Will Being X or the Salary-Man Win?
I have been dodging the Saga of Tanya the Evil for some time now. But at the insistence of a few friends and fellow bloggers (@Le Fenette) I have decided to give it a shot. Some of my reasons for initial hesitation were that I had missed the show at its opening season, I didn’t love the art style, and that I wasn’t interested in a character that was stamped as evil. It’s not that I don’t mind evil characters but I just didn’t want to follow an evil character as the protagonist. Of course this was me “judging the book by its cover” moment.
As I watched the series I was initially surprised to see that the story started in modern day Japan, and that there was an Isekai element to it. My judgement on the series thought it was a throwback to World War Two Germany. Though the series does borrow in part on the historical elements, something that I wasn’t expecting was that it was just an almost parallel universe set in an a different time. Of course there are differences such as magic existing in the world. Magic seemingly takes the place of fighter planes in a World War One-esque setting.
The protagonist ended up being more intriguing than I had expected. He is portrayed as a salary-man hardened by logic and rules. In his life there is no need for God or faith. Everything comes down to efficiency and numbers. The first thought in his mind is how to benefit the company or the business he works for. After firing a man, without consideration for how the man feels about being fired from his company, he finds himself on a train platform in Japan waiting for the train. The man that he just fired pushes him in front of a train. Imminent death impending, time is stopped as the man confronts an unknown entity of power.
The unknown entity of power, perhaps God, saves the salary man’s existence. The being of power, which the salary man labels as Being X, reprimands the salary-man for living a faithless life. The man denies that God could exist and that faith was pointless in a world of cruelty. Ironically the salary-man tells Being X what it would take for him to possibly have faith in a deity. I found it to be one of the most interesting starts to an anime series that I had seen in awhile.
While there are a lot of questions about Being X and his particular interest in having the salary-man recognize faith, the salary man is reborn as a baby girl in a parallel universe. This parallel universe is the setting in which Being X and the salary-man continue their squabble over faith, as the salary-man is convinced that he can defeat or kill Being X.
While I am only 4 episodes in I find myself more intrigued than I had initially thought. I had assumed it was good based on the popularity the show itself seemed to have. I enjoy the dynamic between Being X and the salary-man. Being X takes control of the salary-man’s destiny and gives him attention. The attention is perhaps deserved given the state of faith of the salary- man. The show has a good supporting cast, and the story itself is interesting even without Being X’s interruptions. I only really wonder what direction the show can really take, and if it truly intends to reform the faithless salary-man. Will the salary-man prevail with his own cold calculating logic, playing the good nature of Being X against itself? Who exactly is playing who? The only way to find out is to keep watching.
Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!
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3 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on Saga of Tanya the Evil”
Glad you decided to give it a watch! As for the “judging a book by its cover” line, I really don’t think you’re at fault; especially when it comes to the bit about evil characters. It’s a translation issue, most likely, since there was no literal translation of Youjo Senki that sounded great (nothing in the title states or implies “evil”).
As for Tanya herself though, I do wonder if you think she behaves in an evil way regardless- And whether that could possibly hamper your experience as the show continues?
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I have mixed feelings about whether or not Tanya is evil. At this point I don’t have enough information to make a full judgement call yet. I feel like I can complete the series without issue.
Its very clear that Tanya is rule abiding and thinks in terms of metrics. From a certain standpoint there is logic to the decisions that Tanya makes.
As a salary man Tanya makes no effort to help a man keep his job, but I don’t know the full details of the situation. Also another pointer to Tanya being evil is that she sent men to a pillbox to die. Then again if her subordinates can’t follow her orders then they are liable to get themselves and others killed with reckless and foolish actions. Chain of command one of the most important functions of any military organization.
There are moments where Tanya does a favor for her subordinate the corporal to get her out of the front lines. She also takes personal risk to protect the lives of others where possible. While this may be motivated by how things would appear if her subordinates died, she does take action that sometimes can benefit others.
I feel like Tanya is a dynanic character and not strictly an evil person. While Tanya may be flawed no one is perfect. I am willing to give benefit of the doubt. I feel that Tanya is a measured and logical being, and may be seen by others as evil without actually being so.
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