Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil Episode 1: The Devil of the Rhine (First Impression)

She is a monster in the form of a little girl.

She really is.

She takes out an entire company on her own and purposely lets those in her platoon get killed because they went against her orders. And she just smiles. She really is Tanya the Evil, the Devil of the Rhine, but I know that we’ve seen nothing yet.

For some reason this show wasn’t on my radar. I don’t know if this was added into the Winter lineup late or I just completely skipped it somehow when I was looking at the list, but I found out about this show when we did the preview for the blog. The synopsis was strange so that itself intrigued me. The PV sealed the deal, as I saw this little girl looking crazy flying around and shooting things. I still wasn’t sure what it was about, but after watching the first episode it’s pretty clear. Sort of.

The synopsis mentioned Tanya being a reincarnation of a Japanese salaryman, whose just a businessman right? We didn’t get any mention of that this episode. This episode just threw us straight into the war and battles so there’s mystery surrounding Tanya. She’s a strange sight in this show. She’s a short little girl who holds this hard and terrifying glare. She’s the lieutenant of a mage platoon and she’s deemed as the best mage, and it was evident as we saw what she did in the end of the episode. My question is how Tanya was able to join the Republic’s army. I’m sure we’ll see how when we find out how Tanya came to be, but it is strange seeing a little girl in the same ranks as a group full of grown men. The same can be said about Viktoriya.

The plot of the show is another war story set in Europe. We have the Empire (Germany) as our main setting. They have the best military and weaponry in the continent, but the twist this time is that for once, Germany isn’t invading others. The surrounding countries are invading Germany…uh, the Empire. So now the Empire is facing huge problems as countries all around them are invading, and the current plan is pushing the enemies away and stalling their advances, but it’s not working out as soldiers and mages are being killed left and right. That’s right, there are also mages, so magic exists in this world. It’s not really explained, it’s just there. I hope they explain how the magic actually works, because I want to know why Tanya was able to produce a ridiculous explosion in the end.

We’re thrown right into the battlefield right away. The episode gives us what we were explained, the characters facing off against the Republic (one of their enemies) and trying to drive them back. Things are looking bad as many men of the Empire are getting killed. Tanya and her/his(?) troops are fighting the best they can, but a couple of the mages head off and go against Tanya’s orders. She gets angry at them and decides to send them home, and when they disagree with her orders again, she makes a motion to unsheath her sword and kill them but Viktoriya, another platoon member, stops her. Tanya then sends them to the rear lines in a pillbox, and at first we’re made to think that Tanya went easy on their punishment, but we learn in the end that it was the opposite.

Tanya is an interesting character and I already want to learn more about her. Viktoriya seems to be another main character, and I’m not sure how I feel about her. She hasn’t made too much of an impact right now, but seeing as how she’s the only other female besides Tanya, I want to know how she got there too.

What stands out, and not really in a good way, are Tanya and Viktoriya’s designs. They look so out of place. The setting is dark and it has a muddy color. Everyone looks so serious and appropriate to this kind of show. And theeen we get a huge art change whenever Tanya and Viktoriya show up on screen. I went out to see what the art in the novels and manga looked like, and they’re pretty different. Tanya doesn’t really look all that different, but they really went all out in changing Viktoriya’s design. I actually prefer the art of the novels/manga because they actually blended in more with their environment, whereas in the anime they don’t. Tanya doesn’t bother me too much, but Viktoriya is kind of an eyesore. She just looks so strange. Her design just makes her look silly, like she belongs in a different type of anime. It was weird enough having a little girl cause destruction in a WWI type of war, but then seeing someone like Viktoriya there…makes everything weird. It’s just bothering me now. Also, I can’t stand Tanya’s voice. I don’t care how popular Aoi Yuuki is, I hate her voice this time.

Other than that, I really did like this episode. It was intense, the music was great (MYTH & ROID are doing the opening so that should be good shit), and the animation was very good! Studio NUT (lol) is a brand new studio, founded by the co-founder I think of Madhouse. So that itself makes me optimistic about this show. I don’t know if the animation will stay this good throughout but I’ll be hopeful. Even though I have my gripes about the art and the designs and Tanya’s voice, I enjoyed everything else. The plot is unique in a weird way, but that’s good because I like unique. I don’t know if the story will go any deeper, but I would at least like an in-depth look into Tanya’s character. Tanya…the Evil.

I’m looking forward to what this show will bring us.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Guaranteed


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5 Responses

  1. Sarnik says:

    The point about character design is definitely a major turnoff for a lot of viewers. Apparently the character designer for this show has been mainly doing fujo works for the past few years and hasn’t really touched characters like Tanya or Visha. A shame really.

    In terms of source material, the first episode covered chapter 3 and a little bit of chapter 4. I expect them to show flashbacks later on, but at this point I have no idea how this show is going to pan out.

  2. Elmithian says:

    The major problem I have with the show is their liberty to adding new stuff that logically makes no sense considering the in-world lore. And the Toilet Horsies thingie the squad they were fighting against was sitting on do not exist in the original source material, and that is good since they only make for a tasty and round target in comparison to a small human that can weave and dodge around with much better ease.

    On top of that, *any* gear they use to give them thrust into the sky using magic like that is nonsensical since their medallion (or whatever they are call) already do that job, just in much more efficient manner and without illogical things like “one leg thruster”.

    All in all, I will give it 3 episodes, but with how much has been thrown away and unnecessarily added into just the first episode I don’t have high hopes, in fact, the 1st episode effectively squashed almost all my hopes.

    Sure, it me a decent show if you haven’t read the Manga or the LN but even without the knowledge I aquired there about this world, I would still be utterly dissapointed when I saw the gear they use to fly with… on both sides. On top the lack of any kind of armor or helmets in both squads (the enemy squad was supposedly a squad of aces, namely a *named*/elite squad) I just felt my heart drop the more and more I watched, and that end with the MC reveal about letting them die was so overly dramatized while there are a lot of other better examples in the actual source materials.

    That is my stance on it. As a fan of the original material and having at minimum basic strategic and military knowledge it is an utter disappointment.
    And if I had never read the LN or the Manga it would be questionably decent at best with rather hilariously over-dramatized “twist” at the end.

    So my verdict is:
    As a fan of the LN and Manga: 4/10 – it is a disappointing first episode with nonsensical changes of the original material
    As a person going blindly in: 6/10-6.5/10 – The female character art is bizarre and stands out like a sore thumb, there are numerous illogical gear being used and overall the enemy, that was clearly supposed to be veteran were underwhelming and under-equipped for the supposed situation they were in (a war zone)

    • Berry says:

      Interesting. I’ve also seen many fans of the LN being disappointed in this episode. Seeing as how I’ve never read the original source material, I thought this episode to be fine, but I’ve seen comments saying that they changed the material a lot. I don’t know if the story is still the same but judging from your reaction, probably not. I’m sorry you don’t like it as much. :( It’s frustrating when the source material is changed so much. But this is the first episode, hopefully it’ll improve for you soon.

      And now that you point it out, I do find it strange that the mages don’t wear any sort of helmets or other protective gear. I know they can create barriers with their magic but going into the battlefield without any sort of protective gear is just crazy.

      • Elmithian says:

        Thanks for the reply. Indeed, the lack of helmets and armor only exists in the anime, in the manga and LN those are generally a given thing to wear. Here, for example is the starting page in the manga:
        Though not the best image, I think it shows decently her equipment.
        Here are the enemy flying troops in the same chapter:
        As you can see, no one seems very interested in taking of their helmet. Their clothing also makes logical sense.

        There is also plenty of military and strategic explanations made in the manga, though that isn’t something I am really gonna fault the anime for since such inputs can be tricky to do:

        But what I *can* fault them for is the Elite *Named* (aka. ace/veteran) squadron. Here is the the “Elite” unit they fought in the 1st episode in the LN/Manga version:
        A lot more sensible don’t you agree. Look more vicious and professional as well. Since you have seen the anime you should be able to compare and hopefully understand why some of us feel like the alterations/liberties NUT made are both odd and frankly, kind of illogical.

        And then there is the flying scenes, oh god, they are beautiful in the manga, really give off the feeling of speed:

        Sad considering I did not get the same feeling from the flying scenes in the anime.

        With that said, I would love to hear your thoughts on the manga if you do check it out. Personally I feel it is well drawn and consistent in its logic throughout (mostly).

        • Berry says:

          Hmm, yeah I understand. The elite force really do look much more vicious, and just plain cool! Too bad. Well, I’m still going to remain positive for the anime. When it comes to anime adapting novels or manga, I tend to not pay attention to the original source material since I think the anime adaptation should be able to stand on its own. Not to say that I didn’t appreciate you showing me this, because I really do. But let’s trust the studio for now.

          It’s rare I actually sit down and read manga but I’ll keep it in mind if the story still interests me in the end. :)

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