Every episode of Saga of Tanya the evil has been amazing so far, and episode three doesn’t slow us down at all. Here we get more of a look at how Tanya got where she is in the first episode, and more commentary on religion as a whole.
Luckily for Tanya, her fears (and mine) of being sent to front lines was quelled when she was assigned to the rear as an instructor. She would be testing a new computation crystal, the item that is used to project magic around her neck. Tanya wasn’t sent to the front directly because of her age- it would look terrible if the Fatherland had a small girl fighting for them. Their enemies would think that the country was running out of soldiers and had to use children to fight, and that’s not a way to showcase power in any war.
The most perfect cut between scenes happens during Tanya’s briefing with her commanding officer over her new position. One second, she is calm and accepting the new position, the next second she is screaming for her life as the computation crystal runs rampant. This cut really puts you on edge during that first crystal sequence and gives you a sense for how Tanya feels.
Unfortunately, the computation crystal isn’t stable. No matter how many ways the scientist overseeing the project attempts to fix the crystal- it just doesn’t work. Tanya is tired of narrowly avoiding death each time the crystal explodes, and the scientist is tired of failure which breeds a certain insatiable stubbornness in him. The last straw has been laid, and Tanya believes she would rather face the front lines than spend another day in the read testing the death crystal. She writes a transfer request.
Being X then speaks through a nutcracker to Tanya, upset that the girl hasn’t developed any faith. This is possibly Being X’s most telling conversation. It’s confused why when faced with such turmoil and hardship in such a different time, knowing it exists, Tanya doesn’t show worship in any way. Being X talks about how other people and cultures quickly and willingly had faith for it, and those that were stubborn came around after it bestowed a blessing. Based on this past precedent, Being X decides to bestow a blessing on Tanya.
Tanya’s transfer request to the front lines was granted, but the day before she leaves the scientist wants to run one more experiment with the crystal. You see, he was spoken to by God the previous night as was told that as long as they pray, God will make the crystal work. Being X solidifies this claim when it stops time just before the crystal explosion to explain that if Tanya is forced to pray over and over she will eventually develop belief. She, of course, prays and survives this ordeal using her most powerful magic granted by the crystal blessed by Being X.
There’s some wrap up items that bring us back to the modern day. Glasses guy aka Rerugen mentions that he believes Tanya to be a threat because she is the only one who can use this computation crystal, and because her magic so powerful with the crystal augmentation.
Back on the front lines, Tanya recommends Viktoria for the officer track which we later learn was a power move on Tanya’s part. Tanya believes she has the upper hand on Being X since she is being called to the back to study as a First Lieutenant, but we get a glimpse of a file that discusses a powerful new unit that’s in development- and Tanya is one of the members being considered.
Interestingly enough, before the scientist was visited by Being X, he was an atheist. Not agnostic or questioning, an atheist. However, it was one “divine intervention” that changed the man’s mind for good and gave him faith in a higher power, i.e. God. We don’t have to question why he had such a harsh slip of character because I have a feeling that most of us would do the same regardless of religious beliefs. If a power you couldn’t explain told you something would happen if you prayed to it, and that thing did in fact happen when you prayed- I’m sure you’d have faith as well.
I want to reiterate that Tanya isn’t fighting belief in Being X, she is fighting faith. She believes Being X exists- she just doesn’t give it faith. Usually “faith” and “belief” are used interchangeably, but here it’s important to make the distinction. Faith is a strong confidence or trust in something and belief is an acceptance that something exists.
Being X is attempting to instill a strong trust from Tanya, not belief, that develops into worship. To be fair, humans are rash creatures that typically develop faith easily, so I can understand why Being X is confused. However, there is a strong distinction between how Being X approaches teaching Tanya faith. It first casts her to another world where she knows nothing to teach her humbleness, much like what happens to some Gods or leaders in some religions, and then it forces her to pray repeatedly to manufacture faith, like what a lot of missionaries or parents do.
Saga of Tanya is forcing you to look at religion with a skeptical eye by moving you to understand Tanya and her frustrations with the world. Going forward, I’m going to keep a watchful eye on any parallels the studio may be drawing, and I’m very excited to see where this all goes.
Can Tanya actually succeed at proving to Being X that people don’t need faith to survive? Will she succumb and start providing faith? Or, will she die young because she is stubborn?