First Impression – Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin

Ald1003

Exposition!, Exposition!, Rush it out ASAP!

Why advance the plot when we can infodump eternally?

spring15-irenesAnd while I did enjoy this episode much more than I thought I would, that would be the main problem with this first episode. There is way–too–much–exposition. Alderamin commits the grievous crime of way too much tell instead of showing. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ald1002

After that sudden outburst in the beginning, you would probably think that I hate this series, but in all honesty, I actually, really kind of liked it. Yeah, I did. The setting is interesting, the characters have potential, and the plot has a lot of room to expand. When I first heard about this series, it really seemed that most people when they mentioned it, only talked about it being done by famous anime studio Madhouse.

Madhouse has a pretty good reputation and I have liked much of their work in the past. However, for me, the name of the studio, is not the selling point for a series. It wasn’t until I went into blogging that I even began to pick on their names and be able to identify their style. Prior to that, all the stuff in the end credits was of little interest to me. I was more interested in seeing the finished product. What about the story? The characters? The plot? Because of this, while knowing that Madhouse was doing it was great to know, I needed to actually know if the story of Alderamin was actually going to interest me, as very few people were actually talking about that part of the show.

Ald1010

Um, you do realize how dangerous it is to put a hammock up that high don’t you? Or are you one of those dumb smart guys?

I ended up reading a few chapters of the manga which was adapted from the original light novel, and found the story to be pretty…okay. It wasn’t something that truly grabbed me, but it didn’t bore me to death either. It was good, not great, and while I couldn’t really get excited about it. I did think it was worth at least a watch and a first impression.

After having watched the episode, I was honestly pleasantly surprised. Sure the episode still had its problems (I’ll get more on those in a moment), but truly the writers did a very good job adapting the story for television, streamlining it and cutting much of the extra, unneeded  fat that had made the original material feel long winded and at times tedious. We quickly went through what took multiple manga chapters to tell, which was to establish our main and supporting characters, have them meet and put them in a situation that can allow them to cohere as a group. And while doing all that, it also sets up what kind of world this is and what is immediately going on within it. It did its job as a premiere episode to get me interested and what to see more.

Ald1017

Hello ma’am, my name is Ikta Solork. Why is my name Solork? Well, let me tell you my life story of being an orphan and a commoner and even who found me beside the road. I know this is our first meeting, but I wanted to get it all out there. 

_______________________________

Now to get to bad…once again, TOO MUCH EXPOSITION! And not only was there too much, but it was done in a very shoddy way. The dialogue between characters was very wooden, in that obvious way that you know that characters are only saying what their saying so that the audience will be informed about the information. It’s not natural. And it didn’t work. Despite them saying everyone’s name, past history, and background in an almost painful introduction scene, I honestly don’t remember most of their names. I mostly just know them by the characters tropes that they made so painfully obvious!

The only two characters’ names I actually remember, was of course the main character’s, Ikta (you say his name repeatedly in the first 10 seconds and I’ll get it just on repetition),  and the bumbling, comic relief noble wannabe, Matthew (it’s a common English name). Everyone else is still “vague, soft spoken bishe guy” “big-boobed dumb but sweet healer girl” “redheaded warrior noble childhood friend girl”, and “young naive but good-hearted princess”. I’ll probably be able to get them eventually as we become more familiar with the characters, but for right now, I know more about what their characters are supposed to be, then who the characters actually are. I still think they have potential, and surprisingly, I do like them, despite not knowing much about them, but this is only the first episode, so they have time to work on it.

Ald1028Ald1031

I must remove my shirt to save princess–even though it has to be soaking wet by now anyway. 

One of the biggest problems with having really bad exposition, is that sometimes it throws off the pacing, almost to the point where it messed up much of the advancement of the plot. If you really look at this episode, you really see that not much was done with time allotted to it. We met our characters, we found out there is a war going on between two nations and that it’s been going on for some time to the point where the nobility are beginning to be known by their military prowess, moreso than their noble blood. We know that all these kids are in the military, mostly not because they want to but because either they have no other options or because it’s expected of them. On a ship they were to go for their officer exams, they get shipwrecked and end up in enemy territory where because of the status of some of their party, they are in quite a bit of danger. And that’s it. I think if they had allowed all of what we had to know about the show come out more naturally, shown rather than told, they could have multitasked, allowing the characters to be introduced while the plot was proceeding. You didn’t need to have the whole long, painful scene on the boat over introductions and rushed backstory.

Ald1036Ald1037Ald1054Ald1060

Being a loli princess has its perks…and its problems.

Well, even so, like I said, at least this was paced better than the manga, which took even longer to get to this point. Ikta is a slightly interesting character and I’m interested in how he’s going to go from wanting a cushy library job, to becoming a military general. Considering the next episode, I have a feeling that he’s going to find himself on everyone’s radar by somehow using his smarts to get him and his comrades home and saving the princess. I don’t mind 12 year-old Chamille (had to look that name up). She tries her best to act becoming of her station, being able to remember every noble family even the lesser ones, and taking leadership even when she is the youngest in the room. Yet, to see her get frustrated and act out like a normal preteen made her seem more real. The other 3 haven’t really distinguished themselves as much, but here’s hoping!

Ald1006

Watch this series! The loli commands you!

Kawaii Extras:

Show ▼

header-spring15-irenes

To summarize in one line, I like what was set up here, but there is work to do. We have a world that is somehow a fusion of realistic military warfare with magic fairytale elements. We have a princess and her empire with color-coded fairies, but we also have guns, and blimps, and DMZs. At times the mix of the two works well together, such as the creation of guns powered by fairy. Other times, it clashes, such as their period style civilian clothing and yet, modern military uniforms. I’m interested in hopefully seeing Ikta grow and how he ends up being pushed into exactly the position that he doesn’t want. I’m always into seeing a military strategist at work, let’s hope that he doesn’t disappoint. It’s one thing to say that he will become a great military leader, it’s quite another to show it.

Also, that title is way too long and too hard to pronounce. I’ll be sticking with “Alderamin on the Sky”, thank you!

About

A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

15 Responses to “First Impression – Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin”

  1. Highway says:

    I really liked the show, and didn’t think it had any of the issues with over-exposition that you did. They moved the characters around quite a bit and had them do things, and they managed to work in things like the rivalry between the Igsem and Remion, as well as the status of the lower families pretty well. Maybe I’m more used to shows that aren’t as deft about it like “Let’s sit around in bathing pools for half the episode and explain what’s going on” Ange Vierge, but I thought they worked things into conversations a lot more naturally than just “Oho! I see it’s Soandso, the great rival of my family who has a reputation for womanizing!”

    One other point on the uniforms: military uniforms are usually the *least* modern bit of clothing that people in our era are wearing. They’re usually made of heavy, basic fabrics, sewn together with basic strong stitches, have a very conservative cut, and follow the idea that low-tech is better. Seeing them in this kind of classic cut overdressed military uniform was not overly futuristic, if anything it was, as military uniforms tend to be, conservative and rooted in the past.

    Also, I thought that this show looked great. I was thinking that at least the first episode here would be the best looking show of the season, until ufotable pulled out that absolutely ridiculous Tales of Zestiria the X episode 1 (not 00).

    • sonicsenryaku says:

      ehhhhh, those scenes came off more like failed attempts to hide the fact that the writing couldnt handle the exposition naturally. It killed the flow of the ep for me. Not to mention that i dont really care for any of these characters at the moment and that’s the other thing that made the exposition all the more painful: at the end of the ep, none of the characters intrigued me nor did they come off as likeable save for maybe the red head. Still, there is some potential in all this so we’ll see where it goes. The potential for a war story and possibly seeing these characters become interesting is worth sticking around for a few more eps.

      • IreneSharda says:

        Well, I wouldn’t go that far. As for the dialogue and the flow, I totally agree. But I liked some of the characters. I thought Ikta and Chamille had good starts, some of the others are a little trope-y, but hopefully they will grow too.

    • IreneSharda says:

      I think the pacing was good which is much of what you’re talking about, at least in most areas, but I think a lot of the information simple told aloud by a character could have been shown. It’s just that much of the dialogue didn’t feel natural at all, as if most of it was written to get all the intro stuff and stick it in one episode, rather than spread it out over the series.

      We didn’t need to know Ikta’s entire past told in narration cliffnotes as he’s trying to double it for flirtation. The way the princess told us her name and the purpose of the ring she wears in narration, even though every character there already knew that information and were just talking about it. The episode was peppered with that. I liked the episode too and I honestly think they fixed some of the problems the original source had, however, I just would like them to write the dialogue better so that it doesn’t sound like every character is spewing unnatural exposition every other moment.

      As for, the uniforms, it has nothing to do who the materials, cut, fabrics and minute stuff like that. I’m talking about the period of the style of the uniforms, compared to that of their normal clothes. Their civilian clothing looks pretty old school, and actually gives me vibes to something like Arslan’s time just a slightly more tropical region. Yet, their uniforms look like they should be from another period entirely. It would again, be like seeing the Parsian soldiers in Arslan dressed in those kind of uniforms. It just doesn’t seem to match.

  2. skylion says:

    I have to go along with Highway and make my claim in the Land of Not-At-All-Overexpositoria. I found this one to be nearly pitch perfect. It gave us information on the basic set up, and most important it gave us the basis for how these characters act. I think their escape from the island is going to be pretty brutal. Now we have an idea about who will act in what way, and then surprise us even?

    Well, I don’t think Ikta be Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass will be that surprising.

    Also, using bottle faeries as gun clips? I’m stealing that idea!

    • IreneSharda says:

      I think it gave us too much in trying to set us up, and not in the most natural way. I think they could have done a better job at least in the dialogue and the way they had to tell us all the info about the characters rather than showing it spread out over a few episodes.

      But I also liked the episode a lot despite this and hope they do well with this.

      And the faeries are adorable. Is it only the wind ones that get to be gun clips? Would you put the fire one in a flame thrower? The water one in a water pistol? 😀

      • skylion says:

        …I think the air one’s a good for a gun, and the rest have a part to play in whatever alchemical wonderland they choose to bring us…I’m hoping it’s more varied that simple “gun and click”.

  3. HannoX says:

    I’m another one who didn’t think the exposition was over done. Most of the characters are meeting one another for the first time so of course they’re going to introduce themselves. In an aristocratic society that’s going to include family. And the others are going to comment on notable members of the family of the one introducing themselves. Plus by these introductions they’re going to be establishing their pecking order based on their noble rank. That’s just how it works with aristocrats.

    Nor was it unusual for Ikta to mention right off the bat that he’s an orphan. That heads off any misunderstandings that could led to problems later. And he’s not the type to set any store in being special because of the family you were born into, so it’s also a way of being defiant without being obvious about it.

    My biggest problem is the cutesy fairies. God, could I do without those!

    • IreneSharda says:

      I’m fine wit them introducing themselves, but they honestly don’t have to do the families since they all expressed that each of them knew each others families anyway (except for the commoners). And I’ve seen aristocratic introductions that were done well and didn’t spout out tons of unnatural exposition at the same time.
      The most egregious example was the scene with the princess, and how they started out okay by having it shown that the ring was special and that’s how they knew she was a princess, and that all of them knew who she was, even remember that she went over the redhead’s house. But then the very next moment, she introduces herself again by name and that she is the third princess and states the ring’s purpose, even though it was clear that everyone she’s talking too, already knows this information. The only purpose of her saying any of that, was to inform the audience, and they tried to hide it as royal dialogue, but it was much too wooden and didn’t match the princess’ earlier and later actions and personality. It was just poorly handled exposition that wasn’t written to the best of its advantage.

      • HannoX says:

        I’ll agree that the dialogue could have been better written, but I think the conversations themselves weren’t bad–just the way they were done.

  4. akagami says:

    I still can’t get over the character design changes … hopefully soon.

    I didn’t realize the loli princess was a blonde. I assumed she was silver haired from the manga, because, well, I dunno, it seemed to fit my image of her better.

    I’m a fan of the manga. Ikta’s like a lazy Lelouch. Interesting military tactics are always fun to watch.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Actually, I kind of like the new designs over the old ones, I think Ikta looks like he has more meat on him and that he actually has some military training.

      I thought the manga was okay, but I only got to the beginning chapters so we’ll see how the series unfolds.

      • akagami says:

        Well, he was a skinny and lazy otaku, which I felt fit his character better, ashe likes to take the easy route. The buffer version just doesn’t quite fit as well.

        I was referring more on the faces and hair, the anime version seems to lack detail… like they were put through this blender and came out smooth.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Hmmm…. At the gate, nothing clicked. Unimpressive… I see events unfolding but am unable to bring myself to caring about them or the present characters. If Alderamin wants to hold my interest, it needs to do something worth investing my attention.

  6. skylion says:

Leave a Reply to HannoX