And now we reach that wonderful halfway point in the series. In my experience, it’s when things start to make sense or it’s usually when I drop an anime. Luckily for our adorable little salary man, this show has grown and developed significantly since that first episode, with episode five definitely ending on a high point. Tanya has risen through military ranks and has combated hardships brought on by a controlling deity to now be in charge of her own battalion. With their first taste of action in their last battle (although you could call it a slaughter), Tanya and company are off to where the real fighting is, ready to show the world who the hell they think they are.
The first thing that excited me was that we finally get to see Tanya and her battalion in an actual battle against a competent and threatening force, strutting their stuff and displaying exactly what they can really do. What stuck me as interesting is that with Tanya very obviously enjoying the power that has been given to her, we see her in a very different mood compared to previous situations. While Tanya is still strict and incredibly harsh, she has actual moments of warmness to her, specifically showing a good balance of distancing herself from her troops to create a power barrier and joking with them to increase morale. In two different incidences, we see her first joke about the coming battle, giving the battalion time to jest and chuckle before commanding the room again, and then later she drives more morale from her troops by having the squadron that does the worst have to buy the victory drinks for everyone, both playing games as well as exhibiting how much she trusts them that their victory is assured. For someone who seems so opposed to other humans, she’s doing a very good job of being the leader that they need. She is both harsh and commanding, while also being able to boost morale and ease up when needed. This is the sign of a good leader and is actually surprising to see from someone so dedicated to themselves and their own selfish struggles. Tanya definitely seems to be growing as a leader, if not as a person.
It’s also interesting to see the rules being established and then subsequently broken on how aerial combat works in this universe, particularly when it comes to mages and airplanes. This was something that I was interested in seeing as I was wondering, given the lack of flying vehicles in previous episodes, if mages were a replacement. However, in this episode we see that the standards of WWI and WWII technology are being kept and the airplane is just as equally important in this world as it is in ours. Initially, I was worried how two different forms of aerial combat would work but the way they differentiate between the two actually struck me as clever and very sensible. It would make sense that the machines are able to travel faster and fly higher, giving them an advantage as far as air superiority goes. It also makes sense that the reason the mages with their magic would have such a hard time is due to the planes using the height as an advantage. No matter the magic user or universe, Anakin, it’s always over when they have the high ground. However, just like with everything Tanya does, we see this immediately dashed away by Tanya’s ability to do the impossible compared to everyone else around her, flying faster and just as high in order to impossibly dodge incoming attacks and delivering several impossible ones herself. Thankfully, the show has done a good job of establishing her capabilities well before so these situations seem less deus ex machina, if you pardon the joke.
As far as actual progression outside of the action, though, this episode very much seems like a build up to bigger moments later. From what we’ve seen of the formula for this show, the better Tanya does, the more difficult Being X decides to make things and she was completely on point this episode besides one very brief interaction with Being X. Anytime Tanya is on a streak like this, there always seems to be a very large monkey wrench thrown into the machine and since we didn’t get that this episode, I‘m expecting this next episode to really take her down a peg. Being X himself seemed to hint at this with his words to Tanya. He appears to be directly moving this war towards a world war scenario, seemingly with a major reason being to throw every nation at Tanya “the blasphemer”, as Being X put it. Well, I rub my hands together and say in Being X’s words, let that “great crusade” of the other global powers begin!
And speaking of those other countries, I think one of the biggest things I liked about this episode compared to others is the small bit of emphasis this anime has put specifically on the other countries. Now that Tanya is in the forefront, finally out and open for all countries to see and not hidden away behind enemy lines, we finally get to see the perspectives of other nations and what is going on in their heads. A lot of time was taken to approach the other nations and their armies, not just about Tanya but in general clue us into their politics and people. There are also hints at political espionage and intrigue going on behind the scenes. I felt that this was important and much needed, as having almost completely faceless nations with only their style of dress or their design of their machinations to differentiate was a disservice to the story, not to mention the sole focus on the empire felt like we were only able to see through a small port hole into a very interesting universe. It’s not that this made previous episodes bad, not by any means, but now that we’re delving deeper, the story can be so much more. I hope to see more of that and the show seems to be leaning that way, particularly in the scene right before the credits.
I’m still very much excited to see more of this anime and since my last post in this series, the last few episodes have assuaged some of my initial hesitation and complaints, though not all of them. Still, I’m continuing to be impressed and this has definitely been a ride, to say the least. Also, I desperately hope that the series continues to do these comical after-credits bumps. They are, by far, one of the best parts of this show.