The Saga of Tanya the Evil: Viribus Unitis

By Carlo Zen and Shinobu Shinotsuki. Released in Japan as “Youjo Senki” by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Richard Tobin.

Credit to the author for knowing his key strengths. He is very good at having our heroes assume something about the enemy, and then cutting to the enemies’ viewpoint and seeing that this is 100% incorrect. Missing the real point and assuming the worst are The Saga of Tanya the Evil’s bread and butter, and we get a ton of that in this volume. Tanya is seriously thinking about defecting now, but worries that she doesn’t bring anything to the table and other countries don’t know who she is… despite her being the most infamous soldier of them all. She and the rest of the battalion assume that the Commonwealth are sending their new recruits to be meat shields as part of some sinister plan… but it’s just the fact that the battalion catches them completely flat-footed. And everyone on the Empire’s side is trying to see how to end the war in a way that will not destroy the country or inspire a revolt among the populace… but this war is no longer winnable.

Tanya is all over the place this volume with her battalion. First she travels back to the Federation side where she has to help with a very clever and convoluted plan of Zettour’s that requires her to essentially be a decoy. Then she has to go all the 3way back to the West, as Romel has a master plan to hit the Commonwealth where it hurts, in their Navy… a plan which also requires Tanya and her group to essentially be a tasty distraction. Both times things work a bit too well simply because Tanya and her fellow soldiers have gotten inhumanly good at what they do. Sadly, this book is no longer about military victories but about political victories. And those are in short supply. The military can’t help there. The foreign office, with all the diplomats, is trying to do something about three years too late. And Rudersdorf still seems very hung up on a plan that is 100% treason.

Fans of Visha will be happy to see she gets some time here, mostly hanging by Tanya’s side during the battles, though we also get Tanya trying to lecture Visha on how to end the war, something that does not go very well – Visha, like the rest of Tanya’s soldiers, is a bit of a meathead when it’s not about battle. There’s also a lot of focus here on Drake, the Commonwealth soldier who’s currently allying with the Federation… at the request of the Commonwealth, which makes it all the more irritating they think he might be turning communist by simply being near them. One character is interesting merely by her almost total absence. Mary Sue is here, but we don’t see her except as a sheer force – literally. Once again she sees Tanya and goes for the kill, and no one can stop her. She doesn’t need a face, or even a name anymore. She’s pure magical vengeance, here to smite Tanya down. I don’t know when the final confrontation between them comes, but it won’t go well.

There’s a new translator here as well, and the book still reads pretty well, though it’s a bit more… staid, I guess. It can be hard to make the dry military chronicle parts of this book sing on the page. Still, definitely looking forward to the next volume, as we see if we really will go down the dangerous route we’re headed.

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