The Saga of Tanya the Evil anime was a surprise favorite for me in 2017. With a title like that, I was almost too scared to give it a try, but conniving little Tanya turned out to be nothing like I anticipated. Yen Press has released Volume 05 of the manga adaption, and you can read on for the review. (For my reviews of other Tanya the Evil works, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
As hinted at by Colonel Lergen’s ‘thoughtful’ words of advice, an attack on Dacia has been ordered by the Empire, and the fearsome power of the new mage battalion is deployed. Determined to unleash the power of modernity upon the enemy, Tanya prepares her freshly polished human shields for an all-out battle…There’s no holding back with a resume-worthy achievement on the line!!
The Dacian invasion is an entertaining arc in the novel and the anime, and the manga brings its own delightful spin to this material. These chapters are all about disparity—the contrast between Tanya’s ecstatic response and Lergen’s horrified one, the difference between the size of the Dacian forces and the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion, and above all, the imbalance between the might of a modern military and an antiquated one. The Dacian army, despite its overwhelming numbers, is a joke, and Tanya beats it down accordingly while the narrative provides engaging explanations of the evolution of military strategies and equipment.
A unique element of the manga is that it provides the thoughts of the people around Tanya. The novel keeps to one perspective at a time while the anime generally only shows characters’ reactions to Tanya’s actions. The manga, on the other hand, shows the thoughts of multiple characters at once. In doing so, the manga delivers a clarity that isn’t available in the anime and novel. For instance, Tanya’s interpretation of Visha’s reluctance to deliver the warning to the Dacian capital and the actual reason behind Visha’s reluctance. Tojo-sensei often employs this contrast in thoughts to illustrate the disconnect between Lergen and Tanya and generate humor at the same time.
The thrashing of the Dacians is a fun romp, from the mages’ domination of the battlefield to Tanya’s reprimand of Weiss to the obliteration of the Daicans’ arms factory. Once they returns to base, however, the pace slows significantly as the narrative delivers the political and strategic repercussions of Dacia’s failed invasion. While this section isn’t nearly as engaging, it does convey the information necessary to set the stage for the war chronicle’s next clash, and it does so with a clarity and brevity far superior to the original novel. Once again, I’m grateful to Tojo-sensei for such a brilliant interpretation of Tanya’s story.
Extras include character introductions, detailed glossary of terms after each chapter, and an interview with voice actress Aoi Yuki from the Tanya anime. As with previous interviews, Yen Press used a teeny font for those pages, so reading is hard on the eyes.
Unlike the previous volume, where Tanya’s subordinates are struggling to survive her training regimen, the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion gets a lucky break when the Principality of Dacia declares war. Normally, taking on three divisions is a daunting task, but Tanya turns an enemy invasion into an amusing lesson on the tremendous difference between modern and pre-modern military technology.
First published at the Fandom Post.