Synonyms: Legend of the Galactic Heroes, LoGH, LotGH, Gin'eiden, GinEiDen, Heldensagen Vom Kosmosinsel
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 8, 1988 to Mar 17, 1997
26 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 9.041 (scored by 11896 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama sci-fi space opera
SynopsisFor decades, the Galactic Empire has been locked in an interstellar war with the Free Planets Alliance, a conflict that involves thousands of spaceships and millions of soldiers on both sides. Two new commanders enter the conflict with great hopes: Imperial Admiral Reinhard von Lohengramm and the FPA's Yang Wen-Li. As they deal with superiors and subordinates, maneuver through complicated political arrangements, plot strategies, and win battles, each will be tested, and ultimately, changed, by the reality of war.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu
Prequel: Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden: Ougon no Tsubasa, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Arata Naru Tatakai no Overture, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden: Senoku no Hoshi, Senoku no Hikari, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Gaiden: Rasen Meikyuu
Characters & Voice Actors
This series is overrated on this site. That is to say, with 110 episodes, your vote only counts after you've seen 22 episodes, almost a full season, and those who don't like this show probably won't wait for 22 episodes to decide.
Which is a shame, as it's only after about 20 episodes that this series progresses from something that is slow, somewhat overly bombastic, and hinting at more to come to show itself to be one of the most intelligent pieces of anime that's been made to date.
When I say 'intelligent', I don't mean it to be cunning, surprising the viewer with unsuspected plot lines or new angles to view something. Nor does it delve deeply into some obscure theory of science or arts, bombarding the viewer with ideas he couldn't have come up with himself. In fact, there's absolutely nothing in this series that is wholly unexpected or very deep. What it has, though, is a sense of scale that's unsurpassed in any anime - or, for that matter, any television show - I've seen.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes centers around - you guessed it - a bunch of people who, according to populace at large that inhabits the fictional future this series plays in, are of heroic proportions. That is to say, heroic in a very classical sense, being possibly a negative thing as well as a positive.
The series is set in a future wherein the universe known to man is divided into two camps, the aristocratic and absolutist Galactic Empire, and the democratic Free Planets' Alliance, who have been embroiled in a war for some time, seemingly
being evenly matched. This balance is shattered when a military genius with a far-reaching ambition rises on the Imperial side, prompting the Alliance to, somewhat grudgingly, give ever greater backing to the most capable officer on their own side. Both men surround themselves with able staff, who become legends in their own right.
It sounds like your average hero of freedom-versus-tyrant story, but it turns out to be anything but. First of all, the heroes do have a sense of their own importance, but also the sense to question whether they are all that special, or whether the circumstances of their times have just brought them to a spotlight which people equal to them could never have aimed at. More importantly, the main question on which the whole series hinges remains an open one. This question is the age-old one of which is better, autocracy or democracy, the problem being that a good autocracy is usually better than a good democracy, but a bad autocracy being worse than a bad democracy. Within the happenings of the show, it becomes apparent that, militarily speaking, at least, a good autocracy has an edge over democracy in terms of speed and decisiveness, and this shows in how the series progresses.
A large part of the series is devoted to showing the war and its subsequent smaller-scale rumblings. The war is fully shown from the side of the commanding officers - one of only a very few shows to do so - and does show an appropriate sense of scale. With battles involving thousands of battleships and millions of men, simple depictions of large-scale tactics take the place of views of the battlefield itself, and a considerable part of the show is, laudable, devoted to discussions on logistics and military intelligence.
A larger part still, though, is devoted to discussions on politics, all within the greater autocracy versus democracy question. Again, these thoughts never go very deep, but what strikes one is that so very many possible variables are brought up. Almost any motive of rulers or the general populace that might affect a political decision is included at some point in the show, making me at least think to myself: 'They even thought of thát one.' The show does tend, here and there, to lean toward the old 'good soldier, bad politician' cliché, but, overall, it really lacks a clear villain, instead showing each possible side (apart, perhaps, from religious fanatics) from every possible angle. Moreover, all this is shown within a future universe that is highly consistent over the full 110 episodes, even if differences between the warring sides tend to be somewhat exaggerated: in many cases whole societies seem to act a bit too much according to a somewhat radical ideology, only to make their following actions be true to form.
This being true to form applies also to most of the actions that, at first glance, seem to be overly dramatical, in the first place many of the actions of the dozen or so main protagonists. However, when thinking about the how and why of their actions, it usually becomes clear that they cannot have but acted as they did, according to cultural mores and individual character. A case in point would be the reliance of many Imperial officers on the character of some military commander to predict his battlefield tactics. This would seem lunacy, until it is remembered that the Imperial commanders are a tight-knit group, mostly of noble birth, and known to each other: each commander would know the peculiarities of all others, which become all the more predictable as the importance of gaining personal glory and honour in battle are taken into the equation.
This reliance on known characteristics of all personalities is also possible because the characters don't evolve all that much. Now, I've never understood why 'character progression' in general seems to mean having characters make a full volte-face, and I am, in fact, happy with a series that shows all characters as being fully grown, and fixed in their ways. Each has a specific role to play, and a mind-set that might be predictable, but is, again, true to form. This doesn't make the character shallow. Far from it: their characteristics mean that each takes a single position to a fitting extreme, making for interesting differences between the characters, and accompanying differences in outlook.
That said, it is indeed true that the characters may be somewhat flat, and quite a few seem to be included only to show a different point of view toward a specific situation or theory, but it is exactly this relative flatness that makes it possible for them to discuss so many situations.
As for the art, it is old and outdated, but that can't be held against the show. It is a shame that, mainly in the first season, the series is at times simply bad: persons walk in an awkward way, scenes are recycled, and even relative positions of facial structures change from frame to frame. There's no excuse for that. Technically, though, the art definitely gets better during the course of the show.
In fact, the show being old might be a boon. The creators have opted to make the drawing style relatively realistic, which fits the series splendidly. One has only to look at the manga to see how different it could have been: the style of the manga doesn't fit the show at all.
Real points have to go to the design. Again, nothing is really innovative, from the spaceships to the almost 19th century looking setting to the uniforms of the soldiers. It is, however, solid, and consistent, and really brings the world to life.
The music is outstanding. It mainly consists of generally well-known classical compositions, which, granted, have been often used before, but never have they been used to such splendid effect: especially the use of pieces during battle sequences, fitting the individual scenes to the music, is a joy to watch.
As a whole, Legend of the Galactic Heroes never tries to be overly deep, and, though it tends to be somewhat bombastic, never loses itself to any glorification. It is slow and quite meticulous, focusing on a lot of details, and consists for the largest part of dialogue, not action. The story progresses slowly, and only after about a season's worth of episodes the real story starts to evolve.
And this show never, ever tries to evoke an emotional response. The whole series is based on having the viewer have an intellectual understanding of what happens, not an emotional one. There are, thus, no cheap tricks to elicit emotional response, nothing overly dramatic (barring a few strokes of bombast), and no characteristics that make a main protagonist or villain.
I can only applaud this, considering it a feat to produce such a good series without relying on drama. Legend of the Galactic Heroes is, in this sense, the absolute antithesis of my other personal favourite, Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, appealing to the rational side of the viewer, even when the protagonists act with all their vaunted 'foppery and whim'. read more
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a series that works halfway between a historical drama and a textbook. It portrays epic battle between stars, in other words 'heroes'. They, like a star, are born; reaching the main sequence of their life, where they shines at their brightest, and their brilliant shining light upon the universe shakes it, thus capturing the heart of billions. They then reach the point where they run out of energy. Finally, there comes the time when they fall, thus ending a legend, and starting a history.
Like any other anime should do, this series helped me appreciate, and look at things in a different light, about things which I cared little for. My view on politics; democracy and autocracy. Also, the strategical, and tactical warfare, as well as terrorism and theocracy, which seemed completely different in my world than ever before.
The story of Legend of the Galactic Heroes is superb; it is told in a very relaxed and polite way. The dense story focuses deeply within the nature, and history of human. It is mostly a conflict between democracy and autocracy, at the same time observation of principles, knowledge, and the concept of our society. This results the insight and logical questions it asks the society, mocking it at times, defending it at others. Furthermore, what the story brilliantly portrays is the benefits of democracy, as well all autocracy, through the characters thoughts, and feelings towards it. This is further emphasized, as the plot looks deeply into the history of mankind.
For its long length, the storytelling is smooth, and the pacing is consistent, even if slow at times. Furthermore with the story, the dialogue is sublime, and the battles are well written, thus clearly portraying the talent and intelligence of the writer. Nevertheless, the series does not feel rushed nor boring throughout. In fact, it is very organized and easy to follow despite the length.
Now, carrying on with the storytelling, it makes certain audience appreciate certain things. The audience, who are into politics, will come to enjoy the heavy discussion of politics, mostly democracy focusing on governance, and autocracy focusing on one ruler, and the empire. Secondly, those who are history enthusiasts will come to appreciate the fact that the series is very historical, and more importantly the fact that it is very similar to real historical events. Thirdly, the audience who likes to discuss, and think about philosophical topics will come to value the insight, and intelligent questions this series ask while looking at the concept of the society. Lastly, the audience that is none of the above will come to open the door to a new world, and still enjoy it, as this series still presents an entertaining and epic story at its core.
Going back to the length of the series, it does not force one to sit through these long 110 episodes. Instead, it delivers the audience with plot twists frequently to keep them at the edge of their sit. This is further emphasized, as the audience is provided with the sense of suspense throughout the series. Not to mention, its reflection to the reality just adds more to the suspense.
Speaking of the characters, it definitely has one of the most enormous cast in anime history. There are plenty of developments, and characterization throughout the series, thus no time is wasted. Although the cast is huge, every character has a meaning. This is because they have their own individual roles, and purpose as to why they fight for their ideals. All characters are given enough background, and the spot light to shine like a star. This series does not necessary try to portray the importance of the characters, but rather their parts, and how they convey the story. What's impressive about the cast is how they change, and grow overtime, thus increasing their significance in the story.
Although, there are hundreds, or even thousands of characters in this series, it can be reduced to our two main heroes who shine their lights the brightest upon the universe. When speaking of Reinhard von Lohengramm, and Yang Wenli; it becomes crystal clear to the audience that they are the most intriguing out of all the characters. The rivalry between the two is so immense to the point, where it clearly outlines the purpose of their existence. Although they could build a strong bond of friendship, their difference in ideals does not allow that. Thus, allowing them to only meet through wars in the world of politics. They are our two main stars, whose names alone shake the world, thus inspiring millions. This goes without saying, but the most excitement lies where these two stars clash, as if a tornado met a volcano.
Representing the Alliance/democracy; we have Yang Wenli. He is someone who is carefree, yet a military genius with great logic, who acts in loyalty out of ideological followings. He holds democracy strongly, and would rather see the war end as soon as possible, so he can become a historian. For the Alliance side, he is the only ray of hope, who can prevent the Alliance from breaking into pieces. Also, the story brilliantly portrays the understanding of human nature, and philosophical topics through this character, thus making him the star, who carries the hope of almost half of the world.
In contrast, carrying the other half of the hope, we have Reinhard von Lohengramm. Representing the Empire/autocracy, he is no less of a genius than Yang Wenli. Being the other star, who carries ray of hope for the Empire, he is very prideful, cunning, and strict compared to the carefree and stubborn Yang. His sole purpose of becoming a soldier was to get back his sister who was taken by Kaiser. Thus, arising the thirst for power within him to defeat his enemies, be it the Nobles or Alliance, and get back his sister no matter what, which gives him his reason to fight; he seeks opponents like Yang Wenli. If one defines Yang Wenli's life as a parable, then Reinhard's life is an epic poem. They are the two pillars, which keeps the world in balance.
At times, when a series have excellent story, characters, as well as entertainment; the production value tends not to be as good. Fortunately, it isn't the case with Legend of the Galactic Heroes. There is not much to say about the animation. But, despite being old, and outdated, the animation alters. As the time passes, the animation improves tremendously overtime with the characters, thus making this series a unique one. The animation truly fits the saying: old is gold.
The classic music is no less good. Although the opening and ending themes are pretty decent, what truly builds the suspense is the background music. This is portrayed, especially during the space battles for rich effect. The music nicely sets the tone, and blends in with the situation, thus making the actions during the series seem appropriate, as well as improving the overall quality, and the watching experience in the show.
What's most impression is the vast setting. As a series which is purely based on strategy, tactics, politics, and philosophy; it becomes incomparable to others. The setting is very powerful, and effective, as it changes greatly throughout. Not to mention, the world is complete, and very detailed. But, what's more dynamic about is that it seems very believable, as it responses to the action of the characters, and it’s reflection to reality; it is epic.
As far as the voice actors goes, they did an extraordinary job. The voice actors perfectly fit each of the characters, thus showing they are luminaries. The cast is fantastic, and the dialogues are portrayed in grand fashion, which truly made a difference in the enjoyment this anime delivers.
In terms of entertainment, this series delivers it in many ways. Despite the outdated and old animation, it delivers from epic space battles, to dealing with political affairs, to taking over planets, to philosophical topic, to historical events, and much more. Although, this series is very heavy with its content, the storytelling is portrayed in a fashion, which will build suspense and thrill to keep the audience locked up in its world. As events follow one after another with plot twists, making it very intriguing to watch, thus portraying a story that is entertaining to follow.
Despite all the praises it gets, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is not perfect. Its outdated animation could turn away part of the audience. This is worth a mention, but this series won't be a typical roller coaster for many viewers, since it is heavy with its content. Moreover, it is definitely not something anyone could just get into straight away. And, some battles may betray the expectations of the audience, as they are not very well presented. The series also leaves small plot holes here, and there, but it doesn't necessary gets picked up, nor does it affect much of the overall.
Above all, Legend of the Galactic heroes is a space opera of the highest order, and is the very best at level and volume of content, of politics and philosophy, and of grand scale. It delivers almost everything one would seek from a show; the momentum stays constant throughout. It is very interesting to watch all the pieces come together, and how the story plays out within each piece, thus making this show something to appreciate. It could, by no mean be much of an exaggeration if one says this is the most intelligent anime out there. It is something that teaches, and portrays the audience with different lessons, messages, if not even something else. Nevertheless, everyone will receive something out of this series by the end, so why not give this legend a shot? And, observe for yourself how humans always pursue things they can’t reach, be it in any era, in any world.
Imagine Code Geass without "magical eyes", mechs, ideas like "the one who yells louder wins", immortal women and stupid idealism (hi Suzaku). You with me so far? Now, imagine Code Geass where there are dozens of great commanders like Lelouch on both sides, where political intrigues, plots and schemes are far from uncommon. Imagine battles of epic proportions and war on the galactic scale, where winning side is decided only by commanders intelligence, number of troops, their morale and available resources, not superunits like Lancelot. Do this and you've invented LoGH.
In Both the hero is nobility. Lelouch was a discarded prince while Reinhard was a poor noble. But both want to remove the nobility from power. Both have grand plans to unify the world for the sake of their sisters. Both are charismatic and have strong allies and enemies. Both are Genius military guys and will make sacrifices for the grand dream.
Aristocratic governments, political machinations, Xanatos' gambits, the whole shebang.
Hubris. Revenge. Noblesse Oblige. Revolution. Heroics. Anti-Heroics. Tragedy. Power grabs. Machiavellian schemes. Funny European names. If you like those, then you'll like both shows.
In addition, both stories follow a young man who wants revenge by increasing his power until he can succeed in overthrowing the monarchy because of the Emperor being a jackass who ruined the life of the protagonist's sister.
Code Geass is essentially a "down to earth" (literally) version of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and I don't mean that in a condescending way.
Since the basic plot and characters are similar, I thought I'd outline some of the main differences between the two shows. Oh, and I'm also writing this under the assumption that people like these shows primarily because of the strategy behind the battles.
Some minor spoilers may be included. You have been warned.
Legend of Galactic Heroes
1. There are Lelouches on both sides (i.e. people other than Lelouch are not portrayed as whimpering idiots).
2. There is none of that "I have the Nightmare with more guns than you so I win" crap. Actual strategy and tactics are demonstrated throughout the whole show - formation, movement, timing, geography etc.
3. Suzaku, the ridiculous idealist who must say and do what he thinks is right, doesn't exist (replaced by a slightly less vocal Kircheis).
4. At one point, LoGH becomes difficult to follow which its detailed storyline, huge cast of characters and the lengthy timeline over which the show spans.
5. There are no supernatural powers that allow you to control people. Both commanders don't start from zero in the first place, so they have no need for Geass. Lelouch didn't need Geass as much once he established himself either.
1. Lelouch actually loses...many times. Maybe it's just me, but I swear the main commanders in LoGH don't ever "lose"; Reinhard wins by decimating the Alliance's forces, but Yang also wins because he pulled off a miraculous retreat - everybody wins! Yeah...no.
2. CG definitely has better graphics. Something from 1988 just can't compare...
3. Reinhard, the super-genius robot, doesn't exist (replaced by a slightly more human Lelouch).
4. I feel CG, even without Geass, is less realistic in general; by less realistic, I mean there are "unbelievable coincidences" happening all over the place.
5. There are more obvious plot holes. For example, the fact that Lelouch never commands anyone to obey all his commands (until the end of R2)...is a major one.
Watch whichever. Hell, watch both. Even if I don't sound very supportive, I really think they're both amazing.
Similar themes around war with intelligent commanders.
But focus heavily on tactics and strategy.
Empire, politics, rebellions, good characters and all that jazz
what happens when there are bunch of brilliant masterminds like lelouch on both sides vying for world supremacy that is LOGH. Code Geass is pure mecha while LOGH is spacewar.
Both have battles that don't rely on strength in numbers or the capability of weapons to fight. They rely on strategies and tactics.
Lelouch/Zero can compare to Reinhard because they are both tactical geniuses, as is Yang, Wenli from LOGH.
Both anime give a clear explanation on how their world is run and the background of it.
The setting is very different, but the way the show works out is similar. Instead of an intellectual battle between a detective and a god child, Legend of the Galactic Heroes has an intellectual battle between two fleet commanders, each fighting for their own version of justice. It's up to the viewer to decide who's really correct, in the end.
Both feature genius' who fight primarily with their minds and the use of psychological warfare. Both shows tend to focus on the lead opponents and, therefore, treat other characters like supporting ones.
The opponents also stand for different morals/beliefs and winning or losing means EVERYTHING.
Death Note tends to cheapen human worth exchange for very addicting storytelling.
Galactic Heroes takes a more natural approach to it's story, emphasizing on outcomes, what each side fights for; and HOW they can fight for it.
It takes it's time developing situations, doesn't use otherworldly elements as an additive, and contains a very human soul.
Both animes are very similar to each other. In both animes you óbserve two opposing factions who are trying to outwit the other. The basic idea is the same, whereas the rules and conditions might be a tad different. If you liked one of these, i honestly can not see a reason for you to not like the other.
If you like this DEEP show you might want to watch something that's actually deep.
both anime have two geniuses fighting against each other for their principles
Both deal with a battle of wits, although LOGH is on a much bigger scale.
LoGH is the grandfather of genius vs. genius, battle of the wits genre of anime.
Opening Theme#1: "Skies of Love" by Michiru Akiyoshi (eps 1-22,24-26)
#2: "I am waiting for you" by Michiru Akiyoshi (eps 27-30,32,34-35,37-38,40,43,45,49,51-52)
#3: "Sea of the Stars" by LISA (eps 55-81,86)
#4: "Must Be Something" by Hitomi Konno (eps 87-106,108-110)
Ending Theme#1: "Hikari no Hashi wo koete" by Kei Ogura (eps 1-5,7-13,16-17,19-21,24-26,84)
#2: "Tabidachi no Jyokyoku" by Kei Ogura (eps 27-30,32,35,37-38,40,42-43,45,49,51)
#3: "Kansou no Uta" by Kei Ogura (eps 55-56,58-69,71-81,83,85)
#4: "Uchuu no Kakehashi" by Kei Ogura (eps 87-106,108-110)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
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