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Alderamin on the Sky is the story of the early days of Ikta Solork, the man who will one day be known as his country’s greatest tactician: The Invincible Lazy General. Over the course of the series, we watch as Solork overcomes the odds again and again thanks to his logical way of thinking and goal to do as little as possible to achieve victory. Reluctant he may be, but he is certainly on his way to being a hero–until the last few minutes of the series, anyway.

[This article contains major spoilers for Alderamin on the Sky.]

Solork never wanted to to be a soldier. After all, his father had been killed as a traitor for disobeying an order. But after his chance rescue of Princess Chamille, he finds himself “rewarded” by being drafted into the army as a knight, becoming both a soldier and a nobleman in the process.

His service does little to decrease his hatred of the military. He watches again and again as incompetent nobles and uncaring commanders lead the rank and file to an early grave. By the end of the series, he has witnessed war crimes (along with crimes against God) by his supposed superiors. Yet, somehow, he has kept those closest to himself alive–though not without real sacrifice.

Throughout the series, it has been a mystery as to why Princess Chamille forced Ikta into the military. Of course, the obvious answer is that he is a skilled tactician. But the deeper answer is that Ikta is the only person Chamille has found that hates the corrupt nobles and foolish military as much as she does.

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In the final episode, Chamille reveals her true plan for Solork: to climb to the top of the military and become the nation’s greatest hero–and then lose a war.

Chamille has realized that her country cannot continue as it is. It’s people are trapped in the past–so blinded by corruption and patriotism that they don’t realize how small they’ve become. One day soon, it will all collapse and they’ll be conquered after picking a fight they can’t hope to win. Reform, even should she become Empress (largely a puppet position at this point), is impossible as long as the people, both noble and lowborn, believe their nation is the greatest in the world.

The only way forward is to teach her people humility; to take the greatest among them and have him utterly and unquestionably defeated. Only then can her people grow and leave behind the worst aspects of their culture.

Of course, there are two major problems for the implementation of this plan. Firstly, Chamille needs a co-conspirator who can handle the military side of the plan while she handles the political side. Secondly, she needs someone who can lose the war so much as to force outward-looking cultural change, but not so much as for the country to lose autonomy along with the good parts of their own culture. She needs a tactical genius who hates his own country but cares about the normal people living in it–i.e., Solork.

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By revealing this plan to Solork, the entire story dynamic changes. If he walks the path to the promised defeat, thousands will die trusting that Solork has their best interests at heart. In a very real sense he will be the greatest villain the country has ever faced. He will betray all those around him–including Yatori, the person he cares for as much as his own self.

Worse still, Yatori is the heir to the Igsem family, a clan who puts loyalty to the Empire before anything else. As Ikta’s closest friend, it almost certain that, at some point, she will figure out Chamille and Solork’s plan. The question is which half of her soul will win: the caring Yatori or the iron-willed Igsem. And should the Igsem half win, will Ikta have the resolve to kill her for the sake of his and the princess’ radical plan?

While I greatly enjoyed Alderamin on the Sky, this ending twist and the implications that shape the story to come overshadow everything that came before. With no second season announced, I may just have to pick up the novels to see where this story leads.

Alderamin on the Sky can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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