Light Novel / Youjo Senki

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Tanya Degurechaff: "But we are soldiers, and if orders say we must burn beautiful Arene to the ground, that is what we must do."
Commander Mortiz Paul Von Han: "Who would want to be a soldier, huh?"

A preteen girl stands on the battlefield. With blond hair, azure eyes, and small stature, her presence seems like a mockery... but she's anything but that. Her name is Tanya Degurechaff and she's an Imperial Aerial Sorceress, and one of the best. Despite her innocent looks, do not expect any mercy from her at all; cold and calculating, she is a force to be reckoned with.

How could a child become a hardened soldier like that? Was that the result of her fatherland's imperialistic doctrines, which robbed her of her childhood? Or is she a tragic victim of the horrors of war?

No, the truth is far more terrifying. For she was... a male HR manager in modern Japan. Rational and utilitarian, he would restructure his company and fire employees as needed without remorse. That came to an end when one of the people he let off, in anger, pushed him in front of an oncoming train. After his untimely demise, he came face to face with a being calling itself God... with the salaryman finding it impossible, as what kind of god would allow such a world of absurdities? Calling him "Being X", he went into an argument with it on the lack of faith in humanity, or rather that it needs no faith. This angered Being X, who decided to impart an ironic fate on the recently deceased – for he, a man who values logic and stability over all else, was reincarnated in a world of magic and constant warfare. And in the body of a cute girl, to twist the knife in, all to teach him a lesson in piety.

Now, Tanya finds herself with the memories of her previous life intact, in service of an imperialistic country that is surrounded by hostile neighbors on all sides. On the front lines filled with trenches, mud and corpses not unlike those of WWI, but with the addition of magic, the young sorceress does not despair. In fact, she sees perfect opportunities in her new "career", which she plans to use without question. With efficiency as her top priority, she flies into the battlefield with a wicked smile.

Youjo Senki (War Chronicles of A Little Girl) is a Light Novel series created by an author under the pseudonym Carlo Zen in 2013. In 2016 it received a manga adaptation by Toujou Chika, whose previous work consist of the Code Geass: Oz the Reflection spin-off series. It has also received an Animated Adaptation under the title Youjo Senki: Saga of Tanya the Evil, premiering on January 6th, 2017. It is the first show produced by studio NUT, which is mostly compromised of talents from Gainax and Madhouse. It is available for worldwide streaming on Crunchyroll. Funimation's Simuldub began on Jan 23, 2017, and a new dubbed episode is released every Monday, here.

Currently has a characters page under construction. Please move all character related tropes over there.

For another series that also combines sorcery with 20th-Century-eque warfare, see Izetta: The Last Witch.

Youjo Senki provides the examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: A Mage's magic-powered blade is capable of mutilating bodies effortlessly. In the manga, Tanya is shown cutting a plane apart with hers.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 8 focuses on 2nd Lieutenant Warren Grantz in Tanya's battalion. In addition to seeing the war through his eyes and the kind of intense moral conflict his superior seems apathetic to, zero insight is provided regarding what Tanya is thinking throughout the entire episode – especially significant, considering almost all the rest of the story is given alongside her internal monologue.
    • Half a chapter in the manga and a section in the light novel is focused on a Perspective Flip of Captain Ugar, Tanya's classmate and competitor in Military College. As the father of a newborn daughter, he confronts Tanya on the issue of her status as a Child Soldier. Ugar's perspective represents the thoughts of many soldier-parents in regards to Tanya in both the light novel and the manga.
  • Adult Fear: Aside from the sheer circumstances of sending a nine-year-old girl to the trenches of World War I, Tanya invokes this in people heavily by her actions. Her outwardly cherubic appearance, apparent Patriotic Fervor, and calm resolve make her an apparently model soldier, but many people around her note uncomfortably that they have daughters or sisters around her age, and Tanya actively exploits it for her career. The idea that your child could turn out the same is chilling to any parent.
    Lehrgen had no intention of blaming OCS, but he still wanted to question them whether they were grooming Mages or creating killer dolls.
  • Alternate Universe: Being X purposely reincarnates the main character in such a world. Tanya herself notes that its almost an exact copy of her original world at the time of the early 20th century, but with a heavy dose of Fantasy Counterpart Culture and magic.
  • Arc Words: The phrase Deus lo vult ("God Wills It") tends to appear whenever Being X directly interferes with Tanya's life.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The way "Being X" is described, at least in the animated adaptation, is very similar to the Abrahamic God, but the whole concept of reincarnation is something common in East Asian religions such as Buddhism. This is especially relevant, as Tanya in her previous life was a atheistic Japanese man. note 
    • The manga all but outright states it's the Abrahamic God, and helpfully brings up the Ten Commandments. Later, it also introduces deities from other major religions of earth and they co-operate in a council, but whether they are of equal rank to Being X or not isn't quite clear.
  • Art Shift: To Mood Whiplash levels in the manga. It ranges from normal artwork one would expect in the story's genre, to Shoujo style, a South Park parody, and the use of Petting Zoo People to refer to the Empire and the other nation's military forces.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Considering how grim and cynical war is portrayed in this series (not much different from the real World War I and World War II), the covers of the Light Novel and most art in the manga may be a little too far on the cute side (especially Tanya herself). The anime subverts this, by making the characters look decidedly more psychotic.
  • Badass Crew: The 203rd Imperial Aerial Mage Wing/Battalion is quickly gaining this reputation. Their exploits include:
    • Completing a training course that left every higher level officer who learned about it chilled to the bone.
    • Routing 3 infantry divisions (50,000 troops) all by themselves (48 mages), capturing the enemy HQ, and then raiding the enemy's capital city, all in the same day.
    • Driving off 3 wings of mage troops, 2 further reinforcing mage squadrons, and a bomber squadron, again all by themselves.
    • Neutralizing the defenses of the Oslo Fjord, despite intervention by an opposing mage wing, within 30 minutes with no other support from friendly forces.
    • Serving as part of the rear guard of the entire Rhine Front as they withdraw.
    • Being the first human beings to be inserted into enemy territory via ballistic missile.
    • Successfully destroying the Rhine Front's communication's HQ in a Suicide Mission and returning with all their deployed manpower.
    • Lampshaded by the Northern Front command center. Their performance parameters are so good, they render other Mage units obsolete.
  • Birthday Episode: While not a traditional birthday episode, Episode 6 takes place during September 24th, which Tanya offhandedly notes to her men is her birthday.
  • Book Ends: How season 1 of the anime ends, with the last scene of episode 12 mirroring the first episode with Lehrgen expressing his opinion to the brass that Tanya is a monster in the form of a little girl. However, in contrast to the first episode where Lehrgen is worried about entrusting a vicious sociopath with too much power, it becomes an Ironic Echo as Lehrgen is now using it as a compliment, showing that he can't think of a better person than the cold, calculating Tanya to serve as their spearhead for achieving victory against difficult odds.
  • Brick Joke: In episode 9, a warrant officer named Teyanen is seen in a medic tent clutching his stomach and crying in pain. In The Stinger, Tanya writes a letter to Teyanen's family informing them of his incapacitation and transferal to a hospital, finding it humiliating to have lost her subordinate to a spoiled potato.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Surrounded by potential enemy nations or not, there's little question that the militaristic Empire is the strongest among its neighbors. Most attempts to invade it are met with little success, and it can easily crush any single opposing country in a war without external interference as well as holding its own against multiple nations at once... though none of this stops the horribly outdated Grand Duchy of Dacia from declaring war on the Empire and getting promptly steamrolled for it.
  • Canon Foreigner: The two corporals under Tanya in the first episode, Harald and Kurst, are canon characters, however their role is expanded in the anime in order to establish Tanya's character. In other media, not only were their faces shadowed, but their deaths are merely mentioned from Viktoriya's perspective in a casual manner. It was also implied that they didn't even survive for as long as their anime counterparts did on the front, as Tanya immediately gave them up the moment they show signs of insubordination. Due to the delicate situation of their overtaxed squadron and Tanya's skill, the two's transfer to the rear was done for the sake of keeping order, and there's no concern when they died in ignominy, as shown in the anime.
  • Cassandra Truth: The Republic in the manga and light novels, when they spread intel about the Devil of the Rhine to their allies because Tanya's war exploits are far beyond any standard Aerial Mage they've ever known. Neither the Entente nor the Allied Kingdom say anything, out of respect for the Republic's status as one of the Great Powers – while they didn't refute the Republic's claim, inwardly they think the Republican army is hallucinating from stress.
  • Cast from Calories: Mages in general are obligated to eat high-calorie foods, comparable to overeating even in an age of abundance, because of their high energy consumption.
  • Child Soldiers: The Empire is not above enlisting children in their army, especially if they possess high magical aptitude like Tanya does. However, there are various individuals who are disturbed by her presence in the military, such as Tanya's academic rival in the Military College due to his wife having recently given birth to a daughter.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the anime, visual effects of active mage spells are colored. Depending on which side the mage is allied to, they may be yellow/green (Empire), blue (Entente), fuchsia (Allied Kingdom), or purple (the Republic).
  • Conscription: Tanya's magical aptitude meant her only options were either this or volunteering anyway – and at least the latter means she can be sent to officer school almost immediately. On the other hand, Viktoriya was a magically-talented refugee who was conscripted into the army.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Being X reincarnates Tanya into her current life and is implied to be responsible for her magical aptitude, which in turn forces her into joining the military. When she doesn't crack under pressure and offer her faith to Being X, it simply manipulates the people around her and forces her to pray to it in order to survive and battle, and it's heavily suggested (in the anime, stated outright) that it's also going out of its way to spark a World War against her country.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Tanya's mage battalion sees its first combat action against an outdated army that might as well have walked out of the previous century. The 203rd Wing winds up devastating three whole infantry divisions, sacking their command post, and blowing up an armaments factory in the enemy capital with zero support and minimal effort.
    Tanya's monologue: Modern warfare can be summed up as the brutality of a nation's power above all. I'll shatter the Army of Grand Duchy of Dacia like a Conquistador!
    • This is also how most solo fights against the Devil of the Rhine post-Elenium 95 go.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The blind spot that the pragmatic and rational folks at the Empire's Strategy HQ painfully realize by the end of the anime's first season. Which Tanya points out is also what brought her demise in previous life, an extreme reaction against rationalism. Their surrounding countries suffer from Revenge Myopia and forget the Empire expanded their territory as a direct result of provocation from their neighbors, rightfully defending their own territory and suffering just as much throughout the war if not more.
    • And we still see it continue, with Anson Sioux's daughter Mary joining the Unified States Military in order to fight against Tanya to avenge her father.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The Empire as a whole seems to slowly following Tanya's cynical outlook as they are pitted against the world for protecting their rightful territory and come to a bitter realization they really will have to crush their enemies completely without mercy or else suffer the consequence as Tanya said.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Tanya writes her recruiting notice to emphasize how dangerous a rapid-response battalion would be in the hopes of discouraging recruits and lessening her workload (or better yet, preventing the battalion from ever forming). Instead, her high reputation and the War Is Glorious attitude of the time results in every mage in the army taking it as a challenge and burying her in applications.
  • Depending on the Writer: The male salaryman from whom Tanya reincarnated was considerably more sympathetic in the light novel, than in the manga or anime; the man he had fired was terminated only after rejecting numerous drug rehabilitation programs, despite the fact that his severe drug addiction was affecting both his work and his lifespan.
    • Being X also varies wildly in personality: an incompetent Beleaguered Bureaucrat Clueless Boss in the original light novel, an Evil Is Petty Jerkass God in the manga, or a highly unsympathetic Obstructive Bureaucrat with hints of serious Sanity Slippage in the anime.
    • The manga suggests Tanya's prayers during her use of the Elenium Type-95 are involuntary or subconscious, whereas she seems much more aware of what she's saying in the anime (aside from the first time she successfully activates it). Additionally, the manga portrays Tanya as relying mainly on spells cast without a weapon to fight, while the anime portrays her as always using a rifle in combat like other mages.
  • Deus ex Machina: Deliberately invoked in-story by Being X whenever it takes a direct hand in messing with Tanya.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: When the salaryman is contacted by a deity-like being that claims to be God in his last moments, he says he rejects the existence of God to its face, instead addressing it as "Being X", takes shots at the business model it uses to oversee the entire human population, and tells it that only weak people in desperate times would pray to a god. He gets reincarnated into what's effectively World War I Germany as a child soldier for his troubles.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The first ending theme is performed by Aoi Yuuki, the voice of Tanya.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The anime shows mages of different nations using very distinctive flying gear: a pair of skis (Entente), a metallic horse (the Republic), and a wired boot (the Empire).
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: Played with by Entente's bombers, as what they threw away are their bombs rather than cargo, and they didn't do it to slow a crash landing but instead to increase their speed to flee from Tanya. Subverted in the end, though, as Tanya shot most of them down anyway.
  • Enemy Mine: The Empire is without a doubt the strongest country on the continent, and no other country wants to bear the full might of that on their own. Which is the whole reason why Entente lasted for as long as they did, with help from Great Powers at the cost of their dignity. Even the far weaker Dacia declared war on the Empire, all in the name of international cooperation.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The underlying conflict in the story is between Tanya, a sadistic, self-serving soldier with no empathy for other humans, and Being X, a manipulative, uncaring deity-like being. Tanya does everything she can to defy and spite Being X, who in return is determined to break her resolve and make her worship it completely.
  • Eye Color Change: When mages invoke powerful magic, their irises changes to shining yellow or blue. Also, when Tanya was overloading her computational jewel to self-destruct, her eyes became red.
    • Episode 5 gives several close shots of Tanya officer with various darker eye colors. The post-ending episode gives as a shot of them working on a long-range artillery spell with their eyes of shining yellow and blue. Tanya's eye color swings between blue and green both under normal circumstances and when using her core, but when she uses its full power, her eyes become shining yellow. In Episode 7, we again have close-shots of Tanya's officers, but with slightly different eye colors (and without the shining effect). It isn't clear if there is any real convention here, or if the studio just messed up.
    • The anime shows Anson's normally brown eyes changing to the same golden shade as Tanya's after he survives his second meeting with her. When he tries to self-destruct in their third meeting, his eyes also glow red. And finally in the 12th episode, when Anson's daughter declares her intent to enlist and fight the empire, her eyes glow gold as well, hinting that Being X has now chosen her as its latest pawn.
  • Faceless Goons: Mostly averted in anime, but in the manga most unnamed characters are merely shown as figures with shadowed faces.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: It's hard to believe such a cute little girl is actually one of the Empire's most accomplished soldiers, let alone that she tried to ram a bayonet through a cadet's face for disobedience or wrote a thesis on how to exploit wartime laws and legally use artillery against cities.
  • Fantastic Nuke: In the battle that earned her the moniker of the "Devil of the Rhine", Tanya casts a "defusive magical explosion" upon enemy soldiers. If the massive explosion didn't kill her enemies, then either the oxygen deprivation from the resultant vacuum or else carbon monoxide poisoning would.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: With the way the tactics are employed, it clearly evokes WWI, but with an addition of flying sorcerers. Interestingly, Tanya is completely aware that she lives in a world extremely similar to her own in the early 1900s; she not only compares situations with battles she studied in her previous life to make decisions, but proposes a thesis drawing directly on her own knowledge of World War 1.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of early 20th century / early 1920's / World War I Europe. The Empire is clearly Imperial Germany, while the Republic is clearly France, the Triple Entente is the countries of the Scandinavian peninsula, the Grand Duchy of Dacia is Romania, the Allied Kingdom is the United Kingdom, and the Rus Union is Russia, more specifically the Tsarist one which recently underwent the "transition" to the Soviet version.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: What awaits Tanya, if she fail to survive her current reincarnation.
    • Also how Tanya's subordinates think of her when she gave them Training from Hell, especially after Tanya revives Grantz with booting him in his head. So they jump to the conclusion that Tanya won't let them get peace in death and will give them this trope if they dare to drop out. Unbeknownst to them, Tanya is just making sure no one died just because because Zettour ordered her to be a bit roughnote  and leaves it open to them to quit the training.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Chapter 9 of the manga and the end of Volume 1 in the light novel show that the Empire did suffer a similar fate as its Real Life-counterpart did: defeat and post-war chaos. However, the characters shown make no reference to any World War II, suggesting that the chaos was either less severe or else handled differently in some manner.
  • Forever War: The anime implies this ending, suggesting that despite winning battle after battle, the Empire's growing influence and power scares the other remaining world powers. Consequently, they all declare war on the Empire, and Tanya's hope of a peaceful life is shattered as Being X continues to screw her over.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: When showing him a What Could Have Been future had he not been murdered, Being X shows Tanya's previous life married to a woman who looks a lot like Viktoriya, with their daughter looking like Tanya's current form.
  • Future Copter: The battlefield role of Aerial Mages isn't that far off of helicopter gunships, albeit with the firepower and speed of a dedicated CAWS aircraft (Close Air Weapon Support) like the A-10. They possess hover capability long before technology had advanced enough to provide the same, are capable of aerial acrobatics that no real life helicopter can match, and pack quite a wallop between spells and conventional explosives like grenades.
  • Geo Effects: Tanya's and her squad's basic strategy when fighting against enemy mages, exploiting their superior flying altitude. Their operation orbs and skill set a new standard for aerial mage operation altitude, where the safe standard is usually 6,000 ft above sea level. They can reach 10,000 ft, where mages with inferior orbs and skill have to deal with air pressure, lack of oxygen, and mana swelling needed to maintain the altitude. Giving them partial-air superiority over their enemies, while their opponents have to fight with severe handicaps just to aim at them.
    • Tanya's record is 12,000 ft at the Rhine, but according to the creator of the Elenium-95, Doktor Adelheid von Schugel, Tanya could theoretically reach as high as 18,000 ft.
  • God Needs Prayer Badly: Being X is upset that humanity has reached a point that much of it no longer has any faith in a higher power, and that some of it actively rejects the notion of its existence. It's decided to correct this, starting with a particular salaryman as its test run.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Averted so far, in that the Empire, while militaristic and expansionist, doesn't seem to be particularly nasty by the standards of the time period and is a meritocracy, while very little is known of the Republic's inner workings.
    • The Entente is also a democratic country, and like the Republic they have inverted this trope. How did the war begin? By an unprovoked, armed invasion by the Entente against The Empire, sending their unprepared infantries into the far stronger Empire, all for the sake of a demonstration. Which is the same as sending them to their death. Their soldiers also have no problem hunting a 9-year-old little girl that was ordered to stand her ground, alone, against an entire wing of mages. All of these solely for the sake of fanning Patriotic Fervor, appealing to their people by making a show of taking back the disputed territory of Norden. Even their own soldiers despise their government for starting this whole mess with the Empire.
      • Tanya herself remarks that the Entente is a nefarious enemy of the Empire. While they could rationalize the Republic invading as an action to protect their own country, the Entente's provocation serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, in the eyes of a rationalistic Imperial army.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In first episode of the anime, Tanya cut a Republican Mage protecting his leader apart. We only see splashes of blood and the silhouette of his head being messily torn from his body, right before the explosion of his vehicle.
    • Averted in the manga, which clearly shows the resulting mutilation by Tanya's magic-powered bayonet.
  • Gratuitous German: The first ending theme contains this.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Despite operating at speeds and altitudes comparable to helicopters or light aircraft, not a single mage wears protective headgear or even goggles to keep the wind (or their own hair) out of their eyes in the anime. On the other hand, headgear is present for everyone in the manga; in particular, Tanya and later her battalion use both helmets and goggles in battle.
    • Justified, as combat mages already use their magic shield spells to protect themselves from gunfire and flight hazards, as well as enemy spells.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Several cases of in this series, either from the protagonist or else by a group or a country and their governing body.
  • Hologram: A mage's optical decoy spell works closer to this than the usual illusion.
    • Lampshaded in Tanya's Secret Test with the fake officer, which is just a refraction of light.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Tanya's Take That, Us speech to Lt. Col. Lehrgen centers around this, how humanity's Fatal Flaw is that despite rational thought and logic telling them otherwise, they will prize their emotions over it and seek out immediate yet unfulfilling, blind, and continuous thirst for vengeance. And that it will always happen, despite modernization and changing social norms.
  • Irony: When the Empire launches its pincer attack against the Republic, Tanya mentions how it's much like the Battle of Cannae, where Hannibal had performed a similar attack against the much larger Roman armies and wiped out much of the city. And much like the aftermath of Cannae not affecting the Roman's resolve to defeat Hannibal and the Carthaginians, this doesn't deter the Republic too long, as their remnants swear to continue fighting on, in addition to the remaining world superpowers all declaring war on the Empire. Thus, Being X continues to screw over Tanya's hopes of living a quiet and peaceful life.
  • Kaiserreich: the Empire is presented as an alternate history version of pre-World War I Germany.
    • The manga seems to weirdly avert this, however, instead turning the conflict into an allegory of WWII rather than WWI, up to redesigning the Empire's military to look like the Wehrmacht and seemingly turning the Empire into a Nazi Germany allegory.
  • Last Stand: It is strongly implied that the actions meriting a Silver Wing Assault Medal tends to involve one of these. In the novel, it is elaborated that the vast majority of recipients receive this award posthumously, which is why Tanya is so remarkable as a living recipient of the decoration.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Being X states that He will interfere in Tanya's life as little as possible, and remains true to His word. The other people in Tanya's life, however? Fair game.
    • In keeping with the rules of engagement, Tanya has to warn the workers of an enemy munitions plant of their impending attack so the workers could be afforded a chance to evacuate. She proceeds to give the warning in the cutesiest, most innocent-sounding voice she can muster, tricking the workers into thinking it was a joke and ignoring it. To be fair, her warning speech for the first part is shamelessly copied from the sportsmanship vow from Japanese school sport festivals, so it's rather hard to take such a broadcast seriously.
    • Tanya even wrote a thesis based on creatively interpreting wartime laws in order to allow the shelling of cities (warn the city to evacuate beforehand, allowing you to treat anyone inside as "unlawful combatants"). This is later used in the battle of Arene.
  • Mage Marksman: In the setting, most mages fire devastating explosive blasts through their rifles – though in the manga, Tanya demonstrates she can cast spells without a rifle as well.
  • Military Academy: There are several shown in the series: cadet schools that train new recruits like Viktoriya pre-Rhine, the officer school that Tanya graduated from as a volunteer, and Military College where the entry is decided through strict selection for future military leaders.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 9 of the anime ends grimly. Tanya and her handpicked team speeds off on a Suicide Mission to lay down a decapitating strike on the enemy. The Stinger starts with Tanya writing a letter to the family of one of her men who needs to retire from the military due to requiring long term care. It contains the standard compassionate words, an apology, and a note that he has received recommendations for medals. The Stinger ends with what actually did in one of Tanya's vaunted 203rd Imperial Aerial Mage Wing: a rotten potato.
    • Episode 10 of the anime seems to continue this perverse tradition. The episode ends with 2LT Grantz being shot down, presumably killed, as the command element of the 203rd return back from their mission in high spirits. The Stinger is a cutesy vignette about 2LT Grantz and Vicktoriya as the latter thrashes about the bunk sleep talking.
  • Nay-Theist: Regardless of exactly what Being X is, it's undeniably a powerful entity that exists beyond the ordinary scope of humans with control over reincarnation and power spanning alternate universes. Even so, Tanya doesn't just refuse to worship it, she actually takes the time to go down to a nearby church during her stay at the Military College – not to pray, but to fill her mind with curses against Being X on a daily basis.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe example. The international view on Entente prior to their fall, for kick-starting the war with Empire, even after they replace the politicians responsible for the border violation. They're also well aware that all assistance given to their country comes with contempt, and even then only because they have a common enemy in Empire.
  • Non-Verbal Miscommunication: A Running Gag in this series, commonly happening whenever Tanya tries to hint at how suitable she is to be a rear officer to her superior. She is either mistaken as a war maniac or an eager patriot.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: The battle of Arene. Rather than waste time and effort fighting in the streets to retake the city, the Empire simply shells the city with artillery, killing enemy soldiers, rebels, and civilians alike.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: During Schwarzkopf's explanation of the Rhine theater, he says that the 205th will be a counterattack force. Tanya takes it to meaning that they're reserves stationed in the back, whereas Schwarzkopf says they're in the front.
  • Perspective Flip: In one chapter of the manga, it shows the Franc Republic finally having a glimpse of the infamous Devil of the Rhine, Tanya, herself. Unlike the previous episode which shows Tanya's insane rant against the Republic, the orb instead shows the Jeanne d'Archétype personality that is developing within Tanya, the more she is forced to pray to Being X.
  • Punch a Wall: Tanya does this to her locker door upon realizing that the Armistice order has gone into effect long before she could prevent the Franc Republic's maneuver out to sea, and the sheer grief and anger is enough to crack the wooden door. This serves as a reminder that Tanya is actually a Technical Pacifist who is all too aware that War Is Hell, and that her actions prior were merely to end the war as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: A trope played back and forth between Quality Over Quantity and vice versa. While the Empire as a militaristic country has both in spades, due to fighting on two fronts, they depend more on mobility and strategy. This is especially true with their mage force, as both the Republic and the Entente are noted as relying on teamwork and numbers in order to deal with Imperial Mages. While on the Empire's side, their mages emphasize heavily on quality and tend to deploy in smaller numbers.
    • Tanya is regarded as disaster incarnate by the Republic, because numbers don't work against her; worse, they backfire horribly because Tanya has amassed a high kill count of their mages. Due to the scarce number of mages without exception in each country, losing over seventy Aerial mages to one girl is enough disrupt the overall battle plan laid out by the Republican military.
  • Rare Guns: The anime has really Shown Their Work regarding the various firearms used by the combatants.
    • The Tanya's Weapon of Choice, as well as the rest of the Empire's mages use the Mondragón Modelo 1908 self-loading rifle, a real life semi-auto rifle that wasn't issued to frontline troops due to problems with the mud and dirt, but worked perfectly fine with the clean air environment as experienced by airmen and balloon observers, similar to the combat conditions encountered by the mages.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The Empire frequently is on receiving end of this trope, due to their rationalistic and pragmatic nature. As Tanya lampshades, reality is stranger than fiction in their world.
    • The Entente Federation's border violation is this to the Empire, due to the vast difference in military power between them, and how even after the near-annihilation of their army in Norden, the Federation still has the gall to provoke the Empire further with their domestic propaganda to fan patriotism. If not for the Republic's timely declaration of war, the Empire would have wiped Entente out entirely.
    • How the war keeps going, even after the fall of the Republic by their hands, and suddenly the Empire find themselves as the Designated Villain for the world.
  • Realpolitik: During her discussion with Zettour, Tanya asserts this is the reason why the other Great Powers would intervene in the war; although victory by either side does not directly threaten their interests, nonetheless they cannot allow a hegemon to appear.
  • Reincarnation: Tanya is the reincarnation of a heartless Japanese salaryman murdered by an employee he had fired. The so-called Creator she dubs "Being X" threw her into this world of war in an attempt to force her to develop "faith".
  • Revenge Myopia: Not only does Anson Sioux want to kill Tanya at all costs for the death of his men, despite the fact that she only killed them in self-defense after they invaded her home country and tried to kill her (and who knows how many people, had they not been stopped), but the entire Republic wants to avenge the shelling of Arene, despite the fact that the shelling only occurred in direct response to the Republic using the "civilians" as unlawful enemy combatants, who attacked, beat, tortured, and abused unarmed and bound Imperial soldiers, even shooting and killing one In the Back as he was trying to run away when offered terms of surrender that were more than reasonable.
  • Running Gag:
    • Most people who encounter Tanya for the first time will comment that they have a daughter or a sister around her age.
    • Tanya's habit of Tempting Fate. She never seems to learn that if you've had a run-in with a god, maybe you shouldn't be thinking variations of "this will be easy".
    • While present in every medium to some degree, it's extremely prominent in the manga that Tanya will analyze a situation and draw a conclusion on what she should do and what others would think of it... while everyone else around her is thinking something completely different.
      Viktoriya: Should I really do it? (If we issue a warning to the enemy capital, the point of the surprise attack is...)
      Tanya: Hm... (Compared to Lieutenant Weiss' deeper voice, Second Lieutenant Serebryakova's voice is more likely to keep the enemy off-guard. But then couldn't she protest that being even younger, I ought to do it instead?)
  • Secret Test: When Tanya's initial plan at stalling the formation of the V601st is foiled, she plans on making it a Badass Crew by making an elite fighting force. To flush out unworthy applicants, they're sent to see an illusory officer who directs them back to their units; in the process, Tanya also demonstrates how woefully under-trained the Eastern and Southern forces at detecting optical decoys, compared to the Central forces (a 93% fail rate, compared to an even 50-50 split).
    • To drive the point home, both anime and manga portray the office used for the test as a suspiciously narrow room, the windows also suspiciously missing. In which the optical illusion spell is masking one (anime) or two (manga) sides of the room, in order to hide the real officers overseeing the test. It's no wonder that while Tanya expected to fail a lot of people, she didn't expect to get not even one out of fourteen pairs that she had tested.
  • Shout-Out: The subway in Episode 2 has a poster for Overlord.
    • In the light novel, Tanya brings up Vermouth's "A secret makes a woman more beautiful" quote and comments on how untruthful it is in her situation.
    • In the manga, during the assessment for Military College entry, Rudersdorf muses, "To laugh or not to laugh, that's the question,'' when they reveal that the talented soldier they were all going to unanimously approve is a nine-year-old girl.
    • During the commissioning of her V601st Training Wing as the 203rd Aerial Mage Wing, Tanya quotes Sergeant Hartman's speech almost word for word.
  • Shrouded in Myth: By the time of the chapters set 40 years after the war, the 203rd, later hidden behind their organizational number V600, have become this, with Tanya gaining the title of "the Eleventh Goddess".
  • The Sociopath: Tanya is definitely this. She has virtually zero empathy for others, and makes no acts of kindness that aren't meant to further her own career in some way; what few moral conflicts she has in the light novel have minimal impact on her actions, and are cut entirely from both the manga and anime. She casually sends upstart soldiers under her command to their death without a second thought, and tries using her own childish demeanor to guilt-trip and manipulate a captain into retiring early in order to eliminate him as a competitor. Everything she does comes back to her goal of climbing the ranks and landing herself in a safe rear-echelon position, and she never looks back on her actions with remorse. Interestingly, this and the fact that her mindset effectively comes from almost a century ahead of the setting, also result in constant miscommunications and misinterpreting the actions of others.
  • Super Prototype: Tanya's Elenium Type-95 is a highly unstable magic core formed by synchronizing four others that has killed everyone else who has attempted to control it, and is only used by a "protagonist" with exceptional magical potential... except the truth is, nothing but blind luck and literal divine intervention prevent it from blowing Tanya and everything around her to pieces every time she uses it. Tanya is less than pleased at having to use it from both a practical and philosophical standpoint. Not only she is under orders to continue to test the orb out in the field, she also can't afford to pass up the incredible advantage that it offers her in a fight.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the light novel, Anson Sioux is killed by Tanya during the Battle of the Fjord. The anime reveals that he miraculously survives, heavily implying that Being X was responsible... only for him to go after Tanya for revenge two episodes later, where he gets Killed Off for Real.
  • The Spartan Way: How the 601st Aerial Mage Wing is trained. Their initial month-long training regimen includes Hell Week, SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training, defending a static location against over 36 hours of artillery fire, counter-interrogation training, and endurance hikes. It's enough to give even hardened special forces veterans pause.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on who you ask, the man who knows Tanya's true nature and wants to stop her from climbing the ranks might be named "Rerugen" or "Lehrgen." The man whose submachine gun was looted by Tanya is either Anson "Sioux" or "Sue". Did Tanya discuss the prospect of World War with "Zettour" or "Zettois?"
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Aside from having their brains fossilized with battle tactics and formations that have been obsolete for over a century, the entire populace of the Duchy of Dacia grossly overestimates their own battle potential. When Tanya, heavily armed and armored, strolls right in to the feeble, yet highly decorated, tent serving as the mobile HQ, completely unharmed, after passing through three divisions of Dacia infantry, numbering 50,000, and makes it crystal clear that the weapons, tactics, and composition of the Dacia army are so woefully outclassed, that Tanya's single battalion (48 mages) can annihilate them with ease, the commanders outright refuse the option of surrender that Tanya offers them (as Tanya hoped they would, considering the nightmarish logistics of imprisoning, housing, and feeding 50,000 men). Then, after killing all of them save the generals, who were handed over to Imperial High Command as POW's, she takes most of her battalion to Dacia's capital city to find them... engaging in a victory celebration long before their troops could even reasonably try for any kind of war accomplishment. So of course, she set off some fireworks of her own, at the Dacia primary weapons factory, wiping out not just the weapons Dacia was building, but all the people building those weapons as well. Only time will tell if Dacia learned their lesson.
    • What started the war from Entente's side, they called their border violation a "highly organized and tense hike". Even their own soldiers are stunned by the outright stupidity. While they do have a decent army, unlike Dacia, even their own men think their politicians had a death wish.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Whenever Tanya prays to God in battle, her eyes glow bright yellow as she harnesses the power of her otherwise unstable magic gem. Anson Sioux's remaining eye also glows yellow when he fights Tanya for the final time.
  • The Scapegoat: While they're the one who crossed the Empire's border first, the surrounding countries keeping the Empire in check largely put the blame on the Entente Federation. Which include Dacia, and both the Republic and Dacia ignored diplomatic pleas from Entente until late into the game when the Republic realizes they need Entente to keep the Empire fighting a two-front war. Even then, the Entente is aware the help comes only grudgingly and they will never recover their international relationship until the Empire falls.
  • Stealth Parody: Youjo Senki is a fairly typical "military" light novel, which does not interfere with the author quite wittily parodying typical clichés of such works.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Grand Duchy of Dacia. While declaring war on the Empire when they're tied up in two sides war against the Republic and the Entente Alliance was the best possible timing, the method by which they do so is both careless and utterly idiotic. The Duchy launches an armed invasion composed entirely of infantry, in brightly colored uniforms, during the day, with absolutely nothing in the form of aerial defenses, and broadcasts its orders over completely unsecured and unencrypted radio channels. Tanya suspects Schmuck Bait until she sees the situation with her own eyes, and lampshades how utterly incompetent the High Command of the Duchy is. What's worse is that the munitions factory in the capital treats Tanya's warning like a childhood prank, despite knowing that the Empire employs Child Soldiers. They also left the vital factory defenseless with light security, much to Tanya and her subordinates' disbelief.
    • The anime manages to invoke this trope on Dacia even more than in the manga and light novel, showing the work in progress inside their factorynote , where something suspiciously looks like artillery shells are being made. Yet their invading force is made up only of infantry. Yes, Dacia dared to invade Empire while their factory is still working on those weapons that could have saved them from complete annihilation.
    • How the current war started could be blamed to the Entente Federation. They are just slightly better than Dacia, and while it's not emphasized as much in the anime, the Light Novel highlights that Entente broke the Longidium Treaty under the assumption that the Empire would act upon their border violation and start a war. Instead, the pragmatic Empire responded promptly with a barrage of shells, while as a whole in complete disbelief that the Federation would even attack them to begin with.
  • Training from Hell: In an attempt to scare off any potential recruits and prevent her wing from forming, Tanya's "training" amounts to little more than doing everything she can think of to torment her potential soldiers severely enough that they'll drop out. Unfortunately, she misjudged the amount of abuse they'd be willing to take, and she just ends up with a battalion of Badass mages instead.
  • War Is Glorious: One of the reasons that Tanya's recruitment poster, which was deliberately designed to make people balk at joining the 601st, fails is that soldiers still have this belief and instead see the poster as a challenge which is exactly what most propaganda was aiming for during this period.
  • War Is Hell: Magic or no, it's still trench warfare at its worst. Hell, magic probably just makes it worse. Episode 8 plays this up heavily as well, focusing on one of Tanya's subordinates as his wing participates in shelling a city and everyone in it, soldiers and civilians alike.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: One of Tanya's subordinates, aptly named Tweet Nika Teyanen, who is the first mage from the 203rd Wing who is named after the three squadron commanders plus Grantz. We never see his face, just his stomach and his pained moan in the foreground while Viktoriya and Grantz are laughing in the background. By the end of the episode, Tanya is writing a letter of condolence to his family, suggesting that he is out of action. Later it revealed by Tanya that Teyanen had to retire from service from food poisoning by rotten potatoes, of all things. Not only will fans remember him as that one guy who got done in by rotten potatoes, but even in-universe, Tanya in a mini episode specifically lectures Viktoriya on the danger of rotten potatoes.
  • Wingdinglish: The alphabet used in this alternate universe is vaguely readable, as it looks like modified Latin letters. The Empire is set up as an Expy of Germany, but for some reason the words are all in English.
  • World Gone Mad: Forty years later, the journalist aptly refer to period when the series take place as an age of madness.
  • Wrong Assumption: The Grand Duchy of Dacia's only accomplishment when trying to invade the Empire is intimidating their land force soldiers on the Southern border with their superior numbers. The soldiers even go as far as thinking that Tanya's wing was going on a Suicide Mission to delay Dacia's vanguard troop. In the end they're fretting for nothing; superior numbers or not, with nonexistent anti-air forces, Tanya ended up using Dacia as a live-fire exercise for her wing instead of real battle.
    • Lampshaded by Tanya that because her current world is experiencing the beginning of their first global war, all countries including the Empire often fall to this trope and the concepts of modern warfare as Tanya knows are still in development.

Alternative Title(s): Saga Of Tanya The Evil

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/LightNovel/YoujoSenki