US Distributor: Crunchyroll
Production Studio: Studio Nut
Was this provided by the publisher? No
More Info: Anime Planet

Saga of Tanya the Evil Key VisualGrab your popcorn and slide into those comfy red seats, readers, because it’s time for another cinematic review! Much like my Free! Take Your Marks review, I’ll be treating Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie as a chronicle of the entire experience. My commentary on the film will be woven together with a recollection of highlights that occurred off the silver screen. Ultimately, I’ll be working toward an end goal of bringing that intimate theater-going experience to you. But I digress; the lights are starting to dim, so let’s charge into The Saga Tanya The Evil: The Movie. Before I begin, I should warn readers that this is not a film for newcomers to the franchise. The team spends zero time recapping the show’s events, and expects the audience to have a good handle on the lore before they arrive.

The Saga of Tanya The Evil: The Movie opens immediately after the events of the first anime season, with Tanya racing off to the desert with her battalion of battle-hardened magic warriors. As they venture forth, a new threat looms, just beyond the horizon: the Red Menace Commies the Soviets The Totally-Not-Russians the mighty Russy Federation. Beyond that, the commonwealth is now lending assistance to the communists. A nation stands, guarded by a crack team of mages from across the globe, including a total Mary Sue. No, really. Warrant Officer Mary Sue is the daughter of Anson Sue, who met his demise at Tanya’s hand in the first season of The Saga of Tanya the Evil. She’s out for revenge, and apparently nothing – enemy forces, rivals, or even common sense – will get in her way. The Saga of Tanya The Evil has never been a series to take itself too seriously. Though its subject matter was always on the dark side of things, it also harbors a playful side, which helps to keep things from getting overly oppressive. Indeed, the film retains much of the snark and dark humor that was present in its predecessor. Because of this, the picture is able to strike an ideal balance between its epic battles and black humor, which really helped the film to shine.

The jokes, by and large, tended to rely fairly heavily on anti-communist tropes. For the most part, though, these bits are handled well, and were received warmly by the crowd as audience members laughed, clapped, and in some cases, waved their arms after each of Tanya’s pithy quips. Still, between the action and the gags, I have to admit that the most fascinating parts of the film came about in those rare moments of introspection into Tanya’s mind. Unlike many, she generally dreads the idea of war. It’s a waste of good human resources that, if she had her way, would be used elsewhere instead. Even when thinking of herself, Tanya’s generally cynical worldview comes to the fore. Deep down, she’d would rather be working behind a desk, giving orders or writing a report after report until her fingers bled than risking her ass on some battlefield.

Saga of Tanya The Evil The Movie Anime VisualVisually, the film was beautifully executed, particularly in the battle sequences. It was here that the team was able to really go wild, with magical beams of death filling the screen, and camera angles shifting sharply to better frame the action. The cinematography borrowed heavily from Hollywood action films, with copious hard cuts to really emphasize the intensity of each action scene. This was all brought together by a by stellar audio design, which made brilliant use of the theater’s speaker system. It was clear that the team behind The Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie knew what fans wanted. They doled out everything in an almost irrational excess, to the point that any fan would be hard-pressed to not be smiling. The jokes were on-point and the combat was exciting. On top of this, the world grew even larger, with the addition of the Russy Federation. That said: if I were asked if this was a perfect film, I’d have to say “no.” Some characters seemed to have plot armor made of the thickest Titanium, and several big plot twists were incredibly predictable, due to the nature of the universe at large. Still, these flaws were easy to ignore, as the overall film was a joy to watch. It’s definitely not a title for newcomers, but The Saga of Tanya The Evil: The Movie is an ideal bridge that could easily lead into a strong second anime season.