Reviewed by Alfred Campbell
It is June of the year CE 1923. A young girl with blond hair and blue eyes, Tanya Degurechaff, has entered the final curriculum of the Imperial Military Academy and is training at the third patrol line in the northern military district, the Norden Theater, as part of her service to the force. Her training, the first step toward a brilliant career as an aviation mage, should have gone off without a hitch... but things took an unexpected turn.
An anime released in winter 2016, one of the first anime to come out to top off the new year and boy did it top the new year off right. The Saga of Tanya the Evil was one of those gems that if you didn't give it a chance you may have over looked it. The art style was something that was different in it's own right, and pulled off some interesting style differences from character to character. If you cannot tell already, I will say this before I go into any more details. This is a highly recommended series, and now I will explain to you why.
The story revolves around a little girl named Tanya, at the time of the story she is around ten. She was born in an orphanage in an age reminiscent to the era of World War One. The orphanage that doubled as a church often lacked food so she knew what hunger was and suffered as she was growing. Only by the good graces of god that she was gifted with amazing aptitude for magic, and because of that she was able to enlist in the army at a ripe young age. She was a prodigy and showed it, and moved up the ranks fast. There was however, a lot more to Tanya then meets the eye.
This is what makes the story so compelling. Tanya is a reincarnation of a man who died in modern day Tokyo. The middle aged man lived his whole life apathetic and believing in rules and regulations. Doing only what you need to survive and if you cannot follow that order then you cannot blame anyone else but yourself for your actions. This man was a rational and logical man but he lacked empathy and fired a man who was unproductive to the company, it was just a regular day to him.. Until the same man pushes him into the train tracks.
The train was a second from striking him as he was falling, when the world around him came to cease. And a voice came and appeared to him, and asked him a series of questions. The dialog carried on and the man defied the god and condemned him. He condemned this entity and explained why people lost faith, because there was a lack of struggle. To which the godly like figure in the most pettiest of manners declared to him that if that is how you feel, I will put you in a situation and you will come to worship me. This is your last reincarnation, so be sure to live it right.
The whole concept of the story at this point, changes to not one of only survival but defiance as well. This is what caught my immediate attention, that and it's pretty wicked to see this ten year old faux prodigy use her knowledge of her previous life to raise the ranks and develop plans and tactics. The animation is spectacular and amazing to look at, the characters are all well rounded and their personalities matches them. And Tanya herself, is one of the most cold and calculating protagonist I have seen in a long time.
You become confused on if you want to root for her or not, and that in itself is good writing. This is a must watch and as for the first season, it gets a full 5/5.