「キャンパス・ライフ」 (Kyanpasu Raifu)
Hard imagining a war show without any shooting is it? Youjo Senki tests that belief this week with a relatively laid back transitory episode, where Tanya finds out to her horror that you can indeed be too smart for your own good. It was all about that cutthroat, selfish personality this week, and how even ruthless opportunism can meet its match.
Part of what fascinates me about Youjo Senki is Tanya herself. This one is arguably a true antihero, wholly committed to her desires and completely uncaring towards the consequences. Yes Tanya might keep such thoughts secret, but there is a no holds barred attitude surrounding their pursuance. What makes her personality work well is the inherent duplicity behind it. The treatment of the captain this week is indicative, where for a moment you think Tanya might actually have a heart after all, only for the actual purpose to reveal itself following the captain’s absence. Tanya’s speaking skills enabled her to both eliminate the poor captain from contention in the promotion track and turn the man into a supporter. For all that it is demonically wicked, watching Tanya outright manipulate people is no less fun.
Where the manipulation becomes truly enrapturing though is when Tanya overextends and starts digging herself a hole. The discussion with Operations Chief
Satou Zettour is the obvious example here, where Tanya unknowingly signalled herself out out as Zettour’s target. This bit was quite amusing to watch because of the unspoken jousting behind it. When Zettour calls certain aspects into question, Tanya quickly identifies a new train of thought and runs with it. Such verbal prowess is not a common feature among smart characters, especially in anime, as it can be difficult to visually show. Here, however, Tanya’s internal monologues and facial expressions make the whole thing and showcase just how smart she is by being able to control the conversation.
The problem of course is when your opponent is as equally skilled and possesses their own agenda. While Zettour did not speak much, he clearly was herding Tanya into a specific position, giving her just enough rope to figuratively hang her objectives with. Tanya believed it was all a theoretical exercise, surprisingly never considering the possibility that others may have different ideas in mind. Especially hilarious too is how Zettour is setting her up as a scapegoat. Remember the scene with the legalities concerning battle plans going awry and the blame resting on the commanding officer? Tanya in her new role has no commanding officer, should she screw up, she receives the consequences. I never expected someone else mentally similar to Tanya popping up, but damn it makes things interesting—Zettour is definitely one to pay attention to going forward. God certainly isn’t the only threat to Tanya’s dream of a comfortable, easy life now.
Next Time: A Fighting We Shall Go
With the dreams of a staff job thoroughly crushed, it’s back to the front for our sadistic blondie. While it may be with new responsibilities, obligations, and an increased risk of death, at least Tanya can take solace in knowing Viktoriya is back to help. Never hurts having others to take care of the superfluous duties.
I love how Tanya’s age is emphasized often. Case in point that high chair hilariously featured.
Not entirely certain which fascist Tanya is referencing, but given the context the quote likely originates from Hitler or Goebbels. Need to do some digging on that one.
It’s interesting how the anime has made everyone just a little more personally focused on Tanya. Not only does God feel more focused on their little contest, but Zettours too; in the novel the chance meeting in the library was (as far as I know) actual chance, and her talk just helped crystallize some thoughts Zettours already had. Here he clearly sought her out directly (the way he brought her back to his office), and it felt much more like a job interview that Tanya had no idea was happening.
This version of the Zettours meeting fits better with the way God was stacking the deck by drawing attention to Tanya’s personnel file from last episode, and it feels like a bit of a stronger narrative to boot rather than dumb (un)luck. So that’s nice.
What does it say about the almighty God, that can’t deal with couple billion souls. And getting pissed enough to constantly meddle with a life of one person, who was capable of flinging shit back at his face, eh? The embodiment of love, f’sure.
Well it pretty sure he’s a imposter of that level god, what with not even handling one planet’s people when there are probably billions of advanced civilizations in the universe. So although X seams to want to claim to be the Abrahamic god (Jew’s, Christians, Muslims) he seams at best the limited version described in the Old Testaments history portion. But X statement on reincarnation much more fits with Shinto Gods and what Shinto thinks of all the rest of the worlds gods. Shinto accepts all religions gods as real. the powerful ones just avatars of the same being, the other being weaker and local. A classical Buddhist as a different type of atheist would probably drive X just as nuts as Tanya. Classical Buddhism worships no god although it recognizes powerful god like beings exist. Worship of a God is a distraction that prevents you from reaching the goal of enlightenment which is a individual pursuit. And gods in Buddhism are sort of pitied as their power and privilege make it a lot harder for the gods to reach enlightenment. I’m not a Buddhist or a expert but this is my impression of what I have read. And X may very well be a devil but one with great power over time in space. It is a Buddhist concept that their are a multitude of worlds what we call many universes today, the Buddhists had this hundreds and hundreds of years earlier than science fiction. Thus a X doing reincarnation in a Buddhist multi universe would fit the story and as each universe has it’s own time X would have to have some time powers. Shinto and Buddhism in Japan are linked so that would be true in above description.
The narrative changes here really are working wonders IMO. The “personalizing” of Tanya’s spat with God and now Zettour’s machinations make the whole plot more sinister, and as you mention, transform the central premise from simple circumstance into one of Tanya against the world.
Lo Behold the face of a person who pretty much shot herself in the foot!
PS: Cute…. just so f*cking cute!
I totally dig Tanya’s character and interactions !
Nice review glad you caught the same thing I did. Tanya others think Tanya put her foot in her mouth. Tanya may have hanged herself but Zettour made the nose and put it over her neck and then gave her no easy way out. We know that Zettour already was working on a rapid response plan at the end last week and he got the “helpful” note on Tanya’s file. As you pointed out Zettour set her up to come up with the same logical conclusion he had already came to. But it was a test also I’m sure Zettour wanted to make sure Tanya was the very bright, well read and insightful person she was described as. Unfortunately for Tanya if she had realized and played dumb I’m quite sure that would have killed her promotion chances and sent her back to the front solo.
I did not get your insight but wonderful figuring out that by setting Tanya up to “author” the plan he keeps his fingers off of it. Brilliant high level officer/manager skill there make things so you get praise and the result you wanted if it works and keep the splash off of you if it fails.
Hey Tanya needs to think on the bright side, she’s moving up the ranks probably as fast as anyone has. If she survives she becomes even a larger national hero and moves higher in rank on the General Track. Combat unit Generals are not as safe as you think as the good ones do lead from the front at times and do die in major wars. And I’m sure Tanya will be on the front most of the time until she dies or war over. Then Tanya can embark on her career in politics that I’m sure some party will entice her to join 😉
I’m kinda split on the six month timeskip that passes almost unremarked.
On the one hand it feels kind of too fast to get through the entire war college in like 15 minutes, but on the other I’m looking forward to Tanya getting back to the front, so…
Just be glad you don’t get cliched “school arc” like shounen series…
But, IRL the captain’s career course isn’t exactly exciting. If I were to make an anime of it, it would be pretty lackluster and boring. But now that I mention it, it would be interesting.
Tanya gets my vote for Evil World Conqueror
Seriously why do the even bother putting that disclaimer at the end of the ED…
Clearly its based on real events and real places…
Clearly Tanya has not heard of the expression “never trust anyone who closes their eyes while talking to you.”
I would say it’s not based on real events and places, but then the show throws Hannibal and Cannae at us so that belief went out the window 😛
Okay, based on my reading of Youjo Senki vol. 1, chapter 4 – on which part of this episode is based, it’s not that Zettour has his own plans/agenda/what have you; his mostly closed eyes in the anime are meant to show his scholarly nature, as he has been described by the light novel as a man who would be in deep thought, not because he is hiding something else.
Zettour was pondering on the way the war would develop, but Tanya, with her spelling out the concept of Total War/World War finally allowed him to get the thought, the answer off the tip of his tongue. Tanya grasped the exact situation he was thinking about and suggested a workable solution – the theoretical and the practical, so to speak (yes, I am quoting Roboute Guilliman here).
At least in Zettour’s mind, the only person qualified to form the elite Mage unit would be Tanya herself, because she had spelled out the criteria for which the unit would exist.
I’m also reading the light novel but as a viewer that can separate my mind between the light novel and anime adaptation, I can say the scenes are handled in different vibes. As you said in the novel it takes the clearly spelled straightforward motives, but here on the anime they deliberately made it seems more discreet and hidden. You just can’t get the preconception from the light novel out to enjoy the anime as it is, and I’m afraid you’re gonna ruin/spoiling anime-only viewer with it if you keep spoiling what the anime version tried to hide. Fortunately there’s only one chapter left from the translated novels for now…
The different vibes are due to the anime adaptation not showing enough of the internal monologues of the other characters, and also changing the art style – nothing wrong with that (except perhaps Viktoriya’s case). Adaptation distillation – I get it; it’s the same with studio ufotable’s adaptation of the UBW route of FSN, some things were changed by the story remained the same.
What my post intended to achieve was to CLARIFY things because I felt that “oh-his-eyes-are-closed-he-must-be-a-schemer”-point of view is a red herring that needed to be gotten rid off right away to facilitate the understanding of the Not!German Empire General Staff characters. I actually think I am going to enhance the anime-only viewer experience by giving them the LN source so their experience w/ Youjo Senki won’t be anime only. Spoilers? Yes, but you gotta start somewhere.
But those vibes gives unique esperience to anime-only viewers, why it’s necessary to get rid of the red herring? If the studio do it right people will understand it on their own later. Some people enjoy speculating and thinking alongside with the series progressions. You’re like those people who spoil who the killer is on a detective novels.
“If the studio do it right people will understand it on their own later.”
^ the fact that I had to explain what ANIME!Zettour’s permanently-closed eye expression meant vis-a-vis LIGHTNOVEL!Zettour was that the studio failed to show and/or tell his character clearly (again, the limitations of the medium apply here). People clearly didn’t get what Zettour’s character was,if they did I would not have had to write my post aiming to CLARIFY, right?
That was the reason I wanted to get the red herring out of the way. The possibility that “the studio will do it right” later is just that, a possibility. It may or may not happen. If they do, kudos to them. If they don’t, well, my post will help people who want Zettour’s character clarified.
I don’t mind being called a person who spoils the details like in those detective novels because its irrelevant. I’m not spoiling major details anyway – such was what happens to Tanya’s elite Mage unit, or where their first combat assignment may be. Sorting out Zettour’s character isn’t a spoiler as far as I am concerned.
Besides, I am not restricting people on this comment thread on speculating. No harm, no foul.
Unless it turns out the anime is a slightly different canon, and Zettour is more of a schemer here. He did keep the name of the writer of the ‘world war’ paper hidden (for now) rather than authoring it in his own name.
All the comments I see are about how much was left out and how much more sense all makes with the extra information. I glad that, at least for me, I’m enjoying the anime so far, it’s even fun.
As cryarc mentions the anime needs to be treated as a separate beast. The large amount of cuts and changes have rendered a largely different story, especially in terms of feel. Zettour for example may not have an ulterior motive–as evidenced by the light novels–but by hinting one exists through the closed eyes and minimal speech transforms Tanya’s situation for the viewer from simple coincidence into the consequence of opportunistic machinations. Changes like this both accentuate Tanya’s intelligence and show she’s not invincible–she can easily fall victim to others.
Tanya completely ignores the psychological factar, what a baka!
Note: we have only seen small limited trench warfare compared to the horror of the major offensives. In first day of the battle of the Somme 54,000 British troops charged, 20,000 died. By the end of the battle over a million died on all sides. I have seen movie trailers where a horde of something is charging and to me I think nothing living though the hell that a dug in German force is going to throw at it. Learned at US Infantry Officer training the Germans would have three lines minimum of trenches with bunkers with heavy machine guns firing in a sideways X pattern so you would have to cross three streams of bullets to get thru and that assuming you lived though the ton of artery shells forming a wall of shrapnel while you fought your way though the wire and mines. WWI ended the idea that enough numbers charging even with cover fire could win.
Better plotted artillery fire by the French and a less over the top approach allowed the french to take less losses and make more gains the first day.
We only seen the small artillery peaces I want to see the way larger sizes and in large numbers and rail guns get into the mix.
I understand that the more intense efforts are beyond media ability to show them and have the audience actually make sense of anything.
Based on the anime, looks like the French offensive worked as planned. The French are in the Rhineland. So only the area of the German-French border is involved and the Russians. No total war yet.
“Tanya believed it was all a theoretical exercise, surprisingly never considering the possibility that others may have different ideas in mind. Especially hilarious too is how Zettour is setting her up as a scapegoat.”
Zettour was already exploring the possibility of a rapid response force, when Being X slipped Tanya’s file to him.So Zettour arranged an informal interview with her. Tanya performed brilliantly in the interview, pointing out the possibility that the current war will turn out into a world war of attrition, but also how to win it. A bigger and better Luftwaffe. I’m surprised they didn’t go for a bigger and better panzer korps, but what the hey.
How much a person is depends on how much they agreed with you. A 1st Lt. who can congently write up a staff proposal on the fielding of a new unit is someone you want to keep an eye on.
I was a bit surprised that Tanya’s position is going to be “organizer” That normally means personnel in military speak. But being jumped from 1st Lt. to Major? Yosh!
Zettour I believe is going to be her CO. But the consequences are all hers. Zettor’s warning to her is prevent her from going overboard. No chance of that.*grin*
Tanya..you asked for volunteers, instead of drafting them! Bad move! Now you’re going to get the elite of the elite!
Tanya is going to end up being a military legend the likes of Orde Wingate of the Chindits, Robert T. Frederick of the Devil’s Brigade and William Orlando Darby of the Rangers. Soldiers who organized elite units and led them to battle. Of course only one of them survived the end of the war.
Btw, who gifted Zettour those cuban cigars? Or do I need to ask?
Edit: Should had been: How much a person is intelligent depends on how much they agreed with you.
I think Mr. Moustache that pops up now and again is supposed to be General Rudelsdorf, isn’t he? The guy who’s always shown smoking in the anime.
They seem kinda like buddies, though Rudelsdorf is a more, uh, Patton-type general and Zettour is more of a supply/personnel type. Maybe Zettour got them from him. Kind of a ‘Thanks for making that quick-response thing happen, I owe you one!’
Well, I was thinking Being X gave him those cigars as a thank you present. If this was a WWI analogue, there would had been a blockade at this point. Even generals would find them hard to come by.
Zettour was already exploring the possibility, but there’s no denying he’s giving Tanya a large degree of operational freedom. Such perks naturally come with heavy responsibilities, which in this world apparently render serious consequences upon failure. Zettour for example is her technical CO, but not in the field–Tanya fails in the field, she bears all the responsibility, Zettour will make sure of it.
As for the organizer title, I consider it equivalent to a medieval marshal. A commander of troops, but not formally part of the command structure. Basically a “mercenary” force serving any array of functions who are easily disposed of after the battle.
But Zettour hasn’t minimized his personal risk by having Tanya report directly to himself; the repercussions of failure are more likely to reach him this way. If Zettour was as obsessed with self-preservation as Tanya, he would have isolated himself from the effects of failure with layers of military bureaucracy.
I have a hard time seeing anything especially nefarious in Zettour’s conversation with Tanya. Senior officers aren’t likely to chat idly with junior officers about an ongoing war, so it’s evident something is on his mind. The most leading thing he asks is, “You wouldn’t try to win?” It’s a stretch to say that put the rapid-response mage battalion proposal in Tanya’s mouth.
What I think is most significant is that Tanya’s obsession with this once in a lifetime opportunity to get a cushy assignment led her to unwittingly put her neck in the noose. Heck, if I’d been Zettour I’d have thought she was angling for command of the mage battalion. More than that, she knows world wars are bad for Germany-like countries, but in her eagerness to impress Zettour she suggested a military solution anyway. I’d say Zettour runs a distant third behind Tanya and Being X in responsibility for how things turned out in this episode.
That said, I don’t doubt that the classroom question is foreshadowing or that Zettour will try to make Tanya the scapegoat when things go wrong. The cigar suggests he’s too comfortable with the perks of his position.
I can’t do it anymore, the art is just so fucking ugly. If they keep Tanya lips down to managable size sure, but now she look like fucking Ryuk. The manga drew her much cuter and more normal. Shit her mouth is bigger than the adults! What the hell. If she stay still and do absolutely nothing then it would be fine but when she spear or smile it’s soo fucking disturbing. Heck think Dead Silence disturbing.
I think the disturbing aspect of it is what the artists were aiming for IMO. Tanya has the body of a girl after all, and one fighting in the middle of a war to boot. You wouldn’t expect cute and pretty in such situations normally after all, particularly when the girl isn’t actually a girl. Similar reason I’m guessing Viktoriya’s appearance was changed, it better accentuates how jarringly demonic and “inhuman” Tanya is.
I agree and quite like the style on Tanya, but Viktoriya is just nearly objectively horrible. I’ve come to terms with it enough to watch the show, but man, they could’ve just toned it down by like 10% and it would’ve been totally livable. Don’t know what they were thinking there
The art style is definitely different from the standard anime type and it’s certainly not perfect, but I just think that makes it more interesting and striking.
There’s only so many times you can watch the same KyoAni face before wanting something fresh and new.
@Duzz: Well it’s all subjective. If you find it annoying to the point of dropping the show, you do. Not all art styles work for everyone. Personaly, I like the majority of the art (particularly battlefield color tone, backgrounds, etc.), but yeah, there is the question of whether they show had to go the extreme it did with Tanya (and Viktoriya). For example, just the neon blue eye’s are distinctive enough. Don’t need to make them dinner plate size.
@Pancakes: Definitely think you have a point with not making them look super moe – wouldn’t fit the show’s more serious tone for one thing. OTOH, did they need to go so far (not talking about “reaction faces”, but in general)?
@Guile: It’s definitely striking, arguably too striking since I still find Tanya’s (and Viky’s) eyes distracting. I get they want to accentuate the MC (and I guess Viky for some reason), but again it’s a matter of degree. Different =/= equal better always.
Small notes. When a officer asks “could you come with me?” it is not a request especially from a General. Do not know how this tradition of higher ups saying thing that imply they being nice and considerate of your time when they actually making a demand.
Tanya and the rest ate all their food, that time skip at the table I did not catch till third view.
Tanya might be a great mother if your a good kid at following the rules. After all be similar to being kid of Mob boss, everyone would whisper be nice to that one or else you have to deal with the Devil of the Rhine.
Well I’m german and my superiors are all that way, making demands in the form of requests.
Straight up orders are rarely ever used, especially between officers. It’s usually a polite or casual request.
The role model of the Tanya-Battalion was not luftwaffe, but Stormtrooper. It’s not about a change in technology, but a change in tactics. The idea is to use a highly mobile force to hit the enemy at weak points in order to prepare a larger advance.
Again, have to say that apart from Tanya & the other girl’s character designs (the extra large eyes more specifically), I do like the way this show looks. Does a nice job setting the appropriate feel/atmosphere.
— “This one is arguably a true antihero, wholly committed to her desires and completely uncaring towards the consequences.”
Not sure about that from my end. Tanya’s definitely not the heroic type and perhaps could be considered an “anti-hero”, but usually there’s something positive with an anti-hero. Tanya’s purely motivated by selfish reasons, doesn’t care about consequences (or killing off those under her command), and… that’s pretty much it. IMO Deadpool is a good example of an anti-hero. He kills a lot of people and normally isn’t going to go save the day without some form of compensation, but “he’s a bad guy who gets paid to f*ck up worse guys” (per movie). There’s usually some good with the bad, and while Tanya isn’t comic book evil levels, to me not seeing any significant (if at all) good here. Of course this does NOT mean she can’t be an interesting character, but personally I don’t see her as an “anti-hero”.
On the whole, I do like Tayna’s inner dialog (IMO some shows unnecessarily avoid that), but there are times I think it gets overdone (e.g. office meeting with Zettour).
Wait, a mage battalion? A battalion is typically 300-800? That’s… a lot of mages. I’m confused here. OK, a battalion isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but are not mages “rare”? Just how “rare” are they in this world? 1 in 100? Less/more? Sure seems to be a lot of mages given the huge stack of applicants Tanya has to go through. That would sync with the comment of “a single battalion isn’t a major loss” though I’d think losing that many mages would be a hefty blow regardless. I know Tanya was told to select 48 applicants (presumably mages), so is the rest of the battalion going to be non-mages, or is this another case where the show’s use of military units doesn’t seem to sync with RL (’cause 48 isn’t even a company, let alone a battalion).
The word “company” (typically is 80-150) gets thrown around a lot in the show and often does not match up to what’s presented (e.g. Tanya defeating a “company” of mages in previous episodes). So are the military unit descriptions different in this world (e.g. 48 = “battalion”)? It’s confusing (and a bit irritating). For a show which does some research on military easter eggs (e.g. “red devil”), I don’t get why they couldn’t spend the minimal effort to get the unit sizes correct or explain the RL deviation.
Some “OT”/Nit-picky stuff
Show Spoiler ▼
The mage units are probably patterned on the aviation units of the Imperial German and Imperial Japanese armies both of which used “battalion” (“abteilung”/”daitai”) to designate units of a certain level. Think of the mages not as individual soldiers as in an infantry battalion but rather as “war machines” equal to an air craft or a tank. Then the numbers make a good deal more sense.
If the German usage is the origin of the term used in the LN then it could be a case of nuances being lost in translation as “battalion” is only one of several possible military term into which one can translate “abteilung”.
@Gars: OK, that make sense. For example, a tank platoon is usually 4-5 tanks (AFAIK), a tank company 3 platoons, and a tank battalion 3 companies (again generalizing here) so 48 for a “battalion” would match up (or close enough) if you look at mages like “war machines”. Also good point on the IJA use of “battalion”. Guess this is more the post 1927 IJA reorganization which increase an aircraft battalion to 4 squadrons. Still, they have “mage platoons” rather than “squadrons”. Whatever, main point is that need to think in tank/plane terms rather than standard army infantry. Thanks for clarifying.
And if the terminology is wrong, remember this is an english translator’s attempt at an anime based on the light novel. So who knows who fucked up along the line there?
I havn’t read the LN in the original language but in the anime version Tanya and others are clearly using “daitai” i.e battalion so as far as I can tell the english sub is correct in that part.
I tagged Tanya’s rifle as a G41. There does seem to a mix of wwi and wwii equipment.
@Gbb: My best guess is the Mondragón rifle which was adopted by Imperial German Flying Corps as the Fl.-S.-K. 15 featuring a 30 round drum magazine (and used the standard German WWI cartridge). No drum magazine here, but other than that looks pretty similar.
I see many parallels between Tanya and Wiley E Coyote.