Shoukoku no Altair has a rather okayish debut, though we do see some potential here.
The episode does two things: introduce us to the main character, Mahmut Pasha, and introduce us to the setting. It takes place in the fictional continent of Rumeliana where a war is brewing. Mahmut is a prodigy and the youngest to attain the rank of Pasha, a high rank bestowed upon exceptional people which makes them a part of the government’s Imperial Council.
Türkiye was at war with the neighboring Balt-Rhein some 12 years ago and since then relationships have been quite bad between the two. Now Balt-Rhein wants more war to expand its territories. They were looking for an excuse and found one in the form of an assassination of their minister by Türkiye soldiers.
They issue a notice to Türkiye to send a delegation to explain this incident otherwise it’ll be war. Of course they have no intention of accepting any sort of peace deal, but they have to put up an act.
At the Divan, or the Imperial Council, the Pashas are divided over whether to wage war with Balt-Rhein or sacrifice someone in a peace attempt. Türkiye suffered quite some losses in the war 12 years ago and they can’t afford another conflict. It is decided in the end that they will sacrifice someone and Halil Pasha volunteers, since he’s close to retirement anyway.
Here we see something about Mahmut. He seems to have a strong personality despite having this “I want to save everyone” mentality which Zağanos terms as childish. Sure, no one in the Divan wants the loss of lives, but you have to be realistic at least. Mahmut, after learning that Halil went on as a sacrifice, goes after him to stop him. He has some proof that the assassination was orchestrated by Balt-Rhein themselves and they’re pinning the blame on Türkiye.
Louis, a Balt-Rhein minister, doesn’t want the delegation to even try to make peace. If the delegation were to die on their way here, it would aid in the beginning of a war. But Mahmut had anticipated an assassination attempt, takes evasive measures beforehand, succeeds in capturing the assassins and places them before the Balt-Rhein king and clears the name of Türkiye, saving Halil and also preventing a war, for now at least.
The presentation of all this felt a bit off and too fast, but it worked to show what kind of person Mahmut is along with establishing the setting of this world. Mahmut has the rather typical background of the boy who lost his family and doesn’t want something terrible like that to happen again, but out of the members of the Divan, he’s probably the most serious about maintaining peace in the land.
Louis is seen going to a tribe to convince them of doing some stuff to get the city of Hisar for themselves. The tribe is local to Türkiye because as per the next episode preview, the events in Hisar are termed a rebellion. Balt-Rhein is doing everything it can to start a war with Türkiye, and Mahmut will be the one who will try to foil their plans.
There is also a line by the narrator saying that the war will involve the entire continent. This means that either there will be an all-out war with every nation enemies of each other, or that Balt-Rhein will be the common enemy and everyone else will fight them.
Türkiye is in a predicament because they’re not strong enough to fight Balt-Rhein alone which means that in this scenario they would have to get themselves some allies. If they end up fighting Balt-Rhein head on, they’re going to lose more than in the war 12 years ago. But there is no guarantee that the other nations will become allies that easily. And even if they do team up with Türkiye, the question of “who will lead the alliance” will come up. And when you’re in an alliance against some warmongers, there will also be some military strategies required. They will have to work together and make plans to keep their losses minimum and win against the enemy. This is where Shoukoku no Altair can shine because this show can be really good if this military strategy part works out well.
This episode was a bit iffy because of how fast the events played out, but the show does have a promising future as there will be some more attempts at war from Balt-Rhein and attempts to stop them from succeeding. There will be some politics involved too, as the other nations will be approached for a possible alliance.
There is potential here and we would like to see this show deliver on that.
This wasn’t the most eventful introduction, but you may try to pick up story hints by watching the OP below:
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