Posted by HelghastKillzone on 26 September 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Saga of Tanya the Evil

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a magical World War One/Two, realistic military environment and a villainous main character. Aside from character title cards and a couple of very brief flashbacks, the movie expect you are familiar with its television series as it goes straight back into its worldwide war.  

The movie started with a flashforward that implies that the Allied forces eventually win against Tanya and the Empire itself. I believe this lines up closely with the original intent of the web novel where Tanya would survive the war and live under a secret identity. Whether or not Tanya would come back at a later date and take over the world is a question still up in the air. It then jumps straight into the unexpectedly short desert campaign  as it only takes up about five minutes of runtime before Tanya and her men are hilariously whisked away to the Federation’s front. It’s understandable why the studio decided to omit much of this part as its mostly to mop up the remnant Allied forces and it didn’t do much to advance the core plot.

For the reminder of the movie, the Federation is where the story takes place and boy, does it ever deliver on its promises of explosive strategic warfare and Tanya living up to her name of “The Devil of the Rhine”. I found the sheer audacity of filming a propaganda piece, historically reverse of the Soviets pushing to the Reichstag in 1945, in the heart of their capital to be absolutely genius. Needless to say, they don’t take kindly to her stunt and the final battle was highly reminiscent of Tanya’s brutal selection trials. What the Federation lack in quality, they make it up in quantity and quantity has a quality all of its own. The final battle is probably the most difficult challenge that Tanya and her men have faced and are pushed to the very limits of their abilities. What Youjo Senki does really well is how it depicts the nature of warfare that is unsettling and uncompromising. Men are cut down by the doves by machine guns, fight with trenching tools in close quarters or just blasted apart from mages in the sky. It’s only through a concerted effort by everyone to hold on to the city against the commies.  Yes, Tanya is blessed and powerful but she certainly not invincible as other isekais tend to portray their OP characters. Given that she just mag dumps the very instance where Being X’s blessing shows up in her main rival shows just shows how apprehensive she is about interference from him.

Oddly enough, Being X never has a direct speaking role like he did at various points in the TV show but his representative has much to scream at Tanya. Introduced before the battle of the Fjord and shown once more menacingly in the season’s one finale, Tanya now has a real antagonist to contend in the form of Mary Sioux. Her name is highly peculiar it known as a derogatory term in media where a character is little more than an idealized version of the author and is perfect in every single facet. Examples include Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the fandom-dividing Rey from Star Wars. Such a character can be destroy entire writings or media, since its existence will often forcibly make the world and people around them defy logic to simply display how amazing they are. Of course, Youjo Senki doesn’t fall victim to such tripe narrative pitfalls and I love what they have done with her.

I love it all.

I love how she starts off as a seemingly optimistic fresh recruit who only wants to save everyone (and avenge her father) before warping her character into a raging uncontrollable force of nature. I love how such a character, blessed to the same level as Tanya, is beholden to her chain of command and is reprimanded by her commander for disregarding military regulations. I love how it all boils down to beating the everliving shit out of each other in a church that is symbolic of the ideology clash between Being X and Tanya. However, having Mary Suiox being whisked away before Tanya could deliver the killing shot was the plot armor getting in the way. I know it was done for the sake of having a recurring antagonist but it did make Tanya be out of character for not immediately and efficiently taking out her enemies.

For the most part, the animation remains the same as its predecessor with its detailed darker tones and had some really cool action scenes that looked like it was inspired by Attack on Titan. Among the highlights is the epic battle between Tanya and Mary Sue that goes from a high speed aerial gun fight to a visceral punching/stabbing match. The thing that annoys me though is that Studio Nut relied too heavily on 3D CGI for some scenes. One moment, Tanya and Mary are having this amazing looking fight with beam weapons and automatic guns and the next scene has these 3D awful looking planes dogfighting mages. In a TV show, I can understand that not everything can be hand drawn due to budgetary issues but for a movie, it’s downright embarrassing and does mars an overall good production. I do want to give credit to the sound design where the explosions and weapons have all the punch to make it seem authentic and the beam weapon of Mary Sioux sounds like it came out of Gundam Unicorn.

Until a second season announced, the movie ends in partially the same manner as its television series abit with a few differences. In a hilarious post-credit scene, Tanya is once again sent back to the Federation frontlines with more responsibilities, a rank promotion and an entire kampfgruppe at her disposal. For those not well-versed in military terminology, a kampfgruppe or “battlegroup” as it is known in English, is a mixture of combat arms units (infantry, armored, artillery) grouped together for a short time to accomplish a specific task. While it offers less maneuverability than a mage battalion zipping around an entire front, I can foresee Tanya managing an entire battle space in any future upcoming sequel. As for the movie itself, I found it to be a worthy sequel to the TV series, although there were some minor problems with the animation and character actions. If you’ve watched the TV series, then this movie is an easy recommendation. If you haven’t dived into the world of Youjo Senki, then you’re missing out on one of the most well-executed and unique isekais anime ever adapted.

85/100

One Response

  1. Avatar Konstantinos Travlos says:

    It goes without question that I am grateful for the review. Need to budget time to watch this.

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