Without a doubt, Summer 2017 anime titles are potentially worth to anticipate. Most of the shows are new to me, well at least, except for Saiyuki Reload Blast which is an ultimate nostalgia for fans of the legendary franchise, and I’ve been one of them. For this season, other than the sequel of Saiyuki which I prioritized to watch its first episode, I was also opting to finish Shoukoku no Altair. Watching various clips on it beforehand made me feel that the anime has a strong historical western Asia vibe. History-inspired shows are my cup of tea from watching anime shows based on Japanese history to making myself getting involved with pre-historic and ancient period of various nations. Of course, they are made with fantastical scope and are loosely based on the basic history, so you don’t need to agree or disagree with regards to the narratives of such genre.
As far as I noticed from people on streaming sites and anime blogs, only few of them, or maybe at least 25% are being absorbed in the anime. I know there are tons of great shows out there for this season as those hyped fans of Ballroom e Youkoso, Koi no Uso, Fate/Apocypha, Made in Abyss to name few of highly recommended titles. Whereas, Shoukoku no Altair is rarely talked about by many anime fans for some reasons – “It’s boring.“, “It’s inaccurate“, – and I used to see comments like these when it comes to historical fantasy, but few of them were able to support their statement concisely with sound judgment.
A young boy named Tughril Mahmut who aspires to change and protect the world from inevitable war, to stop the bloody mist of battles among lands and nations, Shoukoku no Altair‘s plot seems quite linear as other shows of the same genre in view of the protagonist who broods over the past and got his strength out of it. The moment he was introduced in the show, there was something I could definitely like about him. While he seems to possess a little resemblance to Arslan from The Heroic Legend of Arslan, considering his strong determination to meet his purpose, his character development might progress gradually with a predictable sequence of his metamorphosis though the premise boldly depicts his strong character as part of the military government of the empire, and that is another thing I would highly anticipate throughout. It’s about encountering massive crisis and threats and dealing with the political nation to make the story a lot more convincing as a historically inclined anime. That said, swords fighting amidst of a bloody battle is something I should look forward to as I go through the story.
What is Turkiye nation all about? The first episode doesn’t fully narrate a brief background of the fictional country. More than how it depicts an aesthetic setting of the imperial place, the transparency of the national reference is based on the real country Turkey, or more preferably in the ancient perspective, the Ottoman Empire. Shoukoku no Altair‘s story originates from a war against Baltrhein Empire which, based on the names mentioned and the structure of their own kingdom, has European-inspired forces who launched a surprise attack and this event separated the two imperial country to establish their own political interest. With the quick narrative, I still find it to be a compelling imagery of real Ottoman’s volatile relationship with other imperial nation. The nature of the conflict is vaguely emphasized in the beginning of the anime, however, in my point of view, it’s rather about seeking power, the large national interest in social and economic aspect and partly related to the strong religious beliefs among Islams.
The setting which is loosely based on the Ottoman Empire particularly engages me the most. It’s a fictional geography of west Asia, and the actual setting of the nation perfectly illustrates the Islamic nation of Ottoman – the architectural design of the place, the ancient music as people dance under the night lights and how these citizens dress up with glamour. Added to that, the most fascinating point is that it actually incorporates a close-to-reality events of the Ottoman history. It involves political perspective of Stratocracy government and the national interest, the use of authority and military power, the battle of thrones and fighting for one’s belief which cover up the introductory course of the anime. While it offers a unique spice of history as a western Asia inspired anime, various terms based on the real-life Ottoman history are often mentioned. Such term is Pasha, the general rank of the Ottoman government. While I ain’t outstanding in comprehensive world history as I am not a historian in any way, taking a quick glance on the iconic visualization of ancient times is quite the big entertainment.
While I am rather captivated with the environment of the fantastical history, characters are well-presented as to their design and overall appeal. Mahmut’s art complements smoothly with his role as a kind-hearted and soft spoken Pasha in the military nation. While supporting characters remain elegant with their detailed Turban gear and neatly modeled traditional robe as those ancient Islamic times, Mahmut, on the other hand, maintains a plain disposition yet respectable in nature more than how he looks physically as the youngest one.
Shoukoku no Altair’s first episode is making its way to further develop the narrative to attain a realistic scope of history in a broader sense which will allow the audience appreciate the beauty of the ancient period. It might be a different spice of history contrary to the well-known era of Japan’s pre-historic times such that, watching Hakuouki and Sengoku Basara isn’t a big surprise to present over the table. While the anime confuses the audience with the fast-paced details of historical references, it is more likely a plot-driven show which highlights the adventures of the protagonist and the development of the situation for a rapid storytelling.
What do you think of this history-inspired anime? Let me know your thoughts.