Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil Episode 8: Trial by Fire
Last week, I talked about how sad war is. This time, I’m going to talk about how sad war is. It’s…very sad. It is brutal, ruthless, and traumatizing, and if you’re not prepared for that then you shouldn’t be fighting in one.
News was received that there has been trouble in the Empire’s rear lines. Arene City used to be property of the Republic but was taken over by the Empire. But now the Republican troops have taken over the city and has caused considerable problems with food and supplies. Tanya has gotten orders for her and her battalion to go to the city and take out the enemy mages, and also ask for the militant’s surrender, and if they were to refuse then to bring Arene City down to the ground.
This has to be one of my favorite episodes of the series so far because of how realistic it felt. I also enjoyed that we got to know some of the mages in the Pixie Battalion, such as Grantz. Pretty easygoing guy. He has no problem killing the enemy soldiers, but when it came to attacking anyone and everyone that shot at them and disobeyed them, which included civilians, then things took a very dark turn. When Tanya gave the orders to her troops they all looked stunned, especially Grantz. But Weiss was feeling off himself and forced Grantz to not say another word. Obviously the orders of their mission affected him as he hesitated and got himself shot, so then our focus went to Grantz and his point of view of the events that unfolded.
When you learn about wars in your history class, you usually don’t think about the casualties of innocents. You learn about what weapons were used, which new technology was developed at the time, the names of battles, and so on. Of course you do think about the deaths of the soldiers themselves, but you can easily forget the innocent lives that were taken during bombings and artillery fire.
This was a really sad episode and I felt bad for Grantz and the people that were killed. Because dammit this kind of stuff happens, even now. It’s awful to think about. When it comes to the future of their country, Tanya did make a point that some of the ones that were spared will most likely become new soldiers that will fight against them, so it’s best to take them all out so that doesn’t happen. But morally, it’s awful! Grantz’s breakdown was done so well. When he grabbed the rifle I actually thought that he was going to shoot himself because everything around him was all too much for him. Watching his countrymen burn the city into the ground, buildings exploding and crushing innocents under them, and then having to kill the enemy mages and innocents with his own hands. And the possibility that he’ll have to do that again. I can’t even imagine what that must feel like. The events this episode was just done really well and it made me feel something. I was upset. I understood one side, but I understood the other as well. But I hate war. I mean, I don’t think anyone could like war. Nothing good comes out of it.
I’ve never talked about this in my reviews for some reason, but I always wonder how Tanya herself can be okay with all this. In her previous life, she was just a regular human working in a company trying to climb the company ladder. But now she grew up in this era and picked up a gun and is killing people. I couldn’t tell whether she was affected by her orders from the superiors, all she said was that they had to follow their orders. We know that Tanya must have been a bit sociopathic in her previous life because she has no problem killing soldiers. I don’t think she particularly enjoyed having to kill the innocent civilians, but she didn’t have a personal internal moral dilemma like Grantz did. For once, we didn’t get a look inside her mind, so for me it was hard to tell.
We didn’t get any casualties from Tanya’s side, but we did get someone wounded physically, and someone else wounded mentally, so that’s something. I quite enjoyed it really. The new ending surprised me, but I loved it as it really fit the tone of this episode. Might just be a one episode thing.
But what a surprise at the end! I had wanted a real obstacle, or some sort of rival for Tanya and that’s exactly what we got. Through Being X’s pettiness, he saved Sioux and I think gave him powers. And he was ordered by Being Dick to kill the devil. I’m sure Tanya is going to be very surprised to see him again.