Finally my holdover from Winter 2017 is done and I can finally look at the series as a whole. This is the show that stuck out to me last season. It was also the only one I was excited for on a weekly basis and watched them nearly as soon as they premiered in the Funimation dub. My interest in Dragonball Super waned to the point that I merely watch them now on a catch up basis a few episodes later. I am also not super into Attack on Titan but that’s mainly because I already caught up on the manga. I’m kind of waiting for the juicier bits I read to be animated later.
What can be said about Tanya the Evil? In short it’s great. It was a fun filled ride with lots of subverted expectations. Perhaps it’s because my anime consumption has risen in the last few years but I prefer different over more of the same. It’s part of the reason I find Tales of Zestiria a tedious watch.
The first episode starts as many war anime do, it drops you in the middle of a battle hoping you will figure things out. Some people tuned out after the first episode and I get that. This series didn’t really shine for me until about the third episode on then I was completely engrossed.
So our story focuses on Tanya as the protagonist. Most war anime focus on grown men as the lone male hero who will save them all. This is not the case here, Tanya is a little girl gifted with extreme powers from the beginning and is no one’s savior. Matter of fact at times she is just as dangerous to her own men as the enemy.
We find out later what makes Tanya special. She is actually the reincarnation of a heartless office manager from our time and used to be male. However when he died, instead of being granted paradise, he was thrust into a new existence by a god who demanded worship. This totally subverts the expectation of the series.
As the unnamed office manager is reborn as Tanya an orphan girl in an empire at war that mirrors the events of the First World War. She does retain her former memories and the god has placed her in this hell of a world until she learns to revere him. It is kind of a harsh punishment for a former salaryman, whose only real crime that we know of was to fire someone without remorse.
This dynamic is run throughout the show as Tanya basically struggles against a fate thrust upon her by a cruel and uncaring god. She joins the military not to fight but to gain status and live out a good life. However she is constantly being placed in the front lines and danger because she is an exceptional soldier. It’s actually quite funny to see her plans for being assigned in a support position subverted by her superiors and by cruel divine intervention.
The show is actually surprisingly funny. Sure it deals with darker themes like war and tragedy but it has light hearted moments as well. Especially when Tanya has her former memories and complains about things we know about in modern times but which won’t be discovered for decades in her new world. I found the bit about secondhand smoke really funny. Her lieutenant simply asks, “What’s secondhand smoke?”
It also plays up on the absurdity of a little girl in combat. She is small and unassuming and most enemies underestimate her especially if they hear her over the radio. They don’t actually knowhow fierce she is. A lot even laugh when they hear her ask for surrender. They don’t stay laughing long.
Also her superiors often only grudgingly respect her. She gets results and her previous life as a salaryman make her excellent at organization and deployment. It definitely got chuckles from me as to how many talk to her like a child at first, only to realize their mistake later on.
All in all I think this show definitely deserves a watch. I recommend the dub because the voice acting is great and Monica Rial does a great job capturing Tanya’s sweet sounding voice saying violent things. If you’re a fan of war anime or just absurd takes on genres you will find all that here. I can’t wait for season 2 to drop.