Anime afterthoughts: Youjo Senki

Anime name: Youjo Senki

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MAL link: https://myanimelist.net/anime/32615/Youjo_Senki


Introduction


It was actually really surprising for me to run into and eventually watch Youjo Senki. This was due to several circumstances. First, at that time I actually did not use MAL and instead relied on the top charts of another website to decide on what anime I should watch next. This had many MANY flaws and one of them was that only the most popular anime are shown in the front page, as such, lesser known but good anime are hard to be seen. This was the case with Youjo Senki, and as a result I did not notice its existence. The second and third obstacles were with Youjo Senki itself. Despite being adapted from a popular(debatable) Light Novel in Japan, it was being produced by a new anime studio NUT(formed from former Madhouse employees) and has little to no coverage and popularity with the western anime watchers. As such, little is known about this anime and there were not many recommendations nor did it gain a lot of popularity when it first started out. Not only did Youjo Senki have an unimpressive background and fanbase, it also had a very plain and typical type of “packaging”. As you can see from the cover art above and synopsis below, it definitely doesn’t seem impressive on the outside:

Tanya Degurechaff is a young soldier infamous for predatorial-like ruthlessness and an uncanny, tactical aptitude, earning her the nickname of the “Devil of the Rhine.” Underneath her innocuous appearance, however, lies the soul of a man who challenged Being X, the self-proclaimed God, to a battle of wits—which resulted in him being reincarnated as a little girl into a world of magical warfare. Hellbent on defiance, Tanya resolves to ascend the ranks of her country’s military as it slowly plunges into world war, with only Being X proving to be the strongest obstacle in recreating the peaceful life she once knew. But her perceptive actions and combat initiative have an unintended side effect: propelling the mighty Empire into becoming one of the most powerful nations in mankind’s history.

In fact, to me, it seemed like your typical lolibait anime which uses a loli MC and some lewd scenes to attract attention. Thus, even though I saw the anime once, I did not think much of it and didn’t try it out.

However, 4 weeks after Youjo Senki came out, when it was on episode 4, I happened to spot it on the top charts. I decided to take a look at what made this anime popular all of a sudden and went into the first episode not expecting much. And that is how I got into Youjo Senki.


Thoughts


So, what happened after that? Well, I stuck through with the anime immediately. In fact, I was so hooked on to it that I finished the 4 episodes available back then and immediately rewatched the 4 episodes, this time in higher quality. “But why?”, you may wonder, and the answer to that question is simple yet complex at the same time. If shortened to one sentence, it would be “Youjo Senki is a masterpiece”. Explained in more details, there would be several more detailed reasons why I love Youjo Senki as an anime.


1. Awesome sounds and music


Who doesn’t love an anime with great sound and music selection? Well, Youjo Senki has great music. With a godly OP such as “JINGO JUNGLE” done by MYTH & ROID, and a similarly amazing ED “Los! Los! Los!” done by the very talented Aoi Yuuki who also happens to voice our favourite evil loli in this series, as well as great background music and sound effects to complement the viewing experience, my ears fully enjoyed the experience and I watched every episode from the start to the end, and did not skip the opening or the ending. It was just THAT good. Not only is the music and sound effects great, the VA were also extremely on point. Aoi Yuuki did a fantastic job being the most psychotic loli to ever exist and by the end of the season(warning:spoiler alert), I became infatuated with the MC as a whole, in no small part thanks to Aoi Yuuki’s amazing VA. Not only that, the other voice actors also did a great job at bringing the cast to life and there were many a time where I felt that I was actually there with the characters and I was emotionally involved into the show.


2. Story setting and characters(slight spoiler)


Who else is tired of typical plots where the MC gets transported from the real world into a fantasy world with magical settings and begins his harem? Or plots where the MC starts off as incredibly weak but becomes stronger over time, and along the way, save the many people around him and thus becomes a hero, all for the sake of a noble cause(saving the world, stopping villains) or simply to protect his friends? Well, I know I get pretty annoyed by plots like those, since they are so typical and usually do not make much sense. However, in the case of Youjo Senki, this does not apply. This is not a usual type of putting a girl into erotic situations and thus provide fanservice type of anime, this is Youjo Senki, and in Youjo Senki, there is only one true MC, Tanya Degurechaff. Tanya is not only evil, she is a literally villain. However, unlike your typical villains who wants to destroy the world or bring harm to others, all she get psychotic over is being unable to have a comfortable life. Yup, all she has were the selfish desires of wanted to relax and enjoy her life. However, it was not meant to be when Being X throws her into the new world that she lives in now. With a setting similar to World War 1 and magic being involved, it might seem that it will have many plot holes and bad executions. That was not the case, as Youjo Senki splendidly implemented the magic system into Youjo Senki and the battles inside also contains many great references to real life events and things that appear in World War 1 and 2. As such, it was really nice and well done and in terms of world setting alone, it was great. When you consider the greatness that is Tanya carrying the show on her back with her psychotic yet extremely interesting personality and her actions meant to serve her being seen as war-mongering by others, and mix that into the already interesting world setting, you have a plot that you can savour, enjoy and not get bored at every single episode. Not only is Tanya as a character crafted really well, the side characters they have presented so far are only carefully balanced and will not feel dull. They do suffer from not standing out enough beside Tanya, but that cannot be helped as Tanya is bright as the sun in terms of personality and character development.


3. Pace and adaptation of story(slight spoiler)


Don’t you just hate it when the pacing of an anime is too slow and you are stuck with exposition narratives for half the time or when the pacing of an anime is too fast and the whole anime felt too rushed?  Or when the anime goes way too astray from source material and felt shittier than it should due to bad plot? These could be the causes of an anime doing worse than it should and are real mood killers. Not to worry though, as Youjo Senki did not suffer from any of these problems, and managed to pretty much stick to the source material and adapted it really well from what I heard. There was just one difference from the light novel(source material) but it was also to give the series a proper closure for season 1 and it was executed really well such that it does not affect the story later on. Choosing Aoi Yuuki as the VA for Tanya was also a very wise decision due to how well she performed too(Just remembering her performance *spoilers for Overlord* for Clementine from Overlord gives me the chills). In terms of pace, Youjo Senki is great too. The starting exposition and introduction of characters was nicely tied in with the story and does not feel dull, in fact, it makes people hot-blooded. There were slowdowns of pace whenever there is temporary peace and whenever battles are bound there is a visible quickening of pace in order to give the viewers a much more impressive viewing experience. The story didn’t feel rushed or painfully slow either and there’s always an entertaining topic for each episode.

Now that the good points are over, what about the bad points of Youjo Senki? Well, there are a few too.


1. Art(minor)


This is pretty minor but yes, the art and animation for Youjo Senki is bad in some areas. First of, let’s do a comparison of these two characters:

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Guess what, they are both Tanya Degurechaff, just different art from the light novel and the anime. Most would not mind this as in the anime Tanya is still drawn really well and looks nice, although some would be bothered by this. A second example of this change in art style would be another character:(top is manga, bottom is anime)

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Goddess vs Potato Girl

As you can see, the manga and light novel versions of the characters are much more beautiful. This is only a minor problem(to me) as it is just the designs being changed. Another example would be the use of 3D CGI in some places of the anime. It contains certain spoilers so I won’t post it here but let’s just say that there was pretty 3DCGI in some places, although rare. Despite this, the overall animation quality is actually top-notch, with beautifully animated battles and fights, as well as lots of good details in certain scenes. Therefore, it would be just a minor problem.


2. Skipping of certain explanations(common anime problem)


Well, I don’t think much needs to be said about this. Although a minor problem for Youjo Senki as they explain the essential things by the anime, some explanations and expositions are left out and thus require the audience to research a little bit into the subject. As this is a common problem that most anime face as runtime is limited, we can’t really fault Youjo Senki for this.


Conclusion


To conclude, there were many outstanding points about this anime which far outshines its minor faults. Thus, it was 12 episodes full of goodness to me and I rated it a 10. All that I need from Youjo Senki now is a season 2, as they ended off with an ending that either screamed “Go read the light novel you scrub!” or “We will have a season 2!”. I would highly recommend this anime to anyone and I have to say this was a great watch that was totally worth the painful 1 week wait for the next episode. Finally, to end this afterthought, Deus Lo Volt.

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Value counters


Entertainment Value: 100/100

Entertained me every episode and even had me on the edge at certain moments.

Respect Value: 85/100

Tanya Degurechaff is the very definition of psychopath and yet, her ambitions are so normal. If only Being X would give her a break. Being over-competent in her job is also a problem though.

Feels Value: 80/100

There was actually quite a few scenes in this anime where I wholeheartedly felt bad for some of the characters. Coupled with this godly second ED that popped out of nowhere for one episode, I really had a lot of feels for Tanya during that episode.

Nostalgia/Rewatch Value: 95/100

Now whenever I hear the ending song or the opening song, I would think of Youjo Senki. It has indeed left a deep impact within me and I will probably always have a place for this anime, just like No Game No Life.

Recommendation Value: 100/100

This is a definite watch in terms of anime not just from Winter 2017, but as a whole. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in starting anime.

3 thoughts on “Anime afterthoughts: Youjo Senki”

  1. I actually think, that the decision to change Serebryakova was a good one. Yes, she looks derpy, but it fits her personality (short-sighted, naive, and chubby crybaby) far better than the art in the manga or vn. Judging only from her looks in the VN/Manga, most would probably categorise her as a cold hearted killer and not the aforementioned crybaby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm. That I can agree with to some extent. But don’t you think that maybe there’s a middle ground where she can both look as intricately beautiful as her LN/Manga counterparts, and at the same time portray the personality traits that you mentioned?

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