was how Ikta assisted other characters’ development, particularly Matthew and Torway whom would likely have remained flat without the attention. All of this together produced an amazingly well-rounded character who gave the series a new layer of complexity emphasizing the human consequences of war. Without Ikta (or a less well-written Ikta), Alderamin certainly would not have been as good as it was.

Overall Alderamin was definitely one of the better shows this season. This was an adaptation which improved an amazing amount over time and brought up some fantastic themes to delve into every week. A true slow burner, Alderamin was certainly deserving of weekly discussion instead of a quick summarization here. If we are fortunate enough to see a return to Ikta and crew (which given the infamous Madhouse curse is no guarantee), then this is one series which won’t be forgotten about next time. Even without a sequel, however, Alderamin has already made itself a worthy addition to the military genre. If you have the curiosity or interest in all things war I’d encourage you to give this one a shot. You will not be disappointed.


  1. It’s really a shame this show was not covered weekly. I thought it’s gonna be mediocre as hell to but turns out to be really good as hell. This is also probably my anime of the season.

    Ikta(Yang Wenli Jr) and Yatori’s relationship is just too good. It’s not your typical lovey dovey relationship.

    1. Indeed, this show was really good. The last episode showed a lot of good stuff such as the profound viewpoints of strategic commanders. Notably I am surprised at the princess’s wish, it sort of reminded me of Gate Jietai for some reason, “let our nation lose to a more superior nation so that our inferior nation will adopt the culture, economic, and so forth that our conquerors can provide us.” That must be a really moral nation for her to think like that.

      It was also top quality moment for that idiot mustache commander, Safida, to get the punishment that he deserves; I do wonder if the novel has any details about his execution. On the side note, I do wonder what stupid order Ikta’s dad was given; it must have been one stupid commander, who should be executed, that was so doltish that Ikta’s dad had no choice but to disobey such an order.

      Anyway, if anyone can tell me, please enlighten me who would Ikta end up with in the end. The dude has some fetish for older women, yet my instincts are telling me that Ikta will end up with our princess.

  2. I liked the series but felt the Princess’s “wish” for Ikta at the end was just plain stupid. If anything use his genius to fix the country. Not kill a large portion of your population and put them into subjugation with another country that might not treat them well.

    1. No, it’s not really stupid, the empire problem is their corrupt noble and old culure if ikta and the princess trying to fix the country from inside it will become a civil war and the body count will rise even before fighting kioka empire.

      The plan that was proposed by princess are ikta to rise become a general and lead a decisive war with kioka and lose while keeping the force not obliterated, so when kioka annexed the empire the corrupt noble will thrown out of course and for the empire there is a chance to copy kioka technology after that ikta will lead the coup d’etat against kioka.

      1. Except it’s never that easy. As Karmafan alluded to, defeat is something that’s not all too easy to “control”. One wrong move and those forces of yours disappear. Not to mention Kioka may demand the Empire dissolve its military and take its leadership hostage (including Ikta as he will be part of it by then) before even considering a peace treaty. That doesn’t even the possibility of prolonged occupation, making any future uprising especially costly (especially if you lose).

        The only way for Ikta and the princess to get the princess’ desired change is to force a stalemate with Kioka. Stalemates encourage negotiation, and negotiation will allow for some measure of control over who and what enters the Empire from Kioka. It is much easier to reform a society when you have a measure of control over it, particularly if you can stay independent during the process.

        I’m inclined to think the author is using the late Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meiji Restoration as the basis for the main story here because the story (including the spoilers I’ve seen) is playing out very similarly to that time period.

      2. The Meiji Restoration eh Pancakes?

        I don’t know the complete details of the Boushin conflict, but I believe that there was a state many centuries ago that expressed a similar desire to be conquered over so that their then current ruler would no longer have control, well at least that was what they hoped for anyway. I think it was a Greek city-state that expressed that. There may be other similar stories as well throughout real world history but still though, I am a bit reserved as to your linking Alderamin’s war to the Boushin conflict. I play Shogun 2 constantly, all the time but I just simply can’t figure out the connection you suggested. Is it possible for you to elaborate further on the matter?

        Nishizawa Mihashi
    2. series was great up to that utterly retarded ‘wish’. it was so stupid and ridiculous to the point that it felt quite jarring compared to the realistic portrayal of war and strife portrayed up to that point.

      to have your country conquered by an enemy state, with the deaths and suffering of tens/hundreds of thousands, simply to ‘change the country’ is unnecessary. all that is required is effective leadership – simply replace the inadequate head of state (emperor) with someone more capable (maybe the princess, or someone else). yes this is easier said than done, but guaranteed to be a better option than to be conquered!! I mean WTF, seriously.

      1. Not that I am saying she is right or anything like that but there does come a time when the current thing is irreparable and you have no choice but to scrap the current and start off with something new.

  3. Same here. Kind of liked to watch it weekly and I do agree that the show has some really strong points and interesting themes explored but at the same time it’s so deeply rooted in your average trashy light novel outline. For every great thing there was one that was just plain stupid (like the thing mentioned by Karmafan) or at least formulaic. And supporting cast was too one dimensional for my taste.

    1. Yeah the supporting cast (Haroma in particular) never really served any purpose beyond filling out the scenes most of time. At least Matthew and Torway had some measure of development making them better.

      I’d say we got pretty lucky with this adaptation because there have been some bloody awful ones of late.

  4. The anime covered the 1st 3 LN volumes; currently there are 10 volumes out.
    Things that happen next:

    Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Show Spoiler ▼

        Show Spoiler ▼

      2. I am also an anime only watcher but I don’t mind spoilers. I would still watch it and see how it was built up to that point and what happens after it especially when I like the anime.

  5. Indeed, this was a most interesting series. Definitely a ‘slow burner’ of sorts as everything gets steadily developed over time. I’ll probably be done with my own review on myanimelist later tomorrow, Sunday UTC +8. But of course before that I’d have to finish watching episode 13 don’t I? 😀

    Thanks for coverin’ the show Pancakes, I appreciate it 😀

    Nishizawa Mihashi
  6. I’ve been waiting so long for this adaptation, yet the ride’s over in the blink of an eye… :'(

    Really, I think the adaptation itself was… Average. They did a decent job selecting scenes and arranging to provide proper closure despite its trailer-like nature, but was a little off-kilter in pacing occasionally. Also, that OP is just so out of place in – compare the distorted guitar riffs to the horn fanfare right after it and it just grates on your hearing. All in all a fantastic source paired with a proper, if not stellar, adaptation.

    1. Having an Akeboshi Rockets song being the anime’s OP theme was an unwise choice in my opinion. The instrumentation simply did not fit the nature of the series.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  7. I am so glad there was at least an end of series post for this. It really was the slow burn dark horse of the season and I loved. The tactics but also the human side of war and how individuals struggle or are affected in the stresses of it. The mountain tactics and the fact thy actually addressed altitude sickness as well just goes to show how seriously they took the idea of portraying war in a relistica dn awesome way

  8. One thing I’d like to complain is that I feel Ikta is over-power and lacked any interesting flaw that would make him more interesting. Though the series showed that he couldn’t win it all and couldn’t safe everyone, I think it’d be nice if it showed him struggle a bit more.

    1. Ikta’s lack of weakness is at least counterbalanced with his humanization IMO. There’s not many other geniuses who would deliberately chop off a pinkie for restitution for example. He definitely could have struggled more, but I think that bit is meant for a second season.

      Personally I felt that Yatori was the more OP one. She never had a weakness, never lost once, and showcased similar smarts to Ikta. She was a little too perfect all things considered.

      1. yatori’s OP’ness is accentuated by her plot armor (or should i say plot weapon) – to continue being an igsem of the twin blades she can never lose or something ridiculous like that (it was mentioned in one of the ep’s IIRC). a bit stupid IMO and rather de-humanizes her character into a combat robot.

      2. Haven’t read the LNs so I don’t really know what happens after but I don’t really think Ikta was OP nor really lacked a weakness. He’s pretty much built up as a very talented commander that takes after the likes of Lelouch or the like.

        That said, this is pretty much the introduction of the characters and the setting so I am not surprised that there is currently no glaring weakness. There is enough time for that in later arcs

  9. This was a surprisingly good one, thanks for final impressions post. I would really love to see another season, but I guess thats pretty unlikely? Hopefully we’ll see the novel someday.

  10. I never thought I would like this so much. It really got better with every week. Yes: Alderamin was definitely one of the better shows this season. And I really hope for a second season and for a weekly coverage!


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