You know that feeling that you get when you read a synopsis of a show, then see a preview and the only thing that you feel deep inside is pure hype. That is how I felt about Shuumatsu no Izetta. I know some in the anime world are going to read this and say, “Really?”
And to that I answer, “Really.” The idea of a magical girl in a WWII setting as she fights for a small country that is posed to being taken over by
Germany Germania seemed really interesting to me. I’m a fan of magical girl animes and I love history.
Needless to say, my feelings soon went from this:
I’m not sure what happened here, but somewhere down the line the story just fell apart. It also didn’t help that Izetta, our resident magical girl, was very one note in her devotion to Elystadt and Fine. Even when Sophie, a rival magical girl, showed up the story stopped being about WWII and more about the dangers of trying to end things with a crazy side chick.
Sure it might be fun to fool around in the beginning, but once you start to realize that crazy is her first, middle, and last name, then you really need to make an effort in how you break up with her. Does the king here do that? Nope, he just decides to die and leaves this responsibility on the shoulders of his main chick. This results in Sophie’s hatred of humans, which really could have be squashed early on. Weak men and crazy side chicks, that was the cause of Elystadt’s problems.
Granted, this isn’t what the show is actually about, but does that really matter? The show had so much potential to be an epic tale with a bittersweet ending, and instead it was just mediocre. (Though, the Izetta of the Weekend manga strips are a thing of beauty.)
So when Youjo Senki came around and decided to have an interesting synopsis and a capable promotional video, my hopes were on the fence. I didn’t want to be disappointed, but I still wanted something to satiate my craving of a good historical drama with magic.
After four episodes, I’m happy to say that it’s exceeding my expectations. While Izetta had hopes that humans could come together and create a beautiful future, Tanya just wants an easy life while following the rules of the world she’s in. She’s not a naive young girl in a world of war, she’s a twisted salary-man who angered Being X and was placed inside the body of a young girl.
The humour here works, the characters are fleshed out enough for me to care about them, and Tanya is so wonderfully ruthless that I can’t wait to see what crazy stuff she’ll find herself in. (Either by her own doing or by being trolled by Being X).
I think I would have enjoyed Youjo Senki even if I didn’t watch Shuumatsu no Izetta, since it has a lot of things going for it that I like. But I also think that my disappointment of Izetta helped solidify my love for Tanya and her antics.
Where Shuumatsu no Izetta lacked life and feeling, Youjo Senki is full of it. I especially like how the latter anime doesn’t try to create clear distinctions between good guys and bad guys. At this point, Tanya views everyone as fodder and is just trying to get ahead so she can have an easy life. Even her conflict with Being X has multiple layers to it that makes it entertaining to watch. (which I know will sound weird, since I’m kind of religious and love God. But Being X doesn’t really feel like God to me, so it doesn’t really mean anything when he argues with Tanya)
Like I said before, I’ve only watched four episodes of Youjo Senki so the remaining eight could be garbage and fall into the same sort of hole that Shuumatsu no Izetta fell in, but so far I’m really enjoying this.
Can we also show some love at the consideration the army had for Tanya when they provided her with a high chair. They’re still putting her in the front lines, but at least they respect her enough to give her a proper chair.
And that the show never gave us the cliche of a man who finds himself in a girl’s body, where he checks all of the equipment and acts pervy around the girls around him. There’s no boob jokes or hints of romance that never go anywhere. It’s just a simple story of a salaryman transported into the body of a young girl who now has to kill people (in brutal ways) in order to have an easy life.