Tanya really comes to her stride in this episode. Her ruthlessness and goal-mindedness is unmeasured, and I was on edge in the second half as I waited for the other shoe to drop. I won’t call this a masterful work in suspense, but I can say that it plays on your expectations for a war story.
First, we learn that Viktoriya was actually assigned to Tanya’s unit since Vik knows Tanya and they are both female. It’s also likely that Viktoriya is known to have a good working relationship with the soon-to-be Major Degurechaff.
Tanya’s selection process for the battalion is actually quite impressive. She creates an illusion of a fish-looking man who tells the recruits either that there is no mage battalion, or that the location for the meeting has been moved. Only soldiers who can see through this illusion were able to pass this test- which means only about 12 total made the first rounds of cuts. While this is a great way to pick expert mages for an expert team, and of course the best way to prolong the selection process, the top brass orders Tanya to loosen her criteria and speed up drafting.
So, Tanya puts prospective recruits through an arduous month of reconditioning. This training typically takes two years. Her goal was to get the entire lineup to drop out, but all the barrages and abuse only strengthen the soldier’s resolve. They end up becoming a formidable unit of mages. Tanya, though she is now required to deploy, is quite proud of her little creation.
Next comes the nerve-wracking part of the show. Tanya and her battalion are sent to a nation in the Southeast called Dakia. Her communications team recovers no encrypted messages in the country and learn that the Dakian army has no air support. Dakia is seemingly not as advanced as the Fatherland.
Tanya got very cocky when she learned that the country was technologically decrepit, and began her attack on a mob of ground troops. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. The Dakian army stood no chance. After this success, she heads to the capital and bombs them next. There is little to no resistance, and the battalion’s objective is complete within one day.
The whole encounter I was so worried that the Dakian army would have a secret anti-air weapon, or maybe they had secret air troops- but they didn’t. The Dakians were terribly outmatched, and it helped put everything into perspective: the Fatherland is overpowered compared to some other countries around it who are still in a relative dark age of combat, and that is utterly terrifying.
Tanya makes a comment that really sticks as well, “Aren’t we the ones who are supposed to be being invaded.” I believe in the beginning, this war was started by another power; however, it’s possible that the propaganda the Fatherland is perpetuating is that they are still being invaded when, in fact, that is no longer the case. The Fatherland is attempting to get some “lebenstraum.” Or, that’s how it seems to me.
It seems that our tiny major is in control of her own destiny again, and we still have a gaping hole where Being X should be appearing. I have a feeling that Being X is going to force some hardship on Tanya again soon, and it’s possible that her battalion may be a partial casualty. Arrogance and overconfidence has a steep price in war, and Tanya has both in droves.