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article imageReview: 'Lord Marksman & Vanadis' beautifully mixes fantasy and strategy

By Can Tran     Dec 28, 2014 in Entertainment
"Lord Marksman & Vanadis," which finished airing early Saturday, beautifully blends fantasy and military drama while telling an intricate story of a long term military campaign.
The thirteenth and final episode of Lord Marksman & Vanadis, “The Wide World,” streamed early Saturday morning on FUNimation while it was airing in Japan as a simulcast. I enjoy battle action, fantasy, and military drama stories. Lord Marksman & Vanadis combines all those genres and adds a bit of romantic-comedy and some harem as Tigre, who is the protagonist, finds himself with a “harem” of powerful warriors.
Despite this coming off as a harem story in the later episodes, Lord Marksman & Vanadis embodies the empowerment of women as most of the female characters are incredibly formidable warriors that brandish special mythical weapons. These warriors, known as War Maidens, can wipe out a battalion of soldiers like is nothing.
Imagine watching Band of Brothers or The Pacific, but substitute everything with Medieval Europe and fantasy elements. If you enjoy watching movies like Kingdom of Heaven, Red Baron, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, or anything similar, you will find Lord Marksman & Vanadis enjoyable to watch if you can look past the fact that the story is animated.
I was glad to have come across Lord Marksman & Vanadis, it is one of those new series that makes getting a yearly membership to FUNimation, which is about $55 a year, very much worth it. This series has elements that you would see in role-playing game (RPG) titles, which I am a fan of.
STORYLINE
The story behind Lord Marksman & Vanadis reminds me of the Valkyria Chronicles video game series.
You would assume that Lord Marksman & Vanadis would take place in a fantasy world, which is a half-truth. It actually takes place in an alternate version of Medieval Europe with fictional countries instead of actual countries.
Imagine being the rule of a very weak country, such as Alsace in Lord Marksman & Vanadis. Alsace is located in the Brune Kingdom, which is invaded by the Zhcted Kingdom. Tigre, the protagonist, is looked down upon because he uses long-range weapons instead of close-range weapons. He ends up dispatching a number of soldiers who serve under the command of Elen, the female heroine.
Tigre ends up as Elen's prisoner, but ends up becoming a special guest, friend, and eventual love interest. You can say that fate meant for Tigre and Elen to meet each other. Elen agrees to assist Tigre in saving Alsace, which is eyed upon by two noble rulers, who are both evil.
Tigre refuses to side with either one and makes a stand, which forces the villainous Thenardier and Ganelon to fight it out with each other. He ends up being the hero that leads a growing resistance army against the forces of Thenardier and Ganelon as the two are still trying to kill each other for supremacy.
The resistance army engages in a lengthy military campaign as it targets Thenardier's forces, which gives the feel of Band of Brothers and The Pacific. There is conspiracy in the works giving the anime feel a bit like Game of Thrones and House of Cards.
Lord Marksman & Vanadis has a plot, but the story is mainly character driven. If you like Medieval fantasy stories, you may want to check out this series. The story is simple and straightforward, which is never a bad thing.
CHARACTERS
The series has an interesting cast of characters, but the story focuses on the relationship between Tigre and Elen, who seem interested in each other, but the story is vague about it. They are two protagonists that can stand alone, yet they depend on each other for support. Elen is very powerful because of her special weapon, but Tigre appeals to her on an intellectual and moral level.
Female characters warm up to Tigre and end up romantically involved with him. The females do not come off as weaklings, each major female character is strong in their own way. If you support feminist ideals, provided you can look beyond the scantily clad outfits, you may enjoy watching the female characters, who are incredibly strong and powerful. These are females that you do not want to underestimate if you value your own life.
Villains are no pushover, which makes battles interesting. One example would be Kreshu Shaheen Baramir, who is known as “Red Beard.”
Regardless of the diverse cast, Tigre and Elen's relationship drives the story. Tigre proves to be a true underdog hero, who proves everybody wrong by showing he is proficient in military strategy and can prove the effectiveness of long-range combat.
I preferred watching Lord Marksman & Vanadis over the Marco Polo, which is the new Netflix Original series that started streaming in the middle of this month. This anime series had a storyline that was easier to watch and understand that contrasts to Marco Polo.
This was an enjoyable series.
I feel that a sequel will likely be in production in the near future because the ending leaves open the possibility and the original light novel remains ongoing. I give Lord Marksman & Vanadis the grade of A.
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