The Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Finest Hour

By Carlo Zen and Shinobu Shinotsuki. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Emily Balistrieri.

As has been noted before, Tanya the Evil’s world is essentially an odd mashup of World War I Europe, with appropriate touchstones. That said, it’s perfectly content to mess with the timeline in order to move things along, and the third volume does this incredibly quickly, moving from World War I to World War II in the space of about three months. The victor may have changed, but the players are much the same, though we do get a few new – and more obviously inspired by real life history – characters. The “Duke of Marlborough” is Winston Churchill, complete with color illustration in case we didn’t get it (not to mention the subtitle of the book), and Tanya’s new commander in the African – sorry, Southern Colonies is “von Romel”, which is almost TOO on the nose. And of course there’s Tanya and her crew, who manage to almost single-handedly win the war only to see peace remain elusive. In fact, Tanya’s desperate plea to let her unit stop the Republic from getting away is probably the highlight of the entire book.

We begin with a giant slaughter, as is usually the case in these novels that make no bones about war being hell – at least for Tanya’s opponents. She and the 203rd are literally shot at the enemy on giant rockets, and they proceed to lay waste to most of the republic’s main forces as well as their HQ. It is amusing to see Tanya’s constant cynical, worried POV as the group essentially walks in and walks right back out almost unharmed. There are times when she is unaware of how good she is. So all that remains is to sign a peace treaty and negotiate the end of the war… something not done by the military, alas. The cease fire allows the Republic to regroup and the Commonwealth to stop pretending they don’t care, and thus everything is for naught. As for Tanya, she regards being sent south as a punishment for her freak out at the generals, but when we see them scheming it, it’s more that they just don’t have any real resources, so need to use the 203rd to have any chance of doing anything. The Empire is running out of money and resources.

And we may be getting a new player into the game. The Unified States have been mostly neutral here, but they also have Mary Sue, the daughter of Anson Sue, who Tanya fought and killed back in the previous book. Mary is unaware of this, but she is extremely patriotic and also has a buttload of magical talent, so is ready to fight and die for her country. In terms of the series, she promises to be something of a rival to Tanya, which is good as lately there has been the sense that nothing can stop Tanya once she gets going. It will be nice to see her have a bit of a challenge. Mary Sue seems sweet, but given that we already have the ‘sweet girl’ card in this deck with Visha, I suspect that won’t last long. The illustrations also make her look a bit possessed, to be honest.

Tanya the Evil is still wordy as all get out, and I’d honestly only recommend it if you’ve read military biographies and histories before. But if you want to know what happens after the anime ended, this is the volume to start with, as the anime wraps up about 3/4 through this book. I’m still waiting to see how all this turns out.

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