One of the freedoms you get with doing an Alternate History/Universe series is that you are untethered by anything concrete in the real world to tell your tale. One drawback is that you may have to rely on pseudo geography and country names to help with your story. Thus is the conflict generated by “Shoukoku no Altair” (“Altair: A Record of Battles”).
We find ourselves in the western part of the great continent Rumeliana (which kind of looks like Europe around the Mediterranean). Tugril Mahmut (guy on horse) is a young war orphan and has been confirmed as the youngest Pasha in the Türkiye stratocracy (which looks and feels like Turkey). He desires to ensure that war never occurs. Unfortunately, after an assassination of a politician, Türkiye is under the looming threat of the militaristic Balt-Rhein Empire (which smells of Germany) and lead by the ever intelligent, ever dangerous Prime Minister Virgilio Louis (the looming shadow at the top.)
After playing a vital role in solving two schemes within his country, Mahmut sets out on a journey to see more the outside world, only to witnesses Balt-Rhein’s growing influence on the continent. To protect his homeland, Mahmut and his companions travel across West Rumeliana to form alliances between his country and the other nations to face against the Balt-Rhein Empire and their frightening expansionist movement. With the creation of the Tripartite Military Alliance with Greater Türkiye, Republic of Venedik (Venice), and Urado Kingdom (which feels like Switzerland), and the cooperation of the Cuore Alliance (possibly Greece), the Anti-Imperial Alliance battles against the Balt-Rhein Empire in the Great Rumeliana War.
Whew! That’s a lot to take in. You can also see Spain, Italy and Phoenicia in some of the country names. The story revolves around Mahmut’s attempts to prevent war and to eventually take on the Balt-Rhein Empire when things go not as planned. Oh, his companions, of which Mahmut could not achieve as much as he did, include Kyros γιός Apollodorus (right under the horse). He was a Phoiníkē spy, but when his land fell, joined with Mahmut.
The other is Abiriga (at the end of the horse). He comes from Venedik and operates as a mole to see what Mahmut is really up to, but comes to respect both him and the task he has before him.
Once you get around trying to figure out which fictional country is what real country, it is an appealing mix of political intrigue and military might. Things never go as planned and you can do everything right and still be wrong. We slowly assemble the cast as we also have a series of missteps and mistakes, plus brilliant military escapades.
The only problem is the mono-mindedness of those in the Balt-Rhein Empire. Louis is almost comically villainous. The generals for the army are too blood-and-guts. Their aide-de-camps are too boot-licking. They went to a great deal of effort to show real personality and character flaws for the rest of them, but when it came to these guys, well, whatever was left over. Still, it is a very good chess game of a series, as you see the moves and counter move for each to obtain their goals and desires.
Even with the series concluded, things aren’t concluded. Things are never concluded, right. All we have done is delayed things, but as long as Prime Minister Louis is around, death and destruction is not far behind.
Because of the political machination and behind-the-scenes actions, you have to binge this one, as you want things to really play out as it would in the modern world. You also get the sense of urgency, as there is so little time to try and stop a real world conquering machine and there is no rest for the weary.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Marvelous backgrounds, strange hair)
Plot 7 (Some aspects seemed forced to make story)
Pacing 8 (Marvelous fight sequences)
Effectiveness 8 (Like with many things, there are a ton of loose ends)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Wedding Peach”)
Bingeability 10 (The story can take it)
Overall 8 (Good story, but telegraphed certain scenes)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. We must defeat Balt-Rhein!