Lord Marksman and Vanadis, Vol. 1

By Tsukasa Kawaguchi and Nobuhiko Yanai. Released in Japan by Media Factory, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Flapper. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Elina Ishikawa. Adapted by Rebecca Schneider.

I’ve mentioned before that Media Factory publishes both my nemesis and my weakness. They put out two magazines for young men, basically sister publications. Comic Alive and Comic Flapper. Comic Alive tends to produce series, usually based on a popular franchise, that I can’t abide, with the worst otaku pandering, fanservice-laden drivel. Comic Flapper also, of course, publishes series based on popular franchises, but it tends to skew a bit weirder and less mainstream than Alive. And as a result, despite some problematic things, I usually find myself enjoying a Flapper series. Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a fantasy series based on a light novel with a cool hero and a bunch of girls, so I admit I was a bit wary. But sure enough, Flapper wins again. This was a good start, and I want to see more of it.


Now don’t get me wrong, there is service here. We get not one but two ‘walk in on someone bathing’ scenes, a ‘we are fighting and I accidentally grope your boob’ scene, and another nude scene when the childhood friend of the hero cleanses herself to go to the temple and pray for him. But the series, at heart, is grounded in its plot and worldbuilding, which is always the way to win me over and get me to read your harem series starring your really cool guy. Tigre is a young Count called on to fight in a territorial war for his lord against a rival kingdom who have a Vanadis with them – who are apparently young women who can fight with amazing weapons. We find out how amazing when Tigre’s group is almost completely wiped out (honestly, I thought it was a complete massacre bar him, but a couple of the named characters show up later). He’s subsequently captured and brought to the Vanadis, who wants to test his skills, given his archery actually caused her to make an effort in the battle.

Our heroes are types that you will see in most fantasy manga and light novels, but they hew towards the ‘sensible’ end of the spectrum. (The exception is the bodyguard, Lim, who is allowed to be the tsundere hair-triggered temper girl that Elen herself cannot be because she is the Vanadis. Also, we need SOME comedy in here.) Tigre’s capture, as well as the death of his lord in the battle, leads to real consequences as various territories vie to see who can gain the most power, and decide that Tigre’s village is the perfect one to raze off the map to do so. I knew he was going to have to escape to deal with that, and also knew that he would be stopped. I’m impressed that he actually asked his captors to help him defend his village, though – it’s the sort of ballsy decision that makes you see why Elen likes him so much.

So there’s not much original here, but it’s well told, and avoids most of the wretched cliches of such genres while skating past the ones it can’t quite avoid. Our hero is cool and amazing in archery, but is shown to be useless in most other forms of combat. As for Elen, well, it’s only the first book, I’m sure we’ll find out her weaknesses later. If you enjoy this genre, it’s a very good start.

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