I want Tanya von Degurechaff to win, Being X doesn’t.
I enjoyed the Saga of Tanya the Evil. It was a fun series that explored themes of a higher power/divinity and the efficiency of capitalism/Darwinism. In a cruel world relying on some higher power makes sense, and letting that higher power dictate your life and decisions shows the dedication of one’s faith. Tanya however rejects the notion of a god watching over her, Being X is an enemy to the ideas and values she has. Tanya has survived due to her own talents and her innate ability to understand the nature of the cruel world. Her belief in the numbers and making her actions efficient has been the key to her survival.
Some of the elements I really enjoyed as part of the series was the military structure. Tanya’s work with Strategic Command shows some of the elements of war that only go on in the background. Typically while war might focus on the brilliance of a certain commander or soldier, which Saga of Tanya the Evil does, it also has a larger focus on the overall war effort. The overall war effort includes distribution of supplies, troop deployment, and the strategy of high command. In a climatic moment in the Empire’s War with the Republic, Tanya destroys the command center of the enemy, fatally crippling the Republic’s communication and strategic decision making.
But in the arrogance of the victory that Tanya brings to the Empire, Strategic Command fails to completely destroy their enemy. The generals celebrate as the Republic flees the continent and regroups to fight another day. Tanya does everything in her power to stop that from happening, but she is bound by rules. Command forbids her from attacking. This is the first moment where Tanya seriously questions the rules of those above her and the foresight of the commanders.
In a quiet moment Tanya is confronted by Erich von Rerugen, a lieutenant commander in Strategic Command. He criticizes Tanya for taking advantage of the authority given to her by Strategic Command and says that other elements of the army have filed a complaint against her. She speaks freely, although she should accept that her actions were incorrect. She says that Strategic Command is missing the bigger picture. While rationally other nations should accept that the Empire has won the war and move on, Tanya cautions Rerugen telling him that Strategic Command doesn’t understand human nature. All the Empire has done by winning the war in their desire for peace is fuel the flame to a greater war. The Empire has only created a situation in which the world hates them. That hate will drive the other nations of the world to war, whether or not they stand to gain from that action.
This is a rare moment of growth from Tanya, that she is able to learn from her own personal experiences in this life and her previous life as a salary man. Though Tanya may be bound by rules, efficiency and survival of the fittest, she is beginning to understand that others around her may act irrationally to their own detriment and the detriment of others. Her conversation with Rerugen wins his respect for her, despite him being her biggest critic. In this rare moment we see a vulnerable side to Tanya, that is reserved typically for Being X only.
While by the end of the last episode Tanya is back to finding ways to curse and hate Being X, reverting to her normal character state, I was left with the impression that she is only more desperate now. While I do question where the series goes from here, and how they will keep things interesting, I can say that overall I felt like the series so far has been well delivered. Because the series is well defined as a conflict between Being X and Tanya I wonder how they will close out the series. Being X is some ethereal being without a body that jumps into people, pigeons, and nutcrackers. It would be a rather boring conclusion for Tanya to accept Being X because it is inevitable. The other, less likely but slightly more interesting conclusion, would be that Tanya somehow manages to defeat Being X. Because compromise seems unlikely between Tanya and Being X and given the extreme nature of the series itself, it would be hardest to imagine anything in between.
But with all fiction anything can happen. And while anything could happen, not all endings are equally satisfying. The key to guessing any ending would be to understand the artist’s intent and what they want out of their own creation. Removed as I am I can’t guess what will happen next. Will Tanya survive because she survives at any cost? Or will Tanya become converted and live to have a better life her next reincarnation? Tanya is an interesting and prideful character, that can absolutely do with some humility. Saga of Tanya the Evil was a fun ride and I am looking forward to reading or watching more.
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