「はじまりの大隊」 (Hajimari no daitai)
“My First Battalion”
If there is one thing to expect from Youjo Senki, it’s that Tanya will never disappoint. This week went all out in showcasing how utterly deranged our little loli is, from freakishly demonic faces to invidious training regimens and a not so subtle bending of the rules of war. If opportunistic sadism could be considered fun, this tops the list of guilty pleasures.
The big problem facing Tanya was in battalion creation, where her personal desires and the will of state ran headfirst into one another. Naturally the state won—of course—but not before seeing Tanya’s stalling attempts fail spectacularly. Watching Tanya try hard to avoid the front was funny as hell, particularly with the tricks she employed. What makes it for me is how almost all of Tanya’s actions serve a dual purpose: they are all meant to plop her back along the staff officer track, but do so efficiently without any wastage. The recruitment officer magical illusion is case in point, where it was meant to disqualify everyone, but ended up detecting the truly talented and bringing them on board. Likewise that training period—designed to encourage dropouts—ironically provided a proper taste of front line conditions while building solidarity among the trainees. It was funny seeing Tanya freak out when all the boys (and girl) decide to stick with her at the end, but for anyone familiar with certain military training programs (think Marines or army special ops) it’s the expected result. For such a smart cookie, seeing Tanya fail in recognizing this was hilarious.
On the other side of things lies the surprisingly quick return to combat, where not-Romania’s attack gives Tanya yet another opportunity to showcase her demonic nature, along with a crucial First World War paradigm. It’s pretty funny for me seeing Youjo Senki actually feature a blurb on airpower given the prevalence already of flying mages and aircraft cameos, but I’ll definitely take it nonetheless. It’s no understatement to say that airpower—more so than the tank—affected the means of war the most, with the reason blatantly showcased here with that mass slaughter and one-sided industrial attack. Ironically well represented this episode too is how embryonic such knowledge was on the Eastern Front, as Germany in general only really had a firm idea of aircraft’s strategic potential. Not-Romania here (much like similar real world powers) had no inkling of the dangers, and suffered the consequences as a result. At least Tanya was nice enough to read them the riot act before striking, cute voice and all.
With another battle under the belts of our reluctant front line warrior, where we go from here is up in the air, but I can hazard a guess it will be somewhere bleak. Zettour and the rest want to win the war after all, and Tanya has certainly showed great promise in moving towards that goal. I think the real challenge has yet to begin.
For the curious, Dakia is a reference to Dacia, the Latin name for ancient Romania/Bessarabia.
Tanya’s “Tamaya” call is actually not random, it’s funnily part of a Japanese expression of delight over excellent fireworks displays.