An Endless Cycle of Hate

The last episode of Youjo Senki is out and I have some thoughts about the last few episodes, especially when compared to the previous ones. There was a change in tone from a character-driven anime to one that cared much more about issues concerning that arise from the strategic and political views during a war, while also touching on what cannot be seen from that perspective.

Spoilers ahead.

The shift in tone comes from the focus on the direction of the war given by Tanya herself. She has climbed the ladder and operates at a top-level strategic layer, receiving information and worrying about the overall effects of theater actions and her own. Naturally, this means that there is much less space for the individual to be explored. This is not to say that we depart completely from characters – we still have our long-running antagonist appear, and we catch glimpses of their family and of a few other people. However, much of these characters become barometers for the public opinion as the opinion of the Empire deteriorates.

This departure, while natural for Tanya, can leave a stale taste in the mouth. Interesting, yes, but I don’t think the later action sequences, for however good they are, fit the tone of the earlier episodes.

That said, I enjoyed seeing the idea that, the more a side is battered and punched, the more people tend to be willing to fight against who they perceive to be enemies (and often monsters) who took away what was rightfully theirs, killed their families and overall made them lose what they thought was their life.

At the end, there is a scene where the daughter of the recurring antagonist volunteers to fight against the Empire and her reasons, while there is definitely the desire for safety for her country and a return to peace, much more prevalent is a desire for revenge and to destroy what she considered to be a monster nation and a threat to her life and everything that she holds dear for as long as it exists.

Did I mention that it doesn’t attempt much to conceal what it is based on? Regardless, it was nice to put a face to that abstract concept that I mostly engage with on an intellectual level, and that it presents the obvious solution if what you care is winning the war, while contrasting that with the reality of the actions that it implies. That Tanya is willing to do so further underlines her complete disregard for the value of human life and, perhaps, her descent into madness.

I want another season. However, I want it to be, at least partially, from the perspective of the daughter who volunteered, while not losing its ability to present the strategic layer of the war.