Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil

Title:Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: YUKI Aoi
As the empire of Vaterland fights an exhausting war of attrition with numerous enemies, the only thing keeping it's armies from collapsing are the elite mages who serve as a fire brigade that is shifted from one crisis point to another in order to stabilize the situations. The leader of the mages, and by far the most feared and respected one, is Tanya Degurechaff, who has the deceiving appearance of a small blond girl.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 8 6 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:3297#1552]
Tanya the Evil offers an interesting premise in that our lead, Tanya, is actually the reincarnated form of a male adult human resource worker whisked away to an alternate 1920s-era world by a being proclaiming itself to be our world's god (which Tanya acknowledges as Being X due to being atheist) and forcing him through suffering the perils of war to make her (how I'll address Tanya the remainder of this review) a believer. In spite of her predicament, Tanya defies Being X's influence on her hellish life by enrolling in her country's military as a mage, as the world in which she lives in is capable of utilizing magic for use in combat.

Tanya the Evil's run is driven primarily by how our lead reacts to her unique predicament. Having her past life's experience as a human resources worker and the knowledge she gains taking part in the Empire's military, Tanya becomes a seemingly young prodigy to the military who is ruthlessly able to plan out effective strategies and tactics to dispatch enemy threats with her squad. While seemingly doing this with the best of intentions for the Empire on the surface, Tanya is secretly trying to use her achievements as an opportunity to get high enough in the military's ranks where she won't have to be active on the battlefield and defy Being X's efforts to force her into worshiping it. But between the incompetence of her superior officers and Being X's influence to stir things on, Tanya finds things often not going her way in spite of the increasing achievements she makes on the battlefield.

In addition, the series also sports some of the best quality animation I have seen for the year thus far. This is best highlighted by the aerial magic combat scenes that Tanya and her soldiers can have confronting enemy squadrons as there is plenty of fluid movement and engaging choreography to get out of the show's intense action. In addition, the anime faithfully creates settings and clothing based upon the 1920s European time period that Tanya the Evil is set in, alongside the magical technologies employed by mages to fight in battles.

If there is a weakness that can be said about Tanya the Evil, it would have to be Tanya being the main focus of the series. As the main hook of the series, this can be a double-edged sword. Granted, Tanya doesn't exactly have the most positive traits as a character and the series is well aware of it by delving into her reactions to her unique situations, which can make for some engaging black comedy and philosophical focus on the flaws of religious faith. However if Tanya's character is a turnoff for watching the series, then there is little else that one can enjoy out of it beyond its action scenes. There aren't many other characters given prominent focus or depth, and the plot mostly focuses on Tanya's involvement in battle and her mounting issues between Being X and her military superiors. Not helping matters is the series ending inconclusively as Tanya the Evil's light novel source material is still ongoing as of this review.

Overall, Tanya the Evil is solid entertainment in exploring Tanya's actions and thoughts dealing with being on the battlefield and attempting to defy a divine being. However as this is the main hook of the series, this can turn away fans if they want more to it besides focus on Tanya and are not fans of her character focus. While I did enjoy what Tanya the Evil offered up, I wouldn't necessarily find it among the best titles that 2017 has offered thus far thanks to the narrow focus it employs on Tanya's exploits.

Last updated Tuesday, July 25 2017. Created Tuesday, July 25 2017.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3297#628]
(Part of one episode watched):

Uh-oh! was the thought that came to my mind when the word 'mage' was first spoken by a character in what had previously seemed to be a 1914 battle between French and German troops. I had been wondering why an anime would be taking place on the Western Front of WWI, but the thought of magic being injected into military history was a total turn-off for me. For one thing, I would have much preferred a fairly realistic war story to yet another magic one. The way that history in converted to fantasy in a cost-cutting manner by simply renaming European countries and cities (Germany becomes 'Vaterland' and Berlin becomes 'Berun') reminded me of Shūmatsu no Izetta last season. The way that these mages are able to fly and cast spells which have the effect of artillery shells was no doubt supposed to thrill us, but I found them to be so ridiculous that I just fast-forwarded through the bulk of the episode. To me, this premise seemed to make about as much sense as taking mecha and having them form an idol group (but not as a comedy). Indeed, comedy is about the only way I can think of that this absurd premise might be watchable. To be fair, I had already given up on this show before Tanya was introduced and spoke a line; but the dialogue and animation so far gave me no feeling that there would be much sophistication to this show, and it was clear from the start that there was no way I could suspend disbelief and take this show seriously. I know a good deal about military history, and this show just felt like a travesty of it.

Last updated Saturday, January 14 2017. Created Saturday, January 14 2017.

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