Lord Marksman and Vanadis Overview:
In Lord Marksman and Vandis, Tigrevurmud Vorn (yes that’s his name) is a count in the Kingdom of Brune that is at war with possibly every one of its neighbours.
After the Brune army suffers a resounding defeat, Tigre is taken prisoner by a war maiden and begins building his harem but also starts enlisting allies as he selflessly tries to protect his small part of the kingdom by declaring war on almost everyone else.
Lord Marksman and Vanadis Review:
Sarcasm aside about the heroes motive in this tale of medieval political intrigue (which is not really intriguing because the good guys are either Tigre and the bevy of girls who don’t understand how armour works and the bad guys are all conniving old men or brash moronic men who assume that flailing a sword around somehow makes you invincible) I actually really enjoyed watching Lord Marksman and Vanadis.
That’s different from thinking this is a particularly good anime as most of my comments below will probably indicate.
The characters in this Lord Marksman are as one dimensional as they come. Tigre wants to protect his land and his people. That is it. Even when the grander scheme of things looks like it might come into focus, the anime and Tigre refuse to shift their focus. All actions and decisions attributed to Tigre stem from this and that leaves him with very little personality.
Though unlike other one dimensional heroes in fantasies, at least Tigre responds with anger and frustration at times rather than just always being the nice guy. Tigre isn’t a wimp but he isn’t a braggart either. He has confidence in his abilities but doesn’t overestimate himself. That actually makes him reasonably tolerable even as you wish his world view would expand a bit. And as far as male harem leads go he isn’t half bad.
He also, as the title Lord Marksman and Vanadis suggests, only fights with a bow.
Okay, bows and arrows are popular weapons these days and Tigre does have some amazing talent (the kind that only narratives can allow someone to have really).
It’s his talent with a bow that gets him taken prisoner by the war maiden instead of killed. It’s what impresses her enough that she ends up lending him her army so he can go defend his land.
Probably the coolest moment for Tigre in Lord Marksman and Vanadis was when he shot three arrows in a row into the same spot on a shield finally penetrating it and causing muscle headed moron number 1 to squeal like a pig (alright not like a pig but it was still pretty funny). We also get lots of shots of Tigre looking serious as he lines up his target which I was happy to simply enjoy.
So other than generic male lead with single motivation what else is going on with Lord Marksman?
Snake bite to breast that Tigre has to ‘treat’.
Need I say more to explain the fan-servicey nature of parts of this show. Not the type of fan service that people who like fan service appreciate. Just the random and intrusive kind that seems wholly unnecessary in what is otherwise a fairly serious narrative.
The war maidens in Lord Marksman and Vanadis prance around in armour that protects almost none of their major organs (hell even a snake managed to get in a fairly lethal strike without being impeded by armour). They straddle Tigre to wake him up, there are bathing scenes, sleep groping, and just for fun a childhood friend who actually runs around in a maids outfit most the time.
While unnecessary (and rather ineffectual fan service) does not make or break a show on its own, when the show already has a fairly complex plot (which it relegates to the background of Tigre’s personal quest) and a large cast of characters (many of whom look close enough to identical) and the fight sequences have some jarring features that will either endear you to them or make you want to scream in rage, the fan service isn’t an added bonus here.
About those fight sequences… Imagine two armies lining up to face each other and then instead of getting to see what happens you jump to a stylised chess board and a dry narrator explains the basic strategy being employed by the leader while chess pieces jump about and then we cut in to a shot of the actual characters involved for a few moments before narrator takes over again and finalizes the fight.
Wait, don’t imagine it. Watch Lord Marksman.
This didn’t annoy me as much as some others but it is hard to get used to. What it does enable is for vast battles to be moved through quickly so you don’t have the usual Shonen problem of six episodes of epic battle with no story. What it doesn’t enable is a fluid watching experience. More importantly, the story isn’t riveting enough that we need to take short cuts in the action to get back to it.
I know, why do I like this show?
For all that Tigre is rather dull he is charming and I quite liked following him around for the short run of this anime. Not to mention, he has a great house. Elen is interesting enough as the war maiden though I kind of wanted to know more about her (and all the war maidens). I also would have liked it if one or two of them hadn’t fallen instantly for Tigre but, whatever.
I kind of enjoyed watching Tigre struggle to come up with strategies to help his outnumbered forces win. Even though it seemed inevitable that he would win, the path was not always clear and they seldom won a victory through brute strength.
Mostly, it’s a bit different even while containing a whole bunch of generic archetypes. While that may not have combined into something brilliant, I found this light and easy viewing and it wasn’t overly forgettable.
What did you think Lord Marksman and Vanadis? Be sure to leave a comment below.
Images from: Lord Marksman and Vanadis. Dir. T Satou. Satelight. 2014.
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