11 CommentsAnime Analysis / By Scamp /

Why Tanya the Evil may end up being my favourite anime of 2017

IMG_0546Tanya the Evil may end up being my favorite anime of 2017. Considering it’s the first anime by a studio with no hype behind it and that my first impression was that it would be an anime for neo nazis, that’s quite the achievement. It tells the story of a sociopathic salaryman who is reborn as a little girl in the middle of magical-World War 1 because God wanted to teach them about what happens to atheists. I could try sell the anime to you by posting a bunch of Tanya faces but instead I shall use the longer option and diligently explain why it’s good…while also posting a bunch of Tanya faces.

IMG_0549First let’s talk about the neo nazi idea, because I saw that floating around a lot after the first episode and it’s something I thought Tanya the Evil might be aiming at as an ideal target audience. The thing is, while Tanya is a sociopathic war-mongering boss who gets shit done while murdering the opposition, the series doesn’t take her side. The entire series is basically about, in a very broad way, why her attitude breaks down in the human world. It’s like the constant bubbling resentment under Tanya that the world won’t act like her logical view believes it should do.

Tanya herself is a fascinating character. She’s bundle of contradictions. Rejecting god because she’s a being a logic, but in doing so refuses to acknowledge the irrefutable fact when god is in front of her because it confronts the way she wants to view the world, going so far as to even reject to call it God and just referring to it as Being X. Rationally plotting out the larger strategy for winning a war then descending into fury when people act out in anger and non-rationally rally against her nation. The show is at its best when these contradictions in her personality arises and she loses her temper as a result. It also helps that these are the moments that Tanya gets to show off her wide variety of Fury Faces.

IMG_0548For an anime studio’s first work, bloody hell Tanya the Evil is incredibly well made. The animation might not blow the load of a sakuga enthusiast, but it works and is expertly shot and directed, with fantastic battle choreography and understanding of lighting and framing in down moments. Little things like showing Tanya’s true feelings in a facial expression only in reflections, or scene transitions for humorous effect. Characters convey depth and emotion through multiple methods, shifting of hands, little pauses in dialogue.

I had someone ask me whether the show was all grey cloudy flying battles, and yes the show is a wee bit drab on the colour palette. But it fits thematically and it works well within the frame Tanya set for itself. The entire flying battle in episode 11 with magicians flying in and out of clouds, redirecting of attacks and the way the camera was framed during dramatic moments. It’s a mini-masterpiece in understated directing, even if you wouldn’t realise that when Tanya’s faces are so wonderfully overblown.

IMG_0545It’s not perfect. Well, actually it sort of is in the general idea that it succeeds in exactly what it set out to do. There’s nothing I can point to in the series and say this was shot poorly or this line of dialogue could have been phrased better. In fact the dialogue in general is pretty spot-on, and hits a high mark in those notable moments whenever Tanya loses her temper with either Being X or, more entertainingly, the mad scientist who finds God/Being X halfway through his experiments. I do find the show a lot less entertaining when Tanya actually succeeds in anything and everything goes according to plan, because that’s when it strays closest to resembling a mad power fantasy of a sociopathic neo-nazi.

There’s also the nagging feeling that Tanya being a little 7 year old girl doesn’t actually add anything to the story beyond being kind of hilarious, but I’m willing to let that one side because it is the sort of faintly hilarious that allows itself to be more Anime as a result. Plus I’m pretty sure the only reason she’s a little girl anyway is because they need to put an anime girl on the cover of the light novel or else it would never be published. That’s the only way the author could get people to read his artistic breakdown of why a sociopathic viewing of the world will break down in the long term because humanity doesn’t act rationally. Eventually you will find the world will turn against you and you’ll find yourself staring at a speeding train you didn’t mean to be in front of.

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11 Comments

  1. tmp
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    “but I’m willing to let that one side”
    *slide

  2. Lyric Dawnhagen
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    This show surprised me as well. I quit watching in the middle of the first episode because I just was not getting into it. I watched an anime podcast and some of their members also quit during the first episode but the others said just get through the first episode and the second will get you hooked.

    So I forced myself to watch the first two episodes and then I could not wait for the next one. I hope they can make a second season and keep the anime up to the quality of this season.

  3. Ken
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Anime loves to give children guns. I was a big fan of Gunslinger Girls when the anime came out. I saw Gunslinger as an action/tragedy. Tanya the Evil in my opinion is more of an action/comedy.

    It makes me wonder, is the comedy in Tanya there for comedy relief or is it the whole point of the series.

    Also is Tanya immortal? I mean, a few years go by while Tanya is in the military and she doesn’t seem to grow. Did magic stunt her growth?

    I want another season.

  4. ANON
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I legit thought that this would be your favorite for the year since you don’t and wouldn’t have enough time to watch other series/seasons.

  5. megaroad1
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable read. I enjoyed Tanya too, and agree with most of your points.

    having said that, you must admit the last paragraph is a kinda sad, but very true unintended indictment of the public nowadays. Unless you make her a little girl, no one would watch this.

  6. Varyn
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t really get a neo-nazi vibe from it. There’s a little generic nationalism sure, but no ethnic propaganda. It’s an alternate WW1 not WW2, and shares WW1 themes of rampant imperialism leading to the slaughter of millions over territory.

    I think it’s quite close to american psychos themes when she succeeds. A sociopath thriving in an equally morally bankrupt world and comes off as a cynical critic of absolutely everyone since they’re all enabling her.

  7. Yalu
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    You pulled the words right out of my mouth. It’s such an anime thing to have everyone treat Tanya as normal even though she is seven years old.

    On a side note, do you think Tanya the Evil will get a second season?

  8. Yalu
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    You pulled the words right out of my mouth. It’s such an anime thing to have everyone treat Tanya as normal even though she is seven years old.

    On another note, do you think Tanya the Evil will get a second season?

  9. Posted May 20, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    This show is for nazis and pedos.

    this isnt funny its not april 1st scamp

  10. Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    My take is that they had to make Tanya a young girl, otherwise ‘she’ doesn’t seem evil. I mean, replace her with a middle-aged man and it becomes just a war story. Also I’d say:
    1. The empire isn’t evil. They never invade anyone who didn’t invade them first.
    2. Tanya isn’t evil. She lacks empathy, but she plays by the rules of the society she’s in. She isn’t trying to take over. She just wants a quiet life.

    • Morgan
      Posted May 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Tanya is basically Yoshikage Kira.

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