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Youjo Senki – 12 (END)

「勝利の使い方」 (Shouri no tsukaikata)
“How to Use a Victory”

There might be no sequel announcement, but at least Youjo Senki goes out with a bang. Well, metaphorically. Besides the founding of Free not-France and the creation of the Empire’s very own not-Afrika Korps, the story this week was the laying of groundwork for the bigger war to come. If the talks, speeches, and monologues were anything to go by, not-Britain is finished with neutrality, not-Russia is eager to test its big boy guns, and not-USA has gone full Hearts of Iron IV with its volunteer forces. The future Tanya definitely has her work cut out for her.

The larger portion of this episode, however, was devoted to philosophy, where Tanya has arguably shown her first serious development. Our little loli has certainly not abandoned rationality, but it’s evident her thoughts have now changed. Unlike the Empire who rigidly adheres to realism (the political version mind you), Tanya, whether from God and/or personal experience, has accepted the innate irrationality of humanity. She can now see why men may act “incorrectly”, why in certain circumstances emotions will best even the most stoic of men. Quite a shift from the beginning where Tanya couldn’t understand the reasoning behind certain key actions. Makes it all the more ironic—and fitting— too that Tanya ends things with her own little act of irrationality. Seemingly through with God’s manipulative ways, she has now dispensed with the pleasantries and openly and brutally declared war on God and his dominion. I seriously doubt a statement like that will remain divinely unanswered for long.

Of course the new Earthly threat specifically rests in Mary Sue, who has now assumed the role of rival from her deceased father. This was always the inevitability given earlier emphasis on Anson’s family, and it’s fitting given that Mary’s name should at least impart some stronger plot armour than the previous poor suckers. I’m really curious to see how Mary ends up fairing, because with the number of dramatic faces flying about, I’m hard pressed denying the giddiness at the potential battles to come. Considering Tanya too is now being given the truly hard missions, I’m expecting quite a few difficult fights in the near future. There’s no question, if/when Youjo Senki returns we have some serious red meat to look forward to.

Final Impressions

Out of every show I’ve watched this season, Youjo Senki was the quirkiest. It was a thoroughly military anime, but one meshing its foundation with a unique twist on the “trapped in another world” premise. Couple that with the absolutely ridiculous main character (in a good way), and the show easily left no stone unturned. Normally such an idea would quickly run off the rails, but Youjo Senki kept the ship upright by using Tanya and the world switch as a starting point, not the key point. This show was about Tanya surviving and reclaiming the luxurious life, not returning home or finding the purpose behind her resurrection. While she later added besting God onto her wish list, it always remained within the confines of her rear line goals. God for Tanya was simply an adversary to the enjoyment of 9-5 days and the comforts of managerial life. A decent twist on the usual premise execution.

What primarily made Youjo Senki work though was its military basis. WW1—beyond July-August 1914—is not a common topic, with only one (one!) serious synthesis work. Having an anime use it as a thematic basis easily deserves kudos when WW2 Germany is the ubiquitous go to inspiration. Yes, WW2 events and weapons did worm their way into Youjo Senki’s plot, but this story remained WW1-driven in atmosphere and development. The battlefields were muddied wastelands of shell craters and mutilated bodies, armies advanced under the watch of newfangled aircraft, and the war’s direction was determined by those general staffs infamous for WW1’s epic slaughter. Couple that with excellent attention to detail regarding weapons and uniforms, and Youjo Senki tickled my fancy in all the right places. Yes, it’s arguable the show romanticized Germany a little too much—especially when following on Shuumatsu no Izetta’s heels—but that largely boils down to personal preference. Considering Youjo Senki found the time to delve into war crimes and rarely treated the Empire as the only morally correct power, I had little issue with the show’s thematic direction.

Not everything was peachy, however; Youjo Senki did falter in terms of struggle. Tanya may have been hurt and bloodied a couple of times, but she never really “lost” in her fights; her men always survived, the antagonists always died, and she always won. To be fair this does not account for overarching events (i.e. the war itself) or the exhilaration watching each battle, but I still wouldn’t have minded seeing Tanya physically lose something in her pursuit of peace. While a second season will likely also correct this issue given the raised stakes and Mary Sue’s appearance, when treated as a single cour it’s difficult denying the show went for flair over seriously testing Tanya. Again personal preference will certainly determine one’s opinion here, but I felt the show could have been better in this regard.

For a military anime though, it’s hard doing wrong with Youjo Senki. I thoroughly enjoyed blogging this one, and will definitely return should a second season pop up. There might have been issues here or there, but as a piece of military fantasy, it did everything right it had to. I’ll quite miss watching this on Fridays, but if we can get a similar military show sometime soon, I don’t think I’ll have much to complain about.

March 31, 2017 at 11:50 pm
34 comments »
  • April 1, 2017 at 12:46 amDude

    That glow in Mary’s eyes. I forsee epic loli vs loli dogfighting.

  • April 1, 2017 at 1:04 amL002

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
    The face of many anime characters when they realize that humans, even in modern times, can be beasts. Some people also begin to understand that humans could be considered worse than beasts. While animals can, at best, become beasts, humans can become monsters, especially since we are the only species that uses war in such a murderous scale; not to mention humans are the only species that created negative things such as slavery and so forth.

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2029.jpg
    It is easy to predict that this girl will be on a big hunt on Tanya. Would be a shock if it later becomes one of those “enemies become lovers” theme. I have seen many female anime characters where the people, that they romantically love, happens to be their Father’s killer.

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    You have to give these soldiers credit, especially the soldiers that followed Tanya for so long. To follow a “monster in the form of a little girl” is quite something.

    Anyway, enlighten me if anyone knows what happens to Tanya in the end. Because of the Empire’s negligence, I predict that the Empire will lose; assuming that this is following our world’s history.

    • April 1, 2017 at 1:43 amDevastator001

      First LN spoilers

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 1, 2017 at 4:18 pmL002

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 1, 2017 at 2:19 amRedRocket

      Actually some ants conduct slavery ;) Invasive species often wipe out native species. All predators like to torture from time to time. But your point still valid, as far as I know Humans are the only animal who goes on revenge campaigns. If a animal kills a human the historical human response is to kill huge numbers of that animal type in the area. But humans are the only species that actually protects a wide variety of species and the area they live in.

      But here the human revenge motive that is one way we become monsters.

    • April 1, 2017 at 7:20 amMonimonika

      Adding a tiny bit to the First LN spoilers by Devastator001:

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 1, 2017 at 3:48 pmmadhouse007

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • April 2, 2017 at 4:17 pmMonimonika

        I am now just beginning to read volume 4 of the light novel, so I know how the battle that was hinted at the end of the anime turns out. I want to see it be animated if only for the reactions from each side.

        Two illustrations in volume 4, though, has got me very intrigued (each for different reasons):

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 1, 2017 at 1:31 amVelvet Scarlantina

    So many things… Where to start…

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2016.jpg
    Well, we got not-de Gaulle proclaiming the formation of the not-Free French Forces

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2035.jpg
    Not-Generalleutnant Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke briefing his troops

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2024.jpg
    And a multi-front war… Just how screwed is not-Germany…

    • April 1, 2017 at 1:44 amDevastator001

      Not Russia would be the biggest problem as the Eastern front troops are rather green.

    • April 1, 2017 at 8:20 amLoper

      This is why when aiming for domination victory, you have to destroy another until they only have a small city….not just capturing their capital then accept a peace treaty for 10 turn :p

      • April 1, 2017 at 11:29 pmPancakes

        Dammit don’t temp me to fire up Civ lol. Last time I played I had several 4 am bedtimes. In a row.

    • April 1, 2017 at 3:09 pmordnance11

      Not-Generalleutnant Hermann-Bernhard Ramcke briefing his troops

      Ramcke would be a Colonel at this point.

      At Tanya’s declaration of war against God:

      CRY HAVOC AND LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!

  • April 1, 2017 at 2:05 amgandalf8

    From the first scene of Tanya marching to Strategic HQ to try and see one of the generals until the end of her conversation Erich, I found myself holding my breath. It wasn’t any big and loud action sequence with dizzying aerial maneuvers or colorful explosions, but it still left me breathless. Yuuki Aoi definitely nailed her performance as Tanya here. I could feel the tension in the air, as Tanya seemed to become increasingly irritated and frustrated by not being able to see the generals, and it seemed like only a matter of time before her anger would blow up. Even with Erich, although she seemed to be conversing quite calmly as she gave him her “unfiltered” opinion, I sensed that she was on the verge of exploding at any moment. Yet she somehow managed to suppress all that and instead made me hang to her every word as she shared her “opinions” with Erich.

    After that we get what seems to basically be setup for the next stage of the war. The Not-French troops that escaped have declared to keep on fighting till the bitter end thus extending the war, not-Britain and not-Russia seem to be preparing to join the fray, while not-America starting their own efforts to enter the conflict through recruiting for volunteers which we see through the actions of Mary Sue/Sioux who is now out for the Empire/Tanya’s blood and seems to be the next Being X-backed puppet to clash against Tanya. All these seem to signal that we might be getting a 2nd season down the line, and I wouldn’t be happier if it does. Nevertheless I’ll still temper my expectations because I understand that these LN-based anime series are first and foremost only to promote the source LN and usually end after a 1-cour adaptation of the early volumes. Hopefully the anime does well enough that the stakeholders will green-light the 2nd season so I can enjoy more doses of crazy-loli Tanya in the future.

    As for overall impressions, I would say I’ve immensely enjoyed this series. I’d heard a lot of good things about the LN, and the setting of a ubiquitous isekai story with a twist that has a Japanese salaryman being reincarnated into a loli in an alternate World War 1 Europe hinted that it wasn’t the typical other-world story popular in the current Japanese LN world. Although I’m no military geek and can hardly appreciate all the series attention to portraying realistic military hardware and tactics of the World War 1 era (minus the tanks and magic), I could still comprehend it all thanks to your weekly posts Pancakes. Hopefully Being X slips in a few documents to the production committee (Deus Vult?) to help nudge forward a 2nd season lol. And I’ll definitely being looking forward to your write-ups for each episode too, Pancakes.

    • April 1, 2017 at 11:28 pmPancakes

      Thanks for the thumbs up, I’m happy someone can find some value in my writing :D

      Definitely agreed on Yuuki Aoi’s performance too, she made Tanya as a character. Her voice perfectly complemented those facial expressions we got, plus she had the enraged loli act down pat. Besides the military porn (:P) her VAing was probably the best part of this show for me.

  • April 1, 2017 at 2:41 amRedRocket

    Loved the episode. To me the episode was wonderful and a massive we going to do a second season advertisement. With Overlord getting a second season and the sales this show has I only see inability to negotiate a profit sharing agreement stoping a second season.

    I do not buy the anime is only to promote the book argument other than as a negotiation point for the publisher. If the anime has good ratings, which Japan has Nelson like ratings they just don’t let the information out, so if the anime brings in ad dollars along with good disk sales people will want to make more to increase the profits. I have only noticed second and further seasons increasing books sales just like in US although with everything I’m sure their exceptions.

    But yes a middle of the road sale anime might be not continued as the book publisher does not want to lose money on supporting a anime flop in the second season.

    Arranging to have the same talent I’m sure can sometimes take years as the talent gets committed to other products.

    I’m sure a lot of the mystery of what gets more seasons could be solved if we had the TV ratings. Nelson releases the 18-49 ratings to the public for free as they make their money on the way more important 18-34 ratings and the various sub group ratings. Do to aggressive enforcement of non disclosure agreements Nelson normally keeps the other ratings away from the public. I’m sure the Japanese black out on ratings is similarly enforced and I hear the Japanese laws are tougher. For 8 years or so I was Subway Owner chairman of the owners advertising committees that purchased advertising of two different media markets along with being a member of a marketing fraternity. The markets were Panama City Florida area and the Dothan Alabama area.

    • April 1, 2017 at 5:32 amDevastator001

      Am waiting for the prototype figma and nendoroid of Tanya to show up. They announced they’re planning to make them at the recent wonderfest XD. I guess that’s my way of supporting the anime XD ( I mean if Izetta got a nendoroid and a couple of scale statues and Tanya got zip I call Being X shenanigans!)

      http://myfigurecollection.net/item/549364
      http://myfigurecollection.net/item/549372

      • April 2, 2017 at 12:47 pmLyfe

        I’d love to know the criteria for getting a Nendoroid from Good Smile. They’re so random with their choices. They even gave Mikumo/Frejya the Co-de treatment, which kinda sucks. These are two characters that really needed the proper treatment. But I am surprised they can fit other characters in, what with their schedule being packed with Love Live Sunshine Nendoroids.

  • April 1, 2017 at 3:05 amGinobi47

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2029.jpg

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2036.jpg

    And here is the Epic Loli Face Off we will absolutely never see!

    … unless someone drops season 2 news we all desire so much…

    • April 1, 2017 at 5:27 amDevastator001

      I like the face-off Comparison. Tanya’s face is like “Yeah, I’m the one using your X-mas present to your dad, oh and by the way I used it to pump him full of lead too. Whacha gonna do about it?”

      • April 4, 2017 at 2:37 pmewok40k

        Hello. My name is Mary Sue. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die.
        just had to drop it here after finishing the series…

  • April 1, 2017 at 12:27 pmGuile

    I suspect that since Anson’s terminator second form was a creation of the anime, they didn’t have the guts to kill off named characters in case the LN writer needed them for something later. I’d have rather they ended that blond LT at least, but I can understand why they’d be hesitant to do so.

    • April 1, 2017 at 11:22 pmPancakes

      It’s what I’m thinking too. If a second season is in the cards, a lot of the outcomes this season make sense because the focus then was on setting Tanya up to take on the world. Also provides some development and familiarity to Tanya’s squad mates, so when the deaths do happen it’ll hits harder.

  • April 1, 2017 at 8:22 pmL002

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2027.jpg
    Now that I think about it, I have been wondering if they invented some magical death ray. OR a Nuke in a magical world.

    • April 1, 2017 at 10:35 pmordnance11

      Looks like a railway gun German Krupp K5

    • April 1, 2017 at 11:20 pmPancakes

      Nope just your run of the mill railway gun that was popular in the early-mid 1900s sadly :P

      @ordnance11
      Not in this case, it’s probably a TM-3-12. German railway guns were never exported AFAIK.

  • April 1, 2017 at 9:17 pmzztop

    Is there enough LN material for a S2?

    • April 2, 2017 at 2:13 amZannafar

      Yes, they’d even have enough for a third season. The anime covered the first two volumes of the LN and there are seven released so far.

      • April 2, 2017 at 12:41 pmLyfe

        The release method for the show is interesting. Three volumes with four episodes each. Each volume is twice the usual price of an anime release(Probably because of the amount of episodes on each). It suggests to me that they want to get the show out quickly, likely so they can make a decision on its future.

        I haven’t the slightest clue what that means for the show, but usually 12/13 episode shows are dragged out over multiple volumes with 2-3 episodes on each.

  • April 2, 2017 at 12:20 amL002

    I have already lost count, how many anime/manga can anyone name where it bluntly illustrates that humans are “beasts”? Now that I recall, the only ones I know of are Parasyte and Cage of Eden.

  • April 2, 2017 at 1:46 amdaikama

    OT, but since it was mentioned in the review post… @Pancakes or anyone else: How is Hearts of Iron IV? I’ve played Hearts of Iron III – good game, but yeah, GUI issues among some others. Thought about buying HoI IV, but not sure. Any thoughts? Is it a lot better (outside of visual quality – that I expect) than HoI III? If so, how? Lastly, if this is too OT, then feel free to delete my post.

    Thanks.

  • April 2, 2017 at 11:22 amNishizawa Mihashi

    http://randomc.net/image/Youjo%20Senki/Youjo%20Senki%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2031.jpg

    The salaryman hath spoken, and the Anti-God hath come! THE ANTI-GOD HATH COME!!!!!!!!!!!

    A most, most, most interesting series that I found myself completely immersed and thoroughly engaged until the ‘Lord’ falls into the abyss that’s been gazing right back him. I am definitely on edge- just what will the salaryman do? What immense feat deeply saturated in risk will he take? What will planet Terra end becoming in this alternate universe where magic is part and parcel of some completely abstruse physics?

    A new age has begun. This is World War 2. #TanyaEdition

    (P.S. Tanya and some of her battalion members posses plot armor yes, and it annoys me from time to time yes, but nevertheless I would assume that this is all saved for a grand, spectacular, colossal, titanic moment of personal armageddon once the complete narrative reaches its final destination [pun intended])

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:31 amiron2000

    Feels like God and Devil are the same entity, toying with one salaryman.
    Why just that one salaryman? There could be others that don’t believe.
    Its like God is bored, like Ryuk was bored in Death Note.
    Are there other Gods? Who could have inserted other players into the game?

    I know theres the LN but I’m just thinking :P

    Having enjoyed Izetta brought me to this anime which I enjoyed too.
    Really admire the salaryman or is God just slowly toying with him?
    I wish there is some story from the God’s viewpoint, I want to know what Being X is thinking.

    In the train time stop scene is there just one God or more?
    Just that one entity that is in charge of reincarnation?

  • April 4, 2017 at 6:40 pm1993espada

    Thanks for blogging Youjo Senki. Really enjoyed it and some background information are never bad. Even through I probably should feel a little bad that I as a german did only know about some of the events that have taken place here …

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