Youjo Senki

September 8, 2017

Initially I was sceptical to watch Youjo Senki because of its promotional poster that poses its main character looking like an evil doll. It looks creepy. I thought it was going to be some sort of military horror even when reading the synopsis that in this child-like doll, it is actually a grown man being planted into this body. Yikes! Creepy! But curiosity and my past experiences with military themed animes had me rethink again and so I decided to man up and check it out. So what do you know? The main character in the anime looks nothing like that in the poster. No I can relax and watch this alternate timeline whereby a certain Third Reich became the most powerful nation in the world. Oh, there’s magic too.

Episode 1
The Empire seems to be on the losing end till flying mages with magic spells led by Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff come in to support. As explained, the Empire is a strong military powerhouse but is currently surrounded from all sides by strong potential enemies. Plan 315 was initiated to buy time for a highly mobile concentrated main force to travel to each area and defeat the enemy from within its borders. But the plan looks like it is falling apart. The higher ups (Deputy of Strategy and Operations Brigadier General Kurt Von Rudersdorf, Vice Director of Strategy and Operations Lieutenant Colonel Erich Von Rerugen and Brigadier General Hans Von Zettour) at the Empire’s capital, Berun are ruing the failure of this plan especially the major offensive against the Entente Alliance. Back to Rhine theatre where Tanya’s platoons are, a couple of her men disobeyed orders to fall back and instead went ahead to take out the enemy artillery. In the aftermath, she reprimands them by sending them home for disobedience. They protest since they want to fight for victory or die. She would have killed them for disobeying again but sends them to the rear of the platoon where it is ‘safe’. An emergency meeting is held about their observers encountering enemy mages. They are to go on a rescue mission and Tanya wants to exclude her comrade, Corporal Viktoriya Ivanovna Serebryakova (had a hard time pronouncing and spelling her name) since she is at her limit. She protests and claims she can still fight on. Her insistence has the commander allowing her.

The observers are barely hiding in the trenches but the Republicans use all their power to take them out. Though Tanya’s platoon arrive too late, she views this as a chance to take them out since they used up a lot of their magic. She wants her other comrades to stay out of it. The Republicans made a mistake by underestimating this little girl. She is fast, dodges all their bullets and all of her shots count. Tanya even tries to hold negotiations but apparently the enemy leader isn’t in talking mood. So she unleashes her greatest explosive magic and kills them all. Back in the Republican capital of Parisee, General Pierre-Michel de Lugo, the Ministry of Defence learns about Tanya who singlehandedly eliminated their entire platoon. They don’t know much about her and all they know is that she is known as the Devil of Rhine. Viktoriya learns her reprimanded comrades are dead when the enemy’s artillery struck it. She tries to tell this to Tanya but apparently she knows all about it. In fact, she purposely sent them there knowing that place is an easy target for enemies. So evil! So while the higher ups back in Berun are relieved their redeployment at Rhine has been completed, Rerugen is shocked to learn Tanya was sent there. He has met her once and from his personal experience, he describes her as a monster in the form of a little girl.

Episode 2
Salaryman (as I shall refer to him) is a ruthless employee. He hates those who are useless and shows no mercy. Like a fellow employee whom he just fired. Can’t blame him. Salaryman was just following the rules (which he loves because it is the easiest thing to do) and did no wrong. Because of that, the disgruntled colleague pushes him off and into the path of a train. Suddenly time stops. It may seem that everyone is talking to him but it is hinted that it could be God. He is lamenting the lack of faith in today’s people but Salaryman is an atheist. Plus, he doesn’t believe He is God and refers Him as Being X. Because God wouldn’t allow this to happen. And besides, why is Being X complaining about the explosion in population? Can’t handle it? Poor management on your part. When Salaryman insults how the weak cling to someone when they are in dire straits, this has Being X wonder if he would regain his faith if he was in dire straits. Salaryman realizes the consequence of what he said and tries to take it back. But Being X normally would have sent him for reincarnation and will make him a special case. The next thing he knows, he realizes he is in a body of a baby girl named Tanya. In a world similar to Europe, Tanya lives in a rundown nunnery. Being poor is miserable and war seems to be all the rage. However magic exists this world and those with high aptitude will be scouted by the military. Knowing this would be her ticket for a better life, Tanya quickly drafts in, hoping to survive long enough to get her revenge on Being X. Thanks to the military’s meritocracy, she rises through the ranks within a year and is now qualified to train others. Of course the new recruits are in shock of a young girl teaching them. But Tanya maintains her ruthlessness for those who shows disobedience and would have killed had not the superiors stopped her.

All that is left for her graduation is her training deployment in the north. Her job is to patrol and scout the enemy. It seems relatively easy because it’s like the Entente Alliance was dumb enough to enter enemy territory without being prepared. Tanya gets confident after her side shells and wipes out the infantry. She advances but realizes too late that enemy mages have appeared. She retreats and reports to control who will send reinforcements. However it will take a long time for them to arrive. She requests to leave the battlefield but control denies and wants her to hold the enemy till reinforcements arrive. Tanya is sore since she can’t hold that long. But what pisses her was control’s mention how God is on their side. It boils her blood just to think of that non-existent being. She turns around and goes crazy to fight the enemy. Might as well go out in style. If she runs out of ammo, use close quarter combat. Then she did a sneaky move of self-destruct to take out the group although it wasn’t enough to kill her but enough to make her look she fought tooth and nail. When she is hospitalized, she didn’t realize how good her ‘performance’ was because the higher ups are now treating her like an ace. They award her the Silver Wings Assault Badge in recognition of her heroics. Sure, it’s nice to get rewarded but Tanya hopes this won’t make them send her to the front lines again. Too late to think about child protection agency…

Episode 3
Tanya is happy she gets her wish. She will be transferred to an instruction unit back home. This means this is at the rear and not at the front lines. She plays a little cautious that there is nothing to do but she is told if they send an ace to the front lines, it would look back on them. Yes! For now she is made to do testing. A prototype jewel. Unfortunately it is hell testing this junk as she often bears the brunt of its defectiveness. Worse, she always butt heads with the development chief engineer, Adelheid Von Schugel who always proclaims his theory is always perfect. Well, you can’t argue with a madman, can you? Feeling this is worse than the front lines, she requests to be transferred. Thankfully they approve. Plus, they even scrap the experiment. Tanya is more than happy when she is visited by Being X. He seems frustrated that nothing has changed since 10 years. She sniggers back she isn’t desperate. Being X thinks she needs to witness a miracle but Tanya won’t be convinced over some insufficient observations that are no more than glorious misunderstandings. When she wakes up from this ‘dream’, she sees a card on her table that reads ‘Deus lo vult’ meaning ‘God wills it’.

With the experiment cancelled, Schugel is now able to do experiments he had been putting off. He wants Tanya to take part before she leaves. Reluctantly she does and as expected, the jewel is unstable and going out of control. It could explode anytime. Schugel is confident it will not because last night he had a divine dream telling him it wouldn’t. He was an atheist but now a devout believer. If you pray to God, He will grant your wishes! Either they pray to God or die as martyrs! Before it explodes, Being X appears before Tanya, he says he has blessed her computation jewel. With this miracle, he hopes faith will fill her heart and to spread it. She calls it cheating but each time she needs to use it, she must pray. Reality returns and the jewel is now stable and performing better than ever. All the scientists rejoice. Thus whenever Tania goes into battle like in Rhine, she has to pray to God to activate her magic. So when Rerugen explains how a monster she is, it is because she is the only one capable of using that computation jewel. However Zettour already has other plans for her. Viktoriya is surprised that Tanya has recommended her to be promoted to an officer. She won’t be in the front lines. But you can’t blame her for being a little sceptical. The new place she’ll be sent to won’t blow up, right? Tanya takes a train back to her new posting. She relaxes and thinks good times are upon her. Too bad for Being X, right? Oh, you don’t know what’s waiting for you…

Episode 4
Tanya is enjoying her campus life at the military academy. Because of her medal, she gets respected everywhere she goes. It might look like she is a cautious person who cleans her rifle she always carries along with her every day. But her intention is to shoot Being X whenever he pops up. Can such a being be killed by gunshot? Tanya has the honour to bump into Zettour. As he wants to talk to her, Tanya thinks she has hit it big for the easy life in the upper echelons if she establishes a connection with him. In his room, he asks her to speak freely about her personal opinions of the direction of the war. She believes it will lead to a world war. She is confident in giving suggestions on what to do till she realizes she said a mistake. Something about losing in the short run so as to win in the long run. Worried she might be branded a coward and sent back to the front lines, she tries to sound aggressive by pushing forth aggressive suggestions. He is impressed and she is surprised by herself she could actually come up with that. Zettour wants her to file an official proposal on this. Once done, he sends it to some of his comrades to read. Rerugen is sceptical of this madness but feels that there is some possibility to it. Something about this proposal written by somebody familiar…

While Tanya is having tea, Captain Maximilian Johann Von Ugar comes to talk to her why she drafted into the military at a young age. Her father was a soldier and her mom abandoned her. He is worried because now he has a daughter and wonders if he will have to send her to war, which is insane. She tells him to get to the rear before the madness begins. He must live to fight so that his daughter can’t. It might seem Tanya is being nice but deep inside, she is exploiting his mental weakness. Ugar is and now was her rival for promotion since he dropped out. Now that he is no longer a threat, he is also her valuable ally. Zettour presents the proposal of establishing a rapid response mage battalion. Soon Tanya is called to have a sumptuous dinner with him. After all that fancy stuffs of her redeployment (she is glad all the places on the list are safe zones), the real bomb hits her when Zettour wants her to be in charge of the battalion she proposed. Tanya knows she is in deep sh*t now. That idea she gave is now coming back to bite her. Despite she will have no superior to report to and can freely choose 48 members of her choice, she argues she is not that high of a rank to lead such battalion. Don’t worry. Zettour has everything well prepared. By the time she graduates, she’ll be promoted. Tanya has no choice but to accept it but makes it look like she is looking forward to it. All is not lost since her plan now is to delay the recruitment as long as possible. However after a week, there are tons of recruitment notices piling up in her room! And she thought she made it sound like hell, why do these sick people still want to join?! She believes she can worm her way out of this with an excuse she has no personnel to vet through it all. But hey look. The first person to arrive and report for duty… Viktoriya! Long time no see?

Episode 5
Looks like she is promoted to Tanya’s assistant. And guess what? Viktoriya has also taken the liberty to hire more staffs to sort out the recruitment! Oh boy. Tanya regrets sparing her life. She should have left her at Rhine. Several candidates are being called in to be designated to this new battalion. However the officer in charge interviewing them is just a hologram. Tanya and the other higher ups are being a barrier observing. Those who cannot see through this trickery immediately fail. Only a handful of them passed. Zettour thought her standards are too high. Tanya suggests re-education to devise a new acceptable standard. She shocks everyone by needing only a month when the standard time to train a soldier is 2 years. The new trainees get a real shock on their first day when Tanya starts bombing them with magic shells. Viktoriya is a smart girl knowing how evil Tanya is, has already starting to dig a hole when Tanya was explaining. Everyone manages to survive the bombing for 36 hours. But it’s not over. They have to trek through the snowy rocky mountains to a point in 48 hours without using magic. They make steady progress till an unexpected avalanche floods down. A few have died but Tanya beats them back to live!!! Everyone who sees this realize she is a demon. A fate worse than death would await them if they quit! Therefore when Tanya gives them a chance to quit, everyone vows to soldier one! A month later, everyone graduates. This of course is yet another backfire from Tanya’s plan. A training so harsh that would break any man’s spirit and look how it turned out. Tanya and Rerugen meet to discuss about the battalion’s deployment to the south eastern garrison. Although Tanya wanted more time to train them, the higher ups think they have reached a level where they could be deployed immediately. He advises her to learn Dakian.

To Tanya’s surprise, the Dakian’s troops are somewhat ‘ancient’. Their communications are not encrypted and they have no aerial force. Thus Tanya happily takes her battalion for a live fire exercise and to gun down anybody they see. Despite the large numbers of ground infantry, the mage battalion easily overpowers and destroys the Dakian forces. Too easy that Tanya is bored. Seeing how some of her men decide to play it safe, she decides to show it how it is done by joining the fight. Even when they go on ground, their bullets cannot penetrate their barrier. She orders everyone killed except the commander. Tanya feels odd that they are killing tourists rather than invaders. Then they ransack the place as evidence proof. With the Empire’s reinforcements arriving, Tanya wants to move forward and see how far they can go. They head towards the capital. Such a peaceful and backwater place. Viktoriya suggests attacking now since they have the element of surprise. However Tanya reminds her they are not barbarians and adhere to international laws and ethics of war. They have to give warning and only destroy the weapons factory. So first Tanya puts on her cutesy little girl voice to warn everyone in which nobody seems to believe her as they think it is a child’s prank. Then they fire away and destroy all the weapons factory. Tanya is satisfied. Mission accomplished. Time to head back.

Episode 6
While HQ is pleased with the overwhelming victory in Dakia, they have to be wary of an impending world war. Therefore it is only right they take out the weakest. Next on their plate should be the Entente Alliance who are more fragile than the Republic. However supply is their main problem. As Zettour puts it, their rails in the north are being taxed to its limits. There won’t be enough to launch a major offensive. Rudersdorf has an idea. He wants him to use his ace. And so Tanya’s mage battalion will be heading north to Norden. She feels something is off because they would have taken out Entente Alliance without central forces and that war would be over. It means a foreign entity is intervening. Looks like the Entente Alliance’s council are beginning talks of their next move. They fear they will end up like Dakia. The Empire’s side at Norden is having a tough time fighting foreign mages and bomber planes at high attitude. They are force to defend at all cost because if their supplies get bombed, they won’t last the winter. They can thank God because Tanya’s mage battalion is here to save the day. For the first time they have formidable foes to fight and Tanya is so sadistic in wanting them to enjoy it that she has cancelled reinforcements. Feel free to destroy any enemies as you like. Oh, the team with the least kills will have to pay for the victory party. Tanya then goes to face off with the bomber squad herself. Of course they couldn’t believe a single mage can fly as high as them. She easily takes out the commanding plane. The rest turn tail and abandon mission. But Tanya prays to God as her shell hits some of the planes like homing missiles. As she goes down to the ground to look for survivors, Being X pops in to bug her. He tells her that everyone in the world is out for her blood. How does it feel to fight against the entire world? Tanya is not pleased to hear that but resumes her mission. She then goes to destroy an observation cabin of the Allied Kingdom before they send their data back to HQ. Tanya returns to base but more work is expected of her as Rudersdorf and Rerugen expect. It seems she will be advancing the front lines despite the limited supplies since major powers are starting to intervene in this war. At this point, she’ll take on anybody who messes with them. Colonel Anson Sioux of Entente Alliance isn’t pleased with his promotion. It means his superior is killed and more fighting awaits.

Episode 7
Sioux sees off his daughter, Mary before he gets posted. She gives him a rifle as an early Christmas present. Tanya tells her strategy for the battle. She intends to prolong it past winter to save supplies. However a superior opposes as he doesn’t want to drag out the war. Though this puts a strain on supplies, he argues that Tanya’s plan means she doesn’t care about the lives of the soldiers. As you wish. Later Tanya speaks privately with Rudersdorf and Rerugen. As she states her honest opinion and strategy, she realizes the operation could be just a decoy for a rear assault. They are impressed with her deduction as only a few officers know of this plan. They decide to use her battalion for this surprise attack at Orse Fjord. Tanya’s battalion jumps into battle during the dark hours. They have only 30 minutes to complete this surprise attack. If Tanya or other first lieutenants fail, the mission is deemed failed and Viktoriya must call for a retreat since the other members don’t have equipment to best the defence. The surprise attack works as it takes a while for the Entente Alliance to respond. But their mage battalion is quick to counter. Tanya’s team engages with them as she wants her other teams to continue taking out cannon emplacements. When Sioux sees Tanya, he is shocked and mad to see the return of the devil (he once fought her at Rhine and survived). He becomes enraged trying to get his revenge. At this point, all the cannon emplacements have been taken out. This allows ships from the Empire to bombard the coast. Sioux sees his dead comrades and destroyed forts. He won’t give up and charges straight at Tanya. She prays to God to take out this fanatic. He too prays to God to take out this devil. Too bad Tanya is the devil who made a contract with God so obviously she wins. Sioux is stabbed and thrown down into the icy waters. Tanya takes his rifle as early Christmas present. Tanya calls off her battalion as the Empire’s troops land and seize the coast and rails for their much needed supply. The success of this mission means they have dealt a decisive blow on this war. Sioux’s wife and daughter are in America. They hear the news of the fall of Orse Fjord. With casualties rising and the advancement of the Empire, it is only a matter of time Entente Alliance falls.

Episode 8
Tanya leads her battalion to another victory. But soon she gets word from HQ that there has been a rebellion in Arene City. It was once under the Republicans’ control. The Republicans has also sent their mages to join the rebels and take out the Imperial soldiers in the area. Naturally, Tanya is ordered to go fight there again. She realizes her battalion will be caught in between the hell fire because after they wipe out the enemies, their artillery will begin a barrage to level the place. Since they will be fighting in a city, property damage is allowed. However the problem is distinguishing between fighters and non-fighters. They are not allowed to kill the latter but have to eliminate every single one of the enemy. This doesn’t sit well with some of her comrades especially Second Lieutenant Grantz. As Tanya’s battalion enter Arene, snipers hiding in decimated buildings start firing at them. It is a bit hard to locate and smoke them out with all the buildings and structures. Tanya’s vice commander, Matheus Johan Weiss got shot in the shoulder and is deemed unfit to fight. She has him retreat and will hand him his punishment later for hesitating. When the Republican mages retreat to hide inside some building, Tanya then announces as per war treaty articles for them to surrender and release hostages or else. Of course they wouldn’t. One of the captured Imperial soldiers try to run but the rebels shot him down. This footage is recorded by Viktoriya as instructed by Tanya. After that the Imperial starts the artillery shelling. The devastating damage forces the Republican mages to stop fighting and evacuate the citizens. Grantz cannot take any more of this brutality so he confronts Tanya about it since shelling is to begin again shortly. Orders are to take out the enemies. By sparing them even innocent civilians would mean creating future enemies for the Empire. Because some kids will grow up to hate the Empire and be future soldiers for the Republicans. She will pretend not to hear what he said and after beating him up and ordering him to pick up his gun, Grantz goes crazy and aims and shoots. Rerugen shows Zettour a paper on interpreting war treaties and legalizing wars in cities written by Tanya a year ago. Did Zettour use this plan in this operation? He will use any talented soldier at his disposal. For he is going to give her a very important job to end the war with the Republicans. Sioux is found alive floating in the fjord and recuperating in a hospital somewhere in Allied Kingdom. He claims seeing a light that belonged to God. He told him to destroy that devil.

Episode 9
Tanya is surprised to see Ugar who is now working in the rear guard of the railway division. He lets her in on a secret that there is a plan for emergency transport. It seems the next strategy is to pull out from Rhine. It might sound it makes no sense since they have made quite a progress but the strategy is to make a false retreat, encircle the enemy and take them out. He believes her unit will be asked to serve as the rear guard so the enemy won’t learn of this plan. Back in HQ, the higher ups are discussing this plan. Because the battle at Arene has dampened their supply lines, Zettour’s strategy isn’t to win but to avoid defeat. That is the only way to end the war. Tanya’s battalion is engaging the Republicans at Rhine. Her teams have suffered several casualties. Although given the permission to retreat, she will not do so at this time because it will make the enemy suspicious and catch on to their plan. They fight on until the ground troops make their false retreat. Later Tanya sees Rerugen who praises her efforts that their first stage was successful. Tanya asks as she heard their military is distributing false propaganda via third countries. Even if they make it look like they’re planning a reckless large scale assault to make the enemy believe in it and concentrate their forces, they still need to disrupt and put them in disarray if they are to wipe them out completely just like in Norden. Rerugen gives her the plans for their next strategy, which is to directly take out the enemy’s HQ and leave them in disarray and capture enemy units. However if it was this easy in the first place, the battle at Rhine wouldn’t have been at a stalemate. Their discussion is interrupted when Schugel barges in. He shows her some super rockets that will be used in their next mission. Whatever mumbo-jumbo they’re saying, Tanya doesn’t look impressed. She has some questions and they’re all honestly answered by the mad scientist. Basically you can’t control the rocket’s direction or speed because Schugel believes you just need to just go forward and hit the enemy! That’s all to it! No wonder Tanya has got a bad feeling about this. It’s a one way ticket to hell. So naturally, she hand picks a few of her comrades to ride the rocket. They must succeed this mission as failure means the rest of their other plans will fail. They are basically the head of the entire army at this point. Even the higher ups are nervous and praying for the success of this mission. And so the rockets are launched. Tanya and co drop down once they have reached enemy lines.

Episode 10
Tanya’s battalion split into teams to take out the enemy HQ. Meanwhile Zettour is reporting to a few cabinet ministers about the progress of the battle. Despite their concerns on the toll it would take on their funds, Zettour cannot disclose anything more except that this operation is crucial to the destruction of the Republicans. But they start to get furious when he stays silent regarding the retreat at Rhine so much so it puts their industrial zone in that area in jeopardy. It seems the military is waiting for the right moment for Tanya to report her success. Thankfully her team has destroyed the HQ and ammo depot in time. So when the officer reports their success, Zettour can now has the last laugh as he begins his explanation of the next phase and follow up of this operation. A peaceful flank at the Rhine suddenly explodes over a wide area! It seems the Imperial has been digging underground tunnels to the enemy’s side and placed explosives. Once they have captured this side, they will encircle the main force and totally wipe out the enemy. When the Republicans realize their chain of command is in disarray, they are forced to retreat however the Imperial has tanks and mechanized infantry to block off their escape. Oh, did I mention they sent in the flamethrowers too? Tanya is delighted to receive this news and happily reports to her men about their imminent victory. Now they have the easy task of wiping out any enemy that retreats. After this they’ll return to the capital, celebrate and set for life. Just a little more before she can resume her peaceful life. Suddenly she receives report that an unidentified mage battalion is closing in on her area. Before they know it, a shot is fired and Grantz becomes the first victim. Sioux is leading the Allied Kingdom’s mage battalion for this attack.

Episode 11
The vicious dogfight begins. Allied Kingdom definitely has the superior numbers while Tanya’s side is trying to use altitude to their advantage. Weiss falls into enemy’s trap when he becomes enraged that his comrades got taken down by Sioux. Tanya is forced to pray to God to give her the speed to push Weiss out of harm’s way. Then she turns into her usual speed demon mode and gunning down her enemies. As she engages in the inevitable showdown with Sioux, she realizes he is using a trench gun (like a shotgun?) which is a violation of the international treaty. I thought all is fair in war? When they finally come face to face, it becomes close quarter combat. Sioux allows her to stab him because now he can hold her and take her out as he self-destructs. Tanya remembers him now as she struggles to break free. The fear of death in her eyes and voice. Luckily Viktoriya pumps a few lead into him. Tanya breaks free and shoots him back with his rifle. Sioux explodes but he only took himself out. The Imperial announces a clean-up operation, signalling their victory of this war. Good news for Tanya is that all her comrades are still alive albeit wounded. No casualties. 15 days later, the Empire marches into undefended Parisee. Yeah, they literally withdrew and let the Empire took over. They don’t want their aesthetics destroyed? The diplomats are discussing and sorting things out. Tanya is bored in her HQ and only has Viktoriya as accompany since the rest of the guys are having a BBQ party at some beach. One fanservice I wouldn’t want to be watching. When Tanya hears about Viktoriya reporting about the Republican navy ceasing combat and moving and that it is stated as armistice and not end of war, Tanya then realizes a grave mistake. She wants her men to get ready for assault. Vacation is cancelled. She then pleads to her superior to sortie. She argues the war isn’t over as the Republicans plan to abandon their country and attack from overseas. They must strike in this brief window or lose everything. But she is turned down at every argument. Tanya still has her privileges and invokes some ‘testing’ mission. However she is soon forced to stop when Viktoriya reports orders from HQ to stop whatever she is doing. As a soldier, she must obey or face the firing squad. Tanya lets out her frustration on the furniture…

Episode 12
Tanya goes to HQ to see any higher ups but they are all ‘busy’ celebrating. Luckily there is Rerugen to hear her out. She complains about the military not taking full use of this victory. Rerugen views her unfiltered opinion as arrogant. He shows her a filed complaint that she was trying to disobey order. He warns her despite the special authorities given to her, it is not meant to cause friction in the front lines. As Rerugen tells the reasons why there is no more need for war, Tanya counters that humans make a move on more than just rationalism. They are like beasts. Her proof is mankind’s history and her own experience. She has seen with her own eyes men acting on the pure feelings of hatred that overrides all reasoning. In short, the Empire shouldn’t become intoxicated by a temporary victory. Rerugen feels scared hearing her. It could be an I-told-you moment because an unverified report comes in about the remnants of the Republicans being active in the southern continent. De Lugo is rallying the Republicans how they will fight the Empire to the death. The common people in the Empire are now worried because they thought the war is over but now the Republicans have declared war and their own military is doing nothing. Rudersdorf and Zettour are visibly mad at the turn of events. Although it seems their only way is to go to the south and finish off the enemy, Zettour feels there might be something amiss. Their army is not equipped to cross the ocean to fight. What if another nation intervenes in this war during this operation? Looks like for now it is best to send a small team to fight there and you’ve guessed it, Tanya’s battalion gets the honours. Tanya narrates how the Empire defeated its enemies and failed to realize how the world around has become afraid of them. The irony is that despite the world wanting peace, they are willing to go fight and that prolongs the war. Mary is volunteering to be drafted in the American army so she could be sent across the ocean to fight. She is well aware of the risks and is prepared for it. She makes her tearful pledge of loyalty and swears in the name to bring God’s justice. Look who just powered up. Tanya gives her speech to her troops. First she talks about how God throws them into such cruel fates. And then she vows to kill God. They’ll take over His work and His place. Let’s put God out of a job! While the Empire’s top guns are worried if this plan could work, Rerugen assures and reminds them about Tanya’s reputation, a monster in the form of a little girl.

Despicable Me
And so God also did a cruel twist of fate to me by just ending it like that instead of giving me another season since I’m hooked on the series by the time it ended. Okay, so it’s the producers rather than God. And once again, yet another interesting military themed anime that left me wanting more. I believe it is going to get messier the next time with more nations joining in the fray since we have those cocky English on the west and those crazy ice cold Russians on the east just waiting for the right time. I guess Tanya will have to wait a little more longer to have her revenge on Being X. Could she just pray to God to just beat the hell out of Him? Oh, right. If she is going to beat the sh*t out of that higher being, might as well do it with her own powers instead of using some other power. She is after all the devil and she certainly has the crazy looks of it if she wills it. Imagine the devil as a little young girl. We’re either screwed or totally become her devoted slaves. Either way, end of humanity.

Not sure if I should be feeling conflicted here (I think I shouldn’t) because as the Empire is the focus of the series, they are like the ‘good guys’ while all those enemy nations surrounding them are like the ‘bad guys’. For whatever reasons the war started, watching this anime makes me feel like I want to root for the Imperial. Maybe is it because Tanya is at the helm and how the Empire is going to win? Yeah, everybody loves winners, don’t they? So does this mean I am a Nazi supporter? Pity the fools who can’t even tell the difference between reality and fiction. The Empire may resemble closely to a certain hated group of the past (at least currently in the politically correct culture) and I’m sure you might also see a lot of resemblance in the other nations. Remember, Nazis aren’t even mentioned in this anime. So don’t go screaming your head off because of your own ignorance.

Tanya doesn’t seem like the ultimate evil person herself. Some of her earlier deeds may make her look like a devil and the fact she scorches through the battlefield like on is mainly because we don’t know more about her yet at that point. We are shown that Tanya is a new form taken on by a bitter man from our world and thus will do whatever it takes to secure her future and return. But after getting and leading her own mage battalion, we start to see her in a different light. A competent and effective leader who cares about her comrades and is capable of bringing victories to her country. I know she ‘cheats’ a little at times when she prays to ‘God’ but sometimes you have got to do what you have got to do. Even previously if she was an arrogant and cocky person, sometimes you need to bend a little your strict ways for the better of your future. This is in reference to some moments when she needs to pray to Being X for the much needed power to determine a desirable outcome. Had she been stubborn and not done so, she wouldn’t have lived long enough to reach her ultimate goal to get back at Being X. In the long run, it is ultimately winning against Being X by playing at his own game. Yeah, it is still for her own benefit anyway.

As the series mainly focuses on Tanya, I feel that many of the other characters aren’t given that much of importance. Sure, we do see Rerugen going around to inspect the theatres and Zettour involving in high level strategy meetings or Rudersdorf always smoking his puffy cigar behind his big bushy moustache but that is so much about them. What else more do we need to know about them, old men in uniform? Even Viktoriya doesn’t feel like she is much. Like as though because the entire army are all males, they need another female so as not to make Tanya look out of place. Oh, having a young blonde girl leading one of the most effective squads is already out of place itself. And Viktoriya looking like a girl perhaps slightly older than Tanya, does the Empire only draft young girls into its ranks? And you wonder how a girl like Viktoriya can be drafted seeing she has this sunshiny personality and sometimes a bit retarded. It’s like her destiny to be Tanya’s lapdog or something. The only other ‘lively’ character is Schugel but this mad scientist just has very limited appearance and it sure is amusing seeing him ‘argue’ with Tanya. Both characters at different ends of their poles in their thinking and approach.

There are also a handful of other characters from other nations but their cameo is short that I don’t really remember them. Especially those from higher ranks. Since the series focuses on the Empire, players from these other nations aren’t given much prominence. In a way, characters like Sioux feel a bit like a let-down since I thought he would be the final boss but I have only myself to blame for having too high expectations. Well, indeed Sioux feels like the final boss for Tanya and his character shoehorned in for just this plot. Too bad for Sioux, it feels like his prayers to God isn’t as strong as Tanya’s. Maybe it will live through his daughter and then in the near future another showdown between the young lasses this time?

Sometimes I wonder if God or Being X is just a narcissistic and sadistic being. Call humans dumb or weak to throw themselves into war fighting each other forever. But if he is the Almighty, shouldn’t he put a stop to it all somehow? I know some might argue God shouldn’t intervene but sometimes whoever says their prayers to him will receive some sort of power up. Of course it boils down to individual skill and luck because if everybody starts praying, everything will still remain the same. But as seen here by those who chant in his name, they get some sort of a power boost to their abilities. All you need to do is say his name. You want things to go your way? Pray to God. When word spreads how it actually work and people start doing it, don’t you see this is some sort of blatant and shameless form of advertising? Being X claims he wants to make Tanya believe in the unseen higher power but could it be he just wants to screw her over because he is just bored? With the sudden turn of events at the end, I’m sure it is one of Being X’s sign to tell Tanya she just can’t rest on her laurels yet. Each time she has got her victory, it is short-lived. Something props up soon after.  I am pretty sure Tanya will survive wars after wars because she is a survivor. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Watch out Being X. She is coming for your head. Sorry, but my money is on Tanya! Hmm… Maybe I’m just like God. Wanting another season means prolonging the war and plot for this series just to see Tanya in action and what more she could achieve…

Some of the action scenes are quite entertaining and satisfying. Especially those of the air dogfights between the mages. Not to say that they are so exhilarating that I would be losing my breath each time they start shooting their magic and guns but at least it is well done. The only thing that bothers me about the mages is the magic box that they used to keep them afloat. Different nations have different designs but they all look as weird as f*ck. Like for the Imperial, the box is located in front of their stomach and it is big enough to look like as though they have a big square tummy. The northern side looks like they’re going on a ski trip with one leg. If you think that looks funny, you haven’t seen anything yet. Because Allied Kingdom rides brooms and the Republicans ride metal horses! Truly WTF moments.

Art and animation are pretty decent. While many of the characters look bland because simply every military guy in uniform looks the same, right? The weirdest looking characters are Tanya and Viktoriya. As said, Tanya may be cute as a blonde loli but she still looks a bit weird. But not as weird as Viktoriya. I thought she looks like a creepy doll. Look at her very broad face and very big eyes. Like a doll, right? Creepy, right? It is the sceneries that shine in the visuals. Or rather, devastating. The devastating effects of war can be seen throughout the battlefield like the very dead land in Rhine after a long time fighting, the decimated buildings at Arene as well as the very posh and ‘clean’ Berun. The magic effects are also cool to look at. Some of the scenes can be dark and gory but hey, this isn’t your happy magical girl anime. This anime is animated by NUT, which is their first production.

Aoi Yuuki is absolutely delightful playing Tanya as she sounds both cute and evil at the same time. Sometimes she seamlessly moves in between or from one or another and has that commanding voice whenever she gives orders. She really fits in her role and I can’t think of anyone else better who could pull it off. Other recognizable casts are Saori Hayami as Viktoriya, Shinichiro Miki as Rerugen and Haruka Tomatsu as Mary. The rests are Hochu Ootsuka as Zettour (Jiraiya in Naruto), Tesshou Genda as Rudersdorf (Kaido in One Piece), Daiki Hamano as Weiss (Dante Mogro in Mobile Suite Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans), Nobuo Tobita as Schugel (Souun in Uchouten Kazoku) and Kenyuu Horiuchi as Sioux (Kinemon in One Piece).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Jingo Jungle by MYTH&ROID. The very effects heavy and techno beat dense music makes it very suitable for any sort of magic action video game. The singer’s powerful voice might be purposely muffled by the effects to sound like as though there are interferences but I think it is the heavy beat that catches my attention. If you want to do some hardcore techno dancing, this music is very much suitable. The ending theme, Los! Los! Los! by Aoi Yuuki feels a bit like military rock music. Also quite befitting the series. But don’t be fooled by her cute singing voice as the lyrics is mainly about going forth to fight for victory and trampling down her enemies, beating them down to the bone and blood. Yikes. Away from all that fast paced rock music is a special ending theme, Sensen No Realism by Mako Niina. Despite it is a slower piece, it still sounds lovely in its own right.

Overall, this anime doesn’t disappoint and it goes to really show that you cannot judge a book by its cover, an anime by its promotional poster and a capable officer by her physical appearance. Interesting alternate world war setting and strategies as well as satisfactory action scenes and a ‘likeable’ main character are its formula of success. The people behind this series must have really prayed to God to make it successful and good. At least to me. Looks like the streak of military themed animes has not failed me in recent years and this anime only increases my confidence in the genre so I will be looking forward to more of such in the future. I pray to God to watch more awesome and entertaining animes in the future. Imagine anime becoming the new religion of the world… Deus lo vult!