Saturday, January 31, 2015

Madan no Ou to Vanadis Review

Madan no Ou to Vanadis Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

And here we have another Fall show from late last year. And one of my first fantasy animes at that, which was rather interesting.

Fantasy is a genre that has been shown to me a bit. If you can include Rainbow Magic, some bits of the Harry Potter movies, and mentions of stories to count as much. There's also Game of Thrones, but we all know how that show is. Blood, nudity, blood, and more blood. Don't forget the Red Wedding! So basically, it's too mature for me.

While I was watching this show though, I read a fantasy debut called Snow Like Ashes, which was one of my favorite 2014 YA debuts I've read. It was very descriptive, I liked all of the main characters, and the set-up was really fascinating.

When I first heard about this anime, I thought: "Hello there stereotypical harem. I can see that you probably are going to have a lot of fanservice. I don't think I'll survive most of this show, but I'm going to get hella bored." Looking at PVs did seem as if the show wasn't going to run on the Fanservice Express, but I could still see some bits and pieces here and there. Some parts of the story sounded interesting too.

So, I was expecting this:

But what I actually got was an anime filled with a lot of excitement and intrigue. The main story was nice, the characters were well featured for the most part (expect some of the other war maidens), and the animation was pretty nice.

However, the show did tackle some problems in the road. Some parts of the show are confusing, fanservice is sometimes pulled in unnecessarily, the villains are all pretty weak in character development, and characters don't always get equal treatment. But that doesn't mean it was a bad series by any means. The show does manage to get a lot of things right, even through its slip-ups.

Let's explore the story now.


The main setting of Madan no Ou to Vanadis takes place in a parallel universe of Europe in the past. Europe is split into 5 kingdoms, being Asvarre, Sachstein, Brune, Zhcted, and Muozinel. And no, you sadly do not get a chance to visit all of the countries. Some enemies do appear from some of these kingdoms, but our 7 war maidens come from Zhcted, which is a key military power.

Our story begins when the Count Tigrevurmud Vorn (Tigre for short), from the town of Alsace in Brune, meets the war maiden Eleonora Viltaria after the Zhcted invasion of Brune. She takes him back to her home city of Leitmeritz, and decides to hold up for ransom against his kingdom. We then go to a dream of Tigre's before this whole battle, only for it to be interrupted by Eleonora's bodyguard Limalisha, when she shoves a sword down his mouth. She lets Tigre know about his situation, and brings him to Eleonora to talk with him. Eleonora then realizes the ransom that she set up was far high, and that Brune wouldn't be able to pay it.

This whole ransom thing, being that if Brune doesn't pay the ransom Tigre will be forever by her side, is forgotten in about a couple of episodes.

After Duke Thenardier's son strikes Tigre's city, Tigre wishes to go but Eleonora stops him at the gate. After telling her that he'll need her army, Eleonora agrees, but with a price. She will now rule Alsace by her own hand. After they succeed in getting Zion out, it's now time to defeat Duke Thernardier since he's bad. With other war maidens, Tigre's personal maid Titta (emphasis on Tit for the fanservice junkies out there), and other members of Eleonora's army plus more along on the way, it's a fantasy adventure.

The story for this anime actually happens to move very well in the first 3 episodes. It set up some good backstory, we had a lot of development for Eleonora (though not childhood), and we get to meet a lot of characters, leading up to Zion's defeat.

Past that, the story still remains to be really interesting. However, this anime doesn't have a simple story, like Lucky Star. This anime has a complex story, and it requires a lot of attention in order you don't miss anything. I realized this right away, and yet this anime still had some confusing moments in some of its battles. My main problem with the story is how the battles play out. The villains for the most part are poorly written into the fight, making their reason to fight non-apparent until later, or never. Some characters are thrown into the story without an explanation, such as Duke Thenardier's second in command, Steid. Steid doesn't appear until the battle in the cavern in Episode 12, and all you know is that he works for Thenardier. I didn't have any clue he was his second in command until I looked it up. Hell, I don't even think he appeared in any earlier episodes.

Duke Genelon, who is Thenardier's rival, also suffers from poor writing, but to a lesser extent. Beyond that though, the story is still pretty good, and is unique for a fantasy anime.


I'm going to go over a few characters again today. Sometimes, there's cases where there are a few characters that make an impact in the story, and I have enough things to talk about them with. This show is one of them.

Let's start with Tigre:

Tigrevurmud Vorn (it's easier to remember him as Tigre) is our main protagonist of the anime, and is the Count of Alsace.  In his free time, he enjoys hunting, as well as being an archer. A damn good one at that in battle. I can see why his skills are so useful. I don't think I've ever seen so many arrows to the head in an anime ever. You learn something new every day.

After he is asked to lead an army in the Battle of Dinant, his army is defeated by Eleonora before she captures him and takes him back to her home city. This is where she becomes impressed at his skills when an assassin tries to kill her during training, where he is given an inferior weapon.

His main weapon of choice is the Black Bow, a bow that is passed down through his ancestors. He is able to shoot arrows at a quick speed, because he can reload fairly quickly. If he uses Eleonora's weapon Arifar, he is able to do more with the bow, such as fire a powerful arrow or open gates.

Overall, Tigre was a very nice main character, and was a nice addition into the non stereotypical anime male protagonists. He's smart, knows how to use his archer skills well, and he doesn't become a mega pervert or get embarrassed easily as do normal anime males do nowadays. It's nice, because I'm tried of so many generic protagonists, and Issei. Even though Issei isn't all bad, he's started the trend in which the harem protagonists are all perverts.

Now onto Eleonora:

Eleonora is our first war maiden introduced into the story, one of the six maidens (out of seven, you only get to meet six, and some not for very long) of Zhcted. She is the ruler of Leitmertiz, the city where she takes Tigre, and is also the leader of their army. Her weapon is the Dragon Gear longsword Arifar, and having mastered it, she is able to use it for majority of her abilities. She can use the power of the wind to cut down through shields, helms, armors, and even dragons!

Other than her great combat abilities, she is also a great fighter with her army and has defeated superior armies by using any additional forces her army has. This makes for some pretty good wins. She is accompanied by appearances of her pet Black dragon named Lunie, a pet that another war maiden Sofya is very fond of.

Eventually in time, she starts to fall for Tigre, but this show doesn't go "OMG TIME TO MAKE A HAREM SO THAT THE VIEWERS CAN GET PISSED OFF AS HELL AND NOT FOCUS ON OUR MAIN STORYLINE AT HAND!" Highschool DXD New, I'm looking at you. *scowls*

Overall, Eleonora was a better female main lead that I could enjoy. She's respectable, gets the job done, a little bit flirtatious, and just full of energy. It's very refreshing, and she was my favorite character out of the anime.

Next up, Ludmila:

Ludmila, or just simply Mila, is the second war maiden we meet in the series. She is the ruler of Olmützm, a snowy area with its whereabouts unknown. She is a pro at fighting in defensive battle, and Eleonora does admit that she's the best at them. Eleonora and Ludmila share a rivalry due to the fact that Ludmila's family has an alliance with Thenardier, and also due to the fact that Eleonora occasionally pokes fun at Ludmila's height and breasts. These arguments end when another person intervenes, shown once to be Sofya and another to be Alexandra.

Her Dragon Gear has been passed down through generations in her family, rather then being chosen by the Dragon Gear at random. She became a Vanadis after her mother died when she was 14, and acts a bit antagonistic. But however, she starts to warm up to Tigre after he disguises as a huntsman out in the snowy woods to spy on her. He sees another side to her, and later gains her trust. After this, she declares her neutrality in the civil war of Brune. 

Her Dragon Gear is Lavias, a short spear that is capable of manipulating ice. It can summon thousands of ice shards, can create a wall of ice, changing the weather to winter, and it has the potential to slay a dragon. It's also good for impaling people with ice shards. :D

Ludmila is okay as a main character. I do like some aspects of her personality, but she's a bit too stereotypical for me to like. I think she was a bit more original in the development department, but she at least has some unique qualities

Sofya's the last main character to talk about:

Sofya is the ruler of Polesia, and is 20 years old. She is a motherly figure to some of the Vanadis, and acts as a mediator during fights. She has the show's biggest assets, so plus for males who love big boobs.

Sofya dislikes violence, and tries to uphold her role in order to take care of her fellow Vanadis from unnecessary conflict. Elen considers her the best Vanadis at politics, and for finding out new information. She is often asked to find out which Vanadis have alliances with our two evil dukes, and how strong they are.

Sofya's Dragon Gear is a golden staff called Zaht. Though its appearance doesn't necessarily seem a dangerous weapon, it actually has an immense ability that can also function as a energy shield that can repel almost any weapon, though not all. Her powers are light based, as seen in Episodes 6 and 7.

I liked Sofya. She's one of those characters that has to make sure that the Vanadis are in line, and not brawling with each other. I think she did a great job at also finding out information, and helping out Eleonora and Tigre when they had to escape from the Black Knight Ronald. I think she could have spared a bit more development wise, but I still think she's a great character.

The other Vanadis don't show up as much. Alexandra, or as Eleonora likes to call her, Sasha is only present for one episode. Elizaveta also faces this same problem. Valentina appears more than the last two, but it's not confirmed what she does. She seems antagonistic, but what's her goal? Appear by Tigre's bedside, and he somehow starts groping her boobs? (BTW, the censoring for this was horrendous) She doesn't really make any involvement, which is a bit of a shame.

The villains in this show have another problem. Minus Zion and Ronald, all of them are too similar to each other. Most of them rely on stereotypes to get the job done, while other villains don't have a clear goal in mind. It's a little sad, and also can be confusing.

Other characters include Tigre's personal maid (Titta, emphasis on the you know. *winks*), Tigre's general, the Court of Aude, Eleonora's second in command, a knight who shaves his head in respect for Tigre in saving his life, the king of Zhcted, the leader of the Navarre Knights, Tigre's late father, the king of Brune, the Viscount of Territoire, his son, the princess of the Brune kingdom, the prime minister of Brune, Thenardier's second in command, the forgettable main villains in the Muozinel Army, and the Thenardier fortuneteller.

Yeesh, that was a mouthful.


The animation for this series was done by the studio Satelight, most known for co-animating the first 175 episodes of Fairy Tail, the first season of Log Horizon, and Aquarion Evol.

The animation for this series came as a decent surprise for me. Compared to the new animation that A1 and Bridge are doing for the new episodes of Fairy Tail, that tanks compared to this. The animation just looks really good for this series. The backgrounds, the character designs, and hey! The blood actually is realistic in this show, unlike the first two episodes of Akame ga Kill and the earlier episodes of Bleach.

The highlight for me are the battles. During a battle, the narrator talks about strategies that the army takes, as well as plans made by the villains. It is stylized like a game of chess, but on a map. This animation looks really cool, and I was taken away by it when it was first seen in Episode 3.

Fanservice wise, this show is pretty tame. Besides a couple boob boings, and partial nudity, it isn't too bad as other shows. I would say the most suggestive part of the show is where Lim gets bit by a snake on the edge of her right breast, and Tigre has to suck out the venom. This is played pretty seriously, unlike other blushing messes.

Though there are some model issues, the animation doesn't defer a lot, which is always great.


The score for this series was composed by Masaru Yokoyama, and Nobuaki Nobusawa. Masaru Yokoyama is most famous for his scores for Freezing and the Queens Blade franchise. Nobuaki Nobusawa didn't do any scores up to October 2014, so this is his first composition credit.

It's a average score. There are some good battle pieces, and light-hearted ones as well, but it doesn't do anything to stand out on its own. Maybe I'm just listening to too many of these same types of scores, I don't know.

The opening and ending are both really good though. It gets you excited for the adventures to come, and get relaxed after a cliffhanger that leaves you on your seat. Or something else.

Overall, the voice work for this series is pretty well done. Some seiyuus were new to me, as I heard their voices for the first time. Other seiyuus I had heard before, but they played with their voice a little bit, showing off more range. That is always a good thing.

Highlights include Kaito Ishikawa, Sumire Uesaka, Ryohei Kimura, Nobuo Tobita, Haruka Tomatsu, Mariya Ise, Ai Kayano, Yu Kobayashi, Hitomi Harada, Yuka Iguchi, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Hiroki Tochi, Yukiyo Fujii, and Kenji Hamada, 


This show was actually a decent surprise. Instead of getting a show that was very boring like I was expecting, I got a show that was exciting, interested me to the very end, and had good main characters. 

Weaknesses do lie in its storytelling at certain points, unoriginal and forgettable villains, some off-puts in animation, and in score. But, this is still a decent fantasy series with a sprinkle of fanservice that fans could enjoy.

Score: 7.5/10


Unique story.

Great main characters.

Good animation.

Very interesting world.

Surprising overall.  


Show fails at some aspects of storytelling.

Villains either cliched or forgettable.

Score isn't the best.


  1. good review. :3
    i have review about this anime too in my blog. but in indonesian version :)