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Madan no Ou to Vanadis – The Adventures of Human Legolas


For some reason, I feel like playing Risk.

An entire civil war in one season. If only the real ones passed as quickly … though I would’ve liked to have spent more time with this one, so we could really get to know these characters and this world.

I’m of two minds about this series, and it all comes down to adaptation speed. The pacing, from everything I’ve heard, was breakneck—they churned through five (I believe) light novels worth of material in order to get to the end of the Brune Civil War, and much was lost in the process. It’s another example of what I’ve begun to think of as Highlights Adaptations, or series which hit all the highlights, but never delve into the rich detail of the source material enough to stand on their own. Hitsugi no Chaika and Date A Live belong to this group, and like them, Madan no Ou to Vanadis was a partial success. It was somewhere between Chaika’s first and Chaika’s second, where the lack of character development and the occasional missed detail (world building, primarily) took its toll on the narrative, but it never stopped being interesting, more or less. We got the highlights reel, and the highlights were pretty good, but they never made me feel for the characters or taste their world, so it threatened to lose me mid-season. Not because it was bad, but because it wasn’t as good as it ought to have been. As a tool to sell more light novels, perhaps it was effective, but as a story in and of itself, it pales in comparison to adaptations like No Game No Life, which treat their anime viewers with enough respect to give them all the details.

Here’s what I can’t decide—should they have gone slower? I usually say four episodes per light novel is about right, which would have put them at three for the season, ending it right after Tigre’s final battle with Roland. Which would have been a terrible place to end the season on. Four LNs would have been no better (end of the Muozinel arc), so they did five, putting it at roughly 2.5 episodes per light novel. And like I said, it did work, even if it lost the richness I’m told there is in the novels. I’m forced to say that they picked the right spot. Perhaps, if they had more episodes … but alas, I don’t think Madan no Ou to Vanadis is a high enough profile series to bend the rules and get a 20-episode run.

I realize I haven’t talked about the content much. It’s war, baby, lots of war, with every episode a new battle. Many were good, though by the end I realized that they all came down to victory by 1) clever ruse, usually involving decoys, 2) fancy Tigre trick shot, and/or 3) overpowered Vanadis and/or Tigre energy attacks. Which might work better in novel form, when you don’t see them so back-to-back as to make the similarities glaring, though that’s a relatively minor complaint. The massive armies sometimes required a heavy dip into CG, for better or worse—taking care of a charging column of cavalary with CG is encouraged, but the flailing Muozinel infantry late in that arc were hilarious in the worst way—and the whole thing had the … I want to say grimy(?) sheen of a Satelight-animated show, which of all the “house” animation styles, is among my least favorites. It wasn’t a looker animation-wise, is what I’m trying to say.

The unnecessarily skimpy outfits on the Vanadis + Lim (+ the princess in that last battle … all the women but Titta, basically) were totally unnecessary. Not unpleasant to look at, mind you, but I still maintain that Lim wouldn’t have gotten poisoned that one time if she didn’t go around exposing so much skin. A shirt and leather vest like Tigre is much more reasonable. Tigre himself was generally a pretty good character—he got flustered over women at times, and his unnecessary boob gropes were totally out of place, as was, arguably, the obligatory harem—but at least he didn’t mope, and he acted decisively for the good of all. As for the other main point of contention, Tigre’s crazy trick shots … well, you just have to accept those to watch the show at all.

In the final summation, this series was decent. Good, but it didn’t stand out. I don’t know how much of that is a function of the adaptation speed and how much is straight from the source, or even whether a more evenly paced adaptation would have held my interest better. If you like your wars with plenty of casualties, but without the “War is hell” ethos of the modern era, Madan no Ou to Vanadis has it in spades. It does that at least pretty all right.

I wrote a book! My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info) My personal site has also moved. Last four posts: Mind meld, Interview with Little Red Reviewer, Sneak Peek: Wage Slave Rebellion prologue, and Action Politics—a FREE short story.

December 30, 2014 at 12:04 am
69 comments »
  • December 30, 2014 at 12:18 amDafuq

    Magic Jesus, now Legolas. I’m liking these titles.

    • December 30, 2014 at 12:23 amStilts

      I was afraid I was being too predictable. Then I said screw it, I’m doing it anyway, ’cause it made me smile :D

      • December 30, 2014 at 11:08 amlaaa

        Lol but you almost hit the spot
        It was harem king Legolas
        I m not even sure who got to grope more boobs this show or Trinity seven it was close call.
        But on the other hand all the action in this show really made it one of my favorites of season…

  • December 30, 2014 at 12:38 amZhinvu

    I read a bit of the manga chapters and definitely the pacing was fast so it was a bit hard to watch with some details getting left out. On the other hand, I love it’s opening song Ginsen no Kaze courtesy of Konomi Suzuki (She’s been churning out some enjoyable songs like the opening to Watamote and No Game No Life so her win at the 2011 Animax All-Japan Anisong Grand Prix is well deserved). Eleonora was also my favorite of the Vanadis largely because of Tomatsu Haruka and her sword Arifar looks so awesomely kick@$$. I’d put her alongside Sento Isuzu for my favorite heroines this season.

  • December 30, 2014 at 12:46 amSilver

    Stilts, I really think you should read the novels considering how you seem to at least enjoy it here. All the problems you said (except the clothes) are pretty not an issue in the novel. The battles are much better explained and there’s more that goes on. Furthermore, there’s a also political intrigue which the anime cut most of that out.

    However, that being said. I still personally enjoy the anime a lot. Sure, there are a lot of things that could have been done better but considering how stubborn MF Bunko was about adapting more than 13 episodes, I think that Satellite did a good job of what they can do and the limits that are imposed upon them. Furthermore, for the novel readers, they should really consider the anime as a compliment to the novel rather than as an “end all”.

    On the other hand, Stilts, I’m glad that you still gave this show some exposure. I felt that this show is a bit on the underrated side. What I mean is that I don’t find it have as much exposure as some of the other shows that are airing. So thank you for that.

    Anyway, sure is odd being back here. I feel somewhat out of place even though I’ve been here since Omni first started the site back in 2006ish?

    • December 30, 2014 at 10:44 amStilts

      Alas, I’d have to scale back my anime watching to be able to read more source material, which may happen, though only because I want to write more books as opposed to reading ‘em, haha. (Well, some of both, actually.) Such is the fate of the anime blogger.

      No problemo. I did enjoy it even if it wasn’t truly optimal. It deserved a little more discussion, if nothing else.

    • December 30, 2014 at 11:18 amZnail

      The outfits wasn’t as obvious in the novel and I didn’t even realise it until I saw the anime. The thing is that in the novel so do you only get to see pictures of the girls. So you avoid the obvious clash of styles you get when you put the Vanadis beside ordinary people. I also think that the author didn’t plan to have this massive clash either as it will lead to a rather obvious plot hole in any future season when a Vanadis is traveling incognito, wich will be obvious to us viewers, because of that outfit. So maybe the idea was to have styles be a bit more matching, but he didn’t get around to making those outfits for the rest.

  • December 30, 2014 at 2:09 amDvalinn

    To me, this show was one of the many, many adaptations that loses a lot of its appeal because it’s so insanely rushed. There’s few shows that can handle this kind of breakneck speed, and this isn’t one of them. In this case, the political intrigue was lost, character moments were rushed and deaths lacked impact. And that’s a pity, because you can still see there’s a really interesting story hidden beneath it all. Now it just ends up as forgettable.

    That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. As cheap as some of the battles might’ve looked, they were enjoyable to watch. The characters were mostly fun as well, with some interesting dynamics at play between them at times. Tigre himself was a somewhat relatable protagonist who acted rather reasonable most of the time (without an excessive hero complex, thankfully) and at least somewhat deserved his harem. Though it’s strange nobody ever comments on the skimpy clothing though. Yes, it was enjoyable eyecandy, but you’d think Lyudmila would get cold waltzing around in icy mountains like that.

    As for how it should’ve been adapted, I agree that a random stopping point in the middle would’ve dissapointed me as well. But instead of rushing it, I’d have preferred it if they were a little more liberal. Just shuffle the source material a bit, focus it a bit more and make a good 13-ep series out of that. I mean, Amagi did that, and it worked for them. Sure, it’ll piss off the purists, but if it ends up giving us a better show, everyone wins. Oh well.

    • December 30, 2014 at 4:30 amRockmanshii

      Ludmira and Ellen are actually never cold. Ludmira controls ice so her weapon protects her from rough temperatures. Same with Ellen as she controls wind. They cut that from the anime.

      • December 30, 2014 at 11:36 amos

        they didn’t cut Ludmira ‘s part.
        Ludmira mentioned her weapon protected her and people near her from cold weather in the scene where she talks with Tigre disguised as a hunter in a cave.

    • December 30, 2014 at 10:48 amStilts

      @ Dvalinn

      Good point on a source material shuffle. That woulda been the right decision in these circumstances, though also the one most likely to end in horrifying failure if the director & script writers weren’t up to the task. I’m not sure what they could have cut. Maybe Roland? Though I liked him.

      @ Rockmanshii

      That was my guess too. I figured they’d justify that part, so I was stuck on the “armor is useful for not dying” facet, haha. Ellen and Lim didn’t even wear much of it when they were mercenaries! Somebody has a death wish.

  • December 30, 2014 at 2:17 amsv-san

    I had high hopes when this came out. This was one title that had a plot and a storyline. If adapted well, it could’ve been a great anime. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. In the rush to squeeze everything into 13 episodes, a lot of stuff were left out. For example, Show Spoiler ▼

    Many battles started magnificently and then just sorta fizzled out with no explanation whatsoever why they ended that way. I think the Director really butchered this title. Stilts is right, the anime hit all the high points of the story, but you wish it didn’t and just focused on a few and deliver those well. This was a case of trying to do to many things at once — battles, ecchi/harem, comedy and politics. In the end nothing was done right.

    Also, seeing Vanadis’ animation quality makes me worry for Satelight’s upcoming title: The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. =(

    • December 30, 2014 at 5:54 amGilyu

      To be honest, I’m reading the novels right now. The anime ends at vol5 and I’m finishing vol9 (last translated one) and we still don’t really now why that spoiler happens.

      • December 30, 2014 at 8:45 ambelatkuro

        Volume 10 has been translated for some time now so continue on reading. Show Spoiler ▼

        Also, what Rockmanshii said below.

    • December 30, 2014 at 6:26 amRockmanshii

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 30, 2014 at 3:12 amAmiluhur

    i ended up feeling nothing. Usually an anime leaves me with something to reflect and ponder on in the end, but this literally gave me nothing to consider. It was actually full of grand stuff that unfortunately got hampered by poor executions, staccato pacing, and wooden characters whose personalities, goals and relationships are poorly developed that i never had reason to care about most of them.

    Not really much else to say other than that was some kind of rushed, convenient ending even for war anime standard, and as far as disappointing and forgettable LN adaptations go this one ranks among the top in terms of LN that actually had premise and depth going in. Maybe some day some people on anime industry will realise sheer potentials this kind of series can offer and give them treatments they deserve.

    • December 30, 2014 at 10:51 amStilts

      From the anime at least, I’m not sure this is a series that would have left me thinking even if it was done right. It didn’t seem to have a point of view so much as just wanted to tell a political/war story. Though, well … I suppose there were a few things with Tigre’s growth that could have served the purpose, so might have been an adaptation problem indeed. Not sure.

  • December 30, 2014 at 3:46 amOwaranai

    My sentiments exactly. I’m a huge fan of Madan no Ou and their characters, but the adaptation was an extreme letdown in that it hardly lived up to the potential the story had. Limited character development, bad decision making on the usage of animation (dancing wayang kulit Muozinel troops, yo), substandard animation and poor pacing basically sums up what I felt sunk the adaptation. Even though the narration of how the armies moved were interesting, the entire process quickly made me feel like I was watching a historical documentary rather than an anime. Couple of characters like Sophie were understated.

    Still, the high points were the music (probably one of the most memorable OPs and EDs this season), the voice acting and the main characters, despite the lack of development in the show. It does make me happy to see Eleonora and Tigre being given voices and actually portrayed quite accurately for most part.

    I rather think, though, that if they played the hand right ending season 1 at the battle with Roland could actually work if they took their time, but that is only if they had a second season in mind. I’m not too sure what will become of Olga if they didn’t, especially since we haven’t seen the awesomeness of Sasha and Olga in their fighting glory. In the end most of us are left with the ‘should have beens’ and ‘what ifs’.

    I could go on all day, but the bottom line for me is that the anime disappoints, but the LN doesn’t. You should pick it up if you have the time to spare for a good and unique LN Stilts. I reckon even the sleep groping from Tigre makes some sense even if you read about it. :p

    • December 30, 2014 at 6:33 amnyanlol

      honestly? I knew it was not for me as soon as they cut out all the fluff of Tigre and Ellen’s relationship before he asked to borrow the troops. Let’s face it, Ellen and Tigre’s (rather excellently written) interaction is one of the highlights of the LN

      • December 30, 2014 at 9:23 amKiritsugu

        I started reading the Light Novel recently and i just finished the first one, and you really understand things and why they happen… Tigre’s relationship with Ellen is something that was build over the time he was in Ludmeritz, it was something progressive; I mean they even have some sort of casual date later on. Ellen’s mega ransome is based on Tigre’s hability with the bow, according with existing treaties between both countries.
        That first battle where Tigre is captured is hugely important, it’s the thing that puts all the things rolling because the prince dies in it, and the King ends up loosing it becoming crazy and unable, wich leads to the huge civil war… There’s a lot of detail that really makes the light novels worth it.
        The anime really is a sort of a best off, i give it merit, but for me, the best things that the anime did was to interest me in the light novels and to animate some epic scenes :p

      • December 30, 2014 at 7:18 pmOwaranai

        Oh yes. I really missed those parts, for even though they weren’t integral to the main plot it made for some light-hearted interactions that would have made our dynamic duo even more likable, and dare I say that translates to shipping, popularity and even more sales eventually.

        I orgt to add that I did like the scene where Elen knocks Tigre ouy of his vengeful stupor with a punch. That’s personality for ya, and I don’t ever think there’s quite a battle maiden character like Elen ever – spunky, strong yet having good depth of emotionality.

        Too bad the anime just couldn’t show more of that.

  • December 30, 2014 at 4:19 amBlahto Blahtoto

    As you say this is just to make the LN sells more. I doubt it will have season 2 because they leave one important part of the series:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 30, 2014 at 4:47 amRockmanshii

    I’m glad you’re giving the show it’s own post.

    If you remember at the time of the introduction posts, I was one of the most enthusiastic persons about the adaptation, even if they clearly showed their intention of rushing through things in the first episode. Starting episode 4-5, I started to see how wrong I was.

    The biggest complaint about the show I have isn’t that they cut stuff. It’s how they actually dumbed down a lot of the events they animated. For no apparent reason, they either tweaked lines of dialogue or changed a few details which in the end change everything:

    The Ellen vs Ludmira duel was supposed to end with Mira protecting Ellen from the assassin, and then Tigre would shoot him. Which would then make their following exchange more natural, as Mira wonders why Tigre didn’t just shoot both her and the assassin instead.

    In the Roland final fight, Ellen and Sophie were supposed to use their powers to power up Tigre’s last shot. Here they didn’t, making them look useless.

    They made Elizaveta appear as a crazy Ellen fangirl, while she actually hides her fangirlism in the LN. And even then, they didn’t even explain why they made her act like that.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    It was almost comical how Ellen finally brought up in the last episode how she used to be a mercenary with Lim while IIRC she’s supposed to mention it multiple times much earlier.

    They show Valentina playing with chess pieces of the characters in the ED, but never actually show how much of a cunning bitch she is. At least they didn’t cut how she’s sheltering Ganelon in the final episode, though there was supposed to be Ganelon’s right hand man in that scene too, but they completely cut him from the anime. And lastly as I’m back to what they cut instead of modified, there’s the whole fairy tale monsters aspect and deeper political intrigue which they cut. Which is justified I guess as the monsters only plays a bigger role after volume 5, the point when the anime ends.

    I don’t think these problems are only tied to a rushed pace but rather a lack of organization or budget. Well it’s not like I was there with them though so I have no idea.

    Tldr I never have much hope for LN adaptations, and it’s common knowledge 1 cour shows don’t do justice to the original material, but even then I must say it’s rare that things turn THIS bad. The shape of the story is the same but the inside is quite different from the LN. There’s a good expression for that in French but I don’t know how to say it in English sadly.

    As a huge fan of the novel, which I consider the best harem fantasy LN since the swarm invasion of the genre, I must also admit that even with all this considered, I still enjoyed watching this. Like Silver said above at a point I just stopped caring and I pretty much just considered it as pure fanservice for the fans. Something to enjoy as a compliment to the novel. The voice acting and visuals were nice and the CG while hilariously bad at times like you said, did it’s job at portraying the war.

    • December 30, 2014 at 9:09 amMgMaster

      t was almost comical how Ellen finally brought up in the last episode how she used to be a mercenary with Lim while IIRC she’s supposed to mention it multiple times much earlier.

      That was such a goddamn teaser, especially since I’ve found Ellen interesting, as well as likeable from the very 1st episode.

  • December 30, 2014 at 6:13 amewok40k

    When even Stilts-onichaan is thinking fanservice is excessive, I have to concur. Want to do armored warrior-women, make the armor actually cover as much as possible! Saber-chan, please, make a demonstration of fashionable yet functional armor… Thanks.
    (Ab)Use of deception and subterfuge tactics is really forced by the stark forces disproportion in most of the battles. Any head-on battle would end in curbstomp with our protagonists on the receiving end. At least the Barbarossa had enough tactical wit to react to the surprises and only last moment reinforcements saved Silver Meteor Storm.
    The abundance of personal duels and magic powers might be forgiven – after all it’s a heroic fantasy story. Actually compared to most of those we see around it includes much more mentions of common soldiers and officers…

    • December 30, 2014 at 10:51 amos

      in fact, Stilts-onichaan’s only complain is that why can’t they cut all the boob grabs and fanservices so he can see Olga Tamm animated in volumn 6……… same for me

    • December 30, 2014 at 1:26 pmStilts

      I don’t know anything about this loli Vanadis. I just wanted more war tactics & strategy :X Really! I-I’m not the ecchi blogger!

      • December 31, 2014 at 4:15 amdamrod

        It is okay stilts, we all know you are the ecchi blogger so there is no need to be ashamed of it.

  • December 30, 2014 at 6:21 amRyuuzaki

    How i missed the days when animes have over 30 episodes and you can actually feel attachment to the characters and the story. Oh well.

    • December 30, 2014 at 6:29 amRockmanshii

      There’s still shows like that you know. Maybe you should try out Pretty Rhythm.

    • December 30, 2014 at 11:44 amos

      same here.
      why must they fit anime into cours? isn’t it easier to control the pacing if they don’t?

      • December 30, 2014 at 1:30 pmStilts

        That’s a business consideration above all else. With four cours (seasons) a year, it’s easier to fit more shows in, which the stations that air these series get paid(!) more to air the episodes, plus the publishers and others get more time to promote LN’s/manga or whatever.

        Take Nisekoi season one, which had twenty episodes. Most 2-cour series have 24-26 episodes, meaning there were 4-6 “dead” episode slots where that series, had it been longer, would have been airing. If instead, all the anime studios decide to collectively create shows that are 12-13 episodes per season (or multiples thereof), it fits the schedule better … but not necessarily the story.

        tl;dr Storytelling necessities take a backseat to business concerns. I know, you’re surprised.

  • December 30, 2014 at 7:01 amdamrod

    Stilts and finding a show to have too much fanservice thanks to how they dress?
    You’ve lost your ways of the ecchi stilts!

    On a less joking manner though, while the anime gives of a feeling of hiding more plot than what is shown, at least they tried to animate as much as possible without leaving out the plot.
    The political intrigue would be nice to watch, same with more information regarding the vanadis, their dragon weapons and what not more, but for a show with this amount of episodes and still trying to cover 5 volumes of story… They could’ve done worse i guess.
    At least they didn’t try the approach that was done with shows like kyoukai senjou no horizon… If i get the amount of story-lines a bit correctly, that would turn out to be an even bigger clusterfuck than kyoukai that way.

  • December 30, 2014 at 7:05 amVoyager

    The unnecessarily skimpy outfits on the Vanadis + Lim (+ the princess in that last battle … all the women but Titta, basically) were totally unnecessary.

    As much as I do like skimpy clothing, I do agree with you, of course. It’s totally unnecessary in this case, where the focus is not (or at least should not be) on the sexy appearence of the girls during the battles. Just have them wear some appealing clothes while resting or chilling out.

    I’ll summarize the concept with one word: Saber!

    • December 30, 2014 at 1:32 pmStilts

      Agreed … or I would agree, if not for Lim, who wears more armor in battle (ignoring the skirt, which is a huge gap in her armor), and then goes around in crazy fantasy-style outfits the rest of the time. Clothing that people would actually wear can look good too, is what I’m trying to say.

  • December 30, 2014 at 7:34 amikramit

    The madan’s anime is more a badly told summary that shares the same general plot line then an adaptation with more than half of the content from the light novel being skipped over and the battle tactics being simplified.Also events that happen in the anime such as the king allowing the vanadis to fight one another even thought you would think is would be of detriment to him are not given an explanation not because there isn’t one but because the anime is preoccupied with getting through as much content as possible to bother with the explanation

    Also battles in the light novel are a good mix of high octane violence and good tactic with a changing of view point from general to general on both sides of the battle, their feeling on what’s going on, what they’re doing and what they plan to do are all expressed in one way or another and the stakes are clearly outlined so there is pressure on the result which keeps you engaged throughout.

    In the anime you’re lucky if you get one or two fight scene and know why they’re fighting in the first place also battles tend to skip to the end leaving and you get a narrator who gives you a very rough outline of what happened this makes said battles appear far more one sided then they actually are. It should also be noted that full scale battles have been skipped over in the anime which based on how their being adapted may be a good thing.

    Pretty much all side characters that play large roles in the source material are completely ignored in this adaptation characters Bertrand , Rurick , Mashas, Hughes , Gerard , Gleast as well as the kings of both countries pretty much get no development or are not even present in the anime.

    This extends to main characters as well as Limlisha plays a large role in this arc acting as tigers mentor, teaching him about politics, economics and battle tactics and being his primary adviser this does not come across in the anime. Even characters that do get screen time get very little development and much less interaction in the anime this includes the antagonists that have a good portion of events being told from their point of view in the light novels.

    If you plan on reading I recommend the light novel as the manga does add quite alot of fan service and quite a few major plot points are skipped.

    • December 30, 2014 at 9:04 amMgMaster

      Also battles in the light novel are a good mix of high octane violence and good tactic with a changing of view point from general to general on both sides of the battle, their feeling on what’s going on, what they’re doing and what they plan to do are all expressed in one way or another and the stakes are clearly outlined so there is pressure on the result which keeps you engaged throughout.

      Heh, that would’ve been such an interesting watch which makes me even more pissed at what we got. We don’t get many war settings anime that could potentially offer some really good tactical large scale battles.

      Sound’s like 2-cours would’ve been just what the doctor ordered, both in terms of battles and characterization, interactions between them & such.

  • December 30, 2014 at 8:33 amErimaki

    Vanadis was somewhat interesting. Although it suffered from being utterly average, it had enough things to keep me interested until the end. And to make me consider checking out the LN when I have the time.

    The unnecessarily skimpy outfits on the Vanadis + Lim (+ the princess in that last battle … all the women but Titta, basically) were totally unnecessary. Not unpleasant to look at, mind you, but I still maintain that Lim wouldn’t have gotten poisoned that one time if she didn’t go around exposing so much skin.

    In all fairness, Lim did wear armor to all real battles (the one time she didn’t was the surprise attack that resulted in her poisoning).
    And I would guess the Vanadis have enough special magic power to protect themselves even without armor. Not that some extra steel between their flesh and enemy blade would hurt though.

    • December 30, 2014 at 8:57 ambelatkuro

      To quote Haimura Kiyotaka, the illustrator of Toaru Majutsu no Index, on when he designed a magician wearing a very skimpy outfit:

      “Truly strong people do not need excessive equipment. By exposing her body and casting aside anything to protect her, she is showing that her enemies’ attacks and hostility mean nothing to her.”

      I just use this to justify the Vanadis’ outfits. They’re pretty much invincible on the battlefield after all. Also, they’d serve as pretty good distractions as well. Pretty sure 8 out of 10 men would get distracted seeing Ellen’s belly button. I know I would.

    • December 30, 2014 at 1:41 pmStilts

      Granted, if Lim was just wearing a shirt/blouse at that time, it would have made no difference, but I keep thinking “They’re riding around on horses, that’s got to get windy. Wear a jacket and oh look, maybe no snake bite too!” So perhaps not the best example, it’s just the one that stuck out to me.

      As for not wearing a lot of armor to show you’re strong? That makes sense. It only starts to sound silly when you realize it’s a justification to put ladies in far fewer clothing than men. Would it not work the same if the ladies were wearing a simple tunic and pair of trousers?

      Let’s use a good example: Nanatsu no Taizai. None of the main characters wear that much armor (currently … apparently they used to all go around fully armored), but they’re all badasses. Sure, Diane shows some leg and cleavage, but no more so (and often less than) Ban. And Meliodas and King go around in what look like casual clothes.

      They all end up looking badass for example that reason, but in Madan, powerful guys like Roland and Tigre are fully clothed, while the ladies are all stripperific.

      That’s a smokescreen to hide the artist’s true desire, which is to draw women in skimpy outfits. Which is fine! …if you justify it properly. Or just pull a full-Liese and have a character or two be Miss Fanservice instead of shoehorning gratuitous nudity into every lady.

      • December 30, 2014 at 6:34 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: The Vanadis don’t need to wear armor since they are hax/OP on the battlefield. Medieval armor is not fun stuff to wear and is quite restrictive in terms of movement. Lim definitely does wear armor at times. Example from LN vol. 02: “Dozens of sheets of paper were bundled together like a textbook in Lim’s hand as she rode on horseback in her armor.

        I get your point about the snake bite fan service (see below), and I agree that there’s a few too many boob grabs. Sure, the Vanadis could wear more conservative, yet still functional/ athletic outfits, etc., etc. Then again, this is and ecchi series. Is the fan service really that much worse than say this season’s Trinity Seven or a host of other ecchi harem series? I’m also confused about your review comment (paraphrasing) that “arguably the obligatory harem is out of place”. Other than maybe HS DxD (where ML actually sets out to be a harem “king”), the harem here didn’t strike me as anymore out of place than the vast majority of harem series I can think of. One thing I like about the series – it builds relationships (incl. the harem) rather than “ML gets harem because he’s ML”.

        Wear a jacket and oh look, maybe no snake bite too!” So perhaps not the best example, it’s just the one that stuck out to me.

        Yeah, doesn’t work like that. Normal clothing doesn’t cut it. You need something like Cordura though there’s more advanced (and more expensive) – lighter/less bulky stuff out there such as TurtleSkin® SnakeArmor. However, this set in the middle-ages where you don’t have synthetic fiber. So it’s pretty much leather armor+ or get bitten (unless Lim wears like 10 layers of clothes… maybe). Frankly, it did not bother me that Lim didn’t wear armor in that situation. They are going to an onsen – an onsen well inside of Elen’s own territory, not a battlefield. Futhermore, she’s with not one, but two, Vanadis who supposedly can defeat 1000-5000 troops each (and there is ZERO reason to think Ludmila will turn against them in that situation).

        Maybe it didn’t come across well in the anime, but there’s more to that scene than arguably misplaced fanservice. First, Ellen panics – which is very unusual for her and shows just how much Lim means to her (back story with that). So a bit of additional character depth there beyond exuberant “battle-maiden”. For Tigre-Lim it’s even more important. He rushes to Lim’s aid despite possible risk of additional attack (there was one assassin left). Considering that Lim didn’t exactly treat him with the utmost kindness up to that point, it something to make her reconsider her view of Tigre and also provides additional basis for their relationship going forward.

        TL:DR = IMO, assassin snake is fine, just bite somewhere else (and I don’t mean crotch, inner thigh or ass either).

      • December 31, 2014 at 9:31 amHochmeister

        Medieval armor is not fun stuff to wear and is quite restrictive in terms of movement.

        Have you ever worn medieval armor? It’s not nearly as restrictive as you’d think. I’ve fought in ~25lbs chain mail, bracers, and greaves without loosing any mobility or much endurance despite my rather lackluster fitness. Properly fitted full plate isn’t much heavier and doesn’t really restrict your range of motion. Video Example 1 Video Example 2 Considering the amount of protection it gives you, the only plausible reasons for not wearing armor in a medieval setting (aside from stupidity) are not having enough money to buy a set, or not having enough time to put the stuff on.

      • December 31, 2014 at 11:54 amStilts

        @ daikama

        My problem is that it isn’t an ecchi series, or if it is, it probably shouldn’t be, because it detracts from the better parts of the story. Where ecchi is a main or relatively central component, it’s fine, but when it’s just tossed in for shits and giggles, it does annoy me.

        The same is true of harems, though I said “arguably” because I didn’t really find it objectionable here. It wasn’t really necessary, but it didn’t hurt much or get in the way of much, so it was probably okay.

      • December 31, 2014 at 9:14 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: Honestly, I’m still a bit confused about your rationale (not sure of the right word here – methodology?). To use an example, what’s the difference between this and Trinity Seven for example? Is that there are “better parts” to the story here unlike Trinity Seven (BTW, could be another example, just using recent show)? The Vanadis LN is markedly better IMO than the anime, but if that’s the case I would have thought your review would be more positive (at least towards the LN). Were the “ecchi” moments just “done better” in Trinity Seven (e.g. magic dress stripping >> accidental boob grab)? Trying to understand your line of thinking here. Not a huge deal. Show/season’s over anyway.

      • December 31, 2014 at 9:19 pmdaikama

        @Hochmeister: You’re right. I should have said “tiring” rather than restrictive though I would think you would agree that one is noticeably, measurably more restricted in terms of mobility, speed and freedom of moment wearing armor than not wearing any armor. There is also the issue of fatigue. Those must have been very short fights or you’re in great shape if you didn’t lose “much” endurance. The guys in the videos may do a couple pushups/jumping jacks or jog a few steps, etc., but let’s see them do a 40 yd. dash, 20-30 full pushups, run an obstacle course, etc. In another similar type video I watched, a guy in full plate mail was out of breath after only a few armor mobility examples and he wasn’t old or overweight.

        25lbs (or more) of dead weight is 25lb (or more) of dead weight no matter how well distributed. Done a little boxing (little) and a few minutes of that is surprisingly exhausting – and no armor involved. I’ve hiked/backpacked and hunted as well. Carrying 30-40lbs (probably 40+lbs >_>) gets tiring just from hiking after a while let alone fighting, and I was not in bad shape. From your comments and the videos, I wonder how wearing waders compares to wearing armor, because while I definitely could do all those things in the videos wearing waders, I also definitely felt more restricted wearing them. Took the bloody things off first chance I got. Franky, even just wearing football pads fell a bit restrictive compared to shorts & a t-shirt. The latter were certainly more comfortable.

        Anyway, two main points here. First, the Vanadis are a special deal. They can cut down 1000 troops easily (think it’s even stated as 5000 in the LN at least once). With that kind of offense, defense (i.e. armor) isn’t an issue, but fatigue is – especially if they use their special skills. There are places in the story where fatigue for them is a problem. So IMO, there is sufficient reason for Vanadis not to wear bulky, heavy armor (no matter how well weight distributed). Besides, in Akame ga Kill, for example, Esdese and Akame didn’t wear armor at all (Esdese also wears high heel boots) and no one seemed to have an issue with their attire. Are the outfits fan service oriented? Sure – no question about that. The outfits certainly could be more conservative/cover more bits, but then again, this is an ecchi series = par for the course/nothing new.

        As for Lim and this particular situation (i.e. “snake bit incident”), I still think it’s fine that she didn’t wear armor. Again, they are going to a nearby onsen. Again, you have TWO Vanadis – so that’s 2000+ soldiers or even a couple dragons accounted for right there. Also, consider the circumstances. If Lim feels compelled to wear armor well inside of Elen’s territory just to go to a nearby town/onsen, what does that say about Elen’s territory or even Elen herself? It would look bad in front of Ludmila which would NOT go over well with Elen given their relationship (or lack thereof). I can EASILY imagine Mila’s snide remarks about Elen’s poor territory management or how on a simple trip to a nearby onsen, Lim doesn’t feel secure even with Elen around. Now there have been assassination attempts, but they have always targeted the Vanadis and have been dealt with easily as we saw in LN vol 01 (or anime EP 01). Given all of the above, I can understand why Lim didn’t feel like spending 15(?) min or so to put on 35-55lb of plate mail for a 1/2 hour trip to the bath. TBH, some of this seems hindsight oriented. Would the question have been raised if there was no snake and the assassins dealt with in a perfunctory manner like every other time before?

        I do get your point. No question there are times when armor should be mandatory for soldier/knights/etc. in a medieval setting. However, I also think there are limits. I’d be shocked if every lord/kinght in RL donned armor every single time they stepped outside the castle. Actually, it comes across as overly “RPGish” if characters ONLY wear their armor 24/7. I’m also little surprised that no one wants to give the series any credit for Lim wearing armor on the battlefield vs. never at all.

      • December 31, 2014 at 9:39 pmStilts

        @ daikama

        To me, ecchi and harem antics are difficult to use without them taking over the show. They quickly mark a show as “an ecchi show” or “a harem show”, even when it might manifestly not be those things (Inou Battle wasn’t a “harem show”, despite its use of the harem).

        In this case, the harem didn’t take over, so it was fine. But the ecchi fanservice bits clashed with the rest of the world and setting, which left a bad taste in the mouth. Nothing wrong with the occasional scene—take Tigre walking into Ludmila in the bath, or some of the bathing scenes among the girls. Those were fine. But when it impugns on the rest of the story, fanservice generally needs to be a larger part of the appeal, or it poisons the flavor.

        Shows like Trinity Seven or DxD work because they go hog wild with the fanservice. it’s fun because we’re all going “Okay, this is all ridiculous. We all know this is ridiculous. We agree, right? So let’s enjoy it!” Madan never approached it with that level of commitment. It seemed like it wanted its cake and to eat it too; to be a fairly serious medieval war story, but have its female characters in revealing outfits because it can. And that doesn’t jive.

        To use another example, my book. One of the main characters, Gavi, is not a skirt kind of girl. She wears one when needed (for example, for work), but given the chance, she’s going to wear a pair of trousers when she’s kicking ass. As much as I like seeing cute girls in skirts, that’s not who she is, so unless there’s a compelling reason she would opt for the skirt, in trousers she shall remain. I won’t use my abilities as storyteller to force her into something that doesn’t fit.

        With some of the Vanadis, it actually works. Ellen’s personality works with the outfit, just as Liese’s did in Trinity Seven. But Lim doesn’t work. Ludmila doesn’t really work. So it feels silly. Honestly, if it was just the Vanadis, they’d more or less get away with it. But as soon as Lim showed up in a weirdly skimpy fantasy outfit, that part began to annoy.

        tl;dr – Keep the fanservice for fanservice shows or dedicated fanservice scenes. Putting it throughout an otherwise serious narrative clashes with its serious scenes.

      • January 1, 2015 at 1:56 pmDrasca

        Subjectively from my perspective Madan started out with wink-wink nudge nudge, dropped any viability of serious and became grab the beer, turn off the brain when our Heroine fangirled for Legolas in the opening scene, episode one.

        You’re right that this series tried to have its cake and eat it too. There were ‘serious’ moments, overall theme wasn’t consistent– and doesn’t seem to want to be.

        That is not limited to fanservice. The basic concept is pretty ludicrous, for narrative storytelling and fiction’s sake. Legolas, really– and conscripting your enemy? I could spend hours taking apart all the inaccuracies and implausibilities, but I accept suspension of disbelief from episode one onward.

        Maybe for me the narrative isn’t so serious, because to me they’re ‘playing’ at war rather than dealing with multitudes of issues that I know come with it. Fantasy war in a world without attrition from disease and desertion.. and millions of other horrible things that happen in war? I won’t be taking it seriously at all.

    • December 30, 2014 at 2:07 pmPancakes

      That’s the annoying part about it, all that was needed to solve the skimpy armour problem was a phrase or short scene indicating how the (questionable) armour choice complements the skills the war maidens are utilizing. Hell it could have easily been inserted into one of those couple of scenes involving Tigre seeing Ellen (IIRC) fully naked. Since nothing was provided in the story about it, Stilts is likely correct that the armour choice here is a result of the author’s personal biases rather than an attempt to fit the selection into the constraints of Vanadis’ universe.

  • December 30, 2014 at 8:59 amMgMaster

    I enjoyed the war medieval war setting,the leads & supporting cast them were fairly likeable and I found Elen in particular a little more interesting,as well as Mila. I also really liked the OP & ED songs.

    But overall, what we got where mostly summaries of events and especially battles. Another very rushed adaptation of what I hear to be a pretty good source material(the potential ain’t hard see anyway). I really wanted to like this too, as the setting & Elen’s interactions with Tigre early on caught my interest.

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:22 amPancakes

    Vanadis definitely suffered from its rushed format, so much so that it grew boring about halfway through the show. The problem here is that fantasy needs worldbuilding and explanation to a large degree, it is the lore and history that makes and keeps things interesting; for Vanadis these key elements were badly glossed over in the name of time. Things just “happened” with minimal exposition before moving onto the next event, giving little time to place it into a wider context. Chaika too featured this problem, but unlike Vanadis had greater time to work with and managed to better tie its plot elements together.

    Sadly IMO Vanadis is just another example of a distinctively average adaptation we keep receiving season after season. There many elements here that are interesting, especially in terms of setting, but because of constraints looks to be something better experienced in the LN. Strictly in terms of fantasy this season Vanadis was completely overshadowed.

  • December 30, 2014 at 11:31 amRei

    I really liked this, a pity it couldn’t be a two-cour :( Still got my vote though!

  • December 30, 2014 at 12:19 pmDarthtabby

    Personally, I think Chaika’s second season was WAY better than Vanadis. Yeah, the ending could have been more satisfactory, but for the most part I felt that Chaika S2 was fast paced in a GOOD way. It hit the ground running and didn’t let up. Yet I rarely felt like I was missing very much and the show didn’t need to constantly rely on narrator overview to tell its story. Vanadis skipped around a lot and kept relying on a zoomed out narrator overview, and in my opinion it really suffered because of it. One of the posters above described the series as a “summary” and I think that’s a good illustration of what its problems were. Chaika S2 may have been fast paced but it didn’t feel like a summary.

    • December 30, 2014 at 2:00 pmStilts

      In season-vs-season quality, I think Madan was better than Chaika season two, but I enjoyed Chaika more because the work they did in season one was still paying dividends (in characters we had become attached to, a better explained world, etc.)

      So Chaika over all was better than Madan, even if more of Chaika’s strength came from its first half to me.

      • December 30, 2014 at 5:36 pmDarthtabby

        I still don’t see very much wrong with the pacing in Chaika’s second season. It concentrated more on action than season one, but it could do that, and it did it very well. Vanadis by contrast didn’t seem to do much of anything very well and was saddled with a huge amount of immersion breaking overviews and narrator exposition. The main characters had a certain amount of charm, but the show didn’t utilize it all that well.

        Also, Chaika may have had nearly twice as many episodes as Vanadis, but it also more or less adapted a ten volume light novel series, and it did it without making it seem like there was massive amounts of critical material missing (at least to someone like me who has never read the source material). I’d say that’s pretty impressive work on the part of the series composer.

  • December 30, 2014 at 12:58 pmflCer

    Watching Ange this season definitely bolstered my toleration towards skimpy outfits. I didn’t even think about that until you mentioned it. My favourite character is Lim by the way… love her teal armour.

    Vanadis gets a 8/10 in my books. I too wanted to see more of the universe, but being one that knows nothing about the source material, the anime still paced itself well enough for me to not get irritated by pacing issues. I was never hyped for the next episode, but when it came, I always had a fine time.

    • December 30, 2014 at 7:28 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

      Yeah, I found Lim and Ludmila the most appealing. Ludmila just had something charming about her, I can’t really explain, and it does help that she actually developed a bit with going from slight antagonist to neutral tsundere to outright ally whereas most of the others didn’t really change much.

      Though I do wish we got more Valentina now too…

  • December 30, 2014 at 2:40 pmAndré

    Excellent show. The problem where the girls with huge boobs and carnival clothing… They were just out of place. The anime was pretty serious, being about war and politics… But then, in almost all scenes, we have some girl who looked like a hentai character… If you’re gonna do a serious anime about war and politics, don’t dress your people like hentai characters.

  • December 30, 2014 at 6:28 pmABPsycho

    Is it wrong that that the most stand out part of this show was the battle explanations, which I thought were brilliantly done? That said though episode 11 the final tactic explanation did anyone else notice the knight on the right flank spinning to win?

  • December 30, 2014 at 6:58 pmdaikama

    @Stilts: ”The pacing, from everything I’ve heard, was breakneck—they churned through five (I believe) light novels worth of material in order to get to the end of the Brune Civil War, and much was lost in the process.”

    That pretty much sums it up. As soon as I watched Episode 01, the proverbial handwriting was on the wall. Been there, done that too often with this sort of thing. What once was a feeling of anticipation upon reading that a series I like will receive an anime adaptation has now been replaced with a sense of trepidation. Another series I like, Gate – Thus the JSDF Fought There, is getting an anime adaptation, and it’s not a good sign when my very first thought is “PLEASE don’t f**k this up!” That wasn’t always the case. Of course there still are very good adaptations produced, but they seem to be an increasingly rare breed. :/

    ” I usually say four episodes per light novel is about right, which would have put them at three for the season, ending it right after Tigre’s final battle with Roland. Which would have been a terrible place to end the season on.”

    I don’t know about that. As I mentioned in my Ep. 01 comments, if this just MUST be adapted in a single cour, then I say take a tip from Blade Dance’s adaptation and end with LN vol. 03 (battle with Roland). I don’t think it would be as “terrible” as you suggest. Certainly less than ideal, but functional at least. Besides, what really went on in Blade Dance anime other than form harem and setup for the actual Blade Dance – which we never saw? Yet despite a very open ending cutting off right before the “main event”, you titled your season review (more favorably I might add) “The Little Harem That Could”. Frankly, I was surprised that you didn’t really address the ending point for Blade Dance. At any rate, wouldn’t the same approach here, as you say, “…treat their anime viewers with enough respect to give them all the details” (and there are a lot of details missing here)?

    In one sense, this situation reminds me of what happened with Akame ga Kill anime so I’ll repeat what I posted there – Is a definite conclusion worth the price paid in terms of the story and storytelling? For me, I’d rather have better, more detailed and inclusive storytelling that ends with LN vol. 03 (battle with Roland), than an “ESPN Sportcenter Vanadis Highlights” or “CliffsNotes Anime presents…” (take your pick :P) version. Yes, there needs to be some sort of conclusion/resolution, but in a situation where you are pretty much damned either way, I’ll take the more open ending if that means what is actually presented is done well and satisfying to watch rather than Just Another Anime Adaptation™ quickly forgotten. Better to be left wanting more than not caring about the whole thing.

    What this truly needed, as many have pointed out, was a 2-cour run from the start. Personally, I think five, not four, episodes per LN volume is a good rule of thumb (e.g. Log Horizon Season 1, Mondaji-tachi) Four can work (depends upon the series) though in some cases even six eps./LN volume might be more appropriate (e.g. both seasons of High School DxD and Spice & Wolf). For Vanadis I think 23-25 episodes covering LN volumes 1-5 would have worked best.

    • December 31, 2014 at 6:01 amDorian

      Wait. Gate is getting an anime? Aw man, I’m having the same reaction you did. Please don’t screw it up.

  • December 30, 2014 at 7:55 pmrandom guy

    What made want to watch this series at the beginning was story and the battles. But it fell short in both aspects. In terms of story, it felt like it had no depth to it. As for the battles, it all felt one side from the get go. As if Tigre or the Vanadis had already won before the fighting started. I give it a 6/10.

  • December 30, 2014 at 8:52 pmikramit

    Is a anime that is rushed to reach a good stopping point and is bad/boring as a result or an adaptation that makes the concession to stop at a unsatisfying point as to insure that it not only provides a proper representation of the sources quality up to that point but is also exciting and enjoyable up to then better.

    From my point of view while madans adaptation did give the anime only watchers some sense of closure by doing so it robbed them of characters ,setting , excitement, depth, complexity and continuity by getting to a “proper” ending point we lost all sense of what made that ending in the first place so I find it hard to justify their decision of covering the first 5 volumes rather than the first 3 especially when you consider that the only reason madan stands out at all is because of its execution, as its full of tropes that if not play off correctly in an adaption make it look very generic.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:35 pmzztop

    What happens in the next arc? What do Ganelon and Valentina want?

  • December 31, 2014 at 8:32 amBors

    After watching the first episode I was fairly sure I’ll stick with the series. However, the progressively ridiculous outfits and deformed female characters turned me off.

    This could have been so much better without the unnecessarily overblown “fan service”. Makes me wander what kind of viewers the makers of the show think they are catering to.

  • December 31, 2014 at 9:18 amHochmeister

    Dropped this back on episode three, sad to hear that it didn’t get much better. Was hoping for a medieval Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but the cliche harem antics and characters, evulz rapey villains, badly animated battles, and lack of information about the setting turned me off. It tried to cram in too many elements in too short of a time, and as a result was mediocre at best as a medieval fantasy war show or a harem drama.

  • December 31, 2014 at 10:48 pmPrivate

    Something missing where’s the loli pink girl in the Op?

    • January 1, 2015 at 12:17 amZnail

      She haven’t showed up yet. This is based on a novel series and while it moved along quickly so is there still several bocks left to do.

  • January 2, 2015 at 2:59 amtheirs

    I really liked the premise of this anime. The plot was good and the battle tactics are actually quite interesting. They also took fatigue into account, something anime has rarely touched.

    I really like Tigre and Ellen and wished they fleshed them out a lot more. Of course the same thing can be said about the whole cast. If the main pair aren’t fleshed out, we really shouldn’t expect more from the rest. But that isn’t really the main problem. The real problem is the execution. Tigre is a great archer, yeah I know, but I don’t see it. Those amazing battles? I didn’t see them either. A bunch of soldiers randomly flailing their arms in the air aren’t that impressive. The 3D strategic view would’ve been good if the showed us some of the results in a dramatic way. Sadly they didn’t. It could be time constraints as I think this series needs at least 26 episodes, but if they were going to do a rush job, the least they could do was make it flashy.

    Now about the clothing, I actually find it normal for a fantasy setting (not medieval setting). Maybe it’s cause I’ve played a lot of fantasy RPGs and SLGs. Those designs are actually quite normal, especially for Japanese ones. I even thought Roland had too much armour as I didn’t think he was a “Tank”. My biggest gripe with Lim’s snake bite wasn’t related to what she’s wearing, but more on how the snake manage to bite her there. A poisoned dart would’ve been more believable for me (and still keep the fanservice).

  • January 2, 2015 at 3:35 pmMiaminights

    I thought this show was average. Started well but had many problems you mentioned. During the Muozinel invasion I was apoplectic when Tigre and Elen were chatting in a circle of flailing Muozinel who were attacking…….nothing. I liked the concept but it’s execution was lacking.

    Ganleon…wtf? Did he plot this whole damn thing? SO confused.