Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 4

Fumble, foul, or failure?

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So, we open on an impressive ambush tactic.  Tigre castles his refugees and soldiers, so when the Muslin forces attack, they are met with swords instead of helpless villagers. Nice move.

Unfortunately, it only wins them the spearhead. Two thousand guys isn’t going to outfight 40,000, there’s just no way on an open field.

And…and…okay, this fight is just goofy. Tigre and Ludmila are having their mid-combat heart to heart, which is made all the sillier by the fact the Muslin soldiers are encircling them in some form of interpretative dance until it’s time for one to enter the foreground and get killed.

Well, wouldn’t you know, when you kill the most respected knight in the entire kingdom for backing Tigre, turns out the other knightly orders don’t respect you enough to remain in your control.  Three of Brune’s knightly orders arrive just in time to bail Tigre out of this jam.

This is where my historical perspective kind of kills the mood for me.  Barbarossa is just laughing off the fact 5,000 knights have arrived to kick his ass.

To put this in perspective, when the Roman Emperor sent for reinforcements to the Pope (the event that launched the Crusades) he was expecting about 300 knights.  That is to say, he thought he could beat the entire Seljuk Empire with just 300 of the mounted destroyers, even though his army had suffered it most horrific defeat a matter of years earlier. That’s how badass these guys were.

Barbarossa laughing off “Well what’s 5,000 against my 40,000 men?” is…ugh…it’s so unlikely I can’t form a proper simile to express it.

And we now understand why he’s losing.  Barbarossa thinks the mastermind is the Battle Maiden.  Oh, you poor, horribly un-genre-savvy fool. You have no idea what show you’re in, do you? Any normal universe, sure, she’d be the hero. But not here.

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He also finds out, sadly, that Thernadier has routed his second army.  Faced with a three front war and only one army of the three he originally dispatched, Barbarossa retreats.

We get some harem bullshit to close out this story arc, you know the kind. Fighting over the lead, forgiving him any and all ill effects because “Eh, he’s a man, fuck it.”

Episode 11 looks like we finally meet our void witch. Spoilers. It won’t. We just needed a boob grab joke.

But first, crossdressing! Turns out the prince is still alive! And a girl! That’s…well then.  Yeah it’s just another way to add more to the circle of harem hens.

Of course you can’t just say “The prince is on my side! And by the way totally had a vagina the whole time.” without proof. So it’s off to get her verified as the prince.

This brings them head to head with Thernadier’s army.  And his dragons.

So it turns out the weapons called “dragon gears” aren’t very effective against high level dragons. Who knew?

Elen has a clever way to get around this though. She buries her sword in a soft spot, then unleashes her dragon art inside the dragon’s body. That…pretty effective there, lady.

But the main battle remains, and as Episode 12 opens…on bathing scene. Sure. Sure, show. Why the fuck not. Not like you were doing anything interesting.

Okay, I am totally willing to buy that Regin here was passing as a boy, but give her an appropriate chest.  No one, NO ONE saw that chest and said “Oh, yeah, totally a boy, no wonder your facial hair hasn’t grown in yet, all your vitamins went to your tits”.

So we’re off to see if we can get Regin her divine favor. If it’s a chick god, you know Tigre just has to speak a few words to it about being a man and blessing given!

But oh no! Thernadier beat them here! And he’s taken a few levels in genre-saviness, saying “there’s no point is speaking to someone about to die.”  Good plan there, don’t let the kids monologue you to death at the finish line.

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Elen attacks Thernadier head on, but naturally Worf is powerless against the villain. You didn’t expect that to go anywhere, did you?  And…did you just make a vagina pun, Thernadier?

Well there’s a cave in, and Bertrand dies saving Tigre. Not before he can deathbed monologue about how great Tigre’s penis is, though!

And credit where it’s due, in an unexpected turn for the last episode, Tigre is just destroyed by the death of his mentor. I mean it takes him a full…six minutes to get over it. That’s almost enough time to microwave a frozen dinner.

This is a serious problem with the show’s pacing. We’re on our final leg here, and every character is acting like Tigre’s practically off his rocker. But if we, the audience, don’t FEEL that time pass, we don’t understand it.

Well ten minutes into our episode we finally SET UP our final confrontation. Yeah. Good work on the pacing guys. And you thought Season 1 Korra was bad.

So we finally get the big reveal: Why did Thernadier start an open war against Alsace?

The answer? To prevent Zchted from taking advantage of the power struggle in Brune.

…Good job on that.

And this is his crime? His horrible crime? To buffer the weak point against outside force in the inevitable civil war?

Don’t get me wrong. War sucks, and turning an entire province into a fortress just to keep your borders happy is unpleasant for the peasants, to put it mildly. But like…this is neither mustache-twirlingly evil, nor is it “Oh he’s misunderstood on the wrong side”.  This is just…a thing that happened.

Sure, lots of wars happened this way. But they’re not the ones we tell stories about because…they’re boring. And this is boring.

So Tigre gets Madoka eyes now, because…sure, why not.

So we get a parade when he kills Thernadier.  There is peace in our time as Alsace becomes administered by Zchted, and Tigre goes to serve out his time as a prisoner under Elen.

What kills this end is the pacing. It’s so quick and tries to shove everything in our faces, and this started last time with Elen’s little vacation.

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