Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Episode 3

My Lord, the tide of battle seems to have turned against us!

madan-no-ou-to-vanadis-01

So we open recapping the off-screen battle (or mostly off-screen battle) from last time.  While the Thernadier’s lost 300 of their 3,000, Ellen’s forces have lost 100, so this basically keeps things at an even split, both forces losing about 10%.

Now for a moment that’s…almost surreal. We get a map-cut-away after seeing Geoffrey…I mean, Zion…going insane in his tent.  It’s like one of those battle documentaries that specialize in ancient fights.  Little divisions are laid out on the field, we’re told the strengths of the forces…I don’t expect this to go anywhere, but the juxtaposition of the military documentary and trite harem bullshit at least raises the eyebrow of curiosity from me.

Oh, speaking of trite harem shit, here’s Titties! Totally ruining the drama of the war room with her insecure vagina problems. Women, amirite, fellas?

Ellen splits her forces up, and we follow the main one, led by her and Tigre.  The fight’s okay.  The slightly-above-average combat is balanced by the not-even-total-war standards of the establishment shots.

Things go well for our heroes, but then Vernadier launches its dragon into the melee.  Ah, the fight we’ve actually been waiting for.

…Which Ellen ends in a single move…well..damn.

So, a story.  I do love myself some Total War franchise, but my favorite of the series was Medieval2.  Why? Not the combat, but the “characters”.  Each of your agents and generals had traits, many of which were randomly added, some had triggers, and generally my favorite bit was using those randomly assembled traits as a kind of roleplay aid, in my head.

Best example: I played a game as Milan, an Italian city-state for those not well versed in history or geography, and ran an agent game. Many spies and assassins and subterfuge to get what I wanted, and generally conquer the world through non-martial means.  I was at war with the pope, he had pissed me off somehow, so I started sending assassins after him.  I must have murdered about seven of them in this particular campaign, when one resisted.  Because, those traits. Surviving assassination makes a general more paranoid generally, but also can make him turn to vices.  Well, eventually the pope had the follow traits, “Paranoid” “Drunk” “Womanizer” and “Secretly Female”.  Yep, I had a psycho lesbian pope.  The story was right there for me.

Now I bring this up because in battle, you commanded these generals directly.  And actions performed in the battle would make them translate to traits sometimes, too. Total War is a strategic combat game. And Vanadis is a strategic combat anime.

The emphasis so far hasn’t been as much on choreography as it has been how these characters operate in their roles as generals. So while Lim is present and saving the day, the heroism of that moment is demonstrated in that chess-board like manner, seeing her pull her forces back in the tactical map, letting her set off her traps, before the unit turns around and decimates them.  The heroism aspect, in this regard, lays less on the individual knight’s performance as it does the military unit as an entity.

I don’t know if I can call it “good”, but it IS quite different, and rather compelling in how unique this presentation is.  I get the same impression as I did in those Total War games: That while the units are doing their mechanical chess-board movements, there are individuals inside those units with stories to tell.

In this vein, we get the story as told by those military tacticians.  The Thernadier would have won the battle running on automatic, but for their cowardly, way-too-obviously-villainous general Zion.  Which is the weakest thing, here: the strawman way all these characters, hero and villain, are shown.  Kawanakajima this is not.

Naturally, in all honorable ways, this has to come down to a duel between commanders! Who, you mean Zion and Ellen? No, of course not you little dumbass, I mean Zion and Tigre.  He’s the real hero of this Zchted army!

Naturally, Tigre emerges victorious.  Ellen rides up right next to him, “I wasn’t sure which way that was going to go!”

Just because you SAY a thing, Ellen, does not make it true.

End on Tigre firing his air-penis into the dragon, that’ll prove the power of his dick.

Not a stellar outing, but did you expect more?  There’s some interesting stuff, as I said, with the tactical emphasis of combat here, it’s just not realized very well. Ah well.

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