At first I was going to pass Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin or also known as Alderamin On The Sky seeing that this is another military series, a genre ranked quite lowly on my favourite genres list. I’m not saying I totally dislike this genre (better than mecha or yaoi) but seeing I have watched mecha series when I am supposedly not interested to begin with, what are the chances of this one? The main point that attracted me was the synopsis about a main character who is lazy as f*ck. He gets drafted into the military and forced to fight a war he doesn’t want. But his lazy tactics prove to be the winning formula. Sounds familiar? That’s right. Because of my stint with the amazing Senjou No Valkyria which also has a non-military background protagonist who used his unorthodox non-military out-of-the-box thinking to win, it is simply this reason and similarity that I became interested in checking this out. Man, did I procrastinate long enough to release this blog? Talk about being lazy already…

Episode 1
Ikta Solork and Yatorishino “Yatori” Igsem are going to board a ship that will take them to their official exam. Currently the kingdoms are at war and Ikta is viewed as a pessimist for believing the defence garrison under their kingdom, Katjvarna Empire will soon fall under the hands of Kioka Republic. Also on board this ship to take the exam are Haroma “Haro” Becker (nurse wannabe whom Ikta can’t help flirt), Matthew Tetdrich (whose family has been famous in the military for generations but not many seem to know it) and Torway Remeon (handsome guy whom Ikta scorns as his rival). The ship starts sinking during a stormy weather. The quintet are then ushered to the deck whereby they are dropped into a lifeboat. In this weather? I guess it beats going down with the ship. They see a little girl slipping off the deck and into the sea. Ikta becomes a hero by diving in to save her. When she wakes up, everyone is in a cave on a remote island. Yatori can tell from her royal ring that she is Chamille Kitra Katjvanmaninik. They have met before when Chamille’s father the emperor visited her home but that was many years ago. Yatori informs that only them have survived the storm and were fortunately washed up on this shore. Ikta and Torway return from their scouting and they have spotted a garrison line. This means they are in Kioka’s territory. Ikta has 2 options: Surrender and become their prisoner of war or take a gamble and burst through it to reach back to their kingdom. Because Chamille furiously won’t become a prisoner of war, Ikta shuts her up that being angry won’t make the impossible possible. Yatori tackles him and asks Chamille to forgive his rudeness since this is the man who saved her. So while they live out their isolated life, they have time to think about their options. They spot a Kioka blimp hovering over and go into hiding. It is Kioka’s new weapon that recently caused much damage to the eastern mission. Since it is alone, it is just on a scouting mission. That night, Chamille goes into the woods to relief herself. However the enemy patrol is metres away from her. Because they tripped on some makeshift alarm, the rest instantly got up and take precautionary measures. Chamille thought she is going to be discovered but it seems the enemy caught Ikta instead.

Episode 2
Ikta acts like a scared asylum seeker and this makes the enemy let their guard down. When Ikta gives the signal, his comrades strike and kill them. One of them is barely alive so Ikta interrogates him in exchange for treatment. But he died from his wounds after Ikta gets all the necessary information. Torway is scared because it is the first time he killed and almost screwed up so Yatori had to remind him he is a valuable comrade since he can use an air gun. Chamille also feels guilty about this so she bites her finger till it bleeds. Ikta kisses it and uses his scientific explanation why her blood isn’t rotten and it should be as good as it is if it remains in her body. Chamille thought he hated her but he says he just thought what happened before was just a childish tantrum. As twisted as Ikta may be, he gives his enemies a decent burial and even offerings. Next day they discover a mini blimp that the enemy came by at the beach. Instead of picking 3 to ride it home, Ikta has this sly idea. Dressing up as a Kioka army and the rest as asylum seekers, Ikta pleads to the garrison’s chief that the blimp is being stolen (currently it is unmanned and visibly flying away in the sky). Ikta lies that the ‘thief’ demands his family to be returned to the kingdom in exchange for the blimp. The chief of course panics as he has to make a decision now and Ikta’s acting is so convincing he could win an Oscar. Thus a decision is made and Ikta and co are moving steadily across the border and back into Katjvarna. Chamille is greeted by the garrison’s head, Lieutenant General Hazaf Rikan. She introduces her saviours.

A month later, our heroes are living the luxurious life but it all comes crashing down when news reports that the eastern territory has fallen into enemy’s hands and Rikan has died in battle. Flashback shows Ikta desperately tried to persuade Rikan to withdraw because either way they are going to lose. He believes the whole war is rigged. Because the Empire failed to develop this section, they want to rid of it. To make the people think they are fighting the war seriously, that is why they placed a famous general there. Of course he cannot withdraw because he is following direct orders. Ikta becomes mad and before he could get violent, he is knocked out by Yatori. The quintet then have an audience with the emperor who bestow upon them the title of Imperial Knight. Ikta is not happy because this means they are now soldiers who cannot disobey orders. So much for his life. He blames Chamille for this political move because the people had no favourable news for the loss and the only way was to make heroes to make them feel better. Chamille has dug up some past on Ikta. His real name is Ikta Sankrei. His father was the famous General Bada Sankrei who died in prison for disobeying orders. She also knows about Ikta’s master who thought him about science, Dr Anarai Kahn who fled to Kioka last year. She also talks about his mom, Yuhka who was part of the emperor’s harem. Before she could continue, Ikta gets violent with her but luckily Yatori puts him down. While Ikta is glad that this Imperial Knight thingy may be good for Yatori, it isn’t for him. He managed to become 3 things he didn’t want to in the same day: A noble, a soldier and a hero.

Episode 3
The Imperial Knights attend Katjvarna Empire High Level Officer’s School. Chamille also enrols here to learn with them. Some bullies think they can get the better of Ikta by dropping him a live centipede. Ikta isn’t scared. Instead he kills it and eats it! How about that! Even in class he might look like he is slacking but he knows his stuff well. If his comprehensive textbook answer isn’t impressive enough, he even adds his own analytical thoughts to it! Torway runs into trouble when he meets his elder brothers, Sarihaslag and Sushuraf. It seems they hate their younger brother and badmouth him as a coward. Because their loudness ruined Ikta’s nap, he intervenes and says what he wants. Sarihaslag beats him up even when he is down but that didn’t stop Ikta from running his mouth. They stop when Yatori and Chamille pass by. Yatori tags with Ikta to judo throw some of them so Sarihaslag calls it a day and leaves. Don’t bet it would be their last time. 3 months later, the Imperial Knights are done with their studying and some of them are given their own platoon. Like Yatori commands the Fire Troop, Torway leads the Air Rifle Platoon and Ikta gets Light Platoon. In this platoon is Sergeant Major Suya Mitcalif. Who? The daughter of the woman whom Ikta slept with! Oh sh*t! Not even Yatori can save him from this. Because of that, the troops won’t listen to him and Suya won’t let him take command. Matthew relays bad news about their upcoming problem. It seems the groups have been split to have Sarihaslag and Yatori on one side against Ikta, Torway and Matthew. Obviously revenge objective but Ikta isn’t panicking yet. He goes to make a deal with Suya that if he can prove himself that he is a vital factor in this victory, he will be allowed to lead the platoon. He makes his first proof as his platoon treks to the camping grounds. Nothing special except that Ikta got his troops to the site exactly on time and having without using a map. It’s all memorized in his head! He also sets up camps all over the place that will give him advantage in battle. On the second day the mock battle is supposed to start, Sarihaslag thought Ikta’s side didn’t turn up because they got lost. Then Yatori points out this is just a meeting place and it didn’t say anything about fighting. Sarihaslag panics and advances his troops. Ikta knows this will happen and has his men already lying in wait.

Episode 4
Sarihaslag thinks he knows the grounds and conditions better than anyone and is even confident of splitting up his troops to get ahead of the enemy. He disregards Yatori’s advice just because he is the commanding officer. But then it proves fatal because Ikta has his troops cross the river to attack. Last night they used a tree and made an underwater bridge. Thanks to the rainy day before, the muddiness hid it. Sarihaslag panics and has his troops fight back. Only when Yatori returns, Ikta too has his troops retreat. Sarihaslag thinks Ikta will come chasing him and has his troops lie in wait for a pincer attack. However we know Ikta won’t be doing that. It’s just exhausting to chase somebody. Instead he cuts off the northern exits that lead to the central base. At some point they have to return there and if they can’t, it is as good as they have lost and Ikta’s team will win by default. Predictably Sarihaslag follows the enemy for a showdown. He even orders his troops to break the rules just win. Before he can charge, he is sniped in the head courtesy of Torway hiding in the trees. Sushuraf takes over command and has everyone break through to reach the base. In the aftermath it is Ikta’s win. He lectures his troops about science and laziness. Apparently he believes slacking off in a war means doing the right thing. So follow him and they can fight easy and win easy! Woah. With all the men cheering his name, it’s like Ikta is now God! Ikta then receives news that Chamille is heading towards a wrong direction and something feels wrong. He sends a Morse code signal to Yatori about this. Chamille and her royal guards are rushing through the forest when some of them are killed. It is then Chamille realizes that the report of Ikta being hurt was just a ruse to lure her out. The mastermind is no other than the royal guard captain, Ison Ho. As they make their way, some of them are ambushed by Yatori’s troops. Yatori sticks her sword at Ison’s neck. He is willing to die and orders his men to shoot her. However they don’t move. Ison then reveals they are all students of Rikan and admired him. They know his death was all part of a political ploy and their aim is to kill Chamille to avenge him. Ison overpowers Yatori and could have killed her had not Torway snipe a headshot. Yatori swiftly picks up her swords and slices the remaining guards. She is reeling in shock and blood all over her. Only Ikta’s voice calms her down. Ikta learns of Ison’s aim and understands. He tries to cheer up Chamille soaked in blood as well but I guess that tomato joke went too far and she starts crying and hitting him.

Episode 5
It still gives Yatori the chills to think she was in that state. Ikta’s touch can only bring her back. She is sure that as long he is around, she can never fully turn into a sword. Flashback shows Yatori wanted to go study under Bada and her father gave his approval. She arrives in this remote village and started learning about scientific stuffs under Bada and Anarai. She quickly learns about scientific explanations which are another approach to explain theology instead of just always claiming acts of God. Of course there was young Ikta too and she trained him sword fighting. It looked like a blissful time the duo have. Playing pranks on some villagers, ‘taking’ ingredients from old ladies and fishing a big one out of a swamp. It’s really the simple life. One day the duo go on an expedition with Ikta’s older brother. At a remote cabin, the grownups forgot some tools and head back. But why the heck leave the kids behind?! They could have had the whole day to themselves had not for a hungry pack of wolves attacking them. They are holed inside the cabin as they use whatever resources, ingenuity and traps to scare them off and show who is boss. But that won’t deter the wolves because they’re really hungry. So far so good in counter attacking the wolves’ attack and even killing a few of them. In the dead of the night, the battle resumes again. This time a wolf jumps inside from the roof. The kids were fast and hid in a makeshift crate fortress. Yatori is willing to sacrifice her life for his safe return since one dead is better than both dead. However Ikta disagrees and anything less than both of them alive is a failure. The only way is for them to become one and solve this together. They will be each other’s hands. Somehow they manage to escape outside and trap the wolves in. They set the cabin on fire and wolves that try to breakthrough get killed in their trap. Eventually they face off with the remaining 2 wolves and one of them is the pack’s leader. The suspenseful battle is heading for a standoff when a cub’s cry is heard. The wolves back down and return to the forest with their offspring. Next day, the duo just chill eating whatever leftover burnt meat from the burnt down cabin. Shortly, Bada is captured and Ikta and his mom went missing. Many years later, Ikta returned to her and claimed he is here to take her away from this land with no future.

Episode 6
Ikta reads a letter saying that Anarai’s box is about to open. It is a safe supposedly containing his intellectual properties. But when he sought asylum, Kioka had him give up some of the military applications of it. The usuals are heading to the north for an expedition and some aren’t too fond of the Sinack tribe ruling there. Commanding the northern garrison is Lt General Tamtooktsk Safida and Major Yukshiram Toakk. During the banquet, Ikta meets First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf who will be his supervisor throughout the duration. A burly platoon commander, Deinkun Hargunska challenges Yatori to a duel. After getting permission, they face off where they stand. Chamille didn’t like how Yatori’s sword skills are to be gawked at but Ikta begs to differ as it is meant to be gawked at. The emperor gave the Igsem family the ability to wield 2 swords which is the symbol of invincibility as long as they never lose a sword fight. The family values this order very highly and to continue carrying 2 swords, they must show everyone their superiority and protect that order. Yatori might look like she is just defending but one strike back is enough to win the match. Sazaluf leads the trainees patrolling around the mountains. It might look boring since they have been circling the same path for 3 hours. But this is to show their force and put silent pressure to keep the peace. He then realizes Ikta has gone missing. An officer is confiscating books belonging to Kanna Temari. This is when smooth operator Ikta comes in the save the day. He reveals this officer’s intention to sell the books he confiscates as they have a high value. The officer wants to teach Ikta a lesson but a spider prank has him running away. Kanna is grateful he saved her books. They discuss about this particular book that contains the Aldera religion. Ikta views her as a fellow science member. Before he could really hit off with her, Sazaluf is here to bring him back and reprimand him. Ikta is so sly that he could even trick Sazaluf and escape. However he stumbles upon a cell he shouldn’t have. Nanaku Daru thinks it is time to go to war to recover their stolen Hahashiku.

Episode 7
Ikta returns all dried up but with some liquids, he is back to normal. This guy then goes to flirt with Kanna. She thinks he is a lady killer but Ikta has the best reply: All the women in the world are conspiring to seduce him! Ikta learns from Kanna’s observations that Toakk does most of the leading around and keeps an eye on Safida. However when it comes to Sinack matters, Safida takes full charge. This is in line with what Ikta saw in the dungeon. There were many sprites locked up. He believes they were forcefully taken away from their Sinack masters and this amounts to spirit abuse. Sazaluf says they are all locked up under Safida’s orders. Kanna then explains her analysis of Aldera because the Sinack speak of the spirits without mentioning the God that everyone else prays to: Alderamin. With the difference in core tenants and commandments, she feels as though the sprites have nothing to do with being messengers of Alderamin. This sends Ikta into ecstasy because this means she escaped the bigotry that twists the truth. He likes her scientific thinking and believes if there was ever a God, the first command should be thou shall be lazy and all other Gods are fakes. Huh? Toakk and his men are supposed to fetch a Sinack representative but see him dead in his home. They are then attacked by Sinack rebels. When gunshots are heard, Yatori heads in and sees Sinack and his men killed. She instantly kills some of them but the rest escaped. Shortly, Ikta and Kanna enter the place and see the massacre. All other tenants of the house are dead. Ikta sees Alderan pilgrimage clothes in which Sinack people do not wear.

Yatori and her men chase the rebels but stop in time once she realizes an ambush is waiting for them. She seeks answers to her comrades’ murder but Nanaku as the chieftain of Sinack speaks of the discrimination and oppression over her people. She calls them monsters for stealing Hahashiku. They demand nothing and will return everything to its original state like how she should be. Erm, so isn’t declaring a holy war the same as a demand? Once Safida learns of this, he doesn’t want to report to Central yet. He will use this moment to purge all the Sinack. When some soldiers call for revenge for Toakk, surprisingly Deinkun voices his disagreement. He might always sound willing to go to war but that is only if it involves the enemy. And the enemy is no other than Kioka. Although Sinack people are considered citizens under the Empire, they aren’t treated on the same level as other races. As a fellow imperial soldier, they should be reluctant to point their sword at their own people. Ikta keeps thinking hard about the holy war declaration because that word never existed in the Sinack vocabulary. To them, war is just survival. He can’t bring himself to think it is to take back their spirits. The only reason he can come up with is someone has been giving them ready-made excuses for war. Safida mobilizes his punitive force to strike the northern mountains at dawn. With Chamille being sent away to the halfway base instead of Central, it only proves that Safida is acting on his own. What more, he managed to gather this large punitive force in such a short time. While the Imperial Knights are just on standby, the other soldiers are already starting the heavy fighting.

Episode 8
Casualties are mounting because the soldiers are not used to the high elevations. But Safida will not retreat and orders to keep pressing forward. The Imperial Knights are now thrown into the front lines since they have to deliver supplies. When the enemy attacks at night, Ikta suggests his platoon defend at the back. Since the front is chaotic, he doesn’t want to get caught up in it. With great tactics and strategy, Ikta and his side manage to defeat the waves of Sinack rebels without losing a single man. Kanna is part of the troops at the front. When her platoon takes over a seemingly abandoned Sinack fort, they realize too late that it is a trap since the Sinack surround them at night. Though they manage to escape to higher ground, Ikta’s troops who are supposed to deliver supplies to this fort can only see the enemy occupying it. First Lieutenant Manubans Najiru is hell bent on sending the supplies and orders Ikta and Matthew’s troop to perform force reconnaissance. Ikta knows the conditions will be unfavourable to them and requests Torway’s group as support. He even guarantees he can retake the fort in an hour. In actual fact everything can be settled in 20 minutes. To summarise the plan, Torway will snipe the enemy and the rest will barge in. But how? Can his air gun reach such distance with accuracy? Well, it did. The enemies are taken out right under their noses before they got a chance to prepare. It seems based on Anarai’s technology from his box, Torway was able to modify this air rifle to make the shot more stable and accurate. When an injured soldier from the front lines requests aid because the fort is being surrounded by the enemy, Ikta will take command of this mission and no one else will know about this. As they trek higher, suddenly Ikta wants everyone to make camp even though they can still go on and have energy. The reason being he wants everyone to adapt to the high altitude or risk having Alpine Sickness. They may be late in saving their comrades but his top priority is to keep everyone here safe. Speaking of that sickness, everyone in that fort is already starting to weaken. By the time Ikta and his troops adapt and move on, he realizes they have lost because he couldn’t see any of their comrades from the fort moving. Everyone has been slaughtered. To his dismay, among the bodies is Kanna. He had hoped so much to see her again but I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 9
Sazaluf explains to Ikta and co their next mission to fight the Sinack tribe by separating their forces and taking 3 different routes. Then he has them burn down the homes of a Sinack village and take them with them to a refugee camp. It is at least better than Safida’s haphazard plan of killing them all because at least they can be used for negotiations. Besides, Ikta is wary of the separation plan as the routes are over 100km wide and there is no way they can get help from each other. While Ikta is sorting the housing for the refugees, a little Sinack boy comes to take out his frustrations on him. Ikta ignores him but flicks his nose. He starts bleeding and crying. Then Deinkun punches Ikta. And then himself. It was his way to save Ikta from the hostility. Safida gives his speech on the upcoming battle with the Sinack where a large force of them has gathered on the other side of the canyon. So that night they rest and the guys talk about… Sex? At least it is hinted that way. Hey, you still got to make love and peace in times of war. Next day as the troops march through the canyons, Ikta and Sazaluf have a bad feeling the enemy can flank them from the opposite mountain although it may seem impossible. Better to be safe than sorry, Ikta suggests Sazaluf talk to Safida to walk instead of riding a horse since he is the highest officer around. Lucky old fat guy agrees although he isn’t happy. True enough, the Sinack rebels attack from above with arrows and from the opposite with air rifles. Haro is slow to equip herself and could have died if not for Ikta’s quick saving. But he too needs to be saved from Deinkun again. Nanaku targets Safida but Yatori stands in her way. Yatori observes her unorthodox fighting and finally learns her trick. It might look like she stabbed her back but it is some equipment powered by her sprite. As a sword warrior, Yatori find it odd that she was confident in leaving her back open and knew she had a trick up her sleeve and thus managed to avoid her hidden gun. Nanaku’s sprite self destructs to let her escape. Meanwhile an elite assassination group crops out from the bottom of the cliff to target Safida. As they race towards him, Deinkun gets slashed. However when Yatori faces them and other troops surround them, they dive back down the cliff. Yatori hears Deinkun’s last words to take care of his comrades before passing away. Nanaku returns home vowing revenge but finds her village burnt down.

Episode 10
9 years ago, Ikta was at Nanaku’s village for a festival celebration and they know each other well. Nanaku is devastated to see her grandparents killed. She mercilessly kills the guards. Although she is pinned down, they make a foolish mistake of not finishing her off because they want to rape her. Thank goodness they are such dumbasses fighting over who is supposed to f*ck her first because this gives Ikta time to beat the crap out of them and save Nanaku. Once everything is under control, Ikta explains to his comrades that the men who showed up at the end of the last battle are Kala Karm, the ghost squad of Kioka. It only makes sense that Kioka has been teaching Sinack guerrilla tactics and supplying them with air rifles. When an Aldera inspection team speaks with Safida, he mentions they were here to check on spirit abuse. But seeing how some of them are dead in the recent battle, the answer is clear now. Safida has Ikta’s team chase after him and they discover a huge army, La Saia Alderamin making their way here. They are the nation army of Aldera who invade other countries in the name of God. Ikta puts the pieces of the puzzle. From Toakk’s assassination, Kioka has been manipulating Sinack so this will spur Aldera to invade the Empire. With Safida needing suggestions on what to be done, Sazaluf suggests forming a small team to buy time for the others to escape. As this is his suggestion, he is put in charge. Part of the plan is to use Sinack’s help and manpower. This is where Ikta comes in to work his charm. First he frees Nanaku who feels this apology thingy is an insult. While Ikta doesn’t intend to apologize for the war, he will apologize for those non-combatants who were killed in the midst of it. To show his sincerity, he cuts off the tip of his pinky finger!!! Yikes!!! This is part of the Sinack tradition of apology as Nanaku once told him. It is then she recognizes who Ikta is.

He has 3 favours to ask from her. First is to accept his apology for the misdeeds. Second, the Sinack help them to repel Aldera. They are using this opportunity to wipe out both of them since both sides are exhausted from the war. Of course this is an excuse for Aldera to crush them in the name of the spirits. They are just a pawn for Kioka because once Aldera takes over here, they will destroy Sinack whom they view their religious beliefs are heretical. As apology for this favour, Ikta cuts off the rest of his pinky finger!!! OMG!!! I can’t watch this! Does Ikta know fingers don’t grow back?! His third favour is to remain calling her Nanaku. Well, since this favour is made as a friend instead of a soldier, he doesn’t need to cut any fingers. Phew? Once Ikta returns to the rest, he tells them Nanaku can supply 800 men for this operation. Thanks to Sazaluf putting them in one village, it will be easier to gather them. Sazaluf also returns promoting the quintet as per Safida’s reward. Ikta wants Matthew, Torway and Haro’s troops to be part of the evacuating squad. Because he makes it sound like it is goodbye, Matthew becomes upset that it is as though he has been a hindrance in his battles. He knows that there is a high chance his men will die, he will die. But it’s the same for Ikta too. Even so, will he be a hindrance? Ikta and Yatori retract their statement and apologize for underestimating their resolve. They hope they can lend their strength for this upcoming battle. For the next few days, the rear troops work hard to cut down and burn the forest because this is where Aldera must pass through if they want to invade. However they are quick to counter it by also using fire to fight fire by burning down the forest. Rumour has it that they have a guest officer from Kioka lending their strength as a strategist. Like as though God send somebody to counter and balance Ikta. They heard this prodigy is never seen resting and is always working nonstop. Nicknamed the Unsleeping Shining Officer, he is Major Jean Alkiniks.

Episode 11
Jean is fascinated and wants to know the tactician on the other side. Certainly it couldn’t be that incompetent Safida. Ikta’s plan now is to shift the enemy’s focus on them by fighting them head on. This is because there is a small pass through the mountains that will come out near the back of their camp that Kala Karm might use. Of course using this longer route will delay the enemy’s attack but it is not enough time to let the main group evacuate. Ikta wants to pin them down here for at least 8 days. So when there is a portion of the forest that stopped burning, opening a route, Jean knows that the enemy is trying to invite them to head that way. He has a plan so they are going to play along. Ikta and his troops wait around the newly erected fort at night. The first wave of enemy arrives and they are taken out. However they realize that this wave is to set up barricades. This is a problem as it will throw their cannon trajectory off and it is like they are trying to bring in something. Immediately Yatori and Nanaku request to fight the enemy head on. Nanaku gets too confident and has her Sinack men push further forward against Yatori’s better judgment. They are then sniped by the Kioka’s air rifle squad. Aldera then pushes in a giant trebuchet. Ikta is in a dilemma to abandon the Sinack or rescue them but risk some of his men’s lives. He can’t hesitate so he orders his men to protect the Sinack. After carrying back all the wounded to the fort, they set fire and escape. Although Jean’s side lost this battle, he is happy to have got certain information from the enemy like their battalion numbers. Even more important they didn’t lose entirely.

Back at the camp, Suya reports to Ikta the number of casualties of their men. However she is not happy as she thinks he doesn’t take their deaths seriously as they died upon his orders. These men lost their lives because Ikta ordered them to save the Sinack. Well, would you have all the Sinack die then? Suya still cannot accept this because those men looked up to Ikta and admired him. Yatori tells her she is blaming the wrong person. Yatori is partly responsible for this because she knows Ikta will take her into consideration to make such orders. It was the same assumption for Ikta too. When told soldiers are required to put aside all emotions, Suya asks if she will kill Ikta if ordered to. Without hesitation and in short, yes. Suya still can’t accept all this. After all, everyone here has always been on the winning side and thought it would be okay if they followed Ikta’s orders. But that is what war is about and the tide can swing the other way quickly. Ikta then asks Yatori how she would kill him. She’ll kill and destroy everything about herself first so that she will never come back to life. Then the last remaining Igsem will kill him. Kala Karm receives word that their allies are still delayed at the mountain’s base. This time they are going to move out.

Episode 12
Chamille is not pleased that Safida has returned safely. It is the priority to safely evacuate the commanding officer? Good too. Because he is going to stand in the military tribunal. Nanaku wants to atone her sin to Suya by allowing her to cut off her hands. But do so only after the war. But Suya can’t bring herself to do it. She has killed so many enemies. How will she forgive herself? Sazaluf tells her there is no reason she should be blamed at all. All responsibilities fall on him as he gave the orders. When it is reported the Aldera’s cavalry are giving the infantry a ride so the journey will be faster, they believe the enemy plans to split their units. Somebody needs to go intercept them but who? Sazaluf volunteers as he believes Ikta and Yatori must not leave this place. Jean flies his blimp over enemy territory to scout. This is shocking because such technology is a blasphemy to Aldera. With the forest fire dying out, Ikta rallies his troops to fight scientifically and lazily. Huh? It means replenishing the forest fire and repelling the enemy as they attack. While Matthews’ troops are putting up extra forest fire fuel, they are attacked but manage to hold their ground. The blimp is reported to be seen hovering over the eastern area again and again. Nanaku confirms there is no route there so Ikta is suspicious of the blimp’s actions. When Torway suggests deploying his troops to the rear of the fort, it was a wise move because Kala Karm is lying ready in wait to ambush. Torway’s troops ambush them first from higher ground. The remaining Kala Karm retreat but they are flanked by other troops at the end and got taken out. This is all thanks to Ikta’s foresight as he knows they will setup a rear attack. He has Torway think what he would do if he was Kala Karm’s commander and in turn what he himself will do to counter it. On the 6th day, enemy reinforcements are seen taking the long route around the east and pulling something big. They are explosion cannons and they pack a massive impact in shooting through the fire and destroying the fort. This is another technology from Kioka that is blasphemous t Aldera. Ikta then realizes they have been had. The blimp was there to record paths through the forest. The enemy setup obstacles and memorized how to break through the wall of flames as training. With the fire wall broken, Jean leads his side through.

Episode 13
Ikta has Matthew take command of this post for the next few days. He is pessimistic of his chances so Ikta reminds him he will never give orders to others like defend this place with your life. That is unscientific. Because if he dies, everything else will also collapse. So his single order is to live. Easier said than done, right? Ikta and Yatori head out to the battlefront. He needs to adjust his thinking to defeat the enemy. Then it hit him. When Jean and his army arrive, they see the traps laid out before them and also smell oil. They figure the enemy is going to burn the place. Not wanting to end up falling into their hands, Jean orders his troops to prepare fire. Suddenly he feels something amiss when the oil smell starts to subside. From underneath them, Ikta and his soldiers pop out from their hiding and pierce through and attack. This causes chaos for Jean’s side as they have to recalibrate their attack on the sudden change in distance and thus nullify their horses and air rifles advantages. Ikta then puts up a willing to negotiate flag. Not to be mistaken as want to negotiate because it means they are cornered. He is counting on Jean to do the same because he is the kind of guy who wants to be in control and they’re both sick of this battle. Jean accepts. Both masterminds meet each other for the first time. Jean calls for their full unconditional surrender and Ikta wants their troops to complete retreat. Since both sides are not backing down, Ikta uses his sprite to shine at Jean’s heart. How is this light going to kill him? He warns Torway is lying in wait to snipe him and he has been marked. Jean reminds him the war treaty regarding attacks during negotiation is disallowed. Ikta says this negotiation can fail and then he will quickly lower his flag and shoot him. Jean calls this a threat instead of a negotiation but in war times, what’s the difference? Just because it didn’t go his way, he calls it a threat. Ikta further reminds the difference now is that he has put his troops in place where they could aim directly at him but Jean has failed to do that. Jean has a feeling Ikta is 90% bluffing but he still can’t ignore the 10%. Surprisingly, Jean accepts Ikta’s terms. A good move that Jean should not be ashamed of. A good one for Ikta too because Torway isn’t there! He won the poker game.

Before they part ways, Jean asks Ikta what motivates him to work for the Empire because he wants to make Kioka’s ideals come true. Ikta tells him he doesn’t even want to protect the country in the first place. What he wants to protect are people. More advice from Ikta as he says all heroes die from overworking. Jean is an ideal example as he is slaving himself to death. A wrong way to work hard. And the rest around him are being lazy in a wrong way. Chamille is desperate to find Ikta and co once she learns the troops are back. Almost given a scare when Ikta isn’t around. He’s right here. A big hug from her but he points out important people she needs to encourage now. Chamille praises her brave men and the Sinack. In the aftermath, Safida is tried. He is demoted and will be executed for prolonging this war. We can only hear him scream for his life. When Ikta tells Chamille privately about the decaying state of the Empire, she wants him to make it to the top of the military because he has talent and knows he can do it. And then immediately lose a war to Kioka. This will lead to Kioka’s external influence of economy and political philosophy to purify the Empire’s core. Of course Ikta needs to lose just enough to maintain the Empire’s unique culture. As a person who hates soldiers, the imperial family and heroes, he is the right person for the job. I’m sure Ikta is lamenting about it as he notes his dad died of overworking and with no regard for how the people felt around him. If he follows Chamille’s plan, it won’t be long he will come into conflict with Yatori. If this country wants to die, let it die. What he wanted to protect has never been the country. That’s why he came to take her away from this and not allow her to be caught up in its collapse.

Too Lazy To Be Lazy
So what’s next for Ikta? Looks like the more he tries to get his hands out of this military business, the more deeply he gets involved. If the only way out of all that crap is through this sh*t hole, so be it. Thankfully this series lives up to expectations. As said in my opening paragraph that I didn’t like war genres but the thought of Senjou No Valkyria and its near similar setting had me raise the bar of expectations of this series. And once again I am awed and pleased with everything it offered.

The plot and story unfold and move at a decent and fast pace. From escaping enemy lines to being drafted into the military, having a mock game and even a quick royalty vengeance story thrown in. All this was just in the first half of the series. Then they spend the rest of the second half in the mountainous region battling the Sinack before making a truce with them to fight the Aldera army. Safe to say that none of these stories feel bored and by the end of it all, you feel like you want to see more. So it’s that dilemma of wanting the war to go on so we can see what interesting tactics they come up with.

Well, since this series is set in a fantasy world (not the kind with dragons and exotic floating islands), it naturally tries to set itself apart with weird names. Thus my old problem of trying to pronounce and remembering some of the tongue twisting names. Yeah, it felt like as though I am trying to learn Latin names or something. Some are easy to pronounce and remember but the rest are just like, how do you spell that again?

The concept of war is nothing new especially when war is fought on the baseless religious grounds. Well, if your religion tells you it is right to kill others, then you should rethink and relook at your religion again. What this series perhaps subtly tries to add into the mix is the factor of science. While this isn’t dominating the aspects of this series, it feels like in addition to the battle of wits, this war also boils down to a battle between religion and science. Even if you are blindly faithful to your religion, there are some scientific and technological aspects that you have to use and improvise if you want to win a war. After all, you’re not just going to sit there and pray to God, hoping He would rain boulders on your enemies, would you? God doesn’t work that way! He won’t give you that kind of victory you ask from a prayer. Because first you kill your enemies and then you ask for forgiveness! Haha! Whoops…

Ikta is likeable as the main character because he thinks differently from the rest. Complete with his suave charm and you’ll be rooting for this guy in no time. One of the biggest ironies I find about him is that despite claiming to be lazy and thinking so, he is in fact the most hardworking of them all, don’t you agree? He doesn’t sound or look like he needs to think hard to come up with solutions and tactics and the way he does so makes him sound lazy. But then again I would like to beg to differ because if Ikta didn’t really put in his effort and hard work, he wouldn’t have been where he is standing now and not be respected by many. I mean, war especially with eternal rivalry with a neighbouring country is not child’s play to say the least.

You also noticed that Ikta has to take into account so many factors when he lays out his plans to send troops to fight the enemy while minimizing casualties. That itself is already a herculean feat. Maybe he is such a smart guy that such strategies are just peanuts to him but an ordinary (dumb) viewer like me would definitely be in awe. Also, this guy is a scientific believer. How can you be a lazy bag of bones if you support science? There are lots of hard work, the amount of time and energy spent in researching and all that sh*t. So how can Ikta be lazy as he claims to be? If it is his way to motivate the morale of others, maybe. But then again how do you scientifically explain that? Hmm… Maybe this quote will: “Hard work pays off tomorrow. Laziness pays off today!”. Wow. That makes sense. Now I am motivated to be lazy too. Another reason Ikta isn’t a lazy person he claims to be is that when he takes on a job or mission, he properly sees through it till the end instead of doing it half heartedly. In a way, the perfect word to describe him is responsible. That’s why a lot of people respect him.

Complementing Ikta is Yatori and if this guy is the brain, this girl is his hands. They both make an interesting and effective pair since they have known each other from young. They think alike and know what each other is thinking. It is as though they are twins only born from different mothers. It is true that two heads are better than one that it is applied here. Because if Ikta loses his way, Yatori will be there to remind him and bring him back and vice versa. Jean proves to be a formidable foe for Ikta with his own ideas and tactics. I won’t go so far to say that he lost because Ikta is the hero but rather Ikta played his cards better. Remember, it was a battle of wits (and bluffing) and Ikta played his part more convincing and calmly than Jean in the final lap. I bet this won’t be the last time these great brains will meet as there will be more such encounters in the future seeing Ikta now has to go lose a war. Oh heck, why not just let Kioka walk through your Empire and ‘welcome’ them with open arms?

Unfortunately for the other main characters like Haro, Torway and Matthew, it is nice that they do get a little of the screen time but they are always being overshadowed Ikta and Yatori. Maybe because Ikta and Yatori have their own flashback whereas the trio are just there to make up the numbers as their close comrades. I’m not saying that they can be done without as they too play a few minor important roles throughout the series. But then again as I said, ultimately they will be eclipsed by the superiority and amazing dynamic duo. So we’ve got chubby Matthew whom you’d remember as someone who complains the most but he gets his job done. He is sometimes pessimistic but who isn’t afraid to die in a war? But it’s always the cool words of Ikta that motivates him. Sort of. Then there is Torway whom we’ll always remember as a sharp shooter with his air rifle. Sure, he has his past with his brothers but that is forgettable once that story is over since Sarihaslag is a jerk nobody wants to remember. Finally Haro is like, uhm, can somebody tell me this medical officer’s achievements here?

Other characters are pretty decent too. Like Chamille trying to do her duty as a royalty but unfortunately with the second half of the series being fought in the mountains, Chamille’s presence has been relegated to somewhere safer: Off the screen. Haha! Oops. Then suddenly she grows up and got all serious business with this devilish plan of hers to save her country by losing a war. In order to win you have to lose? Is that scientific? I know Suya is trying to be a good soldier but it is hard when you have a superior officer who once had a fling with your mom! Imagine a classmate same as your age having an affair with your mother! No wonder she can’t trust him but Ikta uses the right head to win back her trust and respect. You know, I have this feeling inside that all these girls would somehow have some sort of romantic interest in Ikta. That guy is pretty charming in his own right too, right? Some of them he tries to blatantly flirt with. Too bad this damn war couldn’t afford to turn this into a harem anime whereby we will have tropes of a childhood friend, the other childhood friend of a different race, the rich royalty, the tomboy, the shy and friendly natural beauty and the fellow bookworm. Oh right. Kanna’s dead.

One of the mind boggling if not disappointing elements of the series is the sprites. Their presence is hardly felt and it feels as though they can actually be done without. Sure, they are part of the lore and setting of this series but they hardly do anything that would warrant anything memorable. Some weapons and vehicles are powered by them and it feels funny because I thought they are just living batteries. Even funnier to see how soldiers insert sprites into their guns but I hardly noticed any sort of ‘magical’ effects while the sprites just look stoned as they are put in use. Or not. I always try to keep in mind that maybe somewhere the little sprites will play a pivotal role and a turning point in the series but it turns out we are so engrossed in the war tactics that they hardly even matter. These small little fairies are the sole and diminutive reason why the latter half of the series is dedicated to a single arc of fighting in the northern mountains in which you will hardly notice them playing any sort of important role anyway. Oh, I noticed they’re good torch lights, by the way.

Therefore it felt like nothing when we see those sprites who have names and belonged to our heroes, sometimes they talk to them and show some concern but eventually in the end they don’t really matter. I mean, do you even remember their names after their initial introduction in the early episodes? And to think that they come in a variety of elemental types based on their colours. Say what? Hence these sprites as far as this anime is concerned are only there to look cute and perhaps distract you from the atrocities of war. I suppose that they don’t have any decent screen time to focus on them so as to remind us, the next episode preview is just a still picture of them lazing around or doing whatever cute pose they are doing. WTF, right?

The action scenes compliment the war tactics and strategies well. Whether it is seeing Yatori slicing her enemies with her double sword wielding technique or seeing both sides of the divide firing their guns to outdo the other. But be warned there is quite an amount of blood spilled here. I mean, what is the use of having a war themed anime when there are no deaths and casualties. Therefore some scenes might get real bloody like as though somebody simply splashed red paint everywhere like that Ison and Chamille scene. Yeah, there was blood everywhere.

The animation is fluid and art and drawing are pretty decent but the funny thing is that the main and supporting characters look like they have more colour compared to the rest of the extra background characters who are just bland in terms of hue. Of course this is to easily identify the characters. Because how many red heads do you know and see in this anime? Who else here have green or purple hair colour? Is it me or does Matthew have that uncanny resemblance to that guy from Nameless in Senjou No Valkyria, Alfons Auclair? The designs of some of the weaponry and objects are not too bad either and perhaps quite creative as we see the guns and cannons mixed with some sort of air compressors to give it that extra oomph. Science, b*tch!

Let me bring up the sprites again but this time on your design. I know they are supposed to look cute but I can’t help feel their design is inspired from Care Bears… Don’t laugh! It’s true. They might not have those cute lovely colourful symbols on their stomach and yell out “Care Bears Stare!” but certainly when they use their power, their stomach flashes, right? Remember what I said about them being useful as torch lights? Maybe this is their Care Bears Stare. And don’t their overall body design somewhat resembles closely to Care Bears? Ugh… Anyway note that Care Bears are way much cuter than these sprites. Just saying…

I was pretty damn sure that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was the voice behind Ikta. To my surprise after finishing watching the series, I only realized that it wasn’t him at all but Nobuhiko Okamoto (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). It’s pretty embarrassing since I was really 1000% confident it was that guy from Shokugeki No Souma and Sword Art Online. At least I got it right for Risa Taneda’s Yatori, Takehito Koyasu’s Sarihaslag, Tomokazu Sugita’s Ison, Jun Fukuyama’s Jean and Keiji Fujiwara’s Bada. The rest of the casts are Ryousuke Kanemoto as Torway (Seiji Sagara in Happiness Charge PreCure), Junji Majima as Matthew (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Haruka Chigusa as Haro (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Inori Minase as Chamille (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Rie Takahashi as Nanaku (Megumin in Kono Subarashi Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Ayumu Akikawa as Suya (debut), Shinobu Matsumoto as Sazaluf (Galdarblog in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Toshiharu Sakurai as Safida (Andou in Kaiji), Itaru Yamamoto as Deinkun (Jacques in Zero No Tsukaima F), Ikumi Hayama as Kanna (Sayaka in Strike The Blood) and Mugihito as Anarai (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!).

The rock based opening theme is Tenkyou No Alderamin by Kishidan Kyoudan and The Akaboshi Rockets. If you find their style of music pretty similar it is because they have also sung the opening themes for Gate and Strike The Blood in which all of them strikingly sound almost the same. At first glance I can’t seem to tell the difference between the songs since they have this very similar rock beat to them. Very similar. Another rock outfit graces the ending theme, Nameless by Kano (for some reason I keep thinking the singer has some sort of relation to that Black Dragon dude in Mortal Kombat).

Overall, this series might not be Senjou No Valkyria but it manages to be more than interesting enough that you don’t remember and want to compare them. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who has any interest with war related things, at least the action bits as well as the tactics and strategies thought up by a ‘lazy’ person should be fascinating. Especially some of the decisions that Ikta makes it compel you to question what the heck he is thinking. I thought the yakuza only cut off their fingers but… Since when cutting off limbs is a true sign of sincere apology? It might be wrong to look up to Ikta’s laziness as motivation. But I’ll stop being lazy once lazy stops being awesome.

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