First look at: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

In a universe far, far away from Earth, an intergalactic war between two political systems has enveloped its peoples for centuries. The Free Planets Alliance (democratic) and the Galactic Empire (imperial) regularly clash in battles that claim millions of victims.
Leading the Galactic Empire ever onwards is Reinhard von Lohengramm, a relatively young admiral (20 years old) who has the brilliance and charisma of an experience war veteran. His only equal is the Free Planets Alliance’s Yang Wen-li, a talented tactician who is building a fearsome reputation as an unstoppable leader of men. On their young shoulders will rest the hopes and dreams of mankind.
Having been at a loss as to what to blog lately, I decided to dive into the murky depths of the AnimeSuki fansub archive. There is so much airing these days that it’s easy to overlook the older anime and 1988’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes is exactly that; numbering 110 episodes (it ended in 1997), this is an underrated space opera reminiscent of the earlier Mobile Suit Gundam TV series (minus the mecha).
As you would expect from a series called Legend of the Galactic Heroes, this is an impossibly epic story that covers mind boggling space and time. The two lead characters are admirable and involving, especially Reinhard von Lohengramm, who embodies such a classical ambition for power. The battles and overriding war theme will satisfy hardened military fans who enjoy an attention to detail and tactics- the first two episodes are almost entirely devoted to one gigantic battle; both a shocking melee of space combat and a tense tactical clash between Reinhard and Yang Wen-li. Just like MS Gundam, both sides have their own unique uniforms and power structures.
The animation despite beginning in 1988 isn’t bad at all. I really love the slender Victorian-esque character designs; there is a poetic rhythm to their cat-like movement and graceful expression.
Based on the first four episodes, I’m already hooked in by Legend of the Galactic Heroes. While it’s strong emphasis on political and military manoeuvring won’t be for everyone, this is a good old fashioned space opera set against the compelling lives of two star gazing, ambitious heroes.

9 replies on “First look at: Legend of the Galactic Heroes”

"In a universe far, far away from Earth…"
Are you sure?
The Terra-rists would disagree… Earth was apparently close enough that they demanded people of LoGH return to it. Sure, it’s nearly mythical and classified as Holy-Land to the nutty Terran Biships, but that doesn’t mean Earth isn’t within reaching distance…

Aaaand… you just discovered my all time favorite anime. 😀 I’m always happy to see people getting into LoGH, it’s such an underrated series… it deserves much more attention that it gets. Granted, it’s not for everyone, but once one gets into it, it’s really involving. The characters are wonderful (one can easily see how grown-up men can fanboy them, let alone women like me), the story is absolutely fantastic, the music is carefully and appropriately chosen to accompany the scenes, and the space battles are to die for.
Btw, LoGH doesn’t have much in common with MS Gundam, though it shares similarities with the UC Gundam saga in general. LoGH is more "realist" and down-to-earth (and more adult, in a way). It may not be apparent from the first episodes, but once the plot really kicks in (the first twenty-something episodes are only a sort of set-up), you’ll see what I mean. 🙂

@Vallen Chaos Valiant:
You may well be correct, I’ve only seen 4 episodes so far (soon to be 8). Looking forward to seeing if Earth gets involved, then.
I’m glad I’ve stumbled across one of your favourites! I assumed no one had seen this, so it’s great that you’re such a massive fan, it gives me confidence to keep going! Episode 4 was my favourite so far- the backstory behind Reinhard’s decision to join the army. I love this kind of escapist, character driven space opera so I can see myself in this one for the long run!
@tj han:
You’ll love it, I’m sure! 🙂

There are at least a thousand of side characters in this series. Some stayed close to the main characters while others is used as plot device. About one half will probably die. Tragedies will also strike the main characters throughout the series.
The show makes you a believer of the quote, "War is…hell."
PS: The show is based on novels written by the author of Heroic Legend of Arslan.

This series is probably one of the most famous for having so many productions done for it, even when compared with the Gundam franchise. Its definitely one of the cult classic hits in Japan, and unlike Gundam its appeal is more specific (catering to space opera fans) than universal. I’m glad you brought this up, I’ve been wanting to watch this series for a long time now (due to its popularity in Japan), but just never got around to it. Another anime that is somewhat like this is Five Star Stories, although that movie is based off of a manga (the manga is much better than the movie, and much longer running too).

This the longest OVA ever?
Anyway, I have this series sitting on my harddrive and having only seen 12 episodes of it so far I can tell that I’m absolutely gonna love it. The characters and character relations and interactions are superb, the animation is just fine and you gotta love all the classical pieces they use as background music. The series is so dialogue-driven. It’s great.
Another reason I love Central-Anime. Not a whole lot of people download this show but they’re steadily moving along. It’ll be finished in not too long. Can’t wait to watch the rest of it. I should probably start up on it again.

I’m happy, for I meet a person who loves LoGH too.
Have you see the novel yet?
I believe the novel is better than what is on TV.

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