Story/Interior Illustration: Carlo Zen/ Shinobu Shinotsuki
Translation/Adaptation: Emily Balistrieri
What They Say
Has Tanya finally done it…!? The cushy office desk job assignment she’s been waiting for at the Military University is finally hers to enjoy. That is…until there’s a hiccup in her assignment!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the third volume of The Saga of Tanya the Evil, we reach the end of the content covered in the anime. This installment also provides a much more detailed account of the fall of the Republican homeland than is depicted in the TV series. In the anime, the Republican Army’s defeat gets presented as a series of rapid action scenes that take only about half an episode. In the novel, however, we get all the nitty-gritty of Zettour and Rudensdorf convincing the imperial brass of their plan, Tanya’s thoughts as she speeds deep into enemy territory at Mach 1.5, and her anguish when the Empire fails to end the war. Most interestingly, the narrative includes an unwitting blow to a hidden spy complex that was completely excluded from the anime. Although I can see how production constraints would result in this detail getting cut, the Commonwealth’s espionage activities lends the novel a juicier political landscape.
Unfortunately, these intriguing additional layers are presented in Zen-sensei’s particular storytelling so it does take work to interpret the confusing parts and stamina to get through the dry and repetitive ones. As in previous volumes, a lack of setting details and dialogue tags in scene openers meant that I sometimes had to read a couple pages into the scene before I figured out which characters and which place the narrative had shifted to. For instance, Zen-sensei includes a conversation between angelic beings in the heavenly realms, and it wasn’t until I was over two pages into the scene that I realized there were more than two characters involved in the conversation. Also, the beings converse about taking action in the mortal world, but even after rereading the scene three times, I still don’t understand what they are plotting.
By the way, this angelic conversation is the first glimpse of the divine that we’ve gotten since Volume 1, and it’s the only one in Volume 3. Although Tanya’s rebellion against God is what caused her current predicament and she spouts plenty of venom against him, God doesn’t actually appear in the narrative much. However, that’s actually fine because Tanya’s personal circumstances and the geopolitical situation contain more than enough conflict to keep the plot interesting.
The last third of the book is devoted to the Southern Campaign. The anime ends with the 203rd’s arrival on the Southern Continent, but this volume dives into the imperial army’s conflict against the Commonwealth and the remnants of the Republican forces. A new character, General von Romel, gets introduced as the head of this campaign and a master of maneuver warfare. While I’m not certain whether he is intended to be a tribute to Germany’s Desert Fox, he does provide a fresh perspective on Tanya that the generals at Imperial HQ lack.
Extras include the map and fold-out illustration in color; appendixes explaining military strategy and history timeline; author afterword; and six black-and-white illustrations.
After reading this volume, my general impression is that Carlo Zen has created a truly fascinating multi-layered plot—and I can’t wait to read the manga version of it. As with the previous volumes, his prose continues to demand quite a bit of effort on the part of readers in order to visualize settings and characters and to comprehend all the military and political forces at work. However, those willing to continue to investing time and energy in this series will be rewarded with Tanya’s gripping struggle for survival as her country spirals toward a world war.
Content Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: C+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 24th, 2018