An Anime Full Of Medieval Politics And Fantastical Warfare

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a low fantasy anime where various nobles are vying for the throne of a kingdom using political savvy, armies and the occasional dragon. It's kind of like Game of Thrones — only with a lot less in the way of soul-crushing despair.

Set in a fantastical version of medieval Europe, Lord Marksman and Vanadis follows Tigrevurmud "Tigre" Vorn, a young Count in the Kingdom of Brune who has inherited a small but prosperous village and the many miles of fertile farmland surrounding it. Captured in a border dispute with the neighbouring Kingdom of Zhcted, he finds that his prowess with a bow has caught the attention of Eleonora — a tremendously powerful magical warrior and the general responsible for his capture. But when he discovers that a rival count in his own kingdom plans to annex his lands and massacre the population, Tigre brokers a deal with his captor: the use of her army in exchange for himself and all his lands.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Much of Lord Marksman and Vanadis centres around politics in a fantasy world setting. With the King sick and the Prince dead in the battle that saw Tigre captured, Brune is a country tottering on the edge of all out civil war as various nobles plot and scheme to take the throne. It is in the middle of this that Tigre leads a foreign army into Brune.

Now, we, the viewers know why Tigre is doing this: He is a good man — his only concern is to protect the lives and livelihood of the peasants he has been charged with ruling over. As a relatively minor noble with little more than rural lands under his control, Eleonora's army is the only chance he has to save his people — and if that means becoming Eleonora's slave and putting his lands under her protection, so be it.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

While many heroic fantasy stories would leave it at that — i.e. Tigre is the noble hero, end of story — Lord Marksman and Vanadis goes deeper by exploring the political repercussions of his actions. To those vying for the throne, Tigre's act has announced his intention to take the throne himself and they act accordingly.

Moreover, Tigre has allied himself with a foreign (and enemy) kingdom, implying he is not only a traitor but also that he wishes to turn Brune into a puppet country to Zhcted — something his opponent are quick to point out to anyone who will listen. This leads to even otherwise just and good people being more than willing to fight Tigre. Ironically, by turning so much of the kingdom against Tigre, those battling for the throne turn him into what they feared him to be; He has no choice but to conquer his own country lest his vassals bear the punishment for his apparent treason.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

With such political turmoil, it's no wonder we see so many battles over the course of Lord Marksman and Vanadis — and the anime does a great job in portraying them. Each battle alternates between short CG animations — utilising chess pieces to explain the troop numbers, locations, and battle plans — and scenes focusing on key moments in the battle alongside Tigre and Eleonora. This structure allows us to understand in simple terms what is going on and why and yet still makes sure we get to see each battle's pivotal, emotional moments with our heroes.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Outside of the battles, the story unfolds in a similar structure. The important moments in the plot — i.e. character interactions, plot twists, action sequences, etc — are highlighted and unfold at a natural pace. However, things like lengthy negotiations, troop movements or explanations of enemy motivations are covered in mere seconds through narrator-delivered exposition. This gives the show an uneven pace — it often feels like you are just fast-forwarding to the "good parts".

This turns out to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get a complete, epic story in just 13 episodes. On the other, the anime would have likely benefited from double the runtime — allowing for some space to breathe and develop the ancillary characters naturally instead of through quick exposition.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Besides the themes of war and politics, Lord Marksman and Vanadis has one other major focus: a "harem" love story. If a female character is introduced, it is almost a sure thing that she will fall in love with Tigre. As with many such anime, Tigre is largely ignorant of the various women's advances even as he falls into one seemingly romantic situation after another. Because of this, the possible romances predictably go nowhere — except in the case of Tigre and Eleonora.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Eleonora makes no secret that she wants Tigre — first as a subordinate and later as a lover. Over the war, the two grow gradually closer as they gain an implicit trust in one another. They even go on the battlefield equivalent of a date (i.e. stargazing). It is a slow-building and believable relationship between equals that makes both characters more endearing as a result. It's hard not to root for them as a couple — especially in the series' closing moments with the changing situation in Brune making it clear that Tigre may soon be forced into a political marriage to another woman.

An Anime Full of Medieval Politics and Fantastical Warfare

Lord Marksman and Vanadis is one of my favourite anime of last season. The medieval politics and low-fantasy warfare are respectively intriguing and exciting. And then there is my whole unconditional love of all things dragon.

But as much as I enjoyed it, Lord Marksman and Vanadis is far from without problems. The anime would have greatly benefited from a longer runtime to flesh out the world and characters with more in the way of "show, not tell." Moreover, while the love story between Eleonora and Tigre is enjoyable, the harem aspect of the show is run-of-the-mill at best. Ultimately, Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a mixed bag, but if you enjoy medieval war stories, there is still a lot to love.

Lord Marksman and Vanadis can be viewed for free and with English subtitles on Funimation.


Comments

    And fan service... lots and lots of fan service. Not sure if its the same guys that did highschool DXD but it has the same feel, even if in a much more tame setting.

    Not a bad series, I quite enjoyed that one. The fan service/harem aspect really, really badly got in the way of what could've been a much deeper and intricate story. There are constant references to intrigue and huge political events, but it ALL occurs in the background and is glossed over in favour of watching every single female the hero meets start mooning over him and competing with her rivals.

    I really wish the creators had the fucking balls to not try to please a legion of fan-shippers and self-insertion fantasists by leaving open the option of every single girl, and instead had the story AND the fucking characters make some actual decisions about where they were going with it, to devote more time to... pretty much fucking anything else.

      Quite a bit of intrigue and political events do actually occur in the forefront of the story, they just get glossed over in the anime adaption because the studio was given 13 episodes to adapt 5 light novels, which all contain quite a lot of world details and minor events and character moments they had nowhere near enough time to even touch on.

        If by 'occur' you mean get a voice-over saying what they were, or a few stills or few-second shots. You're kind of proving my point, that you can TELL there's a wealth of stuff there, which is completely glossed over and left unexplored. Meanwhile, the agonizing of young women over the protagonist gets the lion's share of the screen time. It's torturous, a complete waste of their running time budget.

          Signed up just to upvote these posts because they are spot-on.

          I wasn't arguing against you, I was pointing out that the problem was with the adaption, which was trying to fit entirely too much content into 13 episodes while doing what most animation studios do and focus on what they think will sell, which is usually attractive women agonizing over the protagonist.

    Having read the translations of the source material, I can definitely agree that this show should have been at least twice as long. They fit whole books into two or three episodes and the story really is hurt as a result, leaving out quite a lot of good moments and details. The fan-translations of the light novel are actually up to date with the Japanese release so if you like the story It's not at all hard to keep following.

      It does seem that, these days, if you want a proper anime styled story, its better to read the light novels that spawned the anime, or even the manga adaptation, than watch the fan-service, cliche laden everything+comedy anime adaptation...which is quite annoying

        The other big problem is that even when the adaption has been done as faithfully as you'd want, you're never guaranteed that the entire story will get adapted. Often because most anime adaptions of light novels are little more than massive advertisements to help the sales of the source material, so even if the adaption is good or does well, if the book series has finished or sales didn't appreciably increase then you're likely not to get any more of the anime.
        Example:
        Spice and wolf - sold well but not amazingly and the final book's been out for ages so season 3 never.
        Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere - Sells really damn well but it's pretty expensive to make and the studio who works on it has been making more working on a cheaper show about idols, so no news on a third season for over 2 years now.

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