Isekai stories have become somewhat of a tiresome genre as of late. There have been many stories of people being transported/reincarnated into other worlds where they shed their once pitiful exterior and become some legendary figure in another world. In most cases it’s trit, balant childish wish fulfilment and the stories often become tiresome when the protagonist gains a level of power that could never be challenged. Enter Youji Senki(Saya of Tanya the evil) where in a HR manager from Japan is tossed into a alternative world WWI by god in an effort to teach him piety. Tanya’s first episode may not win over many but if you check out the second episode you will be taken for quite a ride. This series is the first work by Studio Nut and while it pushed them to their limits it remains a impressive piece of work. Animation and art could be shaky and character designs took a hit for what looks to be for making animation easier. Tanya has some truly impressive set pieces and boasts the largest number of war scenes I have seen in a single anime.
There are shows which advertise themselves as action packed but are anything but, however Tanya is not one of these shows. Though when Tanya takes it slow that can be some of the more interesting parts of the series. Tanya and God’s interactions make for some of the best parts of the show and show a underline of Theism vs Atheism symbolism. The show doesn’t pick a side and admittedly any meaning gathered from this would be shallow level speculation at best. This aspect also becomes less prevalent in the second half of the show as God stands aside in favor of a more human antagonist. It didn’t delve into the concept as much as it could have but it nonetheless makes for a great hook to keep the viewer interested.
In regards to this series flaws the big thing is that it is Tanya’s show through and through. What means is that Tanya gets the bulk of the development, Tanya gets the glory and she gets every moment of badassery. This leaves a large majority of the supporting cast rather underdeveloped and I am certain you won’t remember most of their names by show’s end. In the same way Tanya is to a degree rediculously overpowered and a good amount of the shows second half is dedicated to her steamrolling her opponents. If you don’t find Tanya’s character compelling or interesting, I doubt there will be much here for you besides an alternate take on World War I. Still it’s hard not to like Tanya when she is a beautifully made anti-hero whose motivations are understandable but exceedly malicious. The series can be humorous at times with the after credits sequences taking on a more joking tone than the series normally goes for. The way in how Tanya’s actions and intentions are misinterpreted make for some really humorous scenarios.
For history buff this series provides some meat as well in how the war proceeds in the anime mirrors that of real history and while magical aspects are present, a lot of the equipment used is true to the time. Music is decent with the main theme having enough to get you pumped during an action scene. The opening is different and might not be to everyone’s tastes but the ending is great and closes out each episode perfectly. I applaud Tanya for being one of the few anime to not make use of fanservice as Tanya is in no way fetished at any point within the show. Considering that she is a lolita you would think that’s a given but believe me in that hasn’t stopped many shows before. This show remains a remarkably fun watch throughout, though it loses some steam in its second half but makes a comeback with it’s final two episodes. I say this is well worth any anime fans time and certainly deserving of a second season if being X is merciful.