Tanya Degurechaff is a young soldier infamous for predatorial-like ruthlessness and an uncanny, tactical aptitude, earning her the nickname of the "Devil of the Rhine." Underneath her innocuous appearance, however, lies the soul of a man who challenged Being X, the self-proclaimed God, to a battle of wits—which resulted in him being reincarnated as a little girl into a world of magical warfare. Hellbent on defiance, Tanya resolves to ascend the ranks of her country's military as it slowly plunges into world war, with only Being X proving to be the strongest obstacle in recreating the peaceful life she once knew. But her perceptive actions and combat initiative have an unintended side effect: propelling the mighty Empire into becoming one of the most powerful nations in mankind's history.
It’s not very often that an anime comes out that has its main protagonist be the villain and does it so well. Overlord is a popular show that explores this idea and Youjo Senki would be a highly recommended for those who enjoy certain aspects of it. It follows Tanya Degurechaff, a Japanese salaryman reincarnated into a female child soldier, in a reality where magic coexists alongside an alternate timeline of World War One. The twist is that she fights for Germanian Empire and behaves far differently than a stereotypical heroine.
Youjo Senki is defined by the main female lead
of Tanya as she ascends the ranks of the Imperial Army though bloodshed and maneuvering within its bureaucracy. What makes her character and story so interesting is that she provides a fascinating case study on villainy. Far from the cliche ambitions of world domination, fame or riches, her ultimate objective is to live out a comfortable life by following the rules to an dogmatic degree and being competent. It is a mundane goal, but it does ground her character in becoming relatable.
Being a sociopathic salaryman in her former life, Tanya runs afoul of God due to her lack of empathy and atheism, which then causes her to be reborn into a grim world in order to unlock her faith in a higher power. The crux of the series is for Tanya to physically survive the ever expanding conflict that will become the First World War in this alternate timeline challenge for Tanya become twofold as she is to survive in this new world while not succumbing to the spiritual whims of God’s conversion efforts.
However, Tanya does have access to quite a bit of power in the form of retaining full knowledge of her previous life, extremely high magical potential, ruthless work ethic and state of the art equipment. Despite ending up in the body of a ten year old blonde girl, there is very little pandering to when it comes to her loli physicality, and those who underestimate her quickly find themselves outclassed and outmaneuvered. Tanya is completely ruthless and brutal when it comes to waging warfare as her tactics are to swiftly end the fight with clever tactics and overwhelming firepower. Off the battlefield and with the knowledge of World War One, she can sweet talk her way to the command staff with groundbreaking military doctrine and instill a sense of reverence in her troops.
Indeed, the greatest downfall to her is the incompatibility of her final goals, ideology and actions within the military environment resulting in the various schemes that she cooks up to ensure a comfortable position ends up with the opposite effect. Her adherence to rules, regulations and orders does not offer any alternate route in spite of Tanya’s being the villain in her own story. While the civilian business world can be far more accommodating to the desires of talented individuals, the military values competency by rewarding those specific individuals like Tanya, with greater responsibility. There was no way that the Imperial Army was letting a brilliant tactician and ace mage with unmatched strength or leadership ability, be sidelined in the greatest war to end all war. As smart and cunning as Tanya is, for her to not realize that simple face seems like an oversight to me.
The other characters of the show don’t even come close to holding a candle to the flamethrower that is Tanya, but that doesn’t mean that they are poorly designed or constructed. Her subordinate, Viktoriya Serebryakova, a female conscripted into the German Empire Army, acts as the foil to Tanya’s cold efficiency and utilitarian worldview. With nationalistic ideals, a strong sense of duty, concerns about her comrades and a belief in a higher power, she is far more akin to your standard anime female heroine. It is this juxtaposition of their attitudes that makes their interactions so peculiar as Viktoriya is slowly smitten by her superior officer.
Finally, there is Being X himself, a singular god-like entity as opposed to the myriad of deities in the source material. Studio Nut took liberties with the light novel and made him a far more sinister character by setting up Tanya in situations where she has no choice but to praise his name in exchange for the usage of the very powerful Type-95 magical orb. Appearing through proxies at certains encounter, his involvement in the plot goes to the point of altering the source material and cumlnate in an explosive climax which gives Tanya a real challenge and face to fight against.
From the limited information available, Youjo Senki is the first main animation production from Studio Nut, a newfound company is made up of former Studio Madhouse employees. There is obviously some talent behind this anime production as the action sequences looks quite good and convey a sense of ferociousness as Tanya effortlessly butchers her way through any and all enemies standing between her and a peaceful life. The backgrounds also looks great with the landscape and skybox being highly detailed while having this drab color palette that fits Youjo Senki’s interpretation of World War One’s bleak tone. My only real complaint is the use of some rather dodgy CGI that clashes against the 2D’s frame rate and fidelity. Others may take up issue with the the character design differences between the source material and the anime as Tanya and Viktoriya looks leagues apart when compared to their Soujo-like appearance in the manga and light novel. Personally, I think that sociopathic nature of Tanya and the wide-eyed look of the optimistic and duty-bound Viktoriya meshes well with their respective trollish and dopey animated appearances.
Youjo Senki is a textbook case on exactly how anime adaptions should done by having the strong source material as its base, and layering it with amazing animations, an epic soundtrack and a fitting bleak tone. The World War One setting is worth the admission alone as portrayal of the various weapons and military doctrine is spot on. Tanya, being one of the most understandable psychopathic loli that anime has to offer, only adds to its uniqueness and enjoyment.
My first encounter with the anime "The Saga of Tanya the Not Particularly Evil" intrigued me greatly. I walked in on my roommate watching some anime with a little girl and, as per tradition, I casually called him a pedophile. But then something strange happened. Rather than the usual "ACKSHUALLY, she's a 500 year old demon," he said "ACKSHUALLY, she's a middle aged man." Now, I was horrified by this. I slapped him and began to shout. "Why?? Hasn't this trap shit gone on long enough??? It’s too far!“ I said. But he explained the plot to me, so I told him it sounded stupid.
"No,” he said “Actually, it's really good." And that is where our sad story begins. (It was not, dear readers, actually really good.)
An essential problem here is that the whole premise feels pointless. Some dude dies and God doesn’t like him so he turns him into a badass loli mage. Because that’s a punishment now. Why is it important that this girl used to be a man when we know basically nothing about her previous life? This reincarnation seems to give her knowledge that battle-hardened generals envy, but there's no reason why some salaryman who’s read a few wikipedia articles would be a genius at military strategy. And did he have to be some fedora tipper's wet dream? Libertarian, atheist……I guarantee this man dabbles in bestiality just based on this combination, and this makes him a really unsympathetic character. Couldn’t we have had an anime where a loli becomes Hitler, without this whole thing where it’s actually some reincarnated old dude? That sounds like a much more interesting character. As it is, they keep telling us she’s a monster or evil every episode, but she’s mostly just dull, which is why they have to keep telling us…..we would have never guessed if we were left to our own devices.
In any case, I care more about the actual plot than this weird backstory. Or I would, if the AU was not so vague and dull. One alternate option would have been to create a whole new universe, with only slight similarities to our own, but that would have required world building and work. Another would have been to have it take place in a universe more similar to our own, but the points at which the anime departs from history often seem to be more out of ignorance than creativity, suggesting that this choice was never really an option. As such, we’re stuck in this uncanny middle ground where the viewer knows next to nothing about the setting, despite how similar it is to his own world’s history. The lack of clarification on points of departure is jarring and it destroys immersion.
The ‘Characters' section must be put at 1/10, to represent that there is only one character. (And she’s not that good!) I can’t say I remember anyone else’s name, or anything about them. It seems as if the creators genuinely did not put any effort into creating unique, compelling, or creative characters. I don’t care about any of these people, or what happens to them. And every time I start to feel invested in Tanya I’m reminded she’s actually just some weird old dude, and the whole orphan backstory means nothing. Most character interactions are very shallow, and we don’t know anyone’s motivations other than the absolute basics. Where are the meaningful character interactions? Where is the development? It’s ridiculous and shallow.
The ED was probably the best part of every episode. Not only because it meant the episode was over, but because it was actually not too bad. No complaints there.
Overall, I thought most of this anime’s potential was squandered. It wasn’t an atrocity but I wouldn’t recommend it, nor do I plan to watch the next season. There wasn't really enough tension or depth to keep me going and it became difficult to watch towards the end.
Overall: Let's just call it a 4 or something
This anime, compressed into one long ass sentence: “An intelligent, asshole, soldier loli is actually a reincarnated, sociopathic, atheist, former salaryman, who occasionally gets forced by a stalker, god-like entity to pray to it in order for him-now-her to survive in a world-war setting and wreck his/her war enemies... with a magic gun.”
Youjo Senki was a pretty interesting show. It successfully presents an uncommon perspective in anime, where the main character is borderline villainous. I personally found it very entertaining and would recommend it to you.
TL;DR at the end
Tanya Degurachaff (the main character) starts off in our
universe as an atheist, sociopathic, efficiency-valuing salaryman with many personality disorders and complexes. Some normal everyday shit happens at work, but the guy that he just cold-heartedly fired at work that day overreacts and murders Tanya by pushing him onto the train tracks. A god-like entity claims to be God, has a philosophical discussion with him before he dies, Tanya names it "Being X" since he's a non-believer, and then he gets told that he this will be his last reincarnation cycle (basically because he’s a sociopathic atheist). He consequently gets sent to be reborn in a different, more war-torn world that contains magic and is reminiscent of the early 1900s in our world.
He-now-she is reborn as a girl and we become increasingly aware that she remembers her previous life as she reaches the age of nine. Now that she's a fully fledged nine-year-old, she chooses to join the military and rises through the military ranks in order to obtain enough achievements to live comfortably in the safety of the city. However, “Being X” maliciously interferes at very critical points in Tanya's life, and so she often ends up continuously fighting in life-threatening magical gun battles. The reason why being “Being X” interferes is basically in order to try to convert her evil, sociopathic, loli ass into a devout believer. However, instead of choosing to believe in God, Tanya angrily continues to reject the existence of God through ominous displays of smug insanity.
The story follows him-now-her as she rises through the army ranks and becomes an overpowered, super strict, crazy, monster-like commanding officer. The story also gives some interesting perspective on the human nature of war, and the geopolitical strategy that goes into it
- Will he-now-she ever get his-now-her happy ending?
- Who or what is "Being X?"
- How does Tanya, a sociopath, act in a military environment?
~Find out more by watching the show!~
The pacing was great; nothing felt like it was too slow or too fast, but some watchers were initially thrown off because the first episode since it started in the middle of a war scene. The purpose of it was to build interest in the series by showing that there was going to be tons of action, but they consequently chose to present Tanya’s backstory in the second episode.
The story itself is very unique, but it feels like the show is missing something to me. I think that it may be because there is no ambitious “goal(s)” that the main protagonist has, other than just defying “Being X” and trying to live comfortably in life. The story was also very interesting, having enough character development for all of the essential characters. Overall, I feel the story is worth an 8/10. I ranked it down mainly because it’s nearly void of profound or meaningful qualities, and also because the show wasn’t exactly “complex” or relatable in any way (except for perhaps the intelligence of the main character). I thought that the story was “very interesting”, but never once called it “great”.
Really, the only interesting characters in this anime were Tanya, Being X, and some random ass enemy-dad from the suburbs. However, to be honest, Tanya was really all this anime needed anyways. Tanya is interesting because she’s an excellent strategist that prioritizes logic and efficiency as a soldier, which allows her to often make more effective decisions than even the highest commanding strategy officers. She's also pretty overpowered and crazy, so she wrecks her enemies while having some of the craziest facial expressions that I've seen.
Additionally, Tanya’s thoughts and actions somewhat remind me of the main protagonists from Saiki Kusuo no Psi nan (10/10 best comedy) and Jinrui wa Shimashita (8/10 hidden gem). In these anime, the main character’s words/actions and internal commentary are often hilariously in opposition to each other, as they reluctantly conform to others’ expectations to achieve some sort of objective or conceal their true nature. This mainly presents itself when she must show respect for her superior officers, often becoming extremely enraged internally when things don’t go her way.
They only briefly built the personalities of the other characters that surround Tanya throughout the anime. The highest ranking officers showed up pretty often and got a decent amount of development, as did Tanya’s main assistant Viktoriya Ivanovna. Viktoriya Avnovna is a very kind and tender woman, who is unexpectedly dedicated to her job as a soldier. She's supposed to be a main character, but I don’t recall getting any of her background story. It must’ve either been very insignificant or they may have just never told her story.
The background art is objectively amazing--- actually, they are some of the best backgrounds that I have ever seen in the anime genre. Additionally, the animation and action are great, the dramatic angles are top quality, the facial expressions are very expressive, special effects are good enough, all 3DCG objects blend perfectly and are barely detectable--- overall the art is quite great in general. However, they REALLY fucked up the female characters' head designs from the manga. In fact, it’s so different, that I am literally at a loss for words.
The female characters look almost unrecognizably different when compared to their manga counterparts. Tanya and Viktoriya Ivanovna (actually, the women in general) were supposed to look like very beautiful characters/people. In the manga, she looked similar to how a beautiful shoujo anime’s main character would look (the ED art is the manga art, in case you were wondering). Comparing the two... left me at a loss for words because in the anime they looked like some weird ass toddlers with weird-looking eyes.
The men look perfectly fine. This slightly ticked me off because they spent all of this time and money drawing these hella top quality backgrounds, but they deliberately chose to fuck up both Tanya’s and Viktoriya Ivanovna’s character designs. The new design makes them both appear less attractive and more scary and evil in Tanya’s case, which may have been what the art director was going for. I don’t like it, but I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t check out the manga. Everything else is absolutely fantastic, so I feel compelled to give this category a 9/10.
Both the opening and ending were pretty unique, fun, intense, and catchy songs 9/10. The opening is an intense dark-sounding j-rock piece, while the ending is a bit more emotional, but still intense. Unfortunately, I feel that the background OSTs were pretty lackluster in general, but the main battle OST was pretty good. I think that they should have had a composer create a heavier, more fluid sounding main melody for the battles in order to convey the heaviness of fighting and taking a life, but it sounded pretty good and definitely got the job done. The remaining themes were relatively average instrumental background music.
I feel that Tanya's voice sounded a bit off. It definitely fit her evil personality and was pretty intimidating, but I think it would sound better if she had a more softer voice that maintains the same level of intensity. Her voice didn’t really seem to fit the character from the manga, in my opinion. It definitely fits the character from the anime, however. To be quite frank, Yuuki Aoi is an amazing VA and always does a spectacular job in her VA roles, so I’m guessing it was somebody else’s “artistic” interference that caused all of these changes. All of the other characters were voiced pretty well.
All things considered, I feel that this was a very enjoyable series. This was the series that I looked forward to watching the most during the winter 2017 season. This anime's title picture is what drew me in, but I mainly stayed for the asshole, intelligent, soldier loli, who is actually a reincarnated, sociopathic, atheist, former salaryman. I actually really enjoyed his-now-her personality; it essentially MADE this show. This show would not be anywhere near as interesting without Tanya. Without her, it would probably look something like a shittier version of “Alderamin in the Sky (8/10)”.
What to Take away: 8/10
The story is very good, I enjoyed it and you probably will too (8/10). It was paced quite well; nothing feeling too slow or too fast. Tanya was really the only character that received development, but she’s really all that the series needed anyways (7/10). The art is absolutely great, having some of the best background art that I’ve seen in the anime genre, but they screwed up the female characters’ beauty from the manga in order to make them look scarier (9/10). The OP and ED were great, but the background OSTs would’ve been better if they sounded heavier to suit the war vibe, like something Sawano Hiroyuki would compose(7/10). Tanya’s voice was great, but she occasionally sounded relatively squeaky. I would definitely recommend this anime to you personally.
Should you watch it?
If you like:
- unique plots,
- intelligent/calculating main characters,
- war anime, military anime, magic anime,
- intense action scenes,
- strategy-based plots,
- great background art,
- and/or evil lolis *hears sirens in the distance*
Then this anime is definitely for you. Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t watch it.
I hope this helps you make your decision on whether or not to watch this anime~
Youjo Senki is a series that succeeds in portraying the “reincarnated and transported to a different world” scenario while having a unique approach on the “military” genre.
The story is well executed and approaches the military genre from a new and unique perspective that I found really entertaining. The character cast is a “one man army” composed of Tanya, aside from her character there really aren’t any other good characters.
The animation works in harmony with the sound department, resulting in a great watching experience that really allows the viewer to enter the show’s world.
For having insulted “God”, an atheist and
arrogant Japanese salaryman in the moment of his death is sentenced to be reborn in an alternate universe similar to 1910's Europe mixed with early aspects of World War II, in an empire torn apart by countless wars with all nearby countries.
The salaryman is reborn as a girl who will be known as Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff of the Imperial Army, a 9-year-old soldier girl. As God stated, if Tanya doesn’t meet her end through a natural death or she refuses to have faith in Him, her soul will be sent to hell for all eternity. In order to avoid going to hell, Tanya decides to enter the Empire’s Mages Division and fight in the “world war” hoping to climb the ladder to the top ranks as fast as possible to remain away from the battlefield as a way to avoid the risk of being killed and at the same time “live the good life”.
Even if the arrogant salaryman is now forced to have the body of a young girl, he soon adapts to the situation and turns into a merciless soldier who prioritizes efficiency above all.
To be honest, in the beginning of the series, and even before I started watching it, I found the “man in loli body” to be ridiculous and it actually bothered me for the duration of the first 3 episodes but I soon got over it and got intrigued by Tanya’s character instead of being bothered by her appearance.
The story takes place in quite a normal world, except for the existence of “magic”. The show does a good job at portraying how differing countries can act when they are disagreeing, just skipping the political talks and jumping to war, and the way it employs real war tactics such as trench warfare was really nice to see.
Also, the “Empire” can be compared to WW1 Germany, the Republic can be compared to France and the enemy alliance can be compared to the Triple Entente (and a few more comparisons I won’t bother mentioning), I found all these similarities to be a great addition to the show by giving it veracity.
The story unfolds at a satisfying pace, nothing felt like it was developing too fast or too slow, but the first episode could have been done better and used to explain things such as why the Empire is fighting against so many countries, how the magic-based weapons work, how magic came to be, etc. With that in mind, the first episode did its job well, its purpose was to display an interesting scene that will compel the viewer to watch the series by showing that there is gonna be a ton of action, and it did that very well.
I consider Youjo Senki to be quite the unique “military” show that approaches things from a different and interesting perspective, compared to what I am used to. On the other hand, it lacks the complex story and meaningful messages it would take for me to consider it a “very good” series.
There aren’t many “clever” moments or twists that left me pondering, just a straightforward story that although it is a tad bit ridiculous at times, I found it good.
“War does not decide who is right, but who is left”. What really separated Youjo Senki from other generic war series (like Izetta:The Last Witch) was the fact that there are no real “bad guys”, or in this case bad countries, only patriots blindly believing their country’s propaganda and soldiers following orders which is very true and realistic.
This is what I found very dumb: People, that studied and experienced war for 20-30 years can’t come up with a good strategy but the businessman Tanya (because that is what she/he really is, a businessman) was able to do so without any effort. Even if I was to take into account the possibility that Tanya studied war and had a natural talent for it, that still wouldn’t explain the veteran’s incompetence nor Tanya’s success, it’s just ludicrous.
This is where Youjo Senki fails. Except for Tanya and “Being X” there really is no one that is worth mentioning, the support characters are just bland tropes used for decor, having the banal purpose of being plot tools, sacrifices or just to fill up the void.
Tanya Degurechaff, the protagonist, is a young blonde, blue-eyed 10 years old girl who is the reincarnation of a cold-hearted atheist and social-darwinist Japanese salaryman who was sent to another world because “he” who is now a “she” insulted God. Compared to others, Tanya has a high latent magical ability and is the only one capable of using an experimental “Type-95 operation orb” due to Being X's interference. She controls a battalion of elite mages whose main purpose is to overwhelm enemy forces while also remaining highly mobile and relatively small.
Tanya is quite ruthless and intolerant towards the mistakes and failures of others, much the same as in her previous life, and employs several extreme punishments and training methods.
What makes her characters interesting is that she is similar to an “anti-hero”, she is merciless, cunning, egoistic, arrogant and shows sociopathic tendencies through the façades she uses and monologues that explain the logic and reasonings behind her actions. Tanya doesn’t wish for riches, world fame, world domination or other generic motives, she only has the mundane goal of living a comfortable life that ends by a natural death, which I found a bit hilarious but also original and made me relate to her character a bit.
“Being X” is a self-centered and villainous god-like entity, more like a self-proclaimed God, and throughout the series it forces Tanya to praise his name by putting her in situations where she has no other choice than doing so. His form is unknown, he only appears through proxies but we know he has absolute power since he altered the fundamentals of the world on multiple occasions.
What bugged me was his unknown reason for being so obsessed with Tanya. Out of millions of non-believers he chose particularly that salaryman and then invested quite a lot of time (since this “god” doesn’t seem to be omnipotent and omnipresent) in trying to make that salaryman a believer. It just seems odd.
The animation has a well-suited color palette, it is fluid with well-done CGI and the background art is beautiful, but the character design is… let’s just say the character design leaves to be desired.
The action scenes have such a natural flow that it’s mesmerizing, it offers a very good and immersive watching experience, and the animation, without a doubt, is one of the best this season.
I liked the opening theme but I found the ending theme to be great and I almost never skipped it, that says quite a lot. The OST is very good and gives one hell of an immersive experience because you can feel the impact behind every explosion, gunshot, etc. Most of the voice actors interpret the characters very well (loved whenever Being X made an appearance) but there are actors who could have done their job better.
I highly enjoyed this series, which was a surprise to me.
The action scenes were great and the show didn’t have any moments I found obscenely ludicrous or any other irritating factors.
Youjo no Senki is a good show that employs a unique and well done plot accompanied by decently constructed characters, coming in a package with very good animation and sound. I recommend giving this show a try.