Image source: TVアニメ「将国のアルタイル」 on Twitter

A character’s ego can be a powerful ally in a sticky situation. But, in a politically charged anime series like Altair: A Record of Battle, an ego can get a lot of people killed.

After being demoted from the top military and political rank, our hero Tuğril Mahmut sets out on a journey to learn more about his nation. But, his first major stop, a port city-state, is dragged into a war soon after he arrives. And this is a war born from the fact that one man couldn’t let go of the cities proud history and traditions—even when they put the safety and livelihood of the citizens at risk.

The key to the latest three episodes of Altair: A Record of Battle all comes down to one question: Do you navigate the web of diplomacy or give in to your ego? Yet, this question isn’t levied on Mahmut. Instead, we see it from the perspective of the character Constantinus. Like Mahmut, Constantinus has a high position within the government of the city-state Phoenicia and he believes his actions are just and right. These similar character traits help us assess and understand why Mahmut needs to go on his journey. In other words, why Mahmut needs to comprehend the intricacies of diplomacy and not rely on his ego.

The newest episodes of the series expose these ideas to us through the diplomatic relations and ego’s regarding a war involving three major players. These are the Balt-Rhein Empire, the city-state of Phoenicia, and the city-state of the Republic of Venedik. While Mahmut is near the center of the diplomatic intrigue, it’s actually an alliance between Phoenicia and Venedik he has to comprehend in order to understand the machinations of the war and navigate the political discourse. And the central figure in the alliances is Constantinus.

Image source: TVアニメ「将国のアルタイル」 on Twitter

We see Constantinus has complete faith in the alliance. For him, this is a bond that can’t be broken because you’re imparting your trust in another person. And this all stems from Constantinus’ belief that you help your allies in need no matter the cost. Therefore, he lacks the foresight to fully understand the ramifications of his actions of going to war. This mindset is similar to Mahmut in the early episodes as he had no compunctions about his actions, but also failed to see the larger picture. However, while last time we saw Mahmut go through this, now we see him reacting to it from the outside. This creates a moment in the series where we recognize the follies in Constantinus’ faith in Phoenicia and Venedik’s alliance.

However, the absolute faith Constantinus has isn’t undeserved because it comes from a deep-rooted places: his arrogance and ego. Consider, Constantinus is certain about the alliance and the defensive capabilities of Phoenicia. So, why wouldn’t he want to make a show of might to the Balt-Rhein Empire to ensure the livelihood of the citizens? For those surrounding Constantinus, this sounds righteous and just because he makes compelling arguments. But, when you break him down, he’s a character who has an ego, believes what he’s doing is right, and fails to realize the consequences of his actions.

Image source: TVアニメ「将国のアルタイル」 on Twitter

What sets Mahmut apart from Consantinus, though, is the outcome of their actions. With Mahmut, he’s lucky he’s able to save a lot of people. Constantinus, on the other hand, suffers a grave loss. This difference is an eye-opening moment for us because we actually see the dire consequences of acting purely on ego. Thus, from Mahmut’s perspective, he’s essentially looking at a mirror with Constantinus and seeing the results of a poorly executed plan based on ego. So when all is said and done in the three episodes, Mahmut is forced to ask himself what the underlying circumstances are and what sort of diplomatic webs is he dealing with so he can avoid outcomes like this in the future.

Mahmut’s ego got him demoted in the early episodes of Altair: A Record of Battle. But, with the latest three episodes, he has the chance to start to understand why his brash nature can be detrimental to his government and military. Unfortunately, it required a war and the downfall of someone very similar to himself for Mahmut to begin to see this.

Altair: A Record of Battles is streaming on Amazon Anime Strike.

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