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Review: Lord Marksman and Vanadis (DVD)

An epic tale of love and violence spanning the continent as war threatens to break out between two nations; Lord Marksman and Vanadis boasts a surplus of action, romance, a protagonist with an unrealistic knack for shooting a bow, and a medieval fantasy adaptation of Europe filled with scantily clad magical girls. During a time of unrest in Brune, a power struggle commences between two of the country’s dukes. Tigrevurmud Vorn, young, Brunish count of the province of Alsace, is forced into a difficult situation as the disputes between his country’s leaders threatens to bring conquest to his home. To top things off, Tigre is captured by Zhcted’s war maiden, Eleonora Viltariam, after a conflict between the two kingdoms, leaving him unable to aide in the defense of Alsace. Such drama.

After learning that the show was part of Media Factory’s promotion of light novels last year I wasn’t entirely sure how it would be handled in comparison to the source material. Having watched No Game No Life, which was also part of the campaign, I was worried that Lord Marksman and Vanadis would similarly finish at a point that would leave me begging for more. Instead, Media Factory took this show in a completely different direction and attempted to push too much content into a series that didn’t have enough episodes to contain it all. Despite this, I was impressed with how this show was more than just an ecchi. The majority of characters were likable and brought something to the table other than their comically large boobs.


Lord Marksman and Vanadis - What a perfect morning


In this, at times, beautiful fantasy land, the presence of war maidens constantly tilts the favour of battle. So much so, that I find it hard to believe that they haven’t all formed together and taken over the world. I suppose everyone is just lucky that the war maidens are all fighting each other over one guy instead of the world. It’s honestly unfortunate that the show often makes a joke out of its characters. When one one of the main female characters gets bitten by a highly poisonous snake and the only possible way for her to survive is for the male lead to suck the poison out from the bite on her breast, I can’t help but wonder weather I’m meant to take this show seriously or not. It doesn’t help that the CGI characters draw way too much attention during significant moments of action.


Lord Marksman and Vanadis - Gotta get rid of that poison somehow


The constant use of CGI throughout the show was awkward and detrimental to my overall enjoyment. When done well, CGI can easily be a welcome addition to any show. However, I can’t help being distracted when the same three background characters are spread across one scene repeating the same clumsy animations over and over again. It doesn’t help that the main characters are animated in such an appealing way, though it may just look good compared to the shoddy CGI.

Aside from the visuals, the story often left me confused. With names of characters and places such as Zhcted, Limalisha, Tigrevermud Vorn, and let’s not forget the classic Regin Estelle Loire Bastien do Charles, I regularly found myself trying to work out where each character was from or what everyone’s motives were. The majority of the show’s explanations were lost on me when the endless use of nouns left me wondering who anyone was talking about. Though, even taking my persistent bafflement into consideration, I was able to enjoy the interactions between characters and the exciting war strategy. While it was obvious that our protagonists would be able to persevere through any situation no matter how skewed the odds were against them, it was always a fun ride watching how they would solve their newest predicament.


Lord Marksman and Vanadis - Just won a huge battle, what a perfect time for jealousy


My expectations were initially set quite low when I began watching Lord Marksman and Vanadis; anticipating constant and ridiculous scenes in which the busty female cast loses their clothing. However, Lord Marksman took me by surprise in supplying a stimulating story and world that helped set the show apart from the vast sea of generic ecchi anime. While there was plenty of unreasonable battle attire and random bathing scenes, I found myself genuinely interested in the battles that were waged throughout the show. It also doesn’t hurt when the show has a kickass opening. 

Occasionally I felt that the anime was too constrained to the novels. In most cases, I applaud an adaptation for staying true to the source material, but Lord Marksman definitely would have benefited from some padding. A few filler moments would have gone a long way to help develop the characters. But when you’re trying to fit the first five books of a series into a 13 episode romp, there’s only so much that can be expected.


Lord Marksman and Vanadis - The Beautiful Hovel of Alsace


Lord Marksman and Vanadis is definitely more than just an ecchi, but not by much. An ecchi with a lot of heart is still, in the end, an ecchi. And hey, that’s completely fine, but at the same time I would love to see a more serious rendition of this show without the dichotomy that the genre produces. For what it’s worth, to those who came to watch boobs bounce wildly in the midst of a heated battle, I can wholeheartedly recommend this anime. 

Radness scale:

A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.