Review: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Ginga Eiyū Densetsu

Mimi: Oh, I can’t resist! I just have to take the time to review my favorite anime, so I’m going to crank out a lot of writing for the next couple of weeks. As you might have already known, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is my #1 favorite anime of all time; however, it’s one of those shows that people tend to feel very apprehensive about watching. With 110 episodes and 5 prequels, people just don’t know where to start, and the length is too overwhelming for some. Granted, this series is definitely not for everyone, but it is treasured among fans of political science fiction.

The story focuses on a 150-year-old conflict between two powers: the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The FPA is a democratic government, whereas the Galactic Empire is an aristocratic government dominated by the nobility. The main problem is that the Galactic Empire wants to unite everything under its rule, and both governments are getting corrupted from the inside. There is also a third neutral power, called Phezzan Dominion, which is trying to manipulate the outcome of the war. So what makes this anime so darn brilliant? Well to be honest, the premise is not that innovative; it mirrors the same issues that we have in our own history and current events, only, everything takes place outside of Earth. But that is also what’s so impressive about this series—it masterfully handles everything on a cosmic scale to show how different worlds can be affected by these costly political battles. It delves into a wide range of social problems, emotions, historical information, and technology, all of which make LOGH an exceptionally powerful and convincing space opera.

Much of the series is dedicated to showing you the space battles, strategic plans, and personal operations carried out by each government. This might sound like a bore fest so far, but I assure you that there is plenty of fun material. Once you become familiar with the characters, the battles begin to feel suspenseful and dramatic, and the level of detail that goes into strategic planning is really quite astounding. However, I would say that the series spends even more time on the character’s personal lives, such as when they get married, have parties, lounge around, and challenge authority. Those moments are personally my favorite parts.

There are a ton of interesting and diverse characters, including: high-ranking nobles, admirals, politicians, soldiers, commoners, terrorists, and etc. In order to keep up with all of them, their names are displayed at the bottom of the screen every time that they appear! In addition to that, each ship and location has a name. This can get overwhelming fast, especially when you first start watching, but hey, you’re given over a hundred episodes to get familiar with this stuff. There is also a lot of dialogue, plus a narrator, but that’s to be expected considering that this is an adaptation of a novel. Don’t worry, the series doesn’t throw confusing, philosophical jargon in your face, but the characters speak intelligently and have very engaging conversations.

The stars of the show are Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wenli, and the story often switches back and forth between their perspectives. To give a brief description, Reinhard grew up in a poor family in the Galactic Empire, and his sister was taken away by the emperor. Ever since then, he has desired to crush oppressive nobility, free his sister, and rule the universe. He is an ambitious genius and the most powerful man alive, and he could own Yagami Light or Lelouche in any strategic game. =P On the other hand, Yang is a citizen of the FPA; although he is also a military genius, he’d rather be a peaceful historian than a soldier, and he’s lazy and sucks at public speaking. In a nutshell, Reinhard and Yang are complete opposites in personality and political beliefs, so it’s very entertaining (and often amusing) to watch them face off as rivals. And not just them, but many characters are highly memorable, developed, and feel like stars in their own right.

So I think that I’ve made my point: LOGH is a beast full of intricate storylines, fun and complex characters, and a lot of political intrigue. It really makes full use of all its resources to deliver such a rich story, and there’s just nothing else like it. If you’re contemplating about checking it out, I recommend that you go after the main series first and at least watch up to episode 26 (the first major turning point) before you pass serious judgment. I haven’t watched all of the prequels yet, but you certainly don’t need to watch them in order to understand the main story. Have fun!

Mimi’s Score: 10 Meeps out of 10 (Masterpiece)

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7 thoughts on “Review: Legend of the Galactic Heroes

  1. You reviewed your favorite anime of all-time! Nice one! Great job!

    Since you say you’re gonna crank out a lot of writing over the next few weeks, one question: are you gonna do a review of Ringing Bell (Chirin no Suzu) once you see it? I’d love to see your opinion of it. But I’m just curious is all.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I want to get a review up for all my favorites, and Monster is definitely next in line.

      Yup! I’m planning to review Ringing Bell as well. Stay tuned~ ^_^

    • The movies provide additional details for the characters and setting, but they aren’t completely necessary for understanding the main series. They were actually released after the series began, except for one called “Conquest Sea of the Stars.” It’s sequel, “Overture to a New War,” came out a few years later. Overture just expands on the first couple episodes of the series.

      I recommend just watching the main series, unless you’d prefer to take a slower approach with the movies and to know a lot more detail.

  2. I took a quick look at your anime list and it appears that you gave Princess Mononoke 7, stating that you didn’t enjoy it as much as others. I for one would like to know why as I think it’s a classic.

    Great review, btw :).

    • Haha you know what, I find that really strange too. Most Miyazaki fans adore that movie, yet it didn’t quite hit me like Spirited Away or Totoro did. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it’s a classic (as all his films are), but I can’t quite tell you why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I saw it about 7 years ago, and it probably deserves to be re-watched. Who knows, it might be different to me the second time around, considering that my tastes have changed a lot. =] And thanks!

      • Definitly, you saw it when you were younger. I saw it about 10 years ago and I didn’t really enjoy but. But I re-watched it last month and I can now understand why it is so highly regarded. So I would suggest re-watching it as you wouldn’t regret it.

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