Story/Art: Carlo Zen/Chika Tojo
Translation/Adaptation: Emily Balistrieri
What They Say
Zero candidates was Tanya’s ultimate key to forestalling a new project that would send her to the front lines. But plans backfire after waves of applications from fresh, promising soldiers flood the office. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, the Elinium 95’s mind contamination begins to take effect on the young captain who-before realizing it-is now the official leader of a battalion?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
A recurring theme of this series is that, in spite of Tanya’s best efforts, nothing ever goes the way she wants. Thus, upon graduation from war college, instead of the cushy desk job she’s been striving for, her orders are to form a new mage battalion destined for the front. Shortly thereafter, her ploy to scare off prospective candidates results in a literal avalanche of applicants. Despite this continuously repeated pattern of attempt and failure, it doesn’t get old. That’s partly because the manga, unlike the novel, allows readers to see the disconnect between Tanya’s thoughts and those of the people around her, and mangaka Tojo skillfully uses those situations for maximum hilarity. And it’s partly because Tanya’s refusal to let fate (and Being X) get the better of her leads to amazing creativity.
In the case of Volume 4, most of those creative efforts are aimed toward a nightmare of a training regimen designed to weed incompetents out of Tanya’s battalion (i.e., her personal shield). The manga, like the anime, takes this opportunity to show off Tanya’s wicked side, and because the novel doesn’t provide much detail on Tanya’s boot camp, the manga and anime each have different versions of the pint-sized commander kicking her subordinates into shape. However, the manga version goes into more detail about the rationale behind Tanya’s intense regimen, and the manga’s explanations of the different combat formulas are vastly clearer than what’s provided by the novel.
Tojo-sensei definitely has a talent for taking what’s in the novel and bringing it up to the next level. In Chapter 11, Tanya’s concerns about her stunted physical development take her to the doctor. In the novel’s account of the doctor’s visit, we’re so much in Tanya’s head that all we see is her worry. The manga, on the other hand, shows how the adults perceive Tanya’s concerns, which makes for a livelier and more entertaining scene. Tojo-sensei has been doing this consistently, and I look forward to more of her work.
Extras include battle log so far, character introductions, detailed glossary of terms after each chapter, and interviews with cover designer Toshimitsu Numa and scriptwriter Satoshi Oshio. While the interviews are interesting, Yen Press used a teeny font for those pages, so reading is hard on the eyes.
Those who’ve missed watching troops in life-or-death situations will once more get to see imperial soldiers fight to stay alive. And the funny thing is that they’re not even on the front. Dark humor abounds as little Tanya puts battalion candidates through a modern-era Hell Week. Even if you’re familiar with the novel or anime, the manga provides such a rich, detailed, and entertaining perspective of Tanya’s messed up life that you should still pick it up.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 30th, 2018