Winter 2017 First Impressions: Saga of Tanya the Evil – Episode 01 Review

In a world where World War 1 didn’t stop happening, there is an Empire (not-Germany) who is fighting against enemies on all sides.  One of the newer recruits, Viktoriya, joins her commander Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff, a ten year old girl, on the battlefield.  Tanya’s skill at warfare is impressive, but her cutthroat methods that are directed toward her foes and subordinates alike are even more shocking.  Who is this girl? Is she really a devil?

tanya

That’s right, it’s not-World War 1 with magic!  I don’t know, for some reason that concept sounds kind of familiar.  Honestly, despite watching the whole episode I could tell you very little of what happened because I couldn’t get myself engaged in what was happening.  I’m not a fan of military history shows, so Saga of Tanya the Evil was very much Not For Me, but I gave it my best shot regardless.

The first thing I noticed right off the bat was just how ugly the character designs are for the women.  I must take a moment to applaud the designer for the women’s outfits – they are practical and for once aren’t made out of form-hugging spandex so that you can see the entire curvature of their breasts the entire time.  It all falls apart, however, when you look at their faces.  Compared to the perfectly normal looking men, the women look like grotesque monstrosities.  Tanya has weird doll-like features that are incapable of showing emotion unless it’s an over the top evil grin, and is packing some serious duck lips.  Viktoriya takes first place in the horror show however: her eyes take up about two thirds of her face and are constantly dewy and sparkling which doesn’t really jive with the dark, gritty visuals.  It’s like she’s a manatee in disguise, trying to join the German Empire in their conquest.

For a show called Saga of Tanya the Evil, the characters are about what you would expect.  There are only two major characters introduced so far (unless I really wasn’t paying attention): Viktoriya, who seems to be a newer recruit judging by the relative optimism that will soon surely be knocked out of her by the horrors of war, and Tanya who is, as you could have assumed from the title, evil.  The viewer doesn’t really learn anything about either of them during this first episode, except for the fact that Tanya is very good at war for a ten year old girl.  I wonder why that could be?  (I know why that could be, because it said why in plenty of the promotion material and discussion around it.)

The soundtrack is serviceable, but doesn’t stand out and in many of the scenes it’s a repetitive dirge that you can drown out while you listen to the characters drone on about the war.

The visuals are fine, but almost everything is a muddy brown colour.  I understand that this episode is set in the trenches but there are ways to create a grim atmosphere without having everything be shades of brown, despite what most triple A shooters released in the last 10 years would have you believe.  Ignoring the colour scheme the backgrounds still look polished and the clouds that appear during the aerial combat look great.  They were probably my favourite part of the episode.

Ultimately this episode is yet more proof that this sort of show is not my thing at all, and it had no other hooks that piqued my interest enough for me to try and trawl through the copious military jargon, exposition, and maps.  Goodbye, Saga of Tanya the Evil.  Keep doing your evil thing.
2/10

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