So about two weeks from my finishing of the sweet story of Izetta, which is an alternate take on WWII about magical girls and honor, redemption, love, and self-sacrifice we have Saga of Tanya the Evil. After the first two episodes, I’ve found this show is an alternate take on WWI about magical girls and brutal, stubborn, selfish, hateful self-service. Taking place in “The Empire” we are shown a very bleak assault where an army begins a charge against entrenched enemies across a no-mans-land leading to a large force nearly being wiped out. As one survivor is about to be brutally shot in a ditch, a team of mages flies (literally) to the rescue. We are then introduced to Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff, the titular character of the show. Here’s a hint, she’s just as evil as the title and this photo indicate.
Mages are used as a power combination of forward observer for artillery by flying around, to mobile scouting reconnaissance using mounts at high speed and altitude to direct fire support, with magically charged bullets as powerful as bombs. Tanya singlehandedly wipes out battalions of mages with near no effort as well as showing disdain for incompetence, actually going so far as ordering two insubordinate mages to a bunker knowing it would likely be shelled by artillery, to the horror of her adjutant, Corporal Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakov. I do enjoy the thought of a noblebright version of this show to look like this.
The second episode gives us insight and me a realization of “Yea that would be me.” Skip to our world’s Japan, circa 2013 and we find ourselves watching a cold hearted and logical businessman firing an incompetent colleague and proceed to judge everyone and everyone around him. As the aforementioned incompetent pushes him into a train, time is stopped and he is spoken to through other watchers by a being claiming to be God. By essentially citing logic in a modern world, he denounces “Being X” as not being God. Needless to say, this pisses off God and causes him to take away the modern technology and comforts in order to inspire “faith” in our pre-Tanya. Being X then gives the explanation that if unable to die a natural death, the salaryman would be sent to hell instead of carrying on in the cycle of reincarnation. Upon being hit by the train moments later, he is reincarnated into a cute little blonde girl sometime around 1910’s in an Alternate Universe Germany.
After realizing the fastest way to not die was to live a cushy job as a mage officer in the military, 9-year-old Tanya enlists and finds herself both powerful, competent, and brutal enough to become an officer in training at the Empire’s military academy. A few brutal examples to her subordinate trainees (including one near commissar style execution) she is sent on a training mission where she defeats a company by essentially using Self-Destruct and it was super effective!!! She is then lauded as a hero, awarded a Silver Wings Assault Badge and put into a training pilot role safely behind the lines testing new technology. For those of you wondering, this essentially equates to new power focusing gems being tested on her and subsequently exploding. A lot.
Here, she encounters Being X again who promises her a miracle to bring her faith. While utilizing an experimental new power focusing gem exponentially boosting her magical power, she is then about to explode when Being X informs her that the gem has been “blessed” to provide power when she invokes the name of God through prayer. This explains why she prays in the first episode before invoking absolutely destructive power, bringing light to the fact that this is more of a begrudging curse opposed to genuine reverence to God. The end of this episode jumps back to the front line where Tanya has been promoted to First Lieutenant and is being sent for further studies at the military academy, bringing Viktoriya along for officer training. One of my favorite moments is where Viktoriya is terrified and outright asks “is my new deployment zone going to be blown up?” which had me laughing and Tanya scoffing and walking out as if a child asked their parent “why is the sky blue?”
All in all, this show is shaping up to be one of my favorites of the season between the near daemonic voice of Tanya, to her manipulation and ruthlessness to her manner. It’s also entertaining how a huge rationale and response for many characters is “I have a daughter her age” leading to large amounts of underestimation. Saga of Tanya the Evil has definitely made it past the 3 episode check for me and this is looking to be quite the saga and I can’t wait to see where this show goes and whether Being X will bring about faith to Tanya or be casually disregarded further.