“My First Battalion”
After a tough selection process, Tanya puts her recruits through the wringer to find out which ones are cut out to serve under her. Soon after, a mission to halt the advance of invading Dakian troops turns into a ‘live fire exercise’ that sees Tanya’s new battalion in action for the first time.
In the first episode in a couple of weeks that didn’t have Tanya being kicked around by Being X’s machinations, she gets to be the one pulling the strings as she’s tasked with selecting and training her own battalion. The annoyed Tanya we’ve seen past episode 1 is the same one that oversees this process, but once the soldiers are selected, viewers will recognize her behavior to much more like it was in the season’s premiere.
Tanya’s goal of identifying which candidates are really cut out for the job borders on the sadistic. While it’s entertaining enough to see the kind of torture she puts this group through, a 36 hour continuous shelling with “real shells mixed in” with training rounds producing zero casualties strains disbelief. And yes, I remember this is a show about a child mage in faux-WWI. In any case, the entire training session is intended to show Tanya’s ruthlessness, evidenced by her maniacal glare. Her surprise over getting a decent fighting force out of them notwithstanding, the entire thing provides little to further her story.
Her deployment against the Dakian forces soon after gets us back toward where the show led us to believe we were going, but it doesn’t provide the sort of challenge viewers might have expected her to face. In her attack against an army that could be analogous to Serbia, Tanya’s mage division takes them on virtually unopposed. Using outdated military tactics reminiscent of many early WWI battles, the Dakian forces clump up in perfect targets for the mage battalion’s magics. Their resistance is so laughable that Tanya even manages to fly on toward their capital to take out an arms factory, surprisingly in a way that doesn’t technically break the rules of engagement.
Aside from an non-begrudging prayer to summon her power prior to destroying the factory, the entire episode illustrates little about the direction of her character or the story. I have every expectation that the combat will pick up from here onward, but without anything to really challenge Tanya she’ll end up invoking prayer simply as a means of power to stomp her enemies as easily as she did this episode.
– Tanya’s combat role is being highlighted again
– Not really sure what the series is trying to do after this week
Thanks to Viktoriya’s efficiency, the action resumed in this week’s episode. Following an impressive amount of applications to join the Mage Battalion, Tanya puts the applicants through a vigorous testing process. This process consumes the first half of the episode and, while entertaining, didn’t add much in way of plot development.
The second part of the episode focused on a meeting between Colonel Rerugen from Strategic Headquarters and Tanya. He informs the pint size major that she and her Aerial Mage Battalion should report to the southeastern garrison at once. Despite the mages still undergoing training, Rerugen informs Tanya that the decision has been made by Strategic HQ that her battalion may be deployed immediately for battle.
With the battalion formed, the mage’s first mission is fending off an invasion from Dakia. Unfortunately, viewers are unclear as to what this nation is meant to represent. All that is really certain is their military defense is lacking any sort of advanced technology; specifically an “air force.” After giving the command to bombard the Dakian forces with artillery, Tanya amasses a seemingly easy victory. The next stop on her agenda? The capital of Dakia.
Even though the second half of episode does shift the narrative forward, the pacing for this series is starting to wane. Between the humor and origin story, the initial episodes of Tanya the Evil kept me engaged. As of late, watching it is beginning to feel more like a chore. The battle scenes are few and far between. When combat is shown, the execution is subpar. The idea of aerial mages mixing weapons with magic seemed pretty damn awesome. Now it just seems like I’m biding time until the “awesome” part kicks in. While I’m hoping this series will pick up as it nears the second half of the season, the suspense of some epic event occurring is starting to diminish. With the past two episodes neglecting to even mention Being X, and any attempt to manipulate Tanya into changing her views, it questionable what the focus of this series really is about.
– Given the war-based premise, it seems the combat has begun! (Finally…)
– Focus of series is unclear
– Plot is quickly losing its original appeal
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party
My First Battalion sounds kinda like a toy set you buy for the future dictator in your life.
I could probably add something insightful, but I’m sleepy and haven’t caught up on this one yet, so I’m just gonna leave the bad joke and go to my shame corner.
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Haha, it got me to smile and it beats most of my jokes. You’re probably not far off from what’s actually going on here though.
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Always a good day when I can make somebody smile. 🙂
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I’ve been wondering what the end game of this show is after reading lots of different reviews of it. While the setting and premise of Tanya herself seems fairly fleshed out I haven’t been able to figure out what the story is actually about other than Tanya in that setting. It will be interesting to read where this ends up assuming it goes somewhere.
We’re all wondering, I think, especially with these weird shifts in narrative direction.
Ep 2-4 strongly suggest that Tanya is being taught a harsh lesson by some supernatural being. It’s a lesson that’s meant to change her into a faithful person by showing her just how bleak her world can be without belief in God. On the surface, being thrown into the front in WWI is probably a surefire way to put get a person begging for salvation, and I think it makes for a compelling story.
What we get in Ep 1 and 5, however, is Tanya being rewarded for what is essentially lip service toward faith. Say the magic words, enemies go boom. Then there’s all the questions: Why is there magic? Why was she turned into a little girl? Why does her level of faith matter to Being X? Nobody knows thus far. As you said, Tanya is just there and that’s what we’re watching.
At about the halfway point of the series, you would expect it to shift towards the main narrative but so far it’s not all too clear what that is.
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