Blu-ray Review: Lord Marksman and Vandis – The Complete Series
13/06/2016 Leave a comment
Magical female warriors, warlords and highly skilled bowmen with no knowledgable back-story is whats on offer with Anime Limited’s latest release of Lord Marksman and Vandis; but what did we think of this Blu-ray release? Find out in our latest review!
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.
I wasn’t really expecting Lords Marksman and Vandis to deliver anything other than a half-decent animated war-themed anime series and yet after ploughing through all thirteen episodes of this collection I’m left even more unimpressed and puzzled to the point of the series. Of course it’s an anime adaptation of a light novel (of which i’ve not read) but while Lord Marksman and Vandis features a unique and quirky set of characters, especially the War Miadens Mila and Elen, the story binding them together seems so lax that it actually becomes forgettable in the madness that pursues. From my perspective; great character design and superb animation but poor direction which leads this series to be a rather disappointing one.
It all starts in the midst of battle; an event which sees Tigrevurmud “Tigre” Vorn, the count of the country of Alsace, being spared death and taken prisoner by the War-Maiden Eleonora “Elen” Viltaria who is the principality of Leitmeritz. It’s an unusual start to a series, which immediately grabs the attention of the viewer. How did this confrontation happen? Well as explained later on in the first episode Tigre was summoned by the Brune Army in order to help defeat an oncoming enemy threat and as the battle went on the Brune Army began to lose. In an attempt to take down the enemy leader, who later turns out to be the War Maiden Elen,Tigre attacks with his unique skills as a bowmen. This attempt ultimately fails and intrigued by his actions Elen claims him as his property and it’s from here that Elen attmpes to recruit Tigre as part of her army; but Tigre refuses and ends up living at her castle as a regular citizen. Things however take a more interesting turn when Bertrand, Tigre’s loyal servant, arrives at Elen’s castle and tells Tigre that Thenardier is mobilizing his troops towards Alsace.
The result of this new found information is a partnership between Tigre and Elen that seems them both head to Alsace in order to protect the area and, as the episode moves on, a new realisation begins to seek in that Tigre should fight back at Thenardier and surrounding nations in order to create a new peaceful way of life; to which Elen agrees to be a part of. This is the build-up to what is probably a never-ending chain of fights with different nations in a bid for peace; as each new episode will see Tigre and Elen take down another army from another nation with the spoils of war seeing more supporters join the cause of Tigre. It’s a common prospect and it should be a fun one; however instead of focusing on the battles themselves, or seeing over-the-top actions by the War Maiden, we actually only see brief moments of battle with instead the battle being played out through dreary narrative that explains the battle plan through a strategy meeting. In short you will see the fight start and some soldiers die, the plan explained through narrative dialogue, and then the final blow – it’s painfully annoying to watch and gets incredibly boring extremely fast. Of course it is a nice tactical way of portraying the battle; but it’s not what i’m here for. As an example the main leader of the opposing forces is killed within a matter of seconds;which in my eyes is a third-episode build-up to nothing but disappointment.
Lord Marksman and Vandis does have some redeeming qualities and that’s the unique characters found within the show; but unfortunately we never really get to explore any of their back-stories or ideals. For instance seven war maidens exist but only three of them ever get any decent amount of screen-time; two of which have some sort of ‘love interest’ in Tigre but it never comes to a fruition and as such we are left in limbo. Speaking of a love-triangle Titta, Tigre’s maid and childhood-friend, also has feelings for Tigre but yet again nothing ever comes of it. It’s annoying that foundations for these relationships were laid down, as well as a selection of fan-service, and yet nothing was made of them; it’s like the animation studio Satelight, and director Tatsuo Satō, were hoping for a second season to be greenlit so that the story could be continued but as of yet it hasn’t. The series does offer a conclusion; but it only brings the war to its end and not the relationships of those characters involved.
When it comes to bonus features then this Blu-ray release of Lords Marksman and Vandis has quite a varied amount of content to offer with the inclusion of Chibi Shorts, Promotional Adverts and Trailers amongst the usual inclusions of textless songs and commentaries.
The second disc is where majority of the bonus content can be found with the Chibi Short Theatre episodes taking up most of the space. In short thirteen Chibi Short Theatre episodes, one for each episode of the anime, is included and offer a different insight (or comical charm) of the episode. A positive note is that all of these are available in English and Japanese; so depending on the audio setup you have chosen will depend on how these episodes are played out.
Alongside this of course we have two English cast commentaries, one can be found on the first disc while the other is on the second disc, each of which provide a ‘voice actors insight’ into the world of the series as well as their experience on being a part of the show. Filling out the selection of bonus content is a preview for the first episode of the series, I assumed used on TV before it’s general broadcast, a selection of promotional videos for the series some trailers for FUNimation releases (as this disc has been authored by FUNimation Entertainment) and the textless songs for the series itself. All in all it’s a nice selection of bonus content and offers much more than what I expected to receive on this set.
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:37:59 (Disc 1) 1:36:48 (Disc 2)x
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English) & Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Lord Marksman and Vandis is a series that potentially showed great promise but for me offered nothing but disappointment that seemingly never wanted to end; but when it did end it felt like a kick-in-the-teeth with its ‘one-shot-kill’ approach. The story within this series is about a low-class noble (i.e. Tigre) rising above the ranks in order to take down a bigger nation from conquering the land and in order to do this he recruits the War Maiden Elen and her army. Through this unique partnership the two work together in order to defeat an onslaught of armies and as time moves on more nations start to sympathise with Tigre and join him in battle.
You could say it’s a rather simplistic story, as it pretty much is just a constant battle for victory, but personally I found it to be overly complicated with the numerous different nations, names, phrases and terminology being used within the show that resulted in me being overloaded with information that I can’t repeat not can I remember. I guess if the storyline was panned out better, and over several episodes rather than just in-and-out in singular episodes, then these battles may have meant more to me; but personally the way battles were presented to the me (the viewer) I found them to be hopelessly boring. The only saving graces were the close-combat-battles between Sword Maidens and the banter between characters; but ultimately even these were short lived. The highlight for me was the relationship triangle (or square if you prefer) between Elen, Mila, Titta and Tigre but unfortunately nothing ever comes of it and it feels like a wasted venture.
I wasn’t expecting much from Lord Marksman and Vandis and after watching the series, in Japanese with English subtitles I might add, it still failed to impress or connect with me. The Blu-ray release by Anime Limited, with discs authored by FUNimation Entertainment, on the other hand are everything you would expect from a decent Blu-ray release. An easily navigating menu design with clear points of interest and a Subtitle track that works as intended when chosen from the setup option. English audio is included but it didn’t offer a natural experience that other anime shows tend to have; and it gives the impression that some cast members weren’t correctly suited to the roles they tried to portray – such as Vic Micnogana as Roland. It’s still a pretty decent dub; but for better experience I’d suggest watching it in Japanese. To compliment this presentable disc and menu options we also have the extensive range of bonus features; each of which will add an extensive period of time once the main series has been watched.
For me Lord Marksman and Vandis offered some unique traits that I wanted to see explored; the relationship between characters, the backstories of the War Maidens and more importantly the true origins and power of Tigre’s skills; but yet these are all glanced over for winning the battle thats over just as quickly as it began. Superbly animated and a great selection of characters is ultimately failed by poor progression and storytelling; of course some like this series but for me I found it to be incredibly dull and wish it would’ve ended sooner. If you are looking for a war-time story then try out Sengoku Basara or Berserk as at least that provides in-depth backstories and on-screen fights you should be craving to watch.
Lord Marksman and Vandis – The Complete Series is now available as a Collectors Edition Blu-ray and Standard Edition DVD within the UK.