Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki)

Genre(s): Military, Isekai, Historical, Magic

Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Violence, Blood, Profanity)

Platforms: Crunchyroll

Episodes: 12 (+1 recap episode)

TheAwersome Rating: 8.6 / 10 (Super interesting and unique)

Premise: A cold, callous, Tokyo Salaryman is killed and has a confrontation with “Being X,” a god who challenges his atheist stance. To “encourage” his faith, Being X reincarnates the businessman into what he thought would be a hard life: living as an orphaned girl, Tanya Degurechaff, in a parallel world’s version of Germany circa 1915. Tanya remembers everything from her previous life, and to defy Being X, enlists in her country’s military after showing potential as a mage, in order to attain a peaceful, successful life. Her perceptive actions and initiative, however, propel the Empire deeper into what becomes a World War as one of mankind’s most powerful nations.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This was a pleasant surprise. And the English title isn’t very accurate, Tanya isn’t “evil,” she’s just a cold, calculating, Type A businessman that got caught in a grudge match against a jealous Greek (in temperament) god. Despite what you may think, this is not a show about a sadist 9-year old girl that loves killing people, or a love letter to Nazis, so calm yourselves. If anything, it’s a stellar commentary on the double-edged sword of Japan’s “Slave to the company/Business” work ethic, showing how success for success’ sake, and climbing rank simply for the prestige of it all leaves a devastating wake.

It does a really good job with the militaristic aspect: very interesting strategy planning, tactics, and overcoming of obstacles. They definitely did their homework in regard to era-appropriate architecture and aesthetic. I also was happy with how the magic added a bit of spice, while playing an extremely minor role.

TLDR: Stellar military piece with fascinating philosophical aspects.

This is one of those rare shows where the protagonist is also the villain, kind of like Breaking Bad (and not like a Disney “re-imagining” where the villain whose name is literally “I am Evil” just gets portrayed as a misunderstood victim). You’re simultaneously hoping the main character succeeds and gets their comeuppance, so they realize their flaws and do something about them. 

Harbour and I have talked about this show more than almost any other show that we’ve watched, because it asks SUCH GOOD QUESTIONS and makes you think about a lot of ideologies, doctrines, and attitudes. At what point does pride in one’s nation become Nationalism or Jingoism? What value is there in being a “patriot?” During wartime, where do moral lines shift? How far is it okay to shift moral lines in wartime? When do preventative measures cross the line? What good is International Law and agreement without a higher power to enforce them?

What is the difference between acknowledgement of a God’s existence, and faith in said God? What makes a God worthy of devotion? At what point does one’s personal pride cross from being a helpful, enabling, life-sustaining force to being a useless distraction? How much of what is happening in your country can you be complacent with before it becomes moral negligence?

My only real beef with this series is probably that it gets advertised and portrayed as “Chucky-looking kid is a brutal sadist and kills people a ton with edgy Nazi aesthetics” which is not what this is. If you pick this up, be sure to watch at LEAST to the second or third episode, because the first one feels more like a pilot that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the show. And yes, the duck lips are annoying, but you’ll get over it eventually. The trailer here kind of follows that same false advertising.  

There is a movie that is also on Crunchyroll, which will be reviewed next week.

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