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Autumn 2014: First Impressions – Madan no Ou to Vanadis, Searching for the Lost Future and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

October 5, 2014

autumnanimeWell the season hasn’t really exploded onto the scene so much as waddled in – nothing much to get excited about yet.  Anyway, lets have a look at generic harem set-up 101, VN adaptation by numbers and unlimited fan pandering – Madan no Ou to Vanadis, Searching for the Lost Future and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis (Lord Marksman & Vanadis)

Okay so I was expecting this to be much worse – but that really isn’t much in the way of praise.  This is actually fairly watchable even if it is blatantly obvious that it is going the way of the generic harem.  The main lead is fairly ordinary, but of course has sensational archery talent that has the main girl salivating.  The main girl is actually pretty together and self-confident which makes a nice change – even when we get the obligatory stumble upon her bathing naked, there is no shrieking of “hentai!!” and violent battery…..which was really quite refreshing!  Still I have no doubt that MC-kun will upstage her shortly reducing her to blushing haremette goo.

Production is passable – not a fan of the ridiculous clothing choices and the animation for the horses is laughable, but the show isn’t offensive to the eyes.  I’m not going to be keeping Vanadis on, but it really isn’t a terrible show, there is some effort being put into it.  Not my thing though.

Searching for the Lost Future (Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete)

God this dull.  Flat and boring in every sense of the word, it was a massive chore to sit through.  Death flags towards the end of the episode were telegraphed so aggressively they were practically neon!  But other than that “twist” ending there really is nothing of note in this episode.  This is a bland world populated by the most stereotypically bland character archetypes ever to have been created – it’s almost parody level!  But the show doesn’t really have any self awareness and everything is played fairly straight – it has been a while since I have seen something so painfully by the numbers.  I really can’t think of anything positive to say here.

Production isn’t much better – the show looks like arse for the majority of the time.  The character designs weren’t all that wonderful even in the promo art, but they’re even worse when animated so inconsistently.  I was expecting something with a bit more of a hook given the pretentious title of this series, but there is just nothing of value here – dropped.

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

So here we go again.  First off, there was no need for this to be double length – that is just fan-wankery.  This episode could easily have been tightened up to normal length and nothing of value would have been lost.  I really enjoy the eyecandy that ufotable provide, but even I can get bored of needlessly long scenes of Rin wandering about town/school/home.  Moving on – I have to say that Rin & Archer are the characters from Fate/Stay Night that I’ve always liked best, so having Shiro relegated to a bit-part in this episode was a very positive thing for me.  I also really enjoyed the Lancer Vs Archer fight – some nice flashy (if ultimately pointless) action there.  But there is no getting away from the fact that this is all ground we’ve covered before – there really isn’t any unique stamp on the show, and this episode doesn’t even do a very good job of explaining the Holy Grail War for any newcomers to the series!  Basically this is a very by the numbers adaptation geared towards existing fans of the visual novels.

Production is as high spec as we’ve come to expect from ufotable – there is no denying that this is an attractive show (and I still have a huge weakness for Archer).  They’ve also learnt their lesson from the first episode of Fate/Zero, so there isn’t a ridiculous amount of exposition delivered by a couple of old dudes walking in circles.  Rather most of the episode has Rin talking to herself in various locations – which is only marginally better, but at least more interesting visually.

It’s more Fate, you’re either going to be onboard with that or not.  I personally like the characters and setting even if the incessant chattering that Type Moon adores gets on every one of my nerves.  Plus Archer is pretty damn cool, so I’m sticking around for this show……..I think I’m slightly masochistic in addition to being shallow.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. FlameStrike permalink
    October 5, 2014 7:04 am

    I have some expectations for Madan no Ou. Mainly it’s because of my experience with the Light Novel. The anime has been pretty good so far. Animation and character designs are both passable. Still, I don’t have my hopes up for the actions sequences though. It’s probably Fate/stay night’s fault.

    I watched that right before Madan and the Archer vs Lancer fight blew me away. It’s pretty clear that F/sn is an adaptation geared towards pleasing fans. I also believe they made it expecting people to have at least watched Fate/zero.

    lol Lost Future is just terrible. I haven’t watched it but I never planed to in the first place. The anime designs totally ANNIHILATED Misaki Kurehito’s godlike art. Tatsuya himself could not achieve a more thorough obliteration. Such a travesty is not worth my time. Thanks for confirming that it’s bad though.

    • October 5, 2014 9:51 pm

      I totally thought the red haired fella was girl in the Vanadis promo art. But yeah it is a fairly watchable show even if it isn’t my kind of thing.

      It probably isn’t fair to compare most other shows to Fate/Stay Night – that thing clearly has a bucket load of cash poured into it.

      I was shocked by how utterly devoid of merit Lost Future was – even by usual trashy VN adaptation standards it was awful.

  2. October 9, 2014 2:05 am

    madan’s anime as a stand alone it might be decent at best but as an adaptation of the LN its terrible removing all world building, politics, economics and methodology that was persent in the metrail its covered so far.. Also for the most part removing the character development and character interactions that take place in the source material leaving the bare bones or even less to keep the story moving. The anime left a lot of questions that were not only answered in LN but in alot detail. Tiger was a prisoner of war for 50 days the pacing might get better but I doubt it considering they want to adapt 5 volumes in 13 episodes.

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