With a bigger budget and a longer episode count, this could have been amazing. As it stands, it offers a bit more to chew on compared to your average harem while delivering the goodies in a tasteful manner.
If I had to keep things simple, the biggest issue with this show is that the source material seems far more ambitious than the people in charge of telling it. It’s like the producers came prepared with enough money and time to make a harem with a war epic theme, but found out they were adapting the complete opposite. Yet rather than carefully consider how much they could adapt with their resources, they decide to adapt an entire arc that lasted 5 volumes. And you know what? IT STILL FEELS INCOMPLETE! There’s still one Vanadis that’s yet to be introduced outside the Op, and there’s so much reliance on narration that I wonder why i’m not reading the books instead.
Now that being said, I still found what was given to be quite fascinating. Sure the fantasy aspects didn’t do much aside from introduce magic weapons, but Tigre’s rise through the medieval setting gives plenty to chew on. The detail they put into the war strategies, the multiple factions spread throughout the land, a continuous line of conspiracies and how the consequences of war are dealt with kept me invested in Tigre despite the rushed delivery. And unlike the first battle at Alsace, there’s genuine struggle when it comes to lacking forces and keeping casualties to a minimum. It makes it clear that without the presence of Vanadis or other Dragon Gear users, conflicts in this war are still grounded in reality.
Dealing with these struggles is what led to Tigre being a lead I actively rooted for. Sure he fits the cliche knight-in-shining-armor role, but the reason why it works is because they constantly stack the odds against him while showing his growth from a soldier to a commander. Whether it’s being branded as a traitor, searching for powerful allies, mediating conflicts in his own army, being surrounded by forces 10x his own, or taking responsibility for an inevitable death toll, Tigre has to deal with these issues the more he rises above the ranks. And while his accuracy with a bow rivals that of Hawkeye, the show makes it clear that powerful people still need help during desperate times, and seeing him progress as a leader is what made me believe he can accomplish anything without becoming a god.
It’s unfortunate that out of 6 Vanadis(7 if you count the missing one), 4 of them barely have any screentime. They all have distinct personalities and attractive bodies, but there isn’t much about them aside from who they’re allied to. It’s a shame because I absolutely adore Tigre’s relationships between Ellenora and Ludmilla. Aside from an open personality, their affection towards Tigre is built upon mutual respect and shared values. They admire his loyalty towards allies and the will to help those in need, while also seeing the potential in him to achieve greatness. They take pride in these feelings by playing a valuable role as his mentors and allies in battle, while also serving as emotional support when reaching the breaking point. And Tigre returns all these favors by serving as their support when needed. It’s a balanced relationship that runs on more than simple emotional attachment, and that makes me love it even more.
Since no one else seems to be discussing about this show, I decided to wrap-up my thoughts on the show as a whole rather than summarize ep 5-13. After all, that’s exactly how the show seems to pace its own source material. Yeah, it falls short of being as grand as it wants to be thanks to a lack of time and money. But I can see the greatness present in the morsels they gave us, and enough to leave me craving for the actual meal. It may be flawed as a standalone series, but it’s one hell of a promotion for the LN. And in my opinion, that’s the biggest complement I can give to a show like this.