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Saga of Tanya The Evil Complete Series UK Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
Tanya leaves a wreck on the battlefield and in our minds
© Carlo Zen, PUBLISHED BY KADOKAWA CORPORATION / Saga of Tanya the Evil PARTNERS

On one hand, war is hell. On the other hand, evil is cool….

What They Say:
Saga of Tanya the Evil The Complete Series Blu-ray/DVD contains episodes 1-12. A little girl with blonde hair, blue eyes, and porcelain skin fights on the front lines of a brutal war set in a fantasy world. What others don’t know is that she’s a reincarnated Japanese office worker who, in his former life, had a ruthless desire to climb the corporate ladder in hopes of retiring to a cushy corner office. Special Features: Promo Videos, Commercials, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, Trailers

The Review:

Audio:
The audio has a HD Dolby Surround 5.1 release in English and a 2.0 in Japanese for the series– I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese to compare, despite not saying 5.1 the Japanese release was high quality to the point there was no adjustment to the volume, there were no other issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall. It also helps that the lead is played in both languages by popular voice actresses (Monica Rial in English and Aoi Yuuki in Japanese) means that because Tanya (for better or worse) is the main focus you get a lot of high quality voice acting combining with high quality sound quality. Add that to the realistic sound effects with the war intermixing (albeit combined with magical weapons) that it is a very authentic and powerful sound wave that comes across your screen.

Video:
Originally released in early 2017, the animation and visual quality in a widescreen format is of a very high quality, with a lot of action sequences flowing on a mostly gritty or dark colour scheme due to the war motif. There was no issues with delays with the pausing, subtitles, sound synching, etc and with a lot of the realism of the war (magic and godly aspirations aside) it really hits home with the visual effects and realism, and whilst the CGI effects are there (especially with the magical parts) it is not inherently noticeable to the point that it becomes distracting – high quality.

Packaging:

There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:

On each of the discs, the menu is the same – an evilly smirking shot of Tanya in her military uniform in a stride with the choice on a green bar on the bottom being Play All, Episodes, Set Up and Extras. Nothing fancy, everything is easily accessible, instant choice and like most Blu-Rays comes with a pop-up menu if need to change anything. Works efficiently but very basic.

Extras:

We have just a set of basic extras, the textless opening and closing, promotional videos and commercials for the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

The Saga of Tanya The Evil was one of those series that spread like wildfire when It came out, gaining quite a little following. A combination of those seeing a rather dark story…and the other half looking forward to this psychopathic cute girl. However, combine the two is it really something that is worth looking into? The idea of an alternative World War I/II with the now more common idea of reincarnation adds a real element of belief as well when it comes to religion, and it definitely makes you think a lot harder.

All this due to an 11 year old girl with the evil grin flashing across an adorable face.

We are introduced to the Empire (which seems to be the equivalent to Imperial Germany) who is all powerful but has many enemies which leads to war where we are introduced to our lead, the infamous Tanya Degurechaff, second Lieutenant…and leader for the Imperial Armies Assault Mages.

Yes, mages. This is where things get a bit more…interesting.

Along with Tanya, we have our secondary main character, Corporal Viktoriya Serebryakov who is pretty much her second in command…or at very best the closest Tanya has to a friend. We see in the 1st episode both her skill…and her lack of care as long as she gets the job done combined with her ruthlessness. When she takes out a legion, we see some superiors (one in particular Rerugen who definitely comes up a few times throughout the series) amazed at her skill but also concerned about her – which is added to that evil smile she smirks when it is revealed she sent two officers who disobeyed orders to the rear…and to their death which she plotted.

So episode 1 established her character but episode 2 shows us where she came from, which brings us to a trope that is slowly being used more and more – reincarnation. In this case, was a supervisor who was killed by a salaryman he fired by being pushed off the rails…literally. However, just as he’s about to die, apparently ‘God’ speaks to him to acknowledge him…however the supervisor disbelieves this is God and instead calls the entity ‘Being X’. Being X in turn wants to convince him he is God, and reincarnates him into alternate 1913 Europe, forcing him to call upon him in a jam. As Tanya, she has high magic energies and joins the army because of this, but as ruthlessness is apparent even as 9 years old. It is clear her motivation is simply to try and get into as high (and as comfortable) a position that she can, and it seems to work, initially being used to try out new magic devices (and disapproving of them) and has encounters with Being X (as she is forced to say words saying that she believes in God to fully use her magical capabilities) allowed her to use a device that seemed inoperable known as the Type-95. Tanya returns to military academy ready to not return to the frontlines…

…where her predictions and knowledge of the wars of her original timeline ironically screws her over as she is eventually promoted to Captain and in charge of a new mage battalion which is more dangerous than the front lines – not to mention that Rerugen isn’t happy she is made in charge of this. Despite this, Viktoriya returns to her and she is pretty much forced to work in the new battalion….

Her training is typically ruthless but she manages to manage to get a top group together (mostly because they are all scared what will happen if they leave) – and their first mission is a complete success, eventually being sent to fight other nations (leading to Tanya’s suspicion of a world war being manipulated by Being X, especially as it also manipulates a body during a battle). Throughout this, we are also introduced to a soldier from a previous battle named Anson Sioux from the Entente (equivalent to the Nordic countries) where we see his family, which later becomes quite important by the end of the series….

Tanya takes on Sioux and ends up ultimately stabbing him but claims his rifle which was a Christmas present from his daughter…it turns out that he didn’t die and suddenly seems to receive an epiphany from Being X to destroy the devil….Tanya.

So the Empire and Tanya continue their plans to take out their enemies – whether it’s their version of the United States or the United Kingdom or France, and it leads to a final confrontation with Sioux who is powered by Being X, but thanks to Tanya and Viktoriya, they manage to survive his attack as does their squadron, but they fail to stop the war despite the Empire trying to get a truce. It leads to a chat with Rerugen knowing that other nations would not allow the Empire to become the most powerful country and that they won’t give up as the other nations ally themselves to fight against the Empire (considering the three main ones are expies of the UK, US and Russia, it definitely seems familiar) – in the final scenes, Tanya uses the fact the war is still going on as proof that God does not exist, challenging Being X…

…and he does, as Sioux’s daughter, Mary has enlisted in the US army….also being ‘blessed’ by Being X….

This is a series that is very opposite ends. It feels like at one point, the show is definitely giving a war is hell plot as you see how the Sioux family suffers as well as the many causalities that happen on the battlefield. On the other hand, seeing how badass Tanya is on said battlefield really kind of underlines that message as because of her mentality she doesn’t seem to suffer any losses, physically or mentally. Because the focus is so much on her, it does feel the message is understated mainly because of how powerful she is. Also her negative reputation is more the fact that she killed enemies who attacked her first for the most part so….hard to judge where she is coming from as a character. She is definitely a cold hearted little girl and the clash with Being X gives an idea of a ‘do you believe in God’ motif – wrapped up with the twist that she has to rely on this apparition to do some of the stuff she can – it’s definitely a far case of reality has gone out to lunch, with this, the magic and the reincarnation (which is never brought up bar Tanya’s musing of trying to get to the top as easily as possible…)

The show basically sells itself on the main character and what she is capable of, so you liking this series will depend on two things. 1) How much you like Tanya and 2) how much you feel about the deep underlying story, which is basically the dark side of war, and a set up with Mary possibly being the next true enemy to Tanya. With the military technical side, there is a lot of thinking and intelligent writing throughout as basically trying to be a different take of the 1st World War and having this little girl is a top commander in an experimental battalion. However it is basically the premise of her kicking butt with no true threat to her – sure, they try with Sioux and also behind the scenes with Rerugen, but in the end, behind the excellent action scenes, it is all very predictable, and there isn’t really anyone that is a challenge or even as interesting as Tanya (again for better or worse) making it a show that heavily relies on the lead character.

Myself, I enjoyed it but a few times I was getting to the point of ‘is anything going to change’. Yes, the idea of going back to military school and then getting her own squad combined with her not wanting to be put in danger (despite her lust for battle) makes Tanya a real twisted character and is the sole point of the show. Unfortunately, that does make it a one note show in that regard and because of that, I do feel the show is a bit overrated because of that. It is definitely watchable, that’s for sure, but your enjoyment definitely will vary depending on your thoughts on Tanya, because underneath it, the show is dark and conflicting, but she overpowers everything ahead of it, which can be both a blessing, or ironically as she calls it…

…a curse.

In Summary:
The Saga Of Tanya The Evil is a highly anticipated show that brings an alternate WWI and instead gives us a moe lead of adorable psychopathic nature. Tanya leaves a wreck on the battlefield and in our minds, and the insanity of the scene chewer that she is combined with the magical themed battles brings a visual spectacle which is very entertaining. That said, it is also very predictable and their attempts to make it more of a problem with her only just delay the inevitable. Whilst a good series, it definitely feels like it has a specific niche, which considering it’s high popularity, it succeeds in that respect but not as an overall package at least.

Features:

Clean Opening/Ending
Trailers
Commercials
Promo Videos

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: January 27th, 2020
MSRP: £34.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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