Youjo Senki : The Devil of the Rhine

Episode 1

Rhine no Akuma (ラインの悪魔)

I’m no fan of military anime’s or military anythings if I’m very honest with you but there was something about the pictures I’d seen of Youjo Senki “The Saga of Tanya the Evil” that made me want to watch it.

So watch it I did.

In a Imperial war set in trench warfare and looking a lot like a mixture of WWI and WWII we are introduced to Lieutenant Degurechaff, one of the strongest mages in the army. Personally I loved that there was a little bit of a wobble on nailing down just how “evil” the character might be. Some of her actions looked to be for the best of her company, other times she just looked like a hardened career military leader worried more about her reputation then the well being of her company.

For that reason you were on edge to see why the anime would be named the Saga of Tanya the Evil.

It brought you back time and again to her whilst getting lost in a very beautifully animated war zone. My only problem with the animation is that whilst all the male characters are beautifully drawn and suit the world the two female characters, Degurechaff herself and Serebryakova look very out of place and cute. Just being a child would be enough to make Degurechaff a scary prospect but the animation on them is weird to the point that Serebryakova looks like she has three splits for her mouth and its hard to look at her without wanting to rip your eyes out.

The story was rather thin in the first episode to once more highlight this fine balancing act they were playing with Degurechaff, we get a idea of what the war is about, where they are in the war and introduced to the idea of the mages but it was just one thing happening after the other to present different bumps in front of the Lieutenant.

It wasn’t till the end when Serebryakova gets the news that two of their former company who had been sent to a pillbox for disobeying commands had been killed that we saw the full extent of the evilness of Degurechaff who had second guessed that they’d be killed there and as they had plead with her to let them stay on the front lines to either gain victory or die had been sent to die for their country.

I was interested in the episode from beginning to end even if it was only the final few moments that actually really stood out for me. I’m not sure if it is something I’d love or not but it got my interest. I do like WWI and WWII and trench warfare is something that is grim enough without the unfairness of mages being thrown in. Degurechaff is a interesting character and I’m hoping that she stays the way she is instead of having a redemption story or something which is my only fear with a character like Serebryakova being around. I quite like the idea of watching something with a evil character instead of them just needing the right person to make them better.

Much better then I thought it would be. Degurechaff is gonna be a interesting character to get to know.


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