Tag Archives: tanya the evil manga

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #09

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 09 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

Only a step away from their demise, the Regadonia Entente Alliance desperately push for a government-in-exile. Meanwhile, the notorious “Rusted Silver” Tanya von Degurechaff faces off against Colonel Anson Sue in another fatal battle that threatens to change the course of the entire war…and her chances of promotion!

The Review

Volume 8 ended with a glimpse into the far future, and Volume 9 continues that meandering path by detouring back to the assessment that revealed Tanya’s magic capabilities. While this look to the past includes her rationale for volunteering for the military, it mainly serves as a framework for explaining how technology and magic work in this world. If you’ve ever been curious about the origins of aerial mages, these pages lay out a fairly detailed explanation.

We then return to Tanya’s present-day and the summons that cut her leave short. The pace gets bogged down as the narrative presents a status report on the northern conflict against the Alliance, an initial survey of the battleground to come, the announcement of search and destroy orders to Tanya’s battalion and an update on the Alliance official at the center of this activity. It’s a lot of information for a complicated setup. Tojo-sensei makes these giant chunks of information more digestible by placing some of it in a lunchtime chat between Visha and an Academy friend and by interjecting humor through the contrasting responses of Tanya and her subordinates. Even so, it’s a dense read. (Not nearly as dense as the original novel text though).

However, there is a purpose to laying out the broader landscape for these multiple moving parts. When those parts finally converge, the payoff is huge. The collision of air, sea, and undersea forces is astronomically improbable, but it makes for splendid chaos, and Tojo-sensei does a great job conveying the frantic thoughts of all parties involved.

In the midst of the furious battle is a turning point for Mary Sue that doesn’t occur in either the anime or the novel. Being X and his cohorts in the higher plane haven’t meddled much since the Elinium 95 arc. Now they intervene directly and in a significant way. Whereas the anime and novel implied Mary’s powerful mana was something inherited from her father, here her powers are the result of not one, but three miracles. The divine backing she receives is quite dramatic and brands her as a force Tanya must contend with down the line.

Extras include a world map, battle log thus far, character introductions, and detailed glossary of terms between chapters. Unfortunately, the font on the character introductions is so small (4 point? 3 point?) that reading it feels like an eye exam.

In Summary

After a lesson on the history of mages, the narrative returns to the abrupt summons to Tanya’s battalion. These orders might be sudden, but the explanation of the circumstances surrounding it takes a while. However, if you’re patient enough to process that information, it pays off in a thrilling ocean battle.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #08

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 08 of the manga adaption, and you can read on for the review. (For my reviews of other Tanya the Evil works, click here.)

The Review

This volume, like Volume 7, kicks off with a glimpse of the divine. However, rather than an interaction with humans, the divine forces discuss among themselves the most effective means to manipulate humanity. These characters are depicted as a rather jarring collection of religious figures. Fortunately, the interlude is brief, and we quickly return to Tanya’s battle against Colonel Sue’s aerial unit.

Unlike the anime, where Tanya kills the Colonel without much trouble, he puts up a serious fight, and Tanya only survives due to luck and Imperial reinforcements (who thankfully are considerate enough to show up with a spare coat for the naked Major). From the Tanya/Sue dogfight, the action zooms out to the positions of the 203rd unit. Then it takes a further step back to a macro level perspective for the Imperial Northern Sea Fleet’s invasion and the tremendous damage they dish out to the Alliance troops. Overall, Tojo-sensei does an excellent job conveying the fight’s progression and the chaos wreaked upon Os.

Having survived the Battle of Osfjord, Anson Sue handily provides a window into two groups within the defeated country: the ordinary citizenry and the politicians. The loss of their homeland is inevitable, so the Colonel arranges for his family to escape the country, and we witness his touching farewell to his wife and daughter Mary. Mary doesn’t do much but smile and look charming, but quite a few pages are devoted to her introduction. Oddly, even though the Entente Alliance is a northern country and it is December, she frolics in a meadow in a spring dress. Even odder, she’s half her mother’s height, which makes her look twelve at most, but she’s drawn with a C-cup bust. That aside, the manga shows the means by which Mary obtains her submachine gun present to her father, a detail that was not included in the anime or novel.

As for Colonel Sue, he’s stuck with carrying out his defeated government’s plans to continue the fight against the Empire. With the enemy closing in, the Entente politicians desperately reach out to the Albion Commonwealth. The two countries scheme to smuggle out a high-level Entente official for the purpose of establishing a government in exile, and Colonel Sue is assigned to accompany that official out. Although it’s somewhat dense, the diagram that explains the Alliance and Commonwealth plan to get around the Imperial naval blockade is super helpful. By the way, this arc was part of the light novel but not the anime, and I look forward to seeing Tojo-sensei’s visual interpretation of it.

Extras include battle log thus far, character introductions and detailed glossary of terms between chapters.

In Summary

Aerial dogfights, battleship salvos, and marine landings, oh my! Military buffs will get their fill of action in the conclusion of the attack on the Osfjord. Then the cloak and dagger types will get their turn as the Alliance schemes with the Commonwealth to smuggle out a high level official to form a government in exile. The focus is less on Tanya and more on the plight of her defeated enemy, but the narrative remains a compelling one.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #07

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 07 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

With undeniable wit and charisma, Tanya manages to charm her way into the warmth of the office…not. When an order for a military march launches the dumbfounded Degurechaff into the freezing depths of winter, fluffy pillows and five course meals are the last thing on her mind…That is, until the Major discovers another tempting course of action…

The Review

I commented in my review of Volume 6 that Being X has been absent a while. Well, apparently he doesn’t want us to forget him because he pops in at the opening of Volume 7. Although the chapter is titled “Norden VI,” nearly half of it is Tanya’s reflections on her previous world and the philosophies and events that formed her character. In the midst of this walk down memory lane, Being X interrupts with images of a life the Japanese salaryman could’ve had. The interaction between divine and mortal is brief, but in addition to the usual spite and venom that reaffirms our main character’s disgust toward his creator, we also see a rare instant of vulnerability.

Then it’s back to Norden and the winter offensive so hotly debated in the previous volume. Tanya calculated that such a push would only wear down the Empire’s already ragged resources, but General Staff is treating the Northern Army’s offense as part of a larger plan to subdue the Regadonia Alliance. Tanya piecing together the top-secret attack through her conversation with von Rudersdorf is covered in all three incarnations of this story, and as usual, the manga provides the clearest version. Whereas the anime breezes through the massive pincer plan too quickly and the novel’s narrative is a bit hard to comprehend, the manga’s depiction of the von Rudersdorf interchange followed by a cartoon outline spells out the operation in understandable terms. Granted, the outline is somewhat dense, but that’s only because so many elements are involved in the multipronged attack.

Having explained what the imperial forces are about to do, preparing to execute it is the next order of business. Thus far, we’ve only seen Army forces at work, and in “Norden VII” we get a first glimpse of the Navy. Despite the tension of the impending fight, these scenes are good for giggles. In addition to the usual contrast between Tanya’s train of thought and those of the adults around her, Tojo-sensei has fun with the character designs of the imperial sailors. (Battleship Yamato anyone?)

The volume concludes with the start of the strike on Os. While the illustrations deliver excitement with clarity per usual, they also included an artistic choice that made me really uncomfortable.  Not to say that getting one’s clothes shredded is an impossibility in combat, but it just seems wrong when Tanya’s the only one fighting naked in a zone filled almost entirely with adult men. I really wish Tojo-sensei had let her stay clothed or leveled the field by making everyone naked.

Extras include battle log thus far, character introductions and detailed glossary of terms between chapters.

In Summary

General Staff chooses to make a winter offensive on Norden! But before the fight begins, the narrative delves into the strategic nitty gritty of what the higher ups really have in mind for this seemingly foolish attack. While we don’t get any combat scenes till the very end of the volume, the lead-up to the fighting plus a glimpse into Tanya’s previous life keeps things engaging.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #06

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 06 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

Extolled for her achievements in Dacia, Tanya makes her grand return to Norden! As the war escalates, so do the General Staff’s expectations for the 203rd Aerial Mage Battalion (much to the young major’s dismay). From a barrage of enemy formulas to communication mishaps with higher-ups, it looks like everyone in the world-be they enemies or allies-will stop at nothing to sabotage the former salaryman!

The Review

Although it was officially a battle with Dacia, the so-called “live-fire exercise” in the previous volume was a fun romp for Tanya and her new battalion. Now they get down to business with an enemy that can actually deal damage on the Northern Front. The defense of the Kraggana Depot is also covered in the novel and anime, and the manga again provides more depth and humor than the other versions by presenting/contrasting the simultaneous perspectives of multiple characters. Not only does it highlight the disconnect between Tanya and her superiors/subordinates, the reactions of observers and enemies convey just how the extraordinary the 203rd is.

Additionally, the manga portrays a more complex battlefield. The anime mostly depicts aerial mages shooting at each other; the novel talks about the casting of various magic formulas, but the descriptions are so minimal it’s difficult to picture them. In this manga, the illustrations demonstrate just how the 203rd’s illusions thwart and misguide the enemy.

The story then takes another leap decades into the future where journalists continue to puzzle over what is Tanya’s shrouded legacy. What this chapter primarily offers is a look at how wrong their conjectures are. Because they don’t add new information to what’s happening in Tanya’s timeline, I’m not particularly interested in their pursuit of the “eleventh goddess.” Fortunately, the detour only lasts one brief chapter, and we’re back to Norden.

In the aftermath of Kraggana, the brass must coordinate their next move so the setting switches from combat zone to war room. We’ve seen these meetings before, but this time Tanya gets to weigh in on the discussion. The anime went through this scene so quickly that it wasn’t particularly fraught. While the novel provided a ton of detail, the writing was such that it was difficult to visualize the drama playing out. The manga, however, presents a very clear and sometimes comical three-way battle between the interests of Tanya, General Staff, and the Northern Army. So even though no bullets are flying, it gets plenty heated between Tanya and the Northern officers as she argues the futility of a winter offensive.

Extras include character introductions and a detailed glossary of terms between chapters.

In Summary

Once again, Tojo-sensei presents a brilliant interpretation of events that is distinct from the anime and markedly clearer than the novel. This installment has a little bit of everything: a prebattle speech, aerial combat, the future’s perspective on the war, and a heated war room debate. The only element missing is a confrontation with Being X, but I’m not enamored of that arc and think the story’s just fine without it.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #05

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 Review

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.

In Summary

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.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #04

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 04 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

Zero candidates was Tanya’s ultimate key to forestalling a new project that would send her to the front lines. But plans backfire after waves of applications from fresh, promising soldiers flood the office. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, the Elinium 95’s mind contamination begins to take effect on the young captain who-before realizing it-is now the official leader of a battalion?!

The Review

A recurring theme of this series is that, in spite of Tanya’s best efforts, nothing ever goes the way she wants. Thus, upon graduation from war college, instead of the cushy desk job she’s been striving for, her orders are to form a new mage battalion destined for the front. Shortly thereafter, her ploy to scare off prospective candidates results in a literal avalanche of applicants. Despite this continuously repeated pattern of attempt and failure, it doesn’t get old. That’s partly because the manga, unlike the novel, allows readers to see the disconnect between Tanya’s thoughts and those of the people around her, and mangaka Tojo skillfully uses those situations for maximum hilarity. And it’s partly because Tanya’s refusal to let fate (and Being X) get the better of her leads to amazing creativity.

In the case of Volume 4, most of those creative efforts are aimed toward a nightmare of a training regimen designed to weed incompetents out of Tanya’s battalion (i.e., her personal shield). The manga, like the anime, takes this opportunity to show off Tanya’s wicked side, and because the novel doesn’t provide much detail on Tanya’s boot camp, the manga and anime each have different versions of the pint-sized commander kicking her subordinates into shape. However, the manga version goes into more detail about the rationale behind Tanya’s intense regimen, and the manga’s explanations of the different combat formulas are vastly clearer than what’s provided by the novel.

Tojo-sensei definitely has a talent for taking what’s in the novel and bringing it up to the next level. In Chapter 11, Tanya’s concerns about her stunted physical development take her to the doctor. In the novel’s account of the doctor’s visit, we’re so much in Tanya’s head that all we see is her worry. The manga, on the other hand, shows how the adults perceive Tanya’s concerns, which makes for a livelier and more entertaining scene. Tojo-sensei has been doing this consistently, and I look forward to more of her work.

Extras include battle log so far, character introductions, detailed glossary of terms after each chapter, and interviews with cover designer Toshimitsu Numa and scriptwriter Satoshi Oshio. While the interviews are interesting, Yen Press used a teeny font for those pages, so reading is hard on the eyes.

In Summary

Those who’ve missed watching troops in life-or-death situations will once more get to see imperial soldiers fight to stay alive. And the funny thing is that they’re not even on the front. Dark humor abounds as little Tanya puts battalion candidates through a modern-era Hell Week. Even if you’re familiar with the novel or anime, the manga provides such a rich, detailed, and entertaining perspective of Tanya’s messed up life that you should still pick it up.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #03

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 03 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

At last, the long-awaited days of tranquility are here! Tanya begins attending war college, where she spends her time feasting in leisure. But who would’ve thought that a conversation with General von Zettour would lead to another turn of events! Will her days of delicious bread and clean bed sheets come to an end?

The Review

After the frontline chaos of the first two volumes, Volume 3 delivers relatively tranquil chapters with Tanya attending college in comfort (mostly). Safely away from the raging battlefield, Tanya enjoys clean sheets, hot food, and the luxury of not being shot at. However, because she is attending war college with other officer candidates, the Empire’s two-front war is never far from mind. Thus, the narrative switches from the life-and-death intensity of Tanya’s individual sorties to a broad and almost scholarly view of global events as the top brass ponder their current situation and where it is headed.

But just because Tanya’s not in the trenches doesn’t mean she’s completely carefree. Elite salaryman that she once was, she’s out to seize every opportunity toward a cushy career path in the rear. And so we get tension of a different sort as she tries to impress Brigadier General Von Zettour of the Service Corps and later convinces a rival to drop out of the promotion track at the war college. As usual, her results are mixed, and Tojo-sensei does a fine job inserting comedy into scenes by contrasting Tanya’s intentions with the thoughts of those she’s trying to manipulate.

The final chapter in this volume is a glimpse forty years into the future. Although this arc wasn’t included in the amine, it was part of the original novel, and according to the mangaka interview included in Volume 3, Tojo-sensei was keen on incorporating that content into the manga. The events of Tanya’s world have closely followed the history of our world, and Chapter 9 confirms that the Empire will lose as Germany did. However, that chapter is less about the outcome of the war and more about the mysterious imprint Tanya left on history. As such, the flash forward does serve as an enticement to continue reading.

Extras include a detailed glossary of terms after each chapter and a lengthy interview with mangaka Chika Tojo.

In Summary

No aerial battles, trench warfare, or divine encounters in this installment. For anyone who’s wanted Tanya to enjoy civilian life, this is about as ordinary as it gets for our reincarnated salaryman. Tojo-sensei uses this relatively quiet volume to zoom out from individual skirmishes and convey the overall situation of the war instead. It’s a lot of geopolitics and strategy, but Tojo-sensei does a wonderful job—even better than the original novel—of presenting this information in a clear and interesting way.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #02

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 02 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

After being reborn and becoming a magic wielding soldier in the Imperial Army, Tanya Degurechaff bemoans her fate of being placed at the very edge of the front lines instead of a comfy place in the rear. Swearing revenge on Being X, she plunges head-first into battle, dragging her subordinate along with her!

The Review

Volume 2 delivers three dense chapters from three different POVs. In Chapter 4, Tanya meets her very first subordinates, and these pages are written from the perspective of Corporal Viktorya Serebryakov. Unlike the anime, which gave Visha a somewhat dopey character design to match her dopey personality, the manga portrays her as a young beauty (even when she’s puking in the trenches). The manga also differs from the anime in that the two other cadets assigned to Tanya disappear without much fanfare. However, Visha stays close to Tanya as she does in the novel and anime, and through her eyes we see how Tanya inspires fear and admiration in ordinary soldiers. In addition, because Visha is a newbie to the Rhine front, we get to learn about the war theater and military tactics alongside her. And there is QUITE a bit to learn. Fortunately, the myriad personalities on the front keep the influx of information from getting dry.

Next in Chapter 5, the POV shifts to Tanya as her unit gets sent to engage an elite company of Republican mages. This one sortie provides a snapshot of her interactions with her superior, her peers, and her enemies as well as insight into the motives behind her actions. It’s interesting how coolly she calculates the quickest way to reward (i.e. a vacation) even in the chaos of the battlefield. However, Being X never fails to make her lose her temper, and the rage when she’s forced to use the Elinium 95 is a remarkable contrast to her usual level-headed demeanor. By the way, I especially appreciated the manga’s depiction of the chatter between Tanya and Schones’ unit. The way the novel presented the scene made it difficult to picture the conversation; the manga not only presented it clearly, it made it entertaining.

In this volume’s final chapter, we move away from the battlefield to a different set of players: the Empire’s top brass. The topic of discussion is Tanya’s candidacy for War College, and it ends up being a kind of employee review to determine whether Tanya’s achievements are worthy of promotion. Just as in Chapter 4, readers get a good sense of the impression Tanya makes on others even as we learn about the Empire’s military leadership and values. The exchange between generals and majors isn’t as colorful as that on the front, but it is engaging nonetheless.

Extras include detailed glossary of terms after each chapter.

In Summary

For those who want to dive deeper into Tanya’s war torn world, this volume does an excellent job of conveying both the terror and filth of the trenches as well as the geopolitics behind military strategies. Having also read the Tanya novel and watched the anime, I feel that the manga does the best job of the three at depicting Tanya’s tour of duty at the Rhine and the debate over her candidacy into War College. There’s aerial combat for action/magic lovers, tons of details on the Empire and its enemies for strategy geeks, and a whole lot of personality from the cast to make it a lively read.

First published at the Fandom Post.

 

 

 

Manga Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol. #01

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 01 of the manga adaption, and you can read on for the review. (For reviews of other Tanya the Evil works, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

When the average Japanese salaryman is suddenly thrown into in a world wracked with warfare and hardship by a supernatural power, they might first think to hide or run away. But not Tanya Degurechaff. A calculating and utilitarian man has been reborn as a child soldier. This young girl will do anything to rise in rank and find a way to live a life of comfort, and woe to any king, country, or god who stands in her way.

The Review

Tanya the Evil is difficult to categorize. It’s got magic, World War I style wargames, and politics as well as reincarnation, dark humor, and a kind of existential brawl with divine elements. That sounds like a real mishmash, but amazingly, it works to create a compelling story.

The setting is an alternate World War I Germany, but the main character actually originates from our modern Japan. He’s a highly intelligent, ultra-rational salaryman who knows how to work the system to get what he wants. Unfortunately, he fails to account for the irrationality of emotion, which results in an untimely death. However, despite meeting God upon his demise, he refuses to acknowledge Him as such. So the Creator decides to instill faith in the faithless man by reincarnating him—memories intact—as a female in a war-torn world where everything he’s relied on doesn’t exist.

As such, this first volume of Tanya winds up being a dense read. For those familiar with the anime, the manga provides more details on the strife brewing between the Empire and its neighbors, as well as the rationale for Tanya’s various military assignments. Because Tanya retains her Japanese salaryman memories, she often makes comparisons between her situations and similar examples from our world. For those unversed in world history, explanations of her references are inserted into the narrative, which is very handy for clarification but does slow down the pace.

Interweaving in the midst of the complex setting are two storylines. The first is Tanya’s refusal to acknowledge God—or Being X, as she calls Him. Unlike the anime, where God creepily communicates to Tanya by possessing others, this representation is the Michaelangelo type, albeit one characterized by the worst stereotypes of the Creator. Also, God doesn’t act alone; in this version, there’s a consortium of divine beings at work to change the faithlessness of mankind.

The second storyline is Tanya’s efforts to survive in her new world and attain her goal: a cushy desk job far from the front lines. Considering she’s essentially a conniving adult in a child’s body, she’s got a significant advantage, especially when it comes to combat and military strategy. However, just as when she was a salaryman, she often misreads emotions, and much of the humor comes from the contrast between Tanya’s thoughts and those of the people she’s trying to manipulate.

Regarding illustrations, Tojo-sensei skillfully uses a range of styles to convey the narrative. Crisp maps and diagrams convey a broad view of the military theater. Political interactions between nations are depicted using cartoonish animal mascots. Combat scenes are gory, and Tanya’s crazed looks certainly convey the insanity and desperation of war. However, her frustrated expressions when her efforts to attain a cushy job get stymied are quite funny.

Extras include first four pages in color.

In Summary

If you like simple stories, Tanya the Evil is probably not the best choice. The main character has a complicated backstory, and the World War I-esque setting involves military strategy and politics. However, if you enjoy multifaceted stories and defiant personalities and you can tolerate some graphic violence, Tanya is worth a look.

First published at the Fandom Post.