Anime Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil

Empire officers clapping

I hope that everyone is doing well, and have either been enjoying the continued break or still handling the monotony well.

I went through my various streaming subscriptions, in order to not worsen my situation here, and I was able to find something to sit back and watch.

Today, I will be reviewing that show, which is called Saga of Tanya The Evil.

Tanya ' Erich talk

In advanced society, where science has overshadowed religion, an office worker is living a somewhat peaceful life standing at the top, while others suffer.

However, when a recently fired employee pushes the executive off a train platform, he finds himself talking to a being that claims to be God that tries to convince him that he exists, and when he refuses to accept him as God, he is reincarnated into a little girl in a world of perpetual war and is hindered by this god.

Now, Tanya von Degurechaff, the reincarnated office worker, is determined to not only refuse submit to this god, but also to show that she can overcome whatever is thrown into her path and satisfy her greed.

Visha smiling

I must say, I kind of liked this show.

After only a few seconds into the first episode, I was so immersed in the world and what was going on that I did not want to stop watching for any reason, even though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human.

I have come across many different works of fiction in my life, regardless of whether they are anime like this one, or they are books, and a lot of the works of fiction tends to not be very enjoyable if I cannot get into within the first few minutes or pages, if it were a book, because the people behind it do not seem to know what they are doing.

However, more often than not, studios and writers seem to do things right, and the staff that NUT had working on this anime seemed to be pretty competent in this regard.

After all, even though animation and books are two very different mediums, with one that involves quite a bit more work than the other, the things that make a written book great can also apply to all the other mediums too, and the audience will keep coming back for more of what they want.

If I had to say why, it is because Tanya is a rather interesting enough character that I would have wanted to watch and see what she does in her world of perpetual war, and I am left wondering why she is doing what she does, whereas many other works of fiction have the plot be much more engaging than the characters.

Yes, Tanya is an evil jerk that is very intelligent and a great strategist, but interesting characters do not necessarily mean that they are good people, as Adrienne Crezo brings up in a blog post on Writer's Digest about how unlikable characters can make a story just as interesting as a character that we would assume is a hero.

Not only did the fact that Tanya was interesting enough for me to continue watching, unlike Touma Kamijou from A Certain Magical Index, but things started off a bit differently from many of the other works of fiction, even if I would not exactly call it unique, in that Tanya and her platoon are already engaged in battle and it was executed in a way that things seem to be pretty close to how great the beginning of the Pandora Hearts manga felt.

This is how pretty much every work of fiction needs to start off, because it helps to make the series that have a quick pace, like this one, be more interesting, whereas slow paced works, such as Spice & Wolf, rely more on the need the characters leading interesting lives outside of the plot.

If NUT were unable to pull any of this off, I would have been pretty much as disappointed in this anime as I was with Attack on Titan, but because they were able to meet my expectations, I can at least give them a nice round of applause. Nice work, guys.

I also liked was how this anime had little to no fan service.

Throughout my time watching anime and reading manga, I have noticed that many series tend to feature a ton of things like nudity and underwear shots, much like how American movie studio are obsessed adding things like sex, explosions, and other eye candy, and it has gotten to the point where it does not really make any series better, unless it does not give me the feeling of just being shoved it.

Seeing as FUNimation kind of gave this a mature rating, I was kind of expecting things to be a little heavy in this area, and because it did not have any, I kind of liked it more.

If there were more anime like this, I think that I would be able to enjoy things a bit more than I do these days, and the whole anime thing might be more accept by the generation before me better.

Unfortunately, Japanese studios will probably keep on including the fan service in anime, just like Hollywood studios will keep putting in eye candy, because they need to make money to survive, so until people start demanding less gratuitous fan service.

Still, that does not mean that NUT does not deserve to be praised for doing something that not many studios in Japan are willing to do.

Another thing that was kind of nice how I was able to laugh a bit throughout this show.

In a lot of anime, there are comedic elements used over and over again to the point where it becomes like slapstick, in that it is only funny if it is executed properly, and that turns a lot of people off of the many great shows that are out there.

Here, however, I did not notice too much that has been done to death or were poorly executed that I actually felt like chuckling.

The funniest things were present in scenes dealing with Tanya herself.

For example, she does things for the sole purpose of getting promoted, thus getting off the battle field, and looking good, yet many of the people her think that she actually cares for other people.

This was quite funny because she never seems to be promoted to a position in which she would not see battle, and her angry reaction to it kind of reminds of Major Armstrong's habit of taking his shirt off and flexing.

If NUT were not able to pull this off really well, I do not think that I would have liked Tanya as much as I do, though she is definitely not a girl that I would like meet in real life, since she would pose a danger to me.

However, because they were able to do this much, I feel like giving them a good round of applause.

It was also nice how the show illustrated the dangers of optimism.

In our society, we tend to believe that optimism is the holy grail and that we will succeed against anything that comes our way.

However, such sentiments leads us to being complacent and unable to see the danger rising in our midsts, which is why optimists will die shortly after the pessimists.

Towards the end of this show, but not the end of the series as a whole, when the military of Tanya's country succeeds in defeating their enemy, everyone goes off to celebrate until Tanya realizes that something has gone overlooked and tries to ensure that their victory really ended in victory, but nobody even listened to her and the entire war resumed because her fellow countrymen were too optimist.

This scene, while predictable in that it would happen, clearly demonstrates why optimism is not as great as one would have liked, and serves as a good warning of why we should never overlook the negative possibilities.

If NUT had not included this, I would have been much more disappointed in this than I ever thought I would have become, because it would have made Tanya appear appear to be too perfect, and that is something that people cannot really enjoy, regardless of what kind of medium a story is presented through, but because they did include it, I feel like giving them another good round of applause.

There were two things that I liked the most though.

First, 'I liked how Tanya not only tried to do things herself, but even attempted to challenge God, or Being X, as he is called in this series.

While having characters fighting against a being like god is nothing new in the world of fiction, as there are games, like Makai Toushi SaGa, otherwise known Final Fantasy Legend where I live, where players end up fighting one or more characters that could be considered a god and books where people fight a godlike entity, it was nice to see it was still nice to see it play out here, because many shows produced where I live do not seem to have the gall to pit people against such a person.

In this series, on the other hand, the struggle between Tanya who refuses to accept God and believe in him and the being that calls himself God is on center stage, and I am just itching to see her take it down.

If television writers here were more willing to have people question whether such a being was as good as people tend to think he that he is, there would probably be a few more unique works of fiction out there to enjoy, and the horrible excuses of a show would might drop drastically.

Unfortunately, we live in a world today that is more worried about offending people than actually delivering a decent work of fiction, and until we stop worrying about what people and society thinks of us and our beliefs, that is not going to change any time soon.

Still, I think NUT should be praised for delivering something new, though Carlo Zen probably deserves more credit because he did create the original novel, whose first volume will be released by Yen Press in November, according to the product page on Amazon, and this was adapted from his work.

The second, and most interesting, was how this series handled reincarnation.

In many series and other fictional works, when people or things are reincarnated, they tend to lose their personality or memories, while retaining many of the abilities they had in their previous life, which would probably make sense from what my church believes happens to us when we come to this Earth, but it also comes off as a way to make a character that much more special in a series, like how Kagome Higurashi was the reincarnation of Kikyo in Inuyasha, yet she was not really that strong of a person, and it feels like the staff behind the work does not even know what they are doing.

Here, however, Tanya retains her greedy personality and high intellect from her previous life, and allows her to become a bit more fleshed out during the course of the show, which makes the series as a whole a lot more enjoyable.

If the staff at NUT had not taken this route, the quality of the show would have really diminished, because it would not have that feeling of originality that every piece of fiction needs to be enjoyable, and fans of all forms of fiction and the mediums used to present them want to be able to feel like the work is original and unique, even when it is not, more than feeling like it is yet another rehash.

Fortunately, NUT seems to understand this fairly well, which makes me want to give them another round of applause.

Hopefully, they can keep this up if and when there is a season 2, because this has already impressed me way more than shows like Attack on Titan ever have.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I liked, especially because I have yet to read the original light novel.

Because my interest was held from beginning to end, there was not too much, if any, fan service, and some nice moments of humor, as well as the fact that the show showed how optimism can lead to complacency and that there was something different about how reincarnation worked here, this was a pretty decent show.

Tanya injured

Although I liked the series, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about and one issue that is similar to what is found in The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, and is not as bad as it was there because of Yen Press, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and not too much to hate, this was definitely worth watching.

I recommend this to fans of action and those that want something that feel original, though I cannot say that it is, because both groups would be able to find something that is rather enjoyable.

As for everyone else, this is worth giving a try, because it is not like most other anime, but the issue it shares with The Legend of the Legendary Heroes might turn some people off.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or preordering the first volume of the light novel from Amazon, so that I can continue to find more worthwhile anime for you guys to watch, and doing what whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.