Story/Interior Illustration: Carlo Zen/ Shinobu Shinotsuki
Translation/Adaptation: Emily Balistrieri
What They Say
A devil wanders the battlefield in the guise of an adorable young child and her name is Tanya Degurechaff! After returning from the sandy southlands, Tanya receives an incredibly suspicious order from headquarters to embark on a training exercise. In reality, command has sent her on a covert mission to initiate a border conflict with the Federation. Soon the Empire finds itself embroiled in another fight it cannot back down from, even if it means making the entire world their enemies!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having fought on the Empire’s north, south, and west fronts, Tanya now gets sent east. The Federation is the one neighbor that has maintained peace with the Empire, so when the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion gets yanked from the Southern Continent and receive orders to infiltrate the Federation under the pretext of a training exercise, it’s clear trouble’s brewing.
In previous conflicts, the narrative generally described the war’s outbreak and provided a heap of commentary before throwing Tanya into that battlefield to participate. This time she’s actually a witness to the outset of the war. And because the Federation and the Empire are being highly secretive—even to their own officers, the tension in the opening chapter is wonderful.
Once the fighting breaks out, things get even better. Against previous adversaries, Tanya never harbored personal hatred; taking them down is just her job. The Communists, however, fall into a completely different category. Our former salaryman and believer in market values loathes Communists, and seeing Tanya get so het up about an enemy is a fascinating change. The lengths she’ll go to undermine the Commies are surprisingly extreme and not only from a military tactical standpoint. Suffice to say, her raid on the Federation capital is a thrill to read.
I am guessing that Zen-sensei himself is also not a fan of Communists because he depicts the Federation as the worst type of Stalinist regime. Not only is it a state whose soldiers are as terrified of the ruling regime as they are of enemy armies, but Comrade Loria, the dictator’s right hand man, is a pervert with no redeeming qualities. He’s definitely a villain with a truly icky POV.
After the initial clash with the Communists, Zen-sensei switches back to his usual style of over explaining the rationale behind everything. In Chapter III, Tanya and her officers spend 9 pages debating whether or not they should rescue forces trapped at Tiegenhoff, and the text describing the actual mission only takes a page. Fortunately, he’s more generous with his play-by-play of a daring combat-search-and-rescue in Commonwealth Territory.
In contrast to Tanya’s brilliant individual victories, the fortunes of her country continue to decline. As result, we get a refrain of an earlier theme: efforts intended to snag a cushy desk job result in yet another assignment on the front lines. In spite of Zen-sensei’s long-winded prose, the twists and turns of the plot remains compelling, and I look forward to the next volume.
Extras include map and fold-out illustration in color; appendixes explaining military strategy and history timeline; author afterword; and six black-and-white illustrations.
A new front breaks out for the already beleaguered Empire. Previously, we’ve had precious little about the Federation to the east; now the Stalinist leadership clashes head to head with Tanya, who absolutely detests Communists. If you’ve stuck with the series this long, Tanya’s passion against this new adversary will be a fun and engaging new element in this military chronicle.
Content Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: C+
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 13th, 2018