Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Thousands of years later, humanity has advanced into space. Here it has divided into two countries with two different forms of government: the autocracy of the Galactic Empire, and the democracy of the Free Planets Alliance. These two countries have been at war for 150 years. Near the end of the 8th age of the space calendar, the appearance of two geniuses will change history forever. The unstoppable genius, Reinhard von Lohengramm, and the unbeatable magician, Yang Wen-li. As heads of the Imperial and Alliance armies respectively, the two will face each other in battle over and over again. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is something I don’t have a ton of thoughts on, and thus this will be a rather short review. Getting straight to the point: It’s good. Not amazing, but solid entertainment. It’s not a series you really watch for a great band of characters, at least not yet anyway. Early on we’re introduced to two military geniuses, the empire’s up and coming commander of battle tactics, Reinhard, a man who seeks to rise to the very top of the empire and take total control. Then there’s Yang Wenli, this aloof, unassuming soldier who quickly rises through the ranks based on his surprising and unconventional strategies.
Sure there are other characters, but most are so thin, so singularly used for their importance to the plot, so wooden in their depiction that you really can’t be watching it for anyone but Yang Wenli. You can’t even watch it for Reinhard, as after we delve into his past via a one episode flashback the story entirely centers back around Yang Wenli. In some ways I prefer this, as Yang Wenli stands out amongst a generally low-energy cast with his aloof nature and unassuming persona. It helps to make him feel like the liveliest person on screen, and if his carefree character is doing it for you, then Galactic Heroes really works.
While Legend of the Galactic Heroes is listed as an action/adventure series, don’t get caught up in false expectations. This is by and large a series based around strategy. While Yang Wenli is a fun lead, the real entertainment comes from his subversion on the battlefield. The crux of the series is the appeal in seeing the tides of the battlefield shift in clever ways due to unconventional tactics. There’s some social and political commentary helping to round things out, but it’s that battle of wills and clever plots that solidifies Legend of the Galactic Heroes for what it’s best at.
Overall I don’t have much more to say. If like me you enjoy seeing the tide of the battlefield shift with surprise, Yang Wenli’s aloof, seemingly carefree persona, wrapped up in a sprawling sci-fi, futuristic, space opera type world then you really cannot go wrong with Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It’s a little thin in places, like rounding out the series with strong, memorable secondary characters, but I get the sense that this adaptation, like the original OVAs, is a long game, interested in gradually adapting everything the original novel series had to offer and there’s thus plenty of room for expansion.