Original Release Date: February 9, 2019 Directed By: Yutaka Uemura Genre: Action, Fantasy, Isekai, Military Based on the Series Created By: Carlo Zen
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Youjo Senki Movie. Reader discretion is advised.***
With the defeat of its enemies, the mighty Empire looks poised to complete its domination. However, word comes of troubling movement along its border with the Federation. The Empire sends in its best force led by the young but devious, Major Tanya Degurechaff (voiced by Aoi Yuki), to discover the truth.
While Tanya and her team are doing reconnaissance, the Federation begins a massive invasion into the Empire.
Tanya’s brilliant mind and her well-trained soldiers prove to be an entity the Federation had not counted on. Unfortunately for the Major, shadows from her past threaten to bring swift and devastating vengeance to the battlefield.
This review has been a long time coming. For those who don’t know, this upload is the follow-up to February 2019’s Out and About: Eigakan – Youjo Senki Movie. Additionally, despite the anime series releasing in 2017, there is still no news (as far as I am aware) concerning a sequel.
I’m a little irked by that fact, but season two not existing isn’t this film’s fault.
On the contrary, Youjo Senki Movie was an utterly fantastic chapter 1.5. As such, please take note that when a second season does come, there is no doubt it will take into account the events of this film.
Youjo Senki Movie is not an isolated story; it is THE story, continued.
Recalling my theatre experience, this film impressed me, but there was a lot I missed. Youjo Senki involves a ton of military jargon, and my Japanese was (and, as of me writing this review, is) not good enough to pick up the narrative’s nitty-gritty details. But after subtitles, I am happy to say, my superficial enjoyment of this movie was not misplaced.
Youjo Senki Movie is a truly excellent film.
Before discussing this movie’s real strength, allow me to reiterate much of what I already said in the previous Out and About post.
Getting right to the point, the visuals and, more specifically, the sound effects were brilliant.
“[T]he sound effects in this movie were simply amazing. It sounded like Star Wars had landed in the Wizarding World of Saving Private Ryan when there was a battle. I don’t know about you, but I was instantly on board.”
-Out and About: Eigakan – Youjo Senki Movie
I firmly stand by that sentiment. In Youjo Senki Movie, the music, explosions, and spells all brought this story – for the lack of a better phrase – to movie standards. Then coupling that with this franchise’s already beautiful animation, you don’t need a plot to enjoy this film. But a plot we got, and, yeah, I missed a huge element when I saw this in theatres.
What makes Youjo Senki, as a whole, great is everything it is not. For example, although this series is an isekai anime, its setting is not in a high fantasy world. Yes, there is magic and mages, but there is also World War II-style warfare: tanks, urban combat, trenches, etc. To my fellow D&D and history nerds, you’ve both have something in common with this one.
However, what is genuinely remarkable is Youjo Senki not being a classic good guy versus bad guy type of story.
Tanya Degurechaff is a protagonist; she is neither heroic nor evil. She is manipulative, brutal, and vicious, sure, but she is also not a war criminal. Tanya is a soldier fighting in a brutal dog-eat-dog conflict. She has had to kill, she has had to ruin lives, and people have seen her as the bogeyman. Except, that is the nature of war.
I call to mind the adage, “If god’s on our side, who the hell’s on theirs?”
Youjo Senki Movie’s most significant addition was giving Tanya a foil.
Tanya has seen the – not yet mentioned in this review – mysterious Being X as her ultimate enemy up to this point in the story. Their rivalry has been much closer to a more traditional protagonist-antagonist relationship. This film then incorporated Mary Sioux (voiced by Haruka Tomatsu).
If you remember from season one, Tanya killed Mary’s father in a battle. Now, is there more to the circumstances of what took place? Yes. Did Mary know or care about what those circumstances were? No; Mary only wanted revenge.
Tanya and Mary were fierce opponents because they were opposite extremes. On the one end was the cold and calculating Tanya; she had a much firmer grasp on the bigger picture. On the other end was the hot-headed and passionate Mary; she was laser-focused on what she wanted to do.
Neither character, from an outside perspective, was in the right. Tanya always failed to consider human emotions in her plans. Conversely, Mary’s dead-set attitude turned her fanatical.
The momentum these two started in Youjo Senki Movie I want to see continue in season two – when it arrives. Heck, this film set up so much material for a sequel – or several – to pull from
But as it stands, this series established a trend. Youjo Senki now has a track record of releasing installments that are better than its predecessor.
This section will be short because Youjo Senki Movie was quite good; I don’t have much to say against it. Of course, “much” is not the same as “none.”
In actuality, the most prominent issue I have with this film is the same one I had with it after I walked out of the theater two years ago:
Why was this a movie and not a proper season two?
There might be a legitimate logistical reason for why we have what we have. Nevertheless, there were elements to this film that made it feel no more impressive than a standard episode.
Putting aside the sound effects and the climactic showdown between Tanya and Mary – which was freaking sweet – nothing about Youjo Senki Movie screamed, “Hey, this is a movie.”
This film was so solid that it was much more noticeable when it had a flaw. For instance, it disappointed me to see some rather cheap-looking CGI. The same type of cheap CGI that can be found in any current anime. These were blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, thankfully, but I did notice them all the same.
Regardless, is this a reason to skip Youjo Senki Movie? I mean, is it worth passing up a thousand dollars because it came in a plastic bag and not a briefcase? I think not.
Season two; oh where is season two?
That notwithstanding, this film, in the meantime, will fill the void; and then some.
It is hard to believe this movie is just under 100 minutes given its high-quality animation, top-notch sound effects, and a fascinating story. This was a blast.
Youjo Senki Movie has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this film? How would you advise Youjo Senki Movie? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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