Nov 9, 2019
mysisterdidit (All reviews)
The First World War is a particularly fascinating case study in human suffering. The seemingly nebulous ends on part of the participating states, paired with the tremendous loss of military and civilian life for very little tactical gain in addition to the premiere of new technologies such as mustard gas and long range artillery, render the conflict one of the bleakest and most anti-humanistic affairs in our long and already violent history. The Saga of Tanya the Evil sets itself up in a unique position to explore the human cost of the war from the eyes of both the soldiers in the trenches and the officers seated in high command. Unfortunately, the introduction of the mage system and the decision to turn the punished reincarnated salary man into an absurdly overpowered angry demon loli cause the show to fall flat of this potential.

The plot features Tanya, said angry demon loli, leading the alternate universe Axis powers to a string of laughably one-sided victories against their inept opponents episode after episode. Their forces are never shown to suffer any serious losses nor are any of the "risks" they take shown to fail. Even when members of Tanya's squadron are defeated, they only come right back in the next five minutes of screen time. In this regard, The Saga of Tanya the Evil fails in the most essential task of any good war story: to establish a tangible sense of danger. The characters too are lacking in depth and easily forgotten, and the sound design, important in this genre for immersing the audience in the show's setting, is unconvincing at its best.

If you are looking for another wish-fulfillment fantasy action show to waste a couple hours on, perhaps you will be satisfied with Tanya the Evil, though there are better ones out there than this. Ultimately, my biggest disappointment with the show is knowing what it could have been. What could have been a show about the philosophical musings of a cynical Japanese businessman forced to rediscover his humanity in the midst of the devastation of war is instead reduced to a bland, mediocre tour of the battlefields of World War I without any of the stakes or consequences.