Anime: Madan no Ou to Vanadis || Lord Marksman and Vanadis
Original Run: Oct 4, 2014 to Dec 27, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
A brief skirmish between the countries of Brune and Zhcted results in the capture of a Brune nobleman, Tigrevurmud Vorn, by Eleonora Viltaria, one of the seven war maidens who preside over Zhcted’s territories. Impressed by Tigre’s incredible command over archery, Elen demands that he become one of her men in exchange for his life. Tigre agrees but his respite turns out to be short-lived when news reaches him of his hometown being in trouble while he’s stuck in enemy territory.
But that might turn out to be more of a boon than expected as Tigre unexpectedly finds himself embroiled in a nation-wide conflict that threatens to restructure the entirety of Brune’s political landscape.
I didn’t really expect much from this show. It was the war premise that drew me in but I still went in expecting it to be harem-focused and for the actual politics to take a backseat. Not only was I wrong about that but the actual harem aspect also ended up as one of my favorite parts of Lord Marksman and Vanadis.
Starting with the positives, this anime’s greatest strength is its setting. It’s a fantasy world with its own countries and creatures where such things as dragons and mystical powers, while not commonplace, are a natural occurrence. Most of this isn’t spoon fed to us but rather allowed to unfold naturally, sometimes in the form of stories that further develop the mythology and history of their world. Its full scope isn’t touched upon in the course of these twelve episodes but there are enough hints to give us the impression of a vast and interesting world.
The plot is a blend of political intrigue and frantic battles with a dash of romance. This is a bit of a mixed bag. The political and romantic elements both work well but while there are a large number of battles of varying scales scattered throughout the narrative, their execution aren’t as impressive as it could have been. A lot of it is covered by voiceover where a narrator explains strategies and actions, often skipping hours or days in the process. We only see the more key moments. This makes sense as these fights would drag out too long otherwise but all the same, they flow of the story suffers. In addition to that, Tigre and co’s victories are often made possible by luck and foolish opponents which gets less impressive with repetition.
Still, these issues are more prevalent towards the end of the show which is admittedly not as good as the first half. The ending is still sufficiently satisfactory even though it’s clear that the story continues and mysteries remain.
As for the romance and harem elements, they’re all pretty good. Tigre unwittingly attracts female attention everywhere he goes and in nearly all cases, he’s got good chemistry with the women. His interactions with them are nice to see and their interest in him feels genuine. Of course, there’s no real sign of commitment or reciprocation from his side towards any of the girls by the end but that’s to be expected. None of this ever overshadows the darker parts of the show but instead works alongside it.
On the whole, Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a very good fantasy story with an interesting setting, likeable characters and entertaining storyline.
The protagonist is Tigrevurmud Vorn, a.k.a Tigre, a minor nobleman whose only notable qualities are his prodigious skill with a bow and the ability to worm his way into the hearts of people, especially the girls. Tigre can in one word be summed up as ‘nice’. He’s shown to be fair and compassionate but also capable. He never hesitates to act when he needs to, especially when that need involves protecting that which he holds dear. He’s selfless in that it’s the love for his territory and its people that drive him rather than personal gain or safety. He’s mild-mannered without being a pushover. In other words, nice. Really, Tigre is quite charming throughout and it’s easy to see why he’s got so many admirers. That said, he doesn’t really leave a lasting impression and is easy to forget once the show is over.
Eleonora Viltaria – or Elen because no one in this show has heard of short names – is the female lead. A normal mercenary turned supernatural powerhouse, Elen is a war maiden who has command over wind and knows how to put it to good use. She’s confident bordering on cocky but carries it well. It helps that she can usually back up her words with actions. Though a good leader and skilled fighter, Elen is prone to impulsiveness and occasionally anger. She’s most expressive when it comes to Tigre since jealousy over him is the best way to break her cool veneer and bring out the tantrums. Elen’s mix of maturity and childishness actually makes her pretty fun to watch.
Other war maidens also play important roles in the story. There’s Ludmila who seems to despise Elen and starts out as an antagonist but develops a fondness for Tigre amidst it all. As expected, she becomes an important ally later on. Severe and straight-laced, Ludmila is the opposite of Elen in many ways but also has moments of unguarded softness which make her portrayal more sympathetic. Sofya is another war maiden who’s not as involved with Tigre or the story as the other two. She’s kind and helpful and easily likeable.
Elen’s second-in-command Limalisha, Tigre’s manservant Bertrand and mentor Mashas, his friend and maid Titta, the royal heir Regin etc make up the rest of the good guys while the main antagonists comprise mostly of a couple of Brune noblemen who’s both fifty shades of despicable. One isn’t very interesting but he does his part well while the other has potential that the anime doesn’t get a chance to fully explore.
Art and Music:
This show is very pleasing to the eye in terms of both character designs and backgrounds. The former is full of bright and varied colors while the latter ranges from lush greenery to grim battlegrounds. Overall quality is excellent as well. There’s some CGI but it’s not that awkward and blends well with the rest of the animation.
Lord Marksman’s music is pretty good, with both opening and ending themes warranting repeat listening. The OP, Ginsen no Kaze by Konomi Suzuki, sounds rather grandiose and perfectly captures the spirit of the story with its music and visuals both. The ending theme’s Schwarzer Bogen by Hitomi Harada. While not as striking as the opening, it still suits the show well.
Lord Marksman and Vanadis never really excels in any regard but it does present a very entertaining story. If you want a nice dose of fantasy with war and politics mixed in, then give this a go.