The Wandering Witch – Gets Scientific?

Posted on Aug 31 2016

wandering witch science

Welcome, all, again. We will in this column discuss one of those series acknowledged here last time for their beautiful artwork and strong stories–Alderamin on the Sky. Admittedly, this season has been characterized by unusually detailed artwork and attentive–dare I say, sometimes overly attentive–character development in a surprising number of shows. Even so, Alderamin on the Sky is special. It deliberately introduces stereotypes as characters, then immediately begins to humanize them. (And I have to wonder: is this social commentary? A challenge, perhaps, to its audience? If so, well-played!) Both strength and vulnerability are inherent in such an approach, and allow us a much deeper appreciation of what defines and motivates our protagonists. Strong and (generally) cohesive story-telling is used hand-in-hand with gorgeously captivating artwork to place these characters in a world both engaging and believable.


Five youths stand ready to cross over the threshold of adulthood by taking the high-level officer’s exam and joining the armed forces of the Katjvarna Empire: Yatorishino Igsem; Torway Remion; Matthew Tetdrich; Haroma Becker; and Ikta Solork. Well, four do, anyway. Ikta is really only there to skew the test results and thus provide his childhood friend Yatori with the highest marks; he has absolutely no interest in becoming a soldier. Remember those stereotypes we mentioned? Ikta is the lazy genius, as compared to his friend Yatori, herself a master swordsman, who is the group’s aggressive overachiever. Torway is the delicate savant, without peer as a sniper, while Matthew is something of a blowhard with an inferiority complex. And you could fill a box with Haroma’s tags–the naive beauty, the nurturing soul, the girl most likely to climb into the van while actually expecting candy. . .And then there’s Princess Chamille, who complicates life for these five–especially Ikta–by almost drowning when their transport ship sinks during a storm.


Ikta dives into the ocean and retrieves and saves the princess, hauling her into the lifeboat he shares with Yatori and their three new friends. But when the princess awakens, she finds that their party has come ashore in enemy territory and, rather than actively seeking rescue, is instead relegated to primitive survival while avoiding detection. These are not conditions conducive to princessing, and there are concerns about her health and overall safety. Something must be done and, in his delivering Princess Chamille from her enemies, we gain our first glimpse of Ikta’s latent genius. He might have an offensively blunt manner and even a personal grudge against the Empire, but he can deliver the strategic goods–and he ain’t half-bad at tactics, either! And so Ikta and friends attract the notice and gratitude of an Imperial Princess. . .Talk about bad luck!

Having returned the princess to her capital and family, all five companions are made Imperial Knights and given immediate berths in the high-level officer’s training. Ikta has become a victim of his own genius, trapped in the very life he was trying to avoid, and there can be no escape. Princess Chamille is sickened by the decay and corruption of the Imperial government and means to raze and rebuild it, meaning that she needs Ikta–needs to transform his hatred into vendetta, then join that catalyst to her own transformative vision. But Ikta–like his friends–is a complicated and often conflicted individual. His adherence to such scientific principles as empirical observation and logic cannot prevent his more impulsive acts of chivalry, nor can his abhorrence of war save him from forced participation. So if she means to use him as a weapon, then the princess might need to find some means of control; Ikta certainly hasn’t found it yet. Despite all his proselytizing on behalf of science, Ikta’s soul remains that of a romantic–and don’t think that damsel-in-distress Chamille doesn’t have his number!


Alderamin on the Sky continues to deliver on what was one of the most promising starts of the season. Episodic storylines contribute smoothly to the overall story arc. The artwork is simply stupefying; meanwhile, what the animation fails to fully convey is thoroughly expressed by the characters themselves, who are usually believable and often surprisingly sympathetic. But one character must be specifically addressed lest it be overlooked–war, itself. In a series which has recognized both science and spiritual belief, War might assume the role of deity, twisting lives and entire belief systems to its service. And like some wrathful god needing to prove its omnipotence, War (as character) contrives to influence or even direct all. What Ikta and Chamille both realize (as does Yatori, although differently) is that war–War, even–requires human agents in order to reach fruition. Now, what can they do with this realization? Can acolytes bring down a god? I want to believe they’ll try, so let’s find out!

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  • nerdwerld September 25, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Reading this has made me want to start watching this series. Love your reviews and keep writing them.

  • moonhawk81 September 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you! And it truly is an amazing series–just watched episode 12. I’m praying that this and 91 Days both have second seasons.

  • moonhawk81 September 30, 2016 at 3:42 PM

    Never mind–looks like 91 Days wrapped up rather abruptly. . .glad I had the chance to review it!

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