In a fantasy version of Europe, a war between enemy countries is brewing. One of these countries, Zhcted, has its seven regions ruled by War Maidens, known as Vanadis. Equipped with powerful dragon-carved weapons, Eleonora "Elen" Viltaria, one of the Vanadis, launches an invasion against their neighboring rival country of Brune. Eventually, Tigrevurmud "Tigre" Vorn, a young archer and an earl for Brune's region of Alsace, has his entire army decimated at Elen's hands. In a strange twist of events, Elen spares Tigre, and gives him the order, "Become mine!" What could be the meaning behind this new alliance?
Adapted from the light novel written by Tsukasa Kawaguchi, Madan no Ou to Vanadis is an epic adventure filled with complex war tactics and beautiful women. Trapped in a multinational conflict, Tigre and Elen are swept up in a war filled with dark secrets, conspiracies, and corruption.
War. It's a grueling way to help your country. The lives of several thousand men sacrificed to help benefit one country's benefits. You hear about all the sorts of things wars have, but have you really understood the inner workings and tactical strategies? Well, that's where Madan no Ou to Vandis comes in. Let's take aim!
Story (6.00/10): The story of Vanadis follows from the perspective or Tigrevurund Vorn, or Tigre. On a battlefield one day, amidst the corpses of his fallen comrades, he takes aim at a woman riding on a horse, a war maiden, who has just demolished
his whole army. After taking aim, he tries to shoot her down, only to become captive to Elenora, as she is called. Sending the two of them into a spiraling journey as tensions rise between their two countries.
The story basically sums up to following these two characters as they try and fight through a war, with each battle being a new battle and event in the ever going war, with each battle being a battle with usually a different opponent and progressing through their goals to fight and come victorious. The show gets props for deconstructing the idea of war by making every little event become crucial to the character's goals and ideals. There are however, some big flaws with this series, mostly with its execution and pacing.
The execution for the series wavers heavily, with some parts being rather well written, while other parts are written rather poorly. This problem is heavily shown in the transitions from one scene to another. Vanadis...has probably one of the worst scene transitions in anime period. The show constantly changes from scene to scene, and sometimes even changes the scene completely, leaving the audience dazed and confused as to what exactly is going on. In addition, the world of Vanadis is a very interesting place, talking about its lore and legends in some of its episodes such as the dragon gear and the goddesses in the realm. However, the show doesn't give you an opportunity to fully enjoy the show at all because they don't give enough explanation to the show's basic lore, which really takes away from an otherwise fantastic show.
In addition, the show's pacing is just awful. You don't get enough time to truly enjoy anything in the show, and you really don't have the chance to let the current scenario sink in. Mostly, the show just pokes in at a specific scene, than goes off to somewhere else without word or warning. The pacing really does take a lot of the show's credibility away because it rushes through its own story so much that you can't enjoy it very much (This really only applies beyond the first three episodes.)
Overall, Vanadis had a lot of potential. It showed us the prospects of war and the sheer amount of strategy and thinking that goes into it, but that's all it really does. You don't really get any semblance as to what the world of Vanadis, which really is a shame due to how well that could've worked conjunction into the story.
+ Great story concept (the deconstruction of war that is)
- Untold world
- Awful pacing
- Very poor execution
Characters (6.00/10): In addition, the characters of Vanadis share a same downfall similar to the story.
First we have Tigrevurund Vorn, the main protagonist of this series, as well as an archer that would put Katniss Everdeen to shame. As the count of Alsace, the and of his birth, Tigre is caught by the war maiden Elen, and becomes her captive in her principality. From then on, Tigre asks his capturerer to help protect his homeland, and eventually gets the opportunity to do so. As the series goes on, you can see his development beyond his simple goal of protecting his homeland as he meets new characters that aid him along his journey. Beyond that, though, you really don't know very much about him. He has this weapon and lineage that you basically know nothing about, and only a small bit of his personality really comes out.
And then we have Elenora, the war maiden of the series. In Vanadis, we have individuals called war maidens, women who have been chosen by a dragon gear, a weapon with special abilities and power, all of which have control over their own principalities and people. Elen is an interesting character. A bit of a jokester, (and maybe a little bit perverted), Elen helps Tigre on his quest to help his people in exchange for power over his land. In the story, you get some details as to what kind of women she was before, and the connections she has between some characters, but you don't really get to learn about her very much. She's an interesting character that has no details put in, which really makes the show a bit disappointing.
As for supporting characters, we have constant characters that you see, such as Lim, Titta, Ludmila, and a few others, and then you have those characters that you don't really see at all, or get introduced at one point, before going away. The supporting cast, are basically a mystery since you don't actually get to see or know a lot of them since most of them REALLY only serve as plot devices in order to move the story along. This even includes the main villain of the story, Duke Thernardier, who supposedly is the one corrupting the country for his own purpose, but is a character you don't really see or know about since he shows his face only in the last two episodes, and even then, it's freaking disappointing. This also brings me to another point, which are the seven war maidens.
In the world of Vanadis, there are seven war maidens that exist in the lands, all of them holding a specific dragon gear. From the title art, and the opening, you'd expect to see them all at some point, right? Wrong. The series establishes that there are seven war maidens, but you really only get to know two out of seven of the war maidens. Most of them you don't even get to meet or know the names of, which just shows how much potential this show had, but failed to deliver.
+ Interesting main cast
- Little to no detail for the characters you see or learn about
- Plot devices as the supporting cast
- War maidens not utilized though established
Art and Sound (7.11/10 and 8.88/10): The art for the series is what I regard as high quality. The artwork for the series is stunning and beautiful, accurately demonstrating a medieval war zone of sorts with its massive armor clad armies and detailed country banners held high. In addition, the character designs displayed are for the most part, very well done. The armors from the different bad guys, as well as the sword designs, and for the war maidens are very well done, with detail definitely not lacking from one scene to the other. However, the animation is, like everything else in this series, a double-edged sword.
In contrast to the stunning animation, there also exists the 3-D, which...ah...sucks. The series at times goes into a sort of planning board in order to accurately describe the thought processes of either side's strategists, using little dioramas of little figures to represent and describe what is going on. This is a plus for the series for those who don't fully understand what is going on and adds to the concept of war that this show excels at telling. However, the little figures used look very, very bad on account of the awful 3-D animation that constantly plagues this series, since they use the diorama constantly. Plus, they also make whole armies in 3-D sometimes, and it just does not look good.
And since this is an ecchi show, time to talk about the ecchi. To be honest, I was very surprised. The ecchi in this show is all but non-existent, mostly existing solely in the designs of its war maidens (since pretty much all of the war maidens have breasts that make you wonder how they can function in battle, and the only one with the normal-sized chest is considered flat. -.-) Apart from their questionable battlewear, there really isn't much ecchi in this show. Sure you have like three bath scenes in this show, and a couple accidental boob grabs, but that's basically it. Hell, you'd find more ecchi in a romantic comedy show that's not tagged ecchi that in this show.
As for sound, well, a little word. As long as there is at least one VERY memorable track in the soundtrack, the show gets decent high marks for the sound category. Vanadis succeeds this by giving us its opening. (Just listen to it.) The heroic and grand sound of Vanadis's opening literally gave me shivers when I first heard it, and has become one of my favorite tracks since. The loud fanfare, the triumphant tone of going to war and returning a hero; it fits the show so well that I could cry.
Apart from that, the rest of the show's soundtrack I would consider to be good, but not as memorable as the opening song. They all have a very similar flair of mixing medieval sounds and heroic voices, but nothing I could hear held a candle to the opening.
+ Good normal animation
+ DAT OPENING
- Awful 3-D animation
- Rest of the soundtrack was meh
Personal Enjoyment (7.00/10): So, at the end of the day, what are my feelings about this show? I've stated before that this show is its own enemy, it's own double-edged sword. The show is interesting and grand, but doesn't really deliver with its execution. The characters are interesting, but there wasn't enough detail to them that really made them more real and three-dimensional. The art was good in one sense, and awful in another. And the music had a fantastic opening, and the rest of the tracks sorta lagged behind. I guess I could say that Vanadis was an interesting show for me to watch, in which I looked forward to every episode week after week.
DId I like this show?
Yes, absolutely. Regardless of its flaws, Vanadis enthralled me with its use of military tactics and really brought the idea of the battlefield in animated form. It succeeded very well in that regard and portrayed an entire war in the span of its runtime.
What didn't I like about this show?
The show had its fair share of problems in basically every category. As for personal dislikes, I felt as though many scenes shown in the show were handled so poorly that they shouldn't have even bothered to put it in. Some characters seemed virtually pointless, and the show attempted to make a character death seem more important than it actually was. I didn't really feel anything on account of the hoards of other characters that shared as much plot importance as the one that died, not to mention I honestly didn't really know his name cause he didn't really show up very often.
Would I recommend this show?
For strategists and fans of war and boobs, go ahead, go wild. The show does have its perks, with its stunning character designs and war strategies sprinkled in every single episode to make the core part of the show thriving and well. While it does this, it neglects its other parts such as building the world and its characters. So, if you don't mind somewhat one-dimensional characters or a world that you really won't get to know, then this will be a good watch for you.
Author's note: I still don't fully understand how Elen can function on the battlefield. Those things must weigh a ton.
War, when diminished to its base components, is sadly tragic. It's hard to justify the killings of thousands of people for any kind of cause. But some are better than others: bringing about peace, saving a subjugated group, or protecting one's home. For as long as humans have lived, war has not only shaped the past, has not only persisted in the present, but will most likely never dwindle in the future. An almost inevitability, war brings out the best and the worst in people. For Madan no Ou to Vanadis, it certainly brings out the worst in
Vanadis begins with the bowman Tigre meeting Elen, a War Maiden, on the battlefield. After being taken hostage, the two decide to help one another in protecting Tigre's hometown of Alsace.
At its core, the show is about war: the battles, the aftereffects, the planning, and the formations. And to this end, it fails miserably. A lot of this has to do with the world-building it attempts to employ. Country names, nearby towns, and faraway lands are talked about as if the audience is supposed to simply know that such areas exist. It disconnects the viewer from what is going on, because he or she just cannot follow who's from where, which side is fighting what, and why they're all fighting in the first place. Simultaneously, multiple sub-plots exist at any given moment, such as Elen's trek to visit Sasha or the King's madness. The aforementioned difficulty in understanding what is going on persists here as well. Since it wasn't explained properly before, it remains discombobulated after.
When it comes to the actual field skirmishes, the anime adopts a narration approach. Going into explanatory mode, the show does its best to clarify the formations of the warring sides and their plan of attack. The point here is to make it feel as if it's a war that the characters are participating in. Again, though, it falls flat: the majority of the action focuses not on the entire battle, but on the singular duels taking place. Elen fighting against a dragon or Tigre squaring off against the opposing general are fine as standalone fights. In context, though, it doesn't seem to fit since their part is just one small piece to the much bigger puzzle.
When the anime isn't having such a tough job conveying the severity of the wars going on, it steps back into its secondary role as a harem. Once again, though, the anime cannot deliver. A lot of the problems here stem from the show refusing to address or at least elaborate on the relationships that exist between Tigre and the rest of the girls. It's alluded to heavily for each of them, with constant teasing and wordplay, but it never comes off as if the characters are anything but friends to our main character. What's even more strange is the apparent lack of the harem. Particular characters are sometimes shown only once or twice, despite given relative importance. Worse still, there exists a person shown in the opening and closing sequences, but never appears over the course of the show. It's almost as if the anime forgot to include her during production.
Amid the directionless wars and harem antics, the show gives one final attempt to instill some form of reason. The idea that a just cause is a righteous one. Fighting for others and not yourself is noble and courageous, to say the least. And this isn't just seen with Tigre; many of his opponents question their beliefs, and many of the War Maidens aid him not for themselves, but because they simply wish to help. It's entirely poetic, though, since it's never challenged nor is it looked at realistically. It's accepted as fact that Tigre's mindset is "as straight as an arrow," and that nothing could be more worthy of praise. The show fails to explore any kind of ramifications attributed to such thinking, instead directing its resources to other venues.
The art and animation fair no better for Vanadis.
The art style at first gives the feeling of taking place within an Elder Scrolls type fantasy world, with taverns, villages, and zero modern technology. However, this is quickly replaced by the reused open terrains with overcast clouds and tent encampments. Combined with the quite jarring CG horses and platoons, it's never pretty to see.
The character designs pick up some of the slack. While Tigre is rather boring with his outfit and hair, the same cannot be said for the War Maidens. While some have excessively large busts, they're all quite beautiful. Each of their designs is detailed, from their armor to their weapons. Even some of the men receive this treatment, appearing as menacing and barbaric. Everyone also has a slight sheen to their faces, with lighted eyes, making them feel a bit more alive.
The actual animation dips back down in quality, sadly. The choreography for the fights isn't difficult to follow so much as it is just non-existent. Arrows regularly fly from off-screen, swords are swung wildly, and the dragon abilities characters have are not impressive, no matter how much screaming is done. Being ecchi, the breasts are given special attention when the girls move, but that is usually the extent of character movements, both in and out of battle.
Harem or not, the characters of Vanadis are completely one-dimensional, signified by either a single trait or the size of their chests.
Tigrevurmud -- known as Tigre -- is a "prisoner" to Elen and the leader of their joint forces. Embodying the spirit of his people, his aim in war is to make sure that it never again reaches his home of Alsace. Kind to all who approach him, he is respected by his soldiers and loved by the women around him. Never emotional, underdeveloped, and overpowered from start to finish, he is as typical and generic as they come. His only purpose in the story is to be there for the harem to be created, and nothing more.
As Tigre's maid, Titta dotes on him 24/7. Quick to cry and unable to keep from shouting his name every other sentence, her presence serves literally nothing but Tigre. She seems to have some form of relevancy early on, spurring her master into action, but afterwards, the focus shifts from home to the wars abroad. Subsequently, Titta is lost in the process. While she is merely happy to be by Tigre's side, her place on the totem pole is low and forgotten, and no amount of niceties will change it.
As cold as the ice she wields, Mila is initially an antagonist towards the group. As the "tsundere" in the harem, she makes it difficult for anyone, not just Tigre, to get a good read on her. Short in stature and always direct, she lets her actions do the talking for her. Perhaps uncharacteristically, she has a love and sense of duty to her house, much like the man she falls for. A rival to Elen both in love and war, she constantly butts heads with her fellow War Maiden. Despite having her outer shell melted slightly by Tigre's convictions, she remains largely uninteresting the whole ride through.
The only other notable character is found in Elen. Ruler of Leitmeritz, she is confident both in her body and in battle. Playful with others yet quick to get jealous, she's rational and emotional at just the right moments. She believes the most in Tigre's cause, willing to trust both his bow and his words. Unfortunately, she is resigned to the same problem as the harem leader; never seeing any semblance of change, outlook, or personal insight, she becomes just another girl to ogle.
Outside of these four, the rest of the cast are entirely inconsequential to anything that goes on within the anime. And that doesn't say anything about their characterization. Sure, the War Maidens see their personalities mirrored in the weapons they wield (Elen is whimsical like the wind, Elizavetta is electric, etc.), but no one amounts to anything more or are barely touched upon. Like the wars they participate in, their lives and their characters are expendable.
Arguably, the OP is the best part of the entire anime. It begins as a choir, followed by a calming vocalist supported by background singing. The halfway point introduces a really catchy, drum-and-vocal beat that is very easy to follow. The ending brings about an epic feeling that should have been present throughout the show, but is unexpectedly absent.
The ED is serene, with soft piano and slow vocal arrangement. It picks up in tempo and range the further the song goes, giving off a triumphant feeling that can accompany war, depending on the outcome.
The soundtrack contains nothing notable. With low drum pieces, eerie tones, and resounding trumpets, the tracks fit their respective scenes without providing anything of merit.
Voice acting sees average to below average work all around, with no notable performances to be had.
The argument with this one is the fact that it not only is a harem but is also ecchi in nature. Ecchi, though, isn't even fair to the genre. Those moments are spaced too far apart and are nearly all unoriginal. Like everything else, it tries to make these events fun and sexy, but it can't seem to come off as anything but lame.
Its comedy is not funny, the drama is forced, and the character interactions are weak. It's a mixture of sludge that one has to wade through during the entire season, with the reward being a modicum of boobs and uneventful clashes.
Madan no Ou to Vanadis is a special show. Not because of the wars it contains, not because of its lackluster characters, and not even because of its failed fan-service. It's because it will forever sit at the bottom of the pile.
Story: Terrible, abysmal world-building, failed harem, lost message
Animation: Bad, repetitive art, nice character designs, low actual animation
Characters: Terrible, everyone involved is inconsequential
Sound: Bad, good OP, okay ED, bad soundtrack, below average VA work
Enjoyment: Terrible, almost zero redeeming qualities
I won't include a summary because it is already provided so I'll just dive into the other categories of which I graded this anime. Please note that I have NOT read the manga nor do I have any previous knowledge of this series. Thus my judgement is entirely unbiased. Let's get to it then! ^_^
The art style of this anime is quite eye catching as the beautifully blended colours go well together. There was much detail where needed and it was softer where background was concerned. The portrayal of the army from a distant scenes gave a 3D effect, which worked
well once I got accustomed to it, considering the detail to them was well done. From the clear distinction of every character's face right down to the weapons used was well drawn. I have no complaints about art and animation.
While the opening goes well with the anime, I am not very fond of it. Call it a love hate relationship. It grew on me. The ending however, I loved! I felt like it captured the essence of the seriousness of the show. I don't have many complaints with the sound track because of how well each piece suited the situation and the timing which helped to build hype and I wondered what the outcomes would be. I will not find myself listening to the opening or ending for this anime, even though I am fond of the ending, simply because they are forgettable.
Tigrevrumud Vorn---- our protagonist in the series is your typical anime hero. He's brave, honest and is all about the people. He is a feudal lord with a firm believe in protecting his homeland left to him by his deceased father. He is exceptionally talented with the bow and has even earned a name among higher ups in the community. Personality wise, he is very innocent and respectful. He is a clam yet tactful person who is not quick to wrath which plays to his advantage because of how well he used his resources during the war. This character is not perfect but he is not bad either. He takes risks when necessary and also knows when to walk away.
Eleonora Viltaria---- a powerful war maiden who has fallen for our protagonist.......I mean his skill with the bow (pfffft ¬_¬ ) after he attacks her in an open post battle field, is cunning and carefree yet when is totally serious when on the battle field. She takes Vorn in as a prisoner and the rest is history. When it comes to attack plans, she definitely knows best as you will see during the series. She is brimming with confidence and always has something witty to say.
I cannot name all the main characters as it has a pretty big cast for a 13 episode show but here are a few honorable mentions! Roland better known as Dark Hero of Brune, Marthus Rodante and Ludmila Lourie.
I was captivated from the very first episode. Everything flowed and there was no long wait for the plot to get going. The fight scenes were beautiful and the detail of the art work all around was just well done! This anime was mostly about the tactics of war and it was quite a watch.
I recommend this anime to those who like historical war themes with quick moving plots and many strong characters. The are was captivating, the sound track suited it perfectly, I cannot grantee that you would like all the character but there are definitely some you can grow to like.
Madan no Ou to Vanadis is a light novel adaptation set in a medieval fantasy world with magic, dragons and heroes. If that was the most generic story you've ever heard of, then that's probably 'cause the story IS pretty god damn generic. I watched this anime because I had a craving for medieval fantasy after seeing another, far better medieval(ish) fantasy story, Hitsugi no Chaika - ending in a rather rushed and disappointing way. I had hoped that another one like it would wash off the disappointment and it certainly worked! I'm not disappointed anymore, just plain pissed. Yay!
Story (25%) - 3/10
Vanadis' story sounds
pretty impressive at first glance; a hero of the Brune Kingdom is captured by the Zhcted, Brune's rival, and forms a pact with a Zhcted war maiden to save his hometown from two powerful Brunish dukes plotting to overthrow the king. However, its execution falls completely flat on its face. The story is very linear, for the most part; hardly anything happens that isn't directly related to the protagonist and everything happens conveniently in concert with the main plot. There also isn't much world-building and it seems that the show is more comfortable telling us to go read a history book to find out how medieval times were like rather than bothering to explain how this world works. Another thing that annoyed me to no end was the fact that the heroes never seemed to have any problems in the battles they fought. In the third episode, the heroes face an army numerically superior, better armed and even had two dragons with them. And the heroes respond by using ass-pulls and inferior tactics. Yes, the tactics the heroes use are demonstrably worse than the ones their enemies used; it's like the show is proud of how over-powered they are! That's not to say their enemies were masters of warfare, but at least they used basic flanking and encirclement tactics while the heroes rushed head-on against them using cavalry, of all things. I don't know when medieval action anime will stop doing this but they need to stop thinking that good generals rushed head-on with their cavalry, those were usually used for flanking or to mow down enemies that were either routing or already fighting infantry. I may be bitching a lot about this, but only because these retarded tactics are present throughout the story. There are other incidences, like the protagonist scouting enemy territory by himself in episode 5, which no general in his right mind would ever do. The protagonist's army being able to set up traps and ambushes in episodes 8 and 10 despite the fact that they should know nothing about the terrain and an entire army routing in episode 8 just because their commander was killed (which SHOULDN'T happen to a greatly numerically superior army - the fight was 10 to 1 for crying out loud!).
Art (20%) - 3/10
The character designs are very iffy, all the characters look 10 years younger than they should be which makes it difficult to take them seriously. It's like a generic art style modified to produce lolis where there are none. The animation isn't that great either especially when it comes to the use of CG. I burst out laughing in some of the fight scenes when the background was full of CG enemy soldiers slashing at literally nothing! How clumsy were the animators when they made this?
Sound (20%) - 5/10
I actually liked the OP and ED songs - they certainly feel like they belong in this kind of show but they, along with the rest of the soundtrack, feel too extravagant and over-the-top sometimes. Not much subtlety or variation but enjoyable if you like corny D & D style tunes.
Characters (25%) - 3/10
Now we can add generic harem cast to the show's repertoire of generic elements. The characters are really uninteresting and bland, MC included. The fanservice and harem shenanigans don't exactly help either. The villains are quite one-dimensional and by the show's end, I still have no idea why they wanted the throne or why the war maidens were fighting or why were the war maidens acting like mercenaries when they were practically royalty? There is nothing remotely interesting about any of the characters, but this is a light novel adaptation, so...
Enjoyment (10%) - 6/10
Meh, it's an ok time sink, I suppose. Lots of pretty colors and brainless action and fanservice to keep you occupied. Don't expect much going into it and it won't offend you or anything.
The anime archer is a rare breed. These are the unsung heroes of the anime world who rely on a rather simple, but effective skill - archery! Most will use a bow and arrow, and a few will utilize a crossbow. Even if they don't always save the day, they'll look cool as hell while trying to.