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The Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #10 Light Novel Review

4 min read

Tanya and Drake duel on two fronts!

Creative Staff
Story/Interior Illustration: Carlo Zen/Shinobu Shinotsuki
Translation/Adaptation: Richard Tobin

What They Say
Time and everything else are running out for the Empire. In fact, it’s already running on fumes. Before the last grain of sand falls from its hourglass, each person will have hard choice to make. Some will shut their eyes to the inevitable. Others will choose to reject catastrophe. But even if they’re doomed, there’s no point in going down quietly. Beneath her mask of patriotism, Tanya vows to do whatever it takes to avoid going down with the ship.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume covers the events from the end of July 1927 to the beginning of September 1927, less than two months. However, a whole lot goes on, and this includes activities off the battlefield. With the knowledge of her previous world history, Tanya’s realized sooner than most that the Empire is a sinking ship. However, the situation’s gotten so dire that Imperial leadership is getting worried, and Lergen finds himself teaming up with a Foreign Office bureaucrat to work on an exit strategy for the war. Zen-sensei spends a bit of time outlining the dysfunctionality of the three branches of the Imperial government, and while it’s a bit on the dry side, it shows readers that the obstacles to peace are internal as well as external for the Empire.

Meanwhile, Tanya’s dealing with the external obstacles. Because her superiors like to overwork her, she fights on two fronts in this volume. Her first mission is with Operation Mini-Revolving Door, Zettour’s crafty ploy to keep the Eastern front from collapsing. Like the original Revolving Door, there’s an excess of explanation and set up leading up to the attack.  However, once we get to the actual action, things get pretty exciting.

Tanya’s role in Mini-Revolving Door is to create a diversion, which amounts to her and Visha stirring things up with the Multinational Volunteer Mages. Both Sue and Drake are involved in the clash, but of the two, only Drake’s POV is given in this volume. This is probably because Drake actually thinks, and Sue doesn’t, not really. Tanya calls Sue a wild boar, and indeed, her rashness combined with her overwhelming power makes her a hazard to friend and foe alike. Tanya has unreasonable working conditions, but so does Drake, and despite outnumbering the Imperial mages is several times over, Drake has his hands full trying to keep himself and his forces alive.

Then Tanya’s entire battalion gets assigned to General Romel, who has decided that the best defense is a good offense. Thus, he’s out to strike the Commonwealth homeland by sea. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth’s cracked the Empire’s transmission codes. So instead of surprising their enemies, the Imperial forces are the ones caught off guard by a waiting Commonwealth fleet. Thus the outclassed Imperial ships are forced to run before they fire a shot, and the 203rd is stuck protecting their retreat against an entire brigade of Commonwealth marine mages.

The skirmish is an excellent variation of the theme of Tanya’s unit winning their particular fight but the Empire losing the overall battle. The Imperial mages obliterate the Commonwealth’s inferior mage recruits, but the Imperial forces never reach their goal of the Commonwealth shores. Tanya can’t gloat too much about outclassing the enemy mages either; even with her veterans lending a hand, the 203rd‘s newest members are struggling to make kills. It’s a testament to the war’s devastating human toll that commanders on both sides are aghast at the inexperience of their latest recruits.

Unlike Operation Mini-Revolving Door, the Commonwealth attack keeps things engaging with a much more straightforward set up and then a constantly shifting battle that culminates in a second showdown between Drake and Tanya. As for the outcome, it’s one of Zen-sensei’s delightful neither-side-feels-victorious endings. The Commonwealth successfully defends its homeland but at a terrible human cost. The Empire maintains minimal losses, thanks to the 203rd, but the failed surprise attack points to an unnerving breach of security.

Throughout the volume, Tanya gripes over and over about her need to change employers. Unfortunately, switching sides when you’re a military officer during wartime is not so easy. And unbeknownst to her, she’s under a bigger time crunch than she realizes. Because if Lergen and the Foreign Office can’t work out a diplomatic solution by early next year, the beleaguered Empire will likely find itself with a Southern warfront.

Extras include map and fold-out illustrations in color; appendixes of the state of the war in maps and general commentary; author afterword; two attack plan diagrams; and six black-and-white illustrations.

In Summary
As Zen-sensei mentions in the afterword, Volume 10 is meant to “focus on representing the Empire entering its death throes as a nation.” Tanya and Drake both get sent into combat on the Eastern and Western fronts, and while each encounter is exciting from an action standpoint, the fact that they’re being repeatedly sent out to fight testifies to how shorthanded everyone’s become. Though Tanya continues to achieve success with the 203rd, the Empire itself is sliding towards disaster, and I’m eager to see how she’ll try to keep from sharing its fate.

Content Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
MSRP: $13.99