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Literature / The Saga of Tanya the Evil

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We are not worthy of God's great miracles.
I praise His Holy name, and...
I submit to Your Glory.

Tanya von 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 much stranger and far more disturbing. For she adult 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 laid 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 World War I, 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.

The Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki, "War Chronicles of A Little Girl") is a Light Novel series created by an author under the pseudonym Carlo Zen in 2013, based on the web novel from 2010. 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. A spinoff manga Youjo Senki Restaurant came out in December 2017. In the same month, Yen Press began publishing an American localization of both the manga and the light novel under the title The Saga of Tanya The Evil through its Yen On imprint.

A second season was announced in June 2021, taking place chronologically after the events of the 2019 film.

On November 16, 2021 an audiobook of Volume 1 Deus lo Vult was released under the Yen Audio, a partnership between Yen Press and Hatchette Audio, label narrated by Monica Rial herself, even doing her Tanya voice when reading the titluar character's dialogue. Other works include Overlord (2012) and Sword Art Online also narrated by their respective main character's English VAs.

It is interesting to note that there's quite a big Tone Shift from the light novel, the manga, and then the anime (as evident by the Art Evolution of the character designs.) Hence, the whole universe gets progressively Darker and Edgier and all the character interpretations reflect this.

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

The main characters are part of the crossover Isekai Quartet, alongside the casts of KonoSuba, Re:Zero, Overlord (2012), and as of the second season, The Rising of the Shield Hero.

Youjo Senki provides the examples of:

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  • 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.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Everyone in Tanya's group looks prettier in the manga version.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Pretty much everyone depending on the media, given the Tone Shift between adaptations. Tanya in particular goes from Flashman to Ciaphas Cain to a Grimmification of both.

  • Affluent Ascetic: One of Tanya's pet peeves is when someone overspends their own budget and is also one of the reasons why she hates slackers as precious Empire's resources are wasted on them.
  • Aggressive Categorism: During the Eastern Front campaign, the Imperial Army translators are so prejudiced against the communist ideology that being a person living in the Russy Federation is equivalent to being tainted in communism. One of Tanya's recommendations to Zettour, when the former suggests a Divide and Conquer strategy, was to make use of the Berun language teachers and scholars instead of the Imperial Army when interrogating POW's.
  • Alpha Strike:In the later volumes, this is the modus operandi of the Salamander Kampfgruppe whenever they encounter something that can't be put down by simple military ordnance like the Federation tanks or the Commonwealth Royal Navy Capital Ships.
  • Alternate Universe: Being X purposely reincarnates the main character in such a world. Tanya herself notes that it's 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 Number: The number 11 is prevalent in the chapters that take place 40 years after the war. Everything from the Justice major arcana in tarot to certain words that contain 11 letters to justify the eleven x's used to censor out words.
  • Arc Words: The phrase Deus lo vult ("God Wills It") tends to appear whenever Being X directly interferes with Tanya's life.
  • Armchair Military: Played With on both sides.
    • In one of the chapters, an anonymous Allied instructor comments on how the brass are evil idiots due to them thinking that throwing bodies to the Imperial army, specifically to Tanya, is the solution of their problems.
    • In the later volumes, most of the Empire's subjects wanted to continue the war due to how much they invested men and materiel on it, and grew delusional of some successes, most notably of Tanya's kampfgruppe. Tanya is flabbergasted by this when she was recalled by the General Staff in the capital and even Lehrgen wanted the former to cause an "incident" in order for them to wake up in this delusion, something Tanya doesn't want to take risks due to what happened in her previous incarnation.
      • Case in point in volume 9, a Commonwealth Commando raid in the Western Front almost succeeded because the resident commanding officer is too much concerned on "clean uniforms"note  "proper military protocols" and "friendly fire" when Meybert pointed out the obvious signs that it isn't a friendly ship because it never even identified itself as friendly via flags, morse code, lights and radio transmission.
  • Artistic License – Child Labor Laws: Every branch of the Imperial military has a minimum enlistment age except for the mages. This is because magic requires a higher level of education than just toting a rifle, so the government wanted a way to be able to conscript the magically talented individuals from the minimally educated lower classes early so they could be taught enough magic to be useful by the time they were old enough to actually fight. Nobody expected a literal child to walk into an enlistment office and volunteer, but the way the rules were written, once Tanya did so, they couldn't turn her down.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The map of this alternate Europe is shown frequently in the anime, some of the borders are between very improbable to outright impossible
    • Dacia is Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Romania, that has it's IRL interbellum borders, which IRL are correct at the date of the anime (1924), but those borders came to be after WWI, when the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed and Romania took a lot of territory from it. But in this world the A-H Monarchy didn't exist, it's territory belongs to Fantasy Germany, that is an even bigger powerhouse than it was IRL, so for Dacia (which was shown in the anime to be stuck in the mid 19th century military wise) to take territory from it is impossible. It's a notable overlook on the part of the author.
    • Similarly Carpathia Ruthenia and Galicia are both shown to be the part of Fantasy Russia (IRL post WWII Soviet border), also quite improbable.
    • The Imperium (Fantasy Germany) holds the Low Countries, Denmark and Scania, both are unlikely, but possible, due to the Imperium being stronger than IRL Germany.
    • The author however did their homework on Tyrol. IRL it was the main reason for Italy to enter the war, Ildoa however its shown to include Fantasy Tyrol (and the Manga subtly implies it was part of a treaty). As a result Ildoa never enters the war as a belligerant.
  • 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 an 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 a Furry Lens to refer to the Empire and the other nation's military forces.
    • The special BD Omake chapters have the manga artist use the anime's art style instead.
  • 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), though it gets subverted in later volumes. The anime subverts this, by making the characters look decidedly more psychotic.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Quad-core orbs are incredibly powerful. However, under current technological constraints, they are also incredibly unstable (Shugel's inability to understand that even if his design is perfect, the people using it aren't, and thus refusing to sacrifice optimal power for reliability didn't help). As a direct result of this, the Type 95 not exploding when Tanya uses it is literally a miracle. Fortunately, Tanya was able to get High Command to understand that the Type 95 wasn't practical, and they settled for the less powerful but considerably safer dual-core Type 97.
    • Certain weapons in the series has been deemed by Tanya and the Imperial High Command as this. Such examples are the Russy Federation Railway Gun, as Tanya deems it useless when the enemy has air superiority and bigger Imperial battleships as Tanya mentions on the era of aircraft carrier warfare.
  • Badass and Child Duo: In the later volumes, the most feared Imperial duo by the Allied Nations are The Trickster note  and The Devil of the Rhine/Rusted Silver note . As a matter of fact in volume 11 they were expecting to assassinate Zettour, not Rudesdorf on a trip to the Eastern Front theatre leak purposefully let on by Zettour. The allied nations let them continued on anyway because they think that without Rudesdorf, Zettour would lose every connection he has in the Imperial Army, which was part of Zettour and Tanya's plan all along.
  • 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.
  • Batman Gambit: Tanya, when reaching the Dacian weapons factory, is aware that she must broadcast a warning to the workers below in order to avoid violating international treaties, but she doesn't want them to leave or set up defenses. So she uses her most cutesy, ridiculously girly voice in a mocking message to the Dacians, ensuring she won't be taken seriously, while still rigorously adhering to the treaty's wording.
    • The three consecutive Imperial missions comprising Operation Shock and Awe - Operation Door Knocker, Operation Lockpick and Operation Revolving Door, annihilate the Republic's army. Door Knocker involved the direct destruction of the Francois HQ and luring their forces into a designated area through a faked retreat. Lockpick involved sapping tactics to bomb the Francois right flank, and Revolving Door was the finishing blow, with the Imperial forces rushing through the now-undefended territory to finish off all opposition.
    • In the later volumes, Tanya uses this to her advantage against Mary. Due to Mary's single minded obsession of killing Tanya, the latter lures herself inside enemy lines during one of their skirmishes to inflict massive casualties on Mary's side in the process.This also increases the ire against Mary amongst the Allies.
    • In volume 9, the Commonwealth exploited this weakness on the Imperial Western Front. Due to the rate of attrition in the Eastern Front, the guards in the West are left with soldier too young nor too old to fight commanded with officers whose only merit is being in the nobility and/or having political connections. The Commonwealth almost succeeded at the raid had it not been for the Salamander Kampfgruppe, especially the quick thinking of Lt. Tospan and Captain Meybert, who quickly identifies them as bogeys when they noticed they weren't responding themselves as friendlies via flags and radio transmission.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Earlier in volume 8, the Allies, especially Lt. Col Drake and the Federation, were overjoyed when a spy informs him on Zettour's transfer in the Eastern Front. This later comes back to haunt them when Zettour quickly proves himself as a monster in the Eastern Front and incurred them massive losses even with limited Imperial men and materiel. This also earns Zettour the moniker of The Trickster and feared by the Allies alongside The Devil Of The Rhine.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Commissariat of Internal Affairs Lavrentiy "Loliya" Beria and his secret police are rightfully feared within the Russy Federation for this very reason. Lt.Col. Drake, during their cooperation with the Federation troops in the Eastern Front, is shocked at how much information the Commissariat could have in their hands once they targeted dangerous individuals when, out of goodwill as allies, they gave him information on Imperial personnel like Zettour and Degurechaffnote  including the said duo's own habits and tendencies.
  • 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, with the enemy sending her live targets as a birthday gift.
  • Black Comedy: The ridiculous amount of Gone Horribly Right Being X puts Tanya through are frequently darkly funny and one of the show's primary appeals.
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: Tanya spends a lot of time in volume 2 of the Light Novel extolling the utility of the shovel, wishing every soldier would carry one.
  • Brand X: Ama-san, which shows up in Tanya's memories whenever the practicality of standardizing delivery packages comes up.
  • 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 of all things.
  • Break the Haughty: While not really arrogant, the Commonwealth, sans Lt.Col Drake, has disdain on some of the Allied Nations for being unable to take down the Devil of the Rhine/Rusted Silver despite numerical superiority or any advantage. But in volume 10, they learned first hand how dangerous she could be as she and her battalion mows down every Commonwealth mages protecting the border from an Imperial invasion and almost leaving the proud Royal Navy Fleet at their mercy forces the Commonwealth High Command to reevaluate and listen to Lt. Col Drake on the very threat she possessed.
  • 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.
  • Casting Gag:
  • 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.
  • Clothing Damage: In the manga, Tanya seems to suffer this both times she encounters Anson Sioux, once in Norden during her border patrol-turned-skirmish which started the war, and during the Battle of Orse Fjord; both times she's left nearly naked. Both times, Barbie Doll Anatomy was in effect.
  • 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 extreme 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The ultimate result of the Albion attempt to aid the Legadonians. Due to a string of genuinely unrelated coincidences, they are convinced that the Empire sees them as their enemy even despite their neutrality, that the Empire is basically mocking them by telling them they have access to their entire intelligence network and deploying their elites to train them against Albion targets. In fact, so many unconnected events give them such an utterly nightmarish vision of the Empire, that the Albion brass immediately pushes their allies in the Unified States to create an elite wing of their own.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: In the later volumes, since the Allied Nations are now wary of Tanya and her Salamander Kampfgruppe, the Imperial General Staff decides to put them as the Lergen Kampfgruppe as a cover-up. This is played especially in their supposedly "alliance" talks with the Ildoan Kingdom, as they are wary of them trying to get intel for the Allied Nations against the "Rusted Silver". In the end of the Great War, almost none of the soldiers can confirm the existence of the Lergen Kampfgruppe.
  • Cool Ship: In the later volumes, the Allied Nations manages to create an aircraft carrier but it was promptly sunk by Tanya's battalion using V-2s.
  • Cool Train: The Russy Federation Railway Gun, though Tanya muses the fact that they're useless when the enemy has air superiority.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: The Allied Kingdom, desperate to get their hands on anything to pin on the Empire after the failure of Arene, begins a big spying operation just as the Empire starts a big counterspy operation to lure Republic forces into a different battlefield.
  • The Corruption: Tanya's Elenium Type-95 slightly rewrites her thought processes every time she prays with it. It's progressed to a point where she's developed a kind of split personality that's devout and loyal to Being X.
  • 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 deliberately going out of its way to spark a World War against her country.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Due to the lack of air superiority in the Ildoan air space, Zettour used all available air force at the expense of both Eastern and Western Front. The front commanders of the Allies and Ildoa understandably had a You're Insane! reaction towards this crazy but effective move.
  • Critical Hesitation Blunder: Usually Averted as Tanya will never hesitate to use force at the first sign of trouble, which also influences those under her command especially her Kampfgruppe and near her proximity like Zettour.
    Lt.Col. Drake: [when encountering Tanya for the first time] An enemy who doesn't hesitate is the worst
  • 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 only expanded their territory at all 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 be 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.
  • 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.
  • Decapitated Army: Operation Door Knocker - a mission involving using the 203rd as pilots for manned missiles with the main objective of destroying the Francois Army HQ. It later turns out the Empire isn't that different from the Allied Kingdom - Duke Marlborough had planned a similar attack on Imperial HQ, which got foiled due to the 203rd's intervention.
  • Defensive Feint Trap:
  • Depending on the Writer: The male salaryman from whom Tanya was 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.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: "Tanya the Evil" partly gets her name because of this. The people around her believe that War Is Glorious and should be fought and won with honor and daring. Tanya comes from a time where all such pretensions have been stripped away, the purpose of war is the complete imposition of your will on the enemy, and the most important law of war is "win." Her strategies are terrifyingly effective, but they're also plain terrifying, both to the enemy and her own peers and superiors.
  • Despite the Plan:
    • The original plan to engage the remnant of the Entente's navy called for the Empire's subs to hit them first with torpedoes, allowing the mages to swoop in and finish the ships. However, the shoddy torpedoes detonated long before making contact with the enemy ships, allowing the Entente's marine mages to sortie with anti-sub charges. However, at that moment the Empire's mages flew in as intended, slaughtering the Entente's marines and taking on the ships themselves. Ironically, the Albion intelligence saw this as if this was the plan all along, as the sudden explosion of the failed torpedoes allowed all the forces to focus on the Imperial subs, allowing for the 203rd Squadron to swoop in completely undetected, making it easier for the 203rd to do their mission. In fact, had it not been for the failed torpedoes exploding, Tanya and her squadron would have likely missed the Entente ships due to the weather conditions at the time.
    • For the final bit of Operation Revolving Door, the 203rd was supposed to sortie from a submarine to join in the final Curb-Stomp Battle of the Francois forces. Instead, they caught the eye of Allied Kingdom forces rushing in to attack Imperial HQ.
  • 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.
  • Divide and Conquer: During their campaign in the Eastern Front, Tanya realizes, after interrogating one of their POW's, that not all subjects of the Russy Federation have been converted into communism ideology and are simply fighting for their homeland. Zettour, under the advice of Tanya, uses this to their advantage.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The first ending theme is performed by Aoi Yūki, the voice of Tanya.
  • "Double, Double" Title: The first ending theme, Los! Los! Los!, German for "Go! Go! Go!".
  • Dramatic Irony: In the later volumes, Tanya wants to earn more accolades and be known by the other nations because she knows the Empire's defeat is imminent and wants to defect from it. Her assessment is completely wrong as she's not only known, but is also wildly feared by the Allied Nations for good reasonnote .
  • 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), a broom (Allied Kingdom), and a wired boot (the Empire).
  • Easy Logistics: Averted as logistics has always been a worry in the Empire's general strategy in the war. Even Tanya's thesis in the officer school is related to logistics and even worries about it during the planning of the winter offensive of Norden.
    • In volume 12, Zettour thoroughly exploits this towards the invading Unified States personnel. Due to the Imperial invasion of Ildoa, it resulted in a lot of evacuating and starving refugees that most of their shipping supply line that would be used for transport of materiel is used for food transport for the said refugees. And, as a cascading effect, it also had an effect of the transport of materiel towards its own Allies leading towards a procurement race.
  • 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 in order to flee from Tanya. Subverted in the end, though, as Tanya shot most of them down anyway.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: The underlying philosophical conflict of Youjo Senki in regards to its application to war. The main character of this story, Tanya von Degurechaff, is the embodiment of ruthless logic and pragmatism who finds herself opposed by those who are more inclined to let their selfish emotions rationalize war.
  • 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.
    • Case in point, Prime Minister Churbull is so disgusted with the communists that he mentions that just shaking hands with them is comparable to shaking hands with the devil, but Churbull needs them and their vast amount of manpower that he actually sucks it up just to have a fighting chance against the Empire.
  • Epic Fail: The Allied Kingdom forces collect the operational orb from the Republic commander in charge of the defense of Arene, hoping to pull either propaganda data showing the Empire initiated the massacre unprovoked and/or hard data on the Devil of the Rhine's magical signature. Unfortunately, the thing's busted, so no combat data can be retrieved, and the few remaining images paint a damning image... of the Republic forces, showing the Empire attempted to present a ceasefire and a call for civilians to evacuate, only for the partisans to kill their captive Empire soldiers, signaling that there were no remaining "civilians" in Arene.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Due to their conflicting ideologiesnote  in the Empire's current war on all fronts, Tanya, under orders of Zettour, assassinates Rudersdorf in the guise of a Commonwealth ambush.note 
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: With Tanya's help, the Empire comes up with a justification to shell cities during wartime, by interpreting partisan actions against them as a sign all civilians have been evacuated and only fighters and soldiers remain.
  • Eye Color Change: When mages invoke powerful magic, their irises change 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 the 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 World War I, 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 I.
    • In volume 11, Unified States joins the war due to the Empire sinking a passenger ship and by the former intercepting an invasion telegram from the Empire. Similar to how the United States reacted on the Lusitania sinking and the Zimmerman telegram.
  • 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.
    • In volume 9, Tanya comments to Rudersdorf about the Empire being similar to Tanya's pre reincarnation world after hearing the Supreme High Command's plan on betraying the Federation separatists and taking the Eastern Front land themselvesnote .
  • Fate Worse than Death: What awaits Tanya, if she fails 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 by slamming him in the torso to clear his airways and get him breathing again. 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 Zettour ordered her to be a bit roughnote  and leaves it open to them to quit the training.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Tanya grossly underestimated the blatant racism of the Imperial Army when she realizes, when interrogating one of the POW's using Visha who is a Russy Federation refugee, that these people are simply fighting for their homeland and are not even tainted by the communism ideology.
  • Finale Title Drop: Every novel volume titlenote , aside from volume 4, is spoken by the characters in the end of the novel
  • Flaunting Your Fleets:
    • In Volume 6, Zettour is horrified when he receives intelligence from Rudersdorf that the Unified States has been building aircraft carriers as an economic policy measure. It is even lampshaded in this quote in the novel.
    "Whoever controls traffic over the seas can rule the world"
    • From volume 9 onwards, this was stopped by the Allies and, by extension, the Ildoans due to how effective the Imperials have been at sinking them.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Tanya's, and the 203rd battalion by extension, official callsign in the Imperial Army are Pixies/Fairies. It is often commented in the series by the soldiers accounts on such a callsign for a terrifyingly elite squadron.
  • Food Porn: Every now and then, the manga shows a particularly lavish illustration of the food Tanya's eating.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: In volume 8, Andrew notices that the multinational forces already tightened up defenses during one of Tanya's counterattacks despite earlier having problems with communications breakdown between languages in which Drake commends and tells the former that it's a military secret. In which it was revealed in the later volumes that the Imperial communication code has been cracked when Tanya realizes that the Commonwealth has already shored up defenses in their planned invasion route on the Allied Kingdom despite being Rommel and a few of the Imperial Generals knowing of such bold plan.
  • 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.
  • Framing Device: A group of investigators trying to uncover the truth of the war forty years after its end zero on the history of Tanya, and start digging through the heavily censored and lost history to find the truth behind the war's events.
  • From Bad to Worse: In the later volumes, various Imperial subjects like Zettour and Lergehn comments on the fact that their failure to annihilate the Republican Field Army has started of a chain of events leading into their current predicament of a multi-front war against the Allied Nations.
  • Funny Background Event: In the manga's depiction of the Battle of Oslo Fjord, there is a panel where Visha is shown to be reporting in to Tanya after apparently decapitating an enemy soldier with her ever-trusty shovel. She keeps it as her primary weapon for the remainder of the battle.
  • 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.
  • Gender Is No Object: Downplayed, The Imperial Military is a meritocracy that allows females in combat and on-site support roles alongside their male counterparts; however, most females are mage officers and Tanya is the only female officer onscreen that holds a rank above First Lieutenant.
  • Geo Effects: Tanya and her squad's basic strategy when fighting against enemy mages, exploiting their superior flying altitude. Their computational orbs and high level of 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. Thus 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.
    • While crewing a fleet of missiles, the Type-97 allows the members of the 203rd to reach an altitude of 30,000 ft.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • In volume 7, the routing of the Federation army in the Eastern Front led by the Salamander Kampfgruppe created an opposite effect in the capital Berun and pursued more concessions despite the massive loss of men and materiel in the Eastern Front theatre. The chapter has been appropriately named "Excessive Triumph".
    • As Zettour pointed out in volume 10, the Imperial propaganda is so effective in sparking patriotism in the home lands that when said soldiers get transported into the front, they immediately got demoralized into the true state of the war.
  • 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.
  • Government in Exile: Legadonia tries to set one up within Albion when it becomes clear the Empire is going to win. They elect Councillor Urbansole of Cultural Affairs to manage it, though the submarine he's transported in is damaged by Tanya's wing. Fearing the worst, the Albion marines kill and dispose of him, destroying any possibility of resurgence for Legadonia.
  • Gratuitous German: The first ending theme contains this.
  • Gratuitous Latin: All the volume titles, aside from Volume 3, of the Light Novel are this
    • Volume 1: Deus lo Vultnote 
    • Volume 2: Plus Ultranote 
    • Volume 3: The Finest Hournote 
    • Volume 4: Dabit deus his quoque finemnote 
    • Volume 5: Abyssus abyssum invocatnote 
    • Volume 6: Nil admirarinote 
    • Volume 7: Ut sementem feceris, ita metesnote 
    • Volume 8: In omnia paratusnote 
    • Volume 9: Omnes una manet noxnote 
    • Volume 10: Viribus Unitisnote 
    • Volume 11: Alea iacta estnote 
    • Volume 12: Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiaturnote 
    • Volumes 13 & 14: Dum Spiro, Speronote 

  • Hard Truth Aesop: More inspired by the history of post-war German revanchism. Anime ends with the idea that an unfinished conflict and an arrogant attitude towards the loser will only sow ideological hatred in him and cause a new conflict in which the enemy will already act in principle and go to the end. Which should sound familiar to the historically aware.
  • 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 and in the light novel; 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.
  • Heroic BSoD: One of Tanya's worries in the front, especially to her own battalion, is when they stopped smiling and cracking up jokes. She takes measures for this and looks out for their well being lest she gets fragged "accidentally" by them.
  • 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.
  • Hold the Line: One of the major objectives in the Battle of Arene, aside from cutting off Imperial supplies in the Rhine Front, was to divert powerful Imperial forces, especially The Devil Of The Rhine long enough for a Republican breakthrough at the Rhine Front. But. unfortunately, Tanya has other plans.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless War: In the later volumes, The Empire's war situation is already deteriorating to the point where the Imperial citizens of Berun are now apathetic and the citizens wouldn't mourn anymore at the soldiers dying at the front. While the politicians and most of the Empire General Staff are seeking for their next victory without regards to the soldiers conditions fighting in the front. The situation is so dire that Tanya, despite her constant successes, has seriously considered defecting the Empire. Partially an Invoked Trope since Being X is actively pushing for the war to continue in order to drive Tanya to such dispair that she finally agrees to worship him.
  • Hope Spot: The last of the Legadonian high command is moved to an Albion submarine with the intention of setting up a government in exile in Albion. However, by sheer chance Tanya's wing finds the sub, and inflicts minor damage, stopping it from immersing again. The presence of a military vessel in contested territory gives Tanya the excuse to justify searching the sub; the Albion crew, believing they've been found out, kill and dispose of the Legadonian officer, destroying any hope for any eventual resurgence of the original Legadonia.
    • In the manga, when the 203rd attacks the Francois Army HQ, a group of Allied Kingdom observers hide in an attempt to scan the mana signature of the attackers, with a special interest in the Devil of the Rhine's. While they are discovered and attacked, the Empire forces can only manage a brief attack before their earlier plan to blow the munitions store kicks in. Fleeing the explosion, they don't realize the Kingdom observer was left as the Sole Survivor, successfully recording the mana signatures he needed. As the man tries to exit his bolthole, a Francois soldier approaches, and he desperately flags him down and begs him to send his orb to the Allied Kingdom - only for the soldier to execute him. Dropping the illusion, Elya calmly takes the orb and leaves.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Aesop: The anime ends with Tanya discussing how an arrogant attitude towards the loser will only sow ideological hatred. Cue the movie and Tanya completely trolls Moskova in such a way that the Empire cannot sue for peace because the Federation is just that incensed. Of course, it could be argued that her hatred of commies just got in the way.
  • Ignored Expert: Played with on both sides.
    • Tanya, despite displaying cutting edge strategies, tactics and doctrines, gets often ignored by her higher ups, of which they came to regret their decision.
    • Likewise, in the Allies, seasoned veterans who encountered The Devil of the Rhine and lived to tell the tale, gets often ignored by various commanders and recruits for a chance of taking down Tanya for glory.
  • Improvisational Ingenuity: One of Tanya's massive strengths as a commander is her ability to quickly improvise in combat that she even defeats her own doctrine cheaply imitated by one of the Allied nations forces hellbent on defeating her in the war.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Type-97 Elinium Orb. While still superior to the standard Imperial mage orb, it's still a downgrade from the much more powerful Type-95. Tanya still prefers it because unlike its stronger counterpart, it carries no risk of mental contamination while still being excellent equipment. Her superiors, on the other hand, are convinced she deliberately handicaps herself as to not reveal the existence or capabilities of the Type-95... considering her even more of a patriot for it.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Type-95 Elinium Orb. It's a monstrously powerful piece of equipment that channels Being X's power to create true miracles. However, for Tanya, it's an Artifact of Doom that brainwashes her by forcing a Jeanne d'Archétype Split Personality fully loyal to Being X upon her.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Subverted. While The "Devil's Plan", which functions on extremely vague interpretations of the rule of law to get away with basically decimating a town full of civilians, looks initially like this, it actually works. Furthermore, it is put to the test during the shelling of Arene and the Republic is forced to admit that the Empire was technically correct.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Andrew,who is currently investigating on who the Eleventh Goddess is, is one and was also present in the hellish Rhine and the Eastern Front.
  • 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.
      • To drive home how it similar it is to Hannibal, Tanya even quotes Maharbal's famous quote emotionally.
        Tanya (to herself): You (the Empire's General Staff) may know how to gain a victory, but you don't know how to use it.
    • One of the post-war chapters shows that a few of the investigators researching the truth of Tanya's wing call the mysterious leader "Being X", since her name is always replaced by a string of capital X's.
    • In both the novels and manga, the capture of Arene by the Republican mages was partly due to Tanya's elite battalion performance. Due to the 203rd's performance at Dacia, various military officers of the Empire realizes the importance of air superiority and had the rear guard mages guarding Arene relocated at the front. While the Republic realizes that the Devil of The Rhine's doctrine with how mages are utilized are effective and have been imitating them leading to the capture of Arene.
    • Played for Drama in the later volumes. With the Empire's enemies surrounding them from all fronts and increasing tensions with the Unified States, Tanya wanted to end the war as soon as possible and confides her fear to Zettour with the Empire now lacking men and materiel. But most of the Empire's subjects wanted to continue the war due to Tanya and the Salamander Kampfgruppe's successes.
      • Case in point in volume 7, the Imperial forces with Tanya's Salamander Kampfgruppe routed the Federation Army so hard, the various politicians and military subjects only stationed in Berun demanded more concessions. Lehrgen was so exasperated in the message that he even wished the Empire was defeated in that encounter and the chapter itself is aptly named "Excessive Triumph".
    • The Empire's war machine is this. Even Tanya monologues about how the Empire, wishing for peace by showing off the sharpness of its sword, frightened everyone and only escalated the war further.
    • The Ildoans has always been neutral plus the mediator during the war between the Empire against the other countries, making them not a target by the Empire. But them allying themselves with the Unified States in Volume 11 on an "armed neutrality" since it was clear to everyone that the Empire was on their last legs only made the Empire invade and destroy the Ildoan's military capabilities. Zettour himself laments that he had to kill Rudesdorf to stop this from happening only to continue it due to "necessity" as they fear that Ildoans might become a staging ground for the Unified States to invade the Empire and also for the former to take advantage on the Empire's eventual defeat.
  • 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 without the racism.
  • Kansas City Shuffle:
    • How Tanya manages to destroy the Commonwealth Fleet using the V-2s. While letting said fleet chase the retreating Imperial fleet, Tanya with the 203rd accompanies three hunter killer submarines loaded with V-2s that can immediately sink any capital ship upon direct hit. The V-2 manages to destroy an aircraft carrier and a battleship. The screens then do an anti submarine sortie which is the signal for Tanya's mages to deliver the finishing blow towards the Commonwealth Fleet. Ironically, this wasn't the first time Tanya did this as they already did the said tricknote  during the evacuation of a Legadonian Ambassador.
    • This is also Zettour's modus operandi after his demotion into the Eastern Front that earned him a title as The Trickster by the Allied Nations. Zettour already expected that the Allied Nations have extensively studied dangerous Imperial personnel like him and Degurechaff that he already expects that his older tactics will never work anymore.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the major component of the "Devil's Plan", which Tanya proposed in the War College with regards to dealing with Urban Warfare between massive armies, is to create a large firestorm via coordinated attacks at certain points.note . This horrifies even the most veteran officers and soldiers especially when taken into effect towards Arene.
  • Kiting:
  • Last Stand: It is strongly implied that the actions meriting a Silver Wing Assault Medal tend 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Throughout the series, Tanya herself and the units she personally created and trained are this. It's also one the reasons that they're the Empire's finest firefighting team.
  • 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. Oh, did we mention that there were unlawful combatants in the city, making the bombardment completely legal?
      • In the later volumes, Tanya and the Empire legalize city bombardment in the Russy Federation, since the Federation haven't signed the laws of war of the land due to the communist policies.
  • 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.
  • Mission Creep: In volume 9, Tanya realizes, to her horror, that the Imperial subjects don't have a specific strategic goal to end the war in mind and only seek victories during one of their chats with Rudersdorf in Berun. This thought was enough to make Tanya shudder, to the point that she seriously considers defecting the Empire.
  • 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 sleeptalking.
  • More than Mind Control: The brainwashing Tanya suffers from using her Type-95 is very gradual and subtle to the point of her not even realizing anything is happening until she notices that she's wearing a rosary and is unable to remember putting it on, much less buying it.
  • Mundane Wish: In volume 7, after Tanya's Salamander Kampfgruppe gets promoted into Lergen Kampfgruppe, when Lergen asks for any special requests for the Kampfgruppe, Tanya requests fresh socks for entire Kampfgruppe so as to avoid problems in the muddy Eastern Front. Lergen is quite surprised by such a request from Tanya.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Tanya realizes, to her horror, that not all people in the Russy Federation are communist and are simply fighting for their homeland when she uses Visha, who is a Russy Federation refugee, as her personal translator. It is why Tanya offers a Divide and Conquer strategy to Zettour to save Imperial dwindling men and materiel for such a massive front.
  • 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.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Played With; Most of the European countries, including the Empire, respected the Ildoan neutrality and mediation efforts. But in Volume 11, Ildoans allied themselves with the Unified States on a concept of "armed neutrality" aimed at ending the war had them a target by the Empire. The Empire, under the command of Zettour, swiftly dispatched their military forces to avoid opening and swelling another front they had to expend manpower defending with.
  • Never My Fault: In volume 9, a front commander in the Western Front imprisons Tospan and Meybert after both successfully repelling a commando raid in the Western Front while branding them as lazy, incompetent, insubordinates, friendly fire etc. despite it being applicable only to himself.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Tanya's attack on Moskova, which was meant to be a diversion, ends up being so crushing and insulting towards the Politburo and its pride, that Zettour points out that peace talks are useless for the time being. It doesn't help that the Russie Union was already preparing for war out of fear that Tanya would show up and wreck them first.
    • In volume 7, the Imperial Government would've accepted the concessions the General Staff made with Ildoan mediation efforts had Rudesdorf kept silent when they asked about "Is it possible for the Empire to still achieve victory", much to Zettour's chagrin. Due to this, Rudesdorf gets to keep his position while Zettour is promptly transferred as a Theatre Inspection Officer of the Eastern Front and also the start of the rift between them that culminates in Zettour ordering the assassination of Rudesdorf in volume 11.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In volume 9, Lt. Tospan and Captain Meybertnote  manages to repel a Commando raid of the Commonwealth in the Western Front. They were rewarded by imprisonment by the Imperial Military Police due to not following proper proceduresnote , insubordinationnote  and friendly firenote , much to Tanya's anger that she even considers to Lehrgen for the resident commanders and Military Police to be transferred into the Eastern Front nor be executed by the firing squad.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • Zettour is based on Hans von Seeckt, Rudersdorf is based on Erich Ludendorff. Both take some inspiration from the character of their inspiring historical figures.
    • Drake's surnname(s) note  is from Sir Francis Drake, otherwise he/they bear no resemblance to their historical counterpart. note 
    • There are 2 people introduced in Volume 3 of the novel, both of which are skipped in the anime and the movie.
      • Tanya is introduced to a general named Von Rommel, a recurring character of the novel whom Tanya respects as much as Zettour. Rommel, as per his real life counterpart, is also an expert of maneuver warfare on par with Tanya, though the former admits that Tanya is miles ahead of him on that aspect.
      • It also introduces Churbull being promoted into a prime minister as the Empire sweeps around Europe after beating the combined forces of Allied Kingdom and Republic in a "sickle cut" operation, similar to how Churchill being promoted after Germany sweeps the combined forces of British and French in the Second World War.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: In a series filled with warfare and fictional military officers all around that are portrayed fairly realistically, if not at least a little exaggerated for anime styling, Tanya and Viktoriya as well as Mary Sue stand out big time as much more modern Moe designs in comparison, almost like they're from a completely different series altogether; this is probably the point. The effect is still there in the manga and light novel artwork, but those go for more of a Shoujo look that isn't quite as drastic and balance out more evenly with other characters. At least, whenever Tanya isn't either intentionally or accidentally being cutesy anyway.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Francois officer tasked with destroying the Devil of the Rhine glories in how the Empire's morale will shatter when she's killed, mentally fawning over his men's skill and equipment, and how he's figured out a perfect plan to complete his mission. Then an aide interrupts his reverie to inform him the trap was an absolute disaster and they've lost a whole wing of experienced mages, including an Ace of Aces.
    • In volume 11, The Commonwealth has this in spades when they realized that it was Zettour and Tanya's plan all along to let Rudesdorf be killed for Zettour to rise in power. They then decided to leave Ildoa at their fate due to the realization when the Imperial forces has been massing at the Ildoan border.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: 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 the Empire.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Employee: Duke Marlborough refuses to indulge in his colleagues' notions that the Albion navy is the ultimate game changer for the Europan war, and always keeps in mind the very real possibilities that the Empire isn't actually losing and indeed doesn't care about the cost of victory. He ends up vindicated when the truth of the decapitation of the Francois army comes to light.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Tanya is skilled enough to notice visual cues and slight character changes in the people around her and act accordingly, even though these people are Bearers of Bad News for her.
    • Case in point; In volume 5, before Rudersdorf orders the temporary disbandment of the Salamander Kampfgruppe to serve as training personnel, Tanya notices the general beating around the bush too much when he normally goes straight to the point.
    • One of Tanya's worries for the soldiers at the front is when they stop smiling and cracking jokes, so she always looks out for that and cares for their wellbeing lest she get fragged by them.
    • In volume 10, Lergen himself comments how unusual is it for a usually calm and collected officer Tanya to get angry at them when Lergen reveals to her and Diplomat Conrad about every high ranking government and military officials knowing that defeat is imminent but couldn't accept it.
  • Paranoia Gambit:
  • 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. The republicans are begging the recording for mercy by the end of the scene.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
  • 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 to disrupt the overall battle plan laid out by the Republican military.
    • In one of the chapters, an anonymous Allied instructor gripes on the fact on how evil the brass is due to them thinking that throwing bodies unto the Imperial Army is the solution of their problem.
      Anonymous Allied Instructor: Is the top brass stupid? They're certainly not smart enough to keep our accelerated grads from ending up as target practice. The Imperial Army is crafty as the devil. A ton of newbies die, but all they say is to accelerate their education and give them more newbies?! The brass is made up of evil idiots!
    • In Volume 11, the Allies has this in spades. While Zettour and Tanya are still regarded as monsters in the Imperial Army, they are shocked at how effective the Imperial Army is as a military and has nothing but praise for them, especially on Lt. Col. Uger for his logistical prowessnote  and Col. Lergen for organization. They even lamented that its a pity they were in the Imperial Army and would've love for them to be in their side.
  • Reading The Enemy's Mail:
    • One of the reasons for the Dacia rout by Imperial forces was, aside from the Dacian Army using outdated tactics, having unencrypted comms that Tanya at first thought it was some sort of a deception tactic.
    • In the later volumes; Tanya realizes, to her horror, that the Allied Nations has already broken into their code when the area of Rommel's planned invasion of the Commonwealth is already well defended despite only few people of the Imperial command knew of such plan. It is one of the reasons why she decided to side with Zettour as she already knows that defeat is imminent.
    • In volume 11, Zettour uses this to his advantage at the behest of Tanya. The former purposely let the Allies know that "a High Ranking Imperial General is visiting the frontline of the Eastern Front in a cargo plane" to kill Rudesdorf while being escorted by Tanya to avoid the Imperial Army and Government drawing suspicion between the two masterminds.
  • 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.
    • As the light novel points out, the destruction of Arene was not a war crime. After the local citizens took control of (or liberated) Arene, the Imperial army was faced with a stark choice: retake Arene immediately or have the Rhine front collapse and lose the war. When faced with such a choice, assuming that the laws of war in Tanya's world are largely identical to Earth's, the Imperial army would have been justified in storming the city without further warning or delay. If anything, the Imperial army gave the civilians in Arene just over 27 hours to evacuate before Tanya's battalion was sent in. Tanya also gave the militia in Arene one last chance to surrender. In other words, assuming that the Imperial army actually let people leave, they obeyed not just the letter of the laws of war, but also its spirit. Ironically, the Republican army fully intended to use the civilians in Arene as human shields which is a war crime.
      • As for the bombardment of Arene, taking a defended city with ground troops is extremely bloody and difficult. The Imperial army was obligated to minimise civilian casualties and property damage; they were under no obligation to suffer heavy casualties or to fight a protracted battle. Horrific though it was, destroying the city to re-establish supply lines was militarily justified as the Imperial army would have lost the war otherwise.
      • It is heavily implied that the people fleeing Arene after the attack began were bombarded by artillery. Unfortunately, neither the anime nor the light novel show how many of them were civilians and how many were militia so a further interpretation is impossible.
      • Nonetheless, the fact that even Tanya feels angst about the destruction of Arene, logically justifiable as it was, shows that even she has a conscience. War is hell indeed.
  • 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.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: Tanya tries to defy this trope when she is tasked with creating an advertisement for a new battalion of mages that she is going to lead. Since Tanya doesn't want the job, she has the advertisement emphasize how miserable and horrific the detail will be in the hopes of deterring potential candidates. However what Tanya didn't take into account was that the military would instead see it as a Dare to Be Badass advert and she gets absolutely flooded with requests from people to join her battalion.
  • Recursive Ammo: Despite its pitiful fleet compared to its contemporaries, the Imperial Navy's submarines and their prowess with it are second to none. Due to its threat, the Allies developed the "Hedgehog", depth charge that scatters into multiple mines to counter the Imperial submarines.
  • Red-plica Baron: Tanya was compared to the Fallen Hero of Germany named Manfred von Richthofen a.k.a Red Baron. Both of them are considered as "Ace of Aces" during their own World War.
  • 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.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: As Tanya and, by extension, Lehrgen would put it, the Empire is a three headed beastnote  with each head fighting for a different goal. In volume 7 in a twisted sense of Irony, the bureaucrats and Imperial Government rejects the Ildoan mediation efforts and demanded more concessions due to Salamander Kampfguppe's overwhelming victory in the Eastern Front despite how much Imperial blood and steel were shed. This decision was met with disdain by the rational military personnel like Zettour, Lehrgen and Tanya. This also culminates to Zettour's transfer as a Theatre Inspection Officer in the Eastern Front in volume 8 and a build-up of Military Coup in the later volumes.
  • 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?)

  • 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.
  • 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 with no apparent light source illuminating the room. 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. It also reveals the problem of training soldiers and officers to exhibit blind obedience to orders from a superior, namely that blind obedience can get you tricked into doing something wrong.
  • 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.
    • The Empire flamethrowers in the anime look exactly like the Flame Trooper from Battlefield 1, with their combination a hooded gas mask, a large trenchcoat with gloves, and the flamethrower being the Wechselapparat M1917 being clear signs of inspiration. (for comparison, here's how real soldiers used the Wechselapparat.)
    • The In-Universe version of Pablo Picasso's Guernica was instead painted in memory of the massacre at Arene.
    • The visual design of the series' computations orbs are based on Raising Heart, which becomes especially notable when taking into account the fact that the entire story started out as a Nanoha fic by Carlo Zen. Additionally, the primary branch of Mages in the military are referred to as "Aerial Mages" similarly to the latter series.
  • Shovel Strike: Tanya's favorite weapon in the frontline isn't actually her gun but is actually her shovel, in which she instructs to her subordinates especially Visha. In volume 8, Zettour himself is awestruck at Tanya swinging her shovel.
    Tanya: Shovels are great. Shovels are the quintessence of civilization. With a shovel, you can dig a hole just deep enough to hide yourself. Or if you gather a bunch of people with them, you can dig a fine trench. If you change your viewpoint just a little, you can even dig a tunnel. You can smash a sturdy enemy trench with mining tactics (not that they get used often). A shovel is a good friend to any and every type of soldier. And a shovel is the best gear for a close-quarters fight in a trench. Longer than a bayonet, simpler to handle than a rifle, sturdier than any other tool. Not only that, but they are extremely cheap to make, so they’re perfect for mass-producing. Plus, I don’t have to worry much about damaging my mind. This is it, the ideal piece of equipment. This is the point humanity was meant to reach. Civilization has developed the shovel as its implement. Above all, it doesn’t rely on magic, so it’s optimal for stealth kills. With a shovel, it’s possible to educate numbskulls who are dependent on magic scanning— Klang! We can say it’s an indispensable item for nighttime raids. Of course, it’s an excellent general-purpose tool at any time of day. The shovel is truly an implement born of civilization
  • 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 Siege:
    • In volume 4 and in the movie, the imperial city of Tiegenhoffnote  falls under this trope by the Russy Federation with Tanya's battalion as The Cavalry.
    • In volume 8, Tanya's elite Lergen/Salamander Kampfgruppe gets sieged by a massive multinational force in Soldium Position 528 in the Eastern Front since Zettour knows that such unit is a perfect decoy to cover up his planned Andromeda offensive, as everyone in the Allied forces wants a chance of take down the infamous unit.
  • Skewed Priorities: In volume 9, a commanding officer in the Western Front Lt. Tospan and Captain Meybert meets is more concerned on clean uniforms, proper military procedure and friendly fire that when the two successfully repels a Commonwealth commando raid, he takes them to the Military Police and imprison them.
  • Smoke Out: During the invasion of Ildoa in volume 11, the Ildoan fleet stationed at a port near the Imperial border hurriedly evacuated and put up Anti-Air fire as a smoke screen against the Imperial Air Fleet and mages. Even Tanya admits it would have been an effective tactic had they were not against V-1 rockets that promptly sunk the fleet.
  • 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.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: Tanya would very much like to be one, but fate and Being X conspire to constantly send her to the front lines instead.
    • In the later volumes, both Rudesdorf and Zettour offered her promotion into their ranks but the situation of the war has deteriorated and the Imperial defeat is imminent that Tanya thinks being in the rear is a much more dangerous game than being in the front lines and declines it.
  • 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?"
  • Springtime for Hitler: Tanya constantly attempts to prove herself as an extremely valuable tactician and leader in order to get advanced to a high enough position that she would be off the battlefield. However, her continual examples of being an incredible soldier only result in her getting pushed into more dangerous and war-heavy roles on the frontline. The fact that she literally has a a being that calls itself "God" screwing with her doesn't help matters.
  • 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.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: In the later volumes, most frontline veterans have trouble adjusting in the peaceful rear and troublesome bureaucracy as witnessed by Lt. Tospan and Cpt. Meybert. The duo are so out of touch in the ordeal that they missed having Tanyanote  and in a smaller scale Vishanote .
  • Straw Civilian: In the later volumes, the Imperial Government and citizens have this in spades. Tanya is completely flabbergasted by such behaviour in the Capital of Berun, has to calm down von Rommel for his "plan to correct" the Empire during their chat in the Officer's lounge and even Lergen asks Tanya for such attempts in order for them to wake up to this delusion and mistakes.
  • Stunned Silence: In the manga, the entire assembly that was lambasting Zettour for his reticence in discussing details of the troop movements is left speechless the moment a message comes through, informing him of the success of the attack on the Francois headquarters and the destruction of the enemy's chain of command.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy:
    • An In-Universe example that ends up working in Tanya's favor. When ordered to engage with Francois forces in the Rhine, the 203rd's presence makes itself known very, very quickly. The Albion intelligence department works out that their cover, to reestablish control over Arene, is hogwash, since the city was almost leveled. They immediately kick the data back to the Francois, making it seem like it's the start of a major offensive, when in reality it's a cover for the retreat of the Imperial forces. Tanya commits herself to enduring the Francois assaults even when given the chance to retreat, not willing to entertain the possibility that the Francois might notice the deception before it's too late. A grueling night of fighting later, the 203rd retreats, wounded but victorious, having allowed a full Imperial evacuation with zero casualties. By the time Francois reinforcements arrive, there's only an empty battlefield littered with Francois corpses.
    • Usually Averted; One of the things why Tanya is fond of Zettour is that the latter is willing to cut his losses and reorganize the frontlines as he sees fit. Zettour will never hesitate to abandon frontlines too complicated or too difficult to hold and defend compared to his contemporaries, even with his friend Rudesdorf.
    • This is what the politicians, bureaucrats, the Imperial family, and most of the Supreme High Command stationed at Berun thinks of and why they still want to continue despite the massive attrition of personnel and materiel in the current world war, much to the chagrin of Zettour, Tanya, Romel, Lehrgen and soldiers fighting of the frontline.
  • 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.
    • In volume 9, a port commander of the Empire almost lost control of said port if not for the efforts of Lt. Tospan and Cpt. Meybert, Infantry & Artillery Commanders of the Salamander/Lergen Kampfgruppe. The duo, while under vacation/resting at said port, immediately noticed holes in their defense note  that they immediately placed stopgap measures despite being on leave. Then said port guards are too complacent note  when they detected an unidentified vessel, in which both Tospan and Meybert immediately identified as bogeys when the vessel didn't even identify itself with flags and lights. It took the effort of the said Kampfgruppe to repel the invasion while being admonished by the incompetent port commander.
  • 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.
  • 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 is she 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Tanya's unit are powerful, nigh-unstoppable thanks to her leadership, and turn the tide of a conflict wherever they go. But they're only one unit, and the management of the Empire's military forces (as well as their orders) come from the brass that are all glory hounds looking for the next victory, no matter how unreasonable the situation. In the long term, the Empire is defeated because of this, as Tanya's unit alone cannot make due for the rest of their failures and being ensnared in multiple warfronts against multiple nations at the same time - something she tried to warn them against.
  • Tactical Withdrawal:
    • Seasoned officers of the Allied nations such as Drake and Vianto often orders a retreat whenever there is a confirmed sighting of the Devil Of The Rhine while not having numerical superiority or any sort of advantage against Tanya's unit.
    • In volume 9, von Rommel and his unit is relocated back in the Empire after the failed southern campaign. Rommel woes on the disrespect given by the politicians and most of the Imperial General Staff due to his failure of the campaign, despite massive materiel disparitynote  in the said campaign during his chat with Tanya in the Officer's lounge.
  • Tank Goodness: In the later volumes, the Imperial officers stationed in the frontlines like Lehrgen and Zettour react in horror when the Russy Federation built tanks so armored and with bigger calibre of gun that is practically monstrous, they even wondered how the Salamander Kampfgruppe took down said tanks while the Salamanders revealed that once those tanks arrive, every anti tank weapon are going to be fired against said monsters one at a time.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Invoked
    • In volume 4; Lt.Col.Drake, who serves as a liaison officer for the Unified States volunteer forces, has this reaction when the commander decides to ignore the former's advice of a Tactical Withdrawal after a confirmed sighting on The Devil of the Rhine., despite Drake encountering Tanya and lived to tell the tale, for a chance to take down Tanya. It gets the said commander killed.
    • In the later volumes; When Lergen discloses the planned Ildoan offensive to Uger, who is currently overworked due to the General Staff's orders of restructuring railway lines close to the Ildoan border, both realizes this futile endeavour and Uger promises Lergen to delay the project as much as possible.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Mocked. A very long string of unconnected events by Tanya winds up convincing the Albion brass the Empire owns their intelligence agencies, that it is preparing to attack Albion, and that it's mocking them for even trying to come up with a resistance. Everyone fully believes there are too many coincidences to be anything short of a declaration of war, when actually there is really no such conspiracy.
  • The Unfettered: Tanya's willingness to do things unhesitatingly has earned her a praise and an ire as she gives headaches to her enemies.
  • 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.
    • In volume 9; Tanya is constantly exasperated on her conversation with Rudersdorf due to the news that the Imperial Supreme High Command, despite being dangerously low on men & materiel and barely holds on the Eastern Front with the help of the Federation partisans in a Divide and Conquer strategy, actually plans on betraying the said partisans. And said High Command plans on declaring war on the Ildoan Kingdom, thereby increasing the Empire's enemies in a multi-front war.
  • 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.
  • Trial by Friendly Fire: In volume 9, Cpt. Meybert, the Artilerry Commander of the Salamander Kampfgruppe, is forced to fire near friendlies when a Commonwealth Commando raid into a submarine port got deep inside their frontlines. This was used against him from the Port Commander when he arrested him via Military Police, who almost got his port invaded due to his incompetence.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Various characters in the series, particularly Lehrgen and Uger, are often disturbed at Tanya that most of their impressions on her is that of a combat machine doll instead of a child.
    • 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.
  • Truth in Television: Tanya having 2 officers candidates killed for disobeying her orders may seem shocking at first, but when put into a military perspective is not that far beyond the pale. Even in today's United States, willfully disobeying a superior officer's orders carries the death penalty in wartime.
  • Twisting the Words: Tanya, while thinking of a good strategy on dealing with the massive Eastern Front, wonders in the POW interrogation reports given to her by the Imperial Army translators. When she attends one of the interrogation with Visha, who is a Russy Federation refugee, Tanya realizes that the Imperial Army are too prejudiced in the communist ideology when Visha translates them as people simply fighting for their homeland against the invaders. In which Tanya gives recommendations to Zettour to avoid using Imperial Army translators and instead make use of the Berun language instructors and scholars.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In volume 11, The Commonwealth has this in spades. By assassinating Rudersdorf, as planned by both Tanya and Zettour, they unwittingly let the Ildoans be reduced into rubble and enter the war while making things harder for the Allies to capitulate the Empire as someone as competent as Zettour finally takes the helm of military power of the Empire.
  • Urban Warfare:
  • 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, in a mini-episode they will recall Tanya specifically lecturing Viktoriya on the danger of rotten potatoes.
  • We Have Reserves: Invoked by the Russy Federation due to their vast amount of manpower. In the Siege of Tiegenhoff, when the city was targeted in a major counteroffensive due to the presence of Tanya in contrast of her thinking that the Federation knows the important railways of Tiegenhoff, Tanya is appalled when the Federation sends eight divisions at minimum at the city in contrast to the Empire's two.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Invoked in volume 4 with predictable results; The unit commander of the Unified States, during their first live combat experience and encounter against the Devil Of The Rhine, decides to take combat against the said veteran Imperial Unit for a chance to take down the feared Named using their advantage in numbers.note  Drake, who literally has live combat experience and one of the people who encountered Tanya & lived to tell the tale, is ignored by said commander and monologues on how foolish this endeavour is and even asks to take command if the said commander gets taken down in combat.note 
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Tanya has this reaction towards the invading Dacian Army, all in the name of international cooperation with the Allies, deciding to march the Empire with unencrypted comms, highly bright uniforms without some sort of optical camouflage and in tightly packed groups, vanguard units without mechanized infantry and armor, no air supremacy nor Anti-Air units and most of all, using horribly outdated combat doctrines. Lergen worries about Dacian Army's 600,000 strong units and orders Tanya to fight a delaying battle, while Tanya assures him that this is more of a manhunt rather than a military encounter.
  • 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.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: When the Empire decides to accept an armistice with the Republic, Tanya tearfully states that the Empire has thrown away its chance of victory in the war. While chatting later, just as the Republic announces the restart of the war, having established its government in colonial territory, Zettour and Rudersdorf regret not listening to Tanya when she tried visiting their office, drunk in the feeling of victory.
    • The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth even Lampshades this:
      Prime Minister Churbull: Now then, ladies and gentlemen, a toast to our worst of times. And don’t we want our grandchildren to say it? Don’t we want them to say these times were the Empire’s best? To now, to our eternal fatherland’s worst of times—cheers!
  • World Gone Mad: Forty years later, the journalist aptly refer to period when the series take place as an age of madness.
  • Worthy Opponent: Though they may not admit it, various Allied leaders and commanders like Vianto, Drake, Beria etc. begrudginly respects The Devil of The Rhine that their various Allied strategies in dealing with the Empire always has "how to deal with Tanya" written in the equation.
  • Written by the Winners: Downplayed regarding the Arene incident. In a report about the incident, the Allied Kingdom's correspondent talking about the incident, while agreeing that the Empire broke no law and showing some sympathy towards the Imperial soldiers that were forced to do the act, still shows some outrage and even claims that they stained the Empire's name by committing such cruel act. In this report there are no mentions whatsoever about the evacuation order the Empire gave one day before the fight started, that there were Republican troops in the city supporting the militia (this omission makes the Empire's response to the revolt seem quite disproportionate) and the fact that these Republican soldiers refused to comply to the evacuation order, simply to use civilians as pretty much shields for last resort. Also, when detailing the events that led to the bombardment of the city, the correspondent says that some prisoners attempted to escape and were shot by the militia and the Empire used this as an excuse to bombard the whole city, as the soldiers couldn't tell militiamen from noncombatants. In truth, as seen in the Light Novel and manga chapters detailing the actual event, the prisoners were executed by the militia mostly out of rage and spite after the Empire ordered them to release all prisoners and unrelated civilians, which is not just a clear war crime, but a clear declaration, according to the laws of war at least, that there were no noncombatant civilians in the city.
  • 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.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: One of the compliments directed towards Tanya by both friend and foe alike, even earning her a moniker of the Goddess of War and Death, is her uncanny ability to improvise existing plans, down to the training of personnel, as she deems fit and being able to sniff out opportunities & targets at the height of the war. As such, the Empire's General Staff gives her autonomous leadership and is even called a Mad Dog by some of the generals. General Von Rommel even lampshades this.
    General Von Rommel [after seeing Tanya in action for the first time]: she’s a mad dog indeed! Oh, she will achieve so much more off the leash. Ahh, so that’s why most generals can’t figure out what to do with her. No one likes a hunting dog who’s smarter than the hunter.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Russy Federation uses this to their advantage against the Empire to such an extent that even Tanya wonders if these people grow on trees.
    • In one of the chapters, an anonymous Allied instructor laments on this and comments on how evil the brass is.
      Anonymous Allied Instructor: ''Is the top brass stupid? They're certainly not smart enough to keep our accelerated grads from ending up as target practice. The Imperial Army is crafty as the devil. A ton of newbies die, but all they say is to accelerate their education and give them more newbies?! The brass is made up of evil idiots!

This program is fiction. All persons, groups, places, laws and names appearing in it have no relation to the real world.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Youjo Senki


Tanya Hates Smoking

A salaryman from the 21st Century where the dangers of Smoking are well-known about and is a matter of preference that has dedicated areas where Smoking is practiced away from the conscientious, is reincarnated as a girl in the early 20th Century where Smoking is seen as the social norm.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / StraightEdgeEvil

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