The Saga of Tanya the Evil – The Movie Review: Tanya vs the Literal Mary Sue.

I loved the first season of The Saga of Tanya the Evil so immediately after finishing it, I naturally moved on to watching the movie, which was released two years after the show.
Directed once again by Yutaku Uemura, and based off the light novels by Carol Zen, The movie sees Tanya (Aoi Yuki) and her battalion of mages sent to infiltrate and spy on the Russy Federation, this world’s version of the Soviet Union. 
However, once inside, the plan instantly goes awry, causing a chain of events that creates a film which is a worthy sequel to the anime.

“They’re Commies. Blow the s#$t out of them.” With these words, Tanya and her batallion begin their mission.

I was not let down by this movie, even though I felt like some things could have been improved upon.
The first of these things is Tanya’s relationship with Being X.
Her rivalry with the self proclaimed deity was a highlight for me when watching the show, so I was disappointed to see Being X not drop in personally to gloat to Tanya in the movie.
Another disappointing thing was that there is a flash forward, which clearly spoils the outcome of the entire war.
This should have been cut entirely.
I have heard it is like this in the light novels but, come on, knowing what’s going to happen to the Empire does remove the tension, somewhat.  
The last criticism I have is of Tanya’s actual rival in this film.
You see, certain circumstances inside the Russy Federation lead to Tanya being confronted by the daughter of a solider who she killed in combat.
This girl’s name is Mary Sue (Haruka Tomatsu).
No, I am not kidding, there is literally a character called Mary Sue and, as her name suggests, she is ridiculously overpowered, most likely because of Being X’s involvement.
Now, I know Mary Sue being overpowered is clearly the point.
She is a character that is supposed to play off the stereotypical tropes of the Mary Sue archetype, possibly serving as a parody.
However, Mary does not feel like a parody but rather just a general usage of the Mary Sue trope, without anything new or interesting done, which makes her pretty annoying.

Mary is more like an actual Mary Sue rather than a commentary on the trope.

I know I have been criticising this movie a bunch when I said I enjoyed it and I did.
I just wanted to get a few of my grievances out of the way first before I got into the praise.

First of all, Tanya is once again a fun character to follow.
Not only is it still exciting and somewhat funny to see a salaryman in the body of a child plan and then carry out military operations, but the animators also clearly go all out animating her expressions, especially when she indulges in her sometimes crazy outbursts.
Just like in the show, the action is also great, with the sound design once again being stellar.
Then there’s the comedy, which had me burst out laughing a few times.

This reaction is pretty funny. Watch the movie and you’ll know why.

I will also say that this film contains a scene which is probably my favourite of the entire anime so far.
Watching this movie after the anime left me wanting more, so I was overjoyed to hear that a season two is currently being made.
Hopefully it will live up to the standard set by its predecessors.
Until then, there’s also a comedic OVA “Operation Desert Pasta,” which is pretty good as well.
The Saga of Tanya the Evil: The Movie is a worthy follow up to the anime and I cannot wait to see more from the monster in the form of a little girl.    

Tokyo Ghoul √A Review: The Decline Begins.

3 stars
The first season of Studio Pierrot’s Tokyo Ghoul adaptation was a solid season, but one that had a few issues.
Despite this, the final episode of the season was incredible and a great ending for the next season, √A, once again directed by Shuhei Morita, to pick up from.
Yet, coming into √A, I had a lot of concerns because this is the point that many fans say that the Tokyo Ghoul anime began to decline in quality.
And right from the first episode, “New Surge”, I knew this was going to be the case.
To put it bluntly, “New Surge” is easily the worst Tokyo Ghoul episode of the first two seasons because of how badly it both adapts the manga and tries to add new scenes.
For example, the emotional goodbye Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae) has with Touka (Sora Amamiya) in the manga is replaced in this first episode with Kaneki just being a silent edge lord, which he unfortunately remains for most of the season.

edge lord kaneki
Kaneki barely says anything to Touka when he leaves Anteiku, compared to the manga where he talks a lot, showing Pierrot couldn’t be bothered to write a different conversation.

Then there is Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree this episode, which is also atrociously done.
The anime decided to change the story in √A from Kaneki forming a resistance group to stop Aogiri to him joining them.
Sui Ishida, the creator of the series, envisioned that Kaneki would do this to secretly find and kill the One Eyed King but Studio Pierrot threw this, and his other ideas, out in favor of Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree to get stronger, which makes no sense at all.
This confusing plot line is on full display in the first episode with the scene that I think is supposed to show Eto (Maaya Sakamoto) convincing Kaneki to join Aogiri, which instead just has her giggling at him and then disappearing, without either of them saying anything.
Why would Aogiri Tree decide to let Kaneki join them anyway, when he is responsible for the death of one of their executives?
Not only this, but many important scenes like Kaneki breaking half the bones in Ayato’s (Yuki Kaiji) body are completely removed in this episode.
Unfortunately, the dip in quality of √A continues, with Pierrot trying to work in characters from the manga that just do not translate well to this new story.
The biggest example of this is Kurona (Aoi Yuuki) and Nashiro (Haruka Tomatsu).
In the manga, these two show up because both Kaneki and the CCG are actively chasing them down, forcing them to fight.
In the anime, however, they deliberately pursue Kaneki for absolutely no reason, making it feel like they were written in just because they were in the manga and not because they had a story based reason for being there.

twins ghouls
Kurona and Nashiro should not have been in √A. Without Kaneki pursuing them it made no sense for them to be in the season.

These problems with the anime original content continue throughout √A, with even censorship being a problem.
Tokyo Ghoul is a dark manga so it should have been a dark anime.
Characters that lost their limbs just break bones here.
Studio Pierrot should have listened to Ishida’s ideas for the season or just followed his original story.
Sadly, the anime only events are not the only issues with √A because the animation and soundtrack are issues too.
While the animation isn’t awful, various fights in the first half of √A feel slow and more static than the first season.
As for the soundtracks, songs are repeated constantly to the point that I actually tired of hearing even the great ones.
I lost count of how many times “Glassy Skies” played.
Not only this, but the opening, “Munou”, is flat out terrible, with barely any effort put into the animation, with it just focusing on Kaneki’s face the entire time.
However, despite the many problems I have mentioned, I still do not consider √A to be a bad season.
It almost is but there are a few redeeming qualities the season has that cause it to miss the title of bad by the skin of its teeth.
For starters, even though I didn’t like many of the changes that were made to the original story, there are actually some good ones.
For example, there is an interaction between Kaneki and Naki (Hiro Shimono) in the first few episodes that I really enjoyed, and I liked some of the little quirks Eto was given, along with her interaction with Juuzou (Rie Kugiyama) and Shinohara (Yutaka Nakano), which explained some of her later actions.

eto bang
Despite all interactions between Kaneki and Eto being a complete waste of time, instead of interesting changes as they should have been, I still liked the little changes and quirks her character was given in the anime.

Along with this, when the anime actually adapted parts of the original story correctly, it did them quite well.
The raid on Anteiku was excellent, for the most part, with the fights being very enjoyable, especially Yoshimura’s (Takayuki Sugo).
Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the change of having Yoshimura hallucinate Ukina during this scene.
The animation of these fights was also a lot better than they were earlier in the season.
Not fantastic, but good.
The voice acting also remains solid and, even though I had problems with how repeated the soundtrack was, I liked the final, slower version of Unravel that was played at the end.
I may have not liked the four minute walk that accompanied it but it’s still a fantastic version of a fantastic song.
So, despite its plenty of faults, Tokyo Ghoul √A is saved by its redeeming qualities, barely making it a good season.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for Tokyo Ghoul: Re, which I am currently struggling to get through.
You can expect a review for that train wreck soon.