I absolutely love tales of characters that are unapologetically bad. It is refreshing to see the story being told from the perspective of someone who is just not a good person. The material is tough to do because if the person is not likable, no one is going to watch; however, if they are too soft, it lessens the impact of the character. Dark comedies in particular do a good job of presenting tough moments that you just cannot help but smile or laugh at.
Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki) sounds like a title that is trying too hard, but it was a show that I had my eye on from the beginning of the season. Anime can do a good job of gut punching you when it presents something well. After watching the first episode, I feel that Tanya is definitely capable of doing that and more.
Tanya Degurechaff is a very powerful mage who is employed by the army to fight incoming forces. She believes in the order of things and when someone challenges her, she makes sure that they regret it. Cold and calculating, she loves the chaos of war and has the most fun when she is engaged in combat. The best thing about her is that she is not just some loose canon. When she needs to teach people lessons, she does not go into a flying rage—she uses her smarts to calculate how to best deal with them without getting her into trouble.
She is by far the best character that I have encountered in this season of anime.
She is not the only interesting character, either. The story follows Viktoriya Ivanova Serebryakov more than Tanya. We are introduced to Tanya though her eyes and learn about her as Viktoriya does. Viktoriya feels like more of an unstable character as she constantly looks nervous and struggles to keep up with Tanya. Yet, she is not afraid to volunteer when things get bad and she does care about others. She is essentially Tanya’s complete opposite.
The Empire has one of the strongest military powers of any country. Victory is said to always be assured when it comes to battle. Because of this (and because of the location of the Empire), they have been surrounded by different nations looking to take them down.
As of this moment, I have nothing to complain about. The first episode was a delight from start to finish. Interesting characters, impressive animation and a story that has magical elements yet is still presented with realism. Saga of Tanya the Evil is so far the anime I am most looking forward to following.
My thought is that the show will go from battle to battle for the first few episodes before a revelation hits. What that is, I cannot begin to imagine, but I believe (and hope) that Tanya continues to be cruel. I would hate for the show to back peddle away from that after such an impressive premiere.
Hands down, this show is a must watch. I have no doubt that this is going to be the anime that most people will probably be talking about the further we get into it—as long as it keeps up this momentum. The magical elements might turn some away, and the poster of Tanya that promotes the show might scare some off, but if you can manage to give the show a chance, it will no doubt take hold.
You do not want to make Tanya mad after all.