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
Duration: 26 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 9.061 (scored by 9774 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsdrama sci-fi space opera
May 27, 2008
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
Mar 8, 2009
If any work of entertainment in our history deserves the title of 'Star Wars' then it is this anime, and not George Lucas's franchise. This is more star wars than Star Wars ever was, is, or will be. This is star wars. Epic wars among the stars, grand vision with something to say, something to show, all the while consistent narratively, thematically and audially, never pandering to a clamouring fan base, this is 110 episodes of pure sci-fi operatic drama of the highest quality. This is star wars.
Preferably experienced after watching the prequel movie My Conquest Is The Sea Of Stars, the story of the LotGH OVA pits two systems of living against each other. Two charismatic men. Delving through politics, military, religion, philosophy and media, it is a detailed anime that rarely ever takes short cuts. This means that we see everything play out and are never expected to just fill in large gaps with our imagination. We don’t just see ships blowing each other up, we see the tacticians inside them planning their moves, we don’t just see armies invading planets; we see them deal with the aftermath of restructuring society. There are no short cuts in LotGH, only one long and very entertaining path.
LotGH is like the anime equivalent of Michael Mann's Heat when it comes to the two protagonists of Reinhard Lohenngram and Yang Wen-li. They are not in each other’s faces with conflict; they are at a distance yet always on each other's minds. Human civilisation as their chess board. They are not protagonist and antagonist. They are figureheads who are almost comrades in their strong resolves to end a terrible war. They are like magnets drawing fate towards them by their personalities alone; then they back it all up with action and propel humanity into a new century.
Yang Wen-li. The great irony of Yang is that he is the historian-wannabe who is destined to make history himself. The anime speaker for Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller's voices. Those two great literary giants of scathing wit and nonchalance. One of Yang's best quotes is the following: "People may need societies, but they don’t necessarily need 'nations'” He is beyond patriotism or nationalism. He is a conscientious, self-deprecating, charming and laid back man with the humility to feel intense burden and guilt at his actions, even though he tries to take the path of least violence, he is part of a war machine and is directly responsible for millions of deaths. This fact is not lost on the man, and it makes him that much more of anime's greatest characters.
Reinhard Lohenngram, the more romantic fairytale character, with flowing blonde hair, unparalleled achievement, aided by his unwavering childhood friend to rise through the military ranks of the empire with the sole purpose to rescue his sister from the clutches of the emperor, with the additional task of reforming and uniting the entire galaxy as a peripheral duty. Reinhard is not only the most powerful man in the universe, but he's also probably the loneliest. He's a pretty tragic figure that goes through more conflict than Yang, considering the autocratic environment he has to wade through, trying to hold onto his soul as the leader of such a system of living is what’s fascinating about his character.
There are dozens of memorable characters all fully fleshed out, even though they're supporting members, the fact that this is 110 episodes long means they all get a chance to shine in the spotlight and develop just as well as the two main figureheads. Many names will be etched in your mind after you've finished the tale, names such as Kircheis, Reuenthal, Oberstein, Mittermeyer, Poplan, Bucock, Schenkopp.
LotGH might get flak for having the appearance of being a talky and dry anime but that could not be further from the truth. Because of such excellent characterisation, the emotion and drama of this saga is beyond anything in other anime. When characters pass away the sense of loss is palpable, in the same vein of how character deaths in live action cinema affects the viewer, such is the ambition of LotGH in reaching for greatness beyond the anime medium.
"Humans don’t fight for principles or philosophy. They fight for the person who embodies their principles and philosophy. They don’t fight for revolutions, they fight for the revolutionary."
People fight for Reinhard and Yang. They are pyramids, and underneath them are a large cast of characters that are fascinating, fully developed and run the gamut of good to bad to walking the thin line between. One could argue that the empire has the most interesting group of characters, they get slightly more scenes, they have more skill and cunning, but then the republic is more relevant to the majority of viewers watching. They're more relatable because of the environment they're in which reflects modern day westernised society very well, warts and all.
LotGH's epicness lies in its relation to reality, in that we can actually believe various situations portrayed in the story can happen; that a group of men and women can band together to fight for equality no matter what the odds.
LotGH investigates and ponders the virtues and shortcomings of these two systems of living with so much depth, so much impartially, it’s a joy. You're not meant to root for one system because the show doesn’t paint with broad strokes. Whether you prefer one side or the other, both will be populated by characters you like, so not only are you split on an ideological level but also at a basic entertainment level. In fact you're not really meant to root for any side, you're an observer to history being made and repeated. Life is cycles.
When characters talk in LotGH, they talk to each other and not the viewer. For the most part, this isn’t a show stained by one of the main staples of the anime medium, that number one device used by lazy writers to convey information to the viewer: walking talking expositions. This is an anime that is prime material for such characters, who may as well directly stare at the 'camera' and waffle on about what they're doing for the sole purpose of cluing us in. Not so in LotGH, as characters only address each other with information that is relevant to them, not us.
We figure out what's going on through character actions, not asinine summaries from them. If they bring up something that they already know amongst themselves, then they discuss it in a relatively coherent fashion and not typically clichéd manner. In short the viewer is never treated like a child, we have to actually concentrate when watching this story because the characters aren’t going to wait up for us or spell everything out with easy words.
Characters will admittedly often sum up their situations in LotGH, so we can get our bearings, but it’s done naturally as you'd expect for people in a war situation demanding situation reports, it’s never shoe-horned in. Characters reflect upon experiences a lot, about what they've done, what they're doing and what they will do in the future, so a lot of information is conveyed but the most important fact is that they're talking to each other and not the viewer. You will rarely ever question the intelligence of characters, you will rarely exclaim "you're so stupid!" because most of the characters featured in the story are highly intelligent and are already two steps ahead of you. There is no greater viewing experience than watching intelligent people battling each other with everything they've got.
Another important aspect regarding exposition is that this show has a narrator who is the replacement for expositional characters. The narrator transitions us from one setting to another very concisely and is an integral part of the anime. If it weren’t for this grandfatherly voice we'd be bombarded by the terrible expositional conversations anime is famed for, but thankfully we're spared that fate.
Although there is a small irony in the fact that in the last season, comprised of 24 episodes, when the animation is at its best, these tropes of anime that have been disparaged in this review begin to surface. With expositional dialogue and unrestrained character body behaviour beginning to rear its unwanted head. Though it’s not enough to detract, it’s still noticeable considering all of the quality and restraint shown previously. Maybe it’s yet another example of how limitations such as low budget can make creativity flourish through determination, whereas abundancy, such as improved animation in the latter half of this OVA, encourages complacency.
So LotGH is not perfect. The animation and art are dated, the plot riddled with small holes that would make an obsessive nitpicker sweat. Some scenarios are diluted or presented in a very simple and convenient fashion that betray the ambition and scope of the series. Religion is painted with a broad stroke and not explored much. Some military tactics and operations are unrealistically achieved with very little complications when so much thought was put into them beforehand.
LotGH simply makes up for all that with pure passion, overriding aesthetics with storytelling and plot holes with historical research. The concept behind the art is solid, the ideas of what the animation attempts to show you are inspired. The plot holes do not negate the story, they can be forgiven for two reasons, the first is that the show is already so full of research and detail that when the viewer spots a periphery hole its almost glaring, and secondly because at the end of the day this is an anime for teens and needs to sacrifice some procedural details for the sake of entertainment given to you at a decent pace.
Not every little detail needs to be presented to you, because this is entertainment, not a documentary. Except when every detail actually is covered and it is a documentary, but more about that later.
If we have to choose between sacrificing plot details/art quality or character details, I would like to think most of us would choose to preserve character. Characters drive the story. An entertaining story with flat characters is not going anywhere. We need to emphasise and connect with depictions of human beings to be fully entertained. LotGH's intelligent characters populate it with so much personality and resolve, so much consistency, there are no clichéd twists and turns from out of nowhere, there are no characters dying and magically coming back to life.
There is a real emotional current running throughout the main characters’ arcs, a strong bond of friendship, love and camaraderie that is tested to the limits, and it results in very powerful episodes thanks to dozens of episodes worth of character development.
As much as the imperfections mentioned earlier in the review are apparent in the show, they are mostly in the earlier half, but at some point, after the first season comprising of 26 episodes, the wrinkles are smoothed out and the occasional moustache-twirling bad guy or belief-stretching plot-point are erased, until that last season where the wrinkles begin to appear again, leaving us mostly with a viewing experience packed with quality storytelling, tension, intrigue and sustained drama. You will rarely ever question the intelligence of characters, groan at their actions; blink in disbelief at their motives. LotGH stands out from the crowd for its pitch-perfect characterisation and consistent narrative.
Regarding the art and animation, if you have a problem with sparse architecture, rooms with a handful of chairs and windows, cityscapes with generic skyscrapers and not much else of note; crowd scenes that look like something a high school kid produced with pocket-money budget, then you might have a problem with LotGH. You'd have a problem period, because these flaws are due to budgetary constraints not ineptitude on the art department's behalf. If that irritates you then you're not a reasonable person. You will be placated to know that the art and animation increase slightly over the course of the 9 year production.
A quirk of the budgetary restraints to the animation results in a restrained 'performance' by the characters which is much welcomed. Another undesired trope of the anime medium is blatant facial reactions to various types of news, and some of them are naturally still used in this anime, but for the most part the characters in LotGH don’t overreact as much as other typical anime shows. When a character gives a damning speech for example, his face is static which serves to make him look even more menacing than if the animators went overboard with their tools and made his eyes bulge, irises smaller and veins pop out his head.
You just have to accept you're not going to see pioneering animation and that when a bunch of soldiers go to battle in a spaceship early in the series, there's a reason it looks like five people brawling in a nondescript metallic tube. This is not to say the entire OVA is like this however, as there are still many instances of bold imagery, thousands of ships in symmetry looking like stars is a regular motif, and the space fortresses in particular have a brilliant design with reflective liquid-metal surfaces.
The ship designs; save for Reinhard's and a few other empire ships; aren’t cool-looking. They're not sleek pointy colourful mecha; they're ugly blocky rectangles with many holes that fire lasers into your face. The design is pretty blatant: war isn’t the only thing ugly, the tools employed are also. Millions and millions of humans die in skirmishes, let alone giant battles. The cost is so high it’s hard to imagine, but the OVA does a good job of reminding you with visceral scenes of terror and misery.
Space battles consist of pre-20th century naval-inspired conflicts, with large fleets manoeuvring into strategic spots and moving in for the kill. Attacks are planned carefully and carried out methodically, with the occasional WW2 aerial-inspired dogfights with smaller jets taking off the cruisers. It’s totally unlike nearly every other space-set anime.
This war anime not once glorifies or makes the idea of war 'cool' at all. For all the talk of the Gundam franchise putting a more serious face on war in the medium of animation, it still had a kid piloting a mecha day in day out with funky soundtrack accompanying the action scenes. Not to discredit Gundam at all, as its always laid a huge burden on its kid protagonists, but in LotGH there is no subtle or overt undercurrent to the action, it is what it is: millions of people dying over and over again, mostly to the impartially beautiful and tragic classical score that the viewer can take one way or the other. That is to say, beautiful or tragic.
Chopin, Mozart, Dvorak, Wagner, Mahler, Bach, Bruckner, Brahms, LotGH rarely uses the same piece twice, which is why the LotGH soundtrack box set is massive. 23 CDs total, a behemoth of classical music, an amazing gateway for newbies to the genre, or a greatest hits for veterans. The OVA's soundtrack is timeless, much like its story. There are re-used themes and motifs, but every episode will feature a few compositions not used already. The classical nature of the music heightens the story to epic proportions, the premise is monumental and so should its soundtrack be also.
As for the voice acting, featuring such luminaries as Norio Wakamoto, Kaneto Shiozawa, and Toshio Furukawa, it is a classic cast, accompanied by a classic soundtrack. The OVA excels in audio, even if the visuals don’t.
There is so much depth that the OVA even has a character watch a documentary about the history of humanity. We observe with him a typical documentary format programme, complete with host, his academic credits displayed beside his name; documentary clips and interviews to supplant his monologue of humanity's actions since the latter half of the 21st century.
Rather than be a gimmick, it’s actually a validation of many of the show's quirks, stylistic choices and script decisions made. It provides more context to the story, shedding light on the backdrop of the saga, and the fact that we don’t even see this, the first of a few documentary-based episodes, until well over 30 episodes into the OVA is a testament to the fact that the writers of the OVA respect us, the viewer.
The documentary's content is so full of depth, imagination and epic scope it’s practically an anime in its own right. Indicative of LotGH, that there are so many story arcs or episodes that other anime would stretch into 25 episode series, but they're merely window-dressing in this OVA. Not only is the documentary episode one of the best of the OVA for its rich depiction of a future history, but because of how it changes the dynamic of the entire show, bombarding us with new facts and revelations of how these two systems of living came to be. As such, it is placed where it is with very good reason.
LotGH isn’t all serious politicking and battling, it’s carried by humour all throughout. A type of humour seriously lacking in most anime; that is to say a type of humour that doesn’t rely on slapstick, the breaking of physics, and lurid sex as a topic. The characters in LotGH are cynicists and realists; their humour is a defiant protest at their situation, the futility of war and all it entails. LotGH's humour is largely through dialogue, not sight gags. Vonnegut, Kafka, Heller, these novelists voices are heard in the mouths of many characters, from main protagonists to random fighter pilots, these men are all fed up of dying for no good reason and blow off steam with witty wordplay.
The entire anime is an in-depth exploration of two systems, approached from every direction imaginable, every context; every situation; the ramifications of military, politics, religion and media, of dynasty, lineage and class. It doesn’t lean heavily on one side or the other; both have their pros and cons when looked at objectively. What’s worse, the story ponders: a corrupt democracy or a reformed autocracy? There is of course an idealistic current running through the more relatable characters, those who dream of a universe with peace and equality, of ridding society of corruption and terror. How to go about it of course is up for debate, usually with fleets and bombs.
LotGH is a 6 year saga charting the 3 thousand year battle of humanity with itself, repeating history's mistakes and endeavours. When a character mentions something that happened six years ago, you actually remember the recalled event, because that’s how long the story is. You feel immersed in it, an invisible comrade; a third wheel standing to the side and reminiscing along with the characters. It’s inexplicable but the OVA gets better the more you watch. Every twenty or so episodes the quality rises and the storytelling becomes even more addictive.
There isn’t a single bad episode in the whole 110 episode run. Not only that, but you never know what to expect either, unlike the vast majority of other anime which have a clear narrative of beats: protagonist starts on A, must get to B, must end up at C. With LotGH the plot is so rich, the world so vast, the characters so many, you can never predict what people are going to do next, where they'll end up or what will happen. LotGH's depth is unparalleled.
The saga goes through year after year and you feel the weight with each season, you watch the characters grow together or drift apart, you see setups one episode then pay-offs dozens of episodes later, you see friendships, rivalries, enemies, comrades, battles, love, marriage, birth and death, you see it all. Nothing is left out, absolutely nothing. Other series are just as long, other series have better animation, but no other series is as far-reaching in depth and consistently intelligent and accomplished.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a legend of the anime medium. The greatest anime production in its history. read more
Jul 31, 2013
Haven't you always wanted to find an anime that is equal to a great book, an anime that you'll hold dear as you will age through time? Then search no further, cause this anime alone is sufficient to satisfy your hunger.
Story : 9/10 "Great"
Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LOGH for short) is a space opera taking place on a small amount of planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, with a greater and noble main purpose : To teach you about the political and war schemes of men. In this Galaxy, there are three separate sides : The autocratic Galactic Empire, the democratic Free Planets Alliance and the politically neutral planet and product trading center, Phezzan. The plot is mainly centered around the political and war games between the first two, but also around the political importance of Phezzan in forming the shape of this great war. The plot thickens when Reinhard von Lohengramm, a military genius from the side of the Galactic Empire who constantly rises in the military ranks and begins to change the autocratic government from it's foundations, clashes with another military genius from the side of Free Planets Alliance, Yang Wenli, who wants democracy to prevail as the best out of the existing government types and, ultimately, to end this futile war. Empires rise and fall and democracies turn into military-driven governments as the series progress and our characters shape their opinions on human ideals and mature in the most logical way possible out of the results of this endless and brutal war.
Art : 7 / 10 "Good"
The art of LOGH could be seen as it's most vulnerable side. It has many still scenes, many sloppily re-drawn scenes and maintains a mediocre facial consistency till the end. However, the art is improved through the years and could be recognized as something unique, artsy and very fitting to the mood and themes of the series.
Sound : 9 / 10 "Great"
The works of the big classical composers such as Brahms, Strauss and Tchaikovsky are worldwide known as masterpieces. Thus, I will not further analyze the importance they hold, not only in the classical music section, but to the whole world of music. However, when used properly, they instantly turn a show into a majestic one, with LOGH being the most obvious and well-refined example.
Characters : 8.6 / 10 "Great"
There are lot of characters who have significant value in forming the elaborate plot of LOGH and all are three-dimensional, but two of them shine the most: Reinhard and Yang. Reinhard Von Lohengramm is a poor noble from the Galactic Empire side who, along with his best friend Siegfried Kircheis, want to overpower the Kaiser (emperor) , rescue his sister from Kaiser's hands and then unify and rule the whole known universe. An interesting character full of ambition, born to be a wise and thoughtful leader and showing the utmost respect to his citizens, soldiers and subordinates. Yang Wenli is a stoic, sarcastic and witty character, a rising star in the military section of Free Planets Alliance, who, along with his son Julian, wants to contribute the most into ending this endless war between Galactic Empire and Free Planets Alliance and give an end to the unlimited numbers of dead soldiers. Also an interesting character, who is more interested in history lessons than going into battle, and feels the weight of the dead soldiers keep growing on his shoulders, as a respectful and wise military commander should do. The other members of the cast are, if not equally, rather interesting because of their contribution to the plot, their three-dimensional and believable aspects and their redeeming qualities.
Verdict : 8.8 / 10 "Great"
There is no other show like it. It have some cons, but they are completely surpassed by it's magnitude of feelings and emotions, giving maybe the most powerful anti-war message of our recent times, and most meaningful political analysis on the schemes of men.
A review ends, an amazing experience begins.
Aug 7, 2010
LotGH is a space opera that takes place in the distant future. It shows the continuous struggle between believers in the democratic republic political system of the Free Planets Alliance and those who follow the rule and will of the Galactic Empire’s autocratic government. For hundreds of years, these two states have been battling it out through continuous, stalemated conflict in the depths of space. With both political factions becoming stagnant over the years, as corruption has seeped into both, the ambitions of one up-and-coming young admiral of the Galactic Empire, Reinhard von Musel, seeks to rid the Empire of the corruption and unite the galaxy under his own rule. On the other side of the spectrum and galaxy, admiral Yang Wenli observes the corruption that is strangling his country but hopes that through the will of the people and through time, the corruption will be rooted out. As time progresses, these two will become rivals and show one another that they are not only equals on the battlefield, but in intellect and charisma as well.
LotGH has one of the greatest stories ever written in not just anime, but of any media of all time. The scope of the story is so vast and dynamic that it instantly sucks the viewer into the frenzy that is galactic politics and warfare. The fact that this is the longest OVA ever to come out may deter some due to its great size but do not be turned off. To achieve such brilliant storytelling, the series makes great use of every episode and fleshes out every possible detail leaving out the chance of ever having a plot hole.
The story relies on giving the viewer not just one view point of the events carrying on within the story but a look through all the characters in the story. From Reinhard and his friends and allies to Yang and his allies, each character shares their thoughts on the conflict going on within each respective camp and their own personal philosophies. Because of this, the story gives us no protagonist or antagonist, but only human beings interacting and coping with the social, political and military changes within their society. It is interesting to see how each character reacts to the maelstrom of changes within the Empire and the Alliance. You will see that through the growing political and military strife certain characters try to use such instances to gain power and further their reputation or turn a blind eye to it for it does not suit the interests. Because of this, the viewer will see a flow within the events that make absolute coherent sense. This creates the overall theme that future events will occur as a result of the actions and will of others. It is also interesting to see the different philosophies the characters hold. Because the show is neutral regarding almost every matter, you will never see another show give such valid, strong, and well sounded arguments on why an autocracy is a better form of government than a democracy, especially when the former is under benevolent leadership and the other rotting from corruption. It is this gray area that the viewer can decided and see where their morals and philosophies lie and see if one argument can sway them to the other viewpoint or at least get them to think more critically on their own viewpoints.
It is because of such care and detail given to the story on such issues that the viewer is able to find at least a handful of characters they can relate to and even admire. For some, the overall humbleness, laziness and intelligence of Yang greatly contrast the constantly battle hungry, charismatic, power seeking Reinhard. But even though the two characters contrast so greatly in personality, you do see that they are also greatly similar and admired by friends and soldiers alike. But the story does not just focus on these two main characters as the show an amazingly large cast of supporting characters that are given a lot of depth and personality that makes them differ from others. From the Alliane’s tough and ready Rosenritter leader General Schenkopp, the goofy personalities of pilot Oliver Poplan and admiral Dusty Attenboroguh to the protégé of Yang in Julian Minci, each character within the Alliance is distinct in some shape or form. This also applies to the men and women of the Empire as the best friends of admirals Oskar von Reunthal and Wolfgang Mittermeyer contrast greatly and serves as a great dichotomy on how opposites can attract. You also have the third parties of De Villiers of the Earth Church trying to stop both Reinhard and Yang from succeeding in their goals and Adrian Rubinsky of the autonomous Phezzan trying to play the Alliance and the Empire for his own personal gain and quest for power. What adds to this depth of the characters is the brilliant voice acting done for the show. With a show of this size, low of a budget and number of characters, you would think that voices would be recycled for some. You would be wrong. Only one person voices two characters in this entire series, one. The rest has their own individual seiyuu that adds a great deal of life and personality to the character that could not be possible if the voices were in fact recycled. Seiyuus such as Goro Naya, Kei Tomiyama, Ryo Horiwaka and Norio Wakamoto give their respective characters such great personality that adds to the already dynamic traits of the characters within the series.
If it is anything that LotGH lacks, it’s in the artwork and animation department. Because the show started out in 1988 and ended its run in 1997, you will see a marked improvement in this category but the animation and art still seems to be not as detailed and beautiful to the eye as other contemporary animes. But does this mean the show is ugly looking? Not at all. The character bodies look very realistic in portion and design instead of the over exaggerated anime style and the detail in the background and objects such as the space ships is impressive but the animation is still suffers from stiffness at times and not as fluid as it could be. But as said before, this does greatly improve from season to season as more time and effort gets spent into making the show look stunningly impressive. However, these small hiccups and blemishes in the artwork and animation can be contributed to the small budget that the OVA had during its run and thus when looking at, one may want to keep this in mind as the show was not being produced by a company like Kyoto Animation.
What is truly remarkable is the score for this show. LotGH utilizes a vast array of classical composers and their compositions such as Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahmas and Wagner. This gives the show a timeless, ageless feel that classical music often lends itself to. These compositions are always fitting to the situation and never come as underwhelming or overly pompous and melodramatic. The music isn’t just a means to an end but really does contribute to the overall atmosphere and adds another dimension of character to the show. The opening and closing songs for LotGH are amazingly well crafted and fits the mood of each season as they are almost hints to what you may see in that season. The particular stand out is the 3rd opening song of “Sea of Stars”. It may be one of the greatest opening songs for it’s sheer power and ability to move the viewer emotionally.
Overall, LotGH is a magnificent show that does not fail to impress in any shape or form. With its multidimensional characters, impressive story and themes that cover history, politics, social issues, and philosophy, the OVA is a remarkable showing of human intelligence and creativity that requires thought and judgment from the viewer. Many shows are called epic and seen as brilliant though they have glaring flaws that make them not even close to that criteria, but LotGH is truly one of those series that goes above and beyond the call of epic works and is truly a milestone in anime history. May foppery and whim be with you
Animation/Artwork: 7-8/10 (Seasonal Changes)
Dec 6, 2008
Though Legend of Galactic Heroes is 20 years old the visual quality and care is quite priceless. As a viewer who is reluctant to watch series over 40 episodes or over 10 years old, I was taken aback by the engaging art ranging from Ancient Rome, to Victorian England, to Blade Runner-esque futuristic set-pieces and costuming. Both factions, The Free Planets' Alliance and the Galactic Empire, had its own distinctive look, engaging the eye in nearly every direction. Add to these looks, the numerous space battles waging between the two factions and you have a piece of art that is timeless.
Sound - 10/10
Legend of Galactic Heroes boasts over 100 individual voice actors with, I believe only one person, doubling up. This show is a veritable "who's who" of the time's voice talent, and many of these talents are still working today. The quality of performance from this cast is overwhelmingly great. The actors take to both comedy and drama with a meticulous sense of intelligence, and there are few, if any times I found an actor to have either over or under-played a scene. Musically, this anime uses very well-placed classical music as the aural backdrop for the series, and perhaps the only flaw musically are the opening themes, rife with pitchy, technically abominable singing, but because it is so little of the sound content, then I can personally overlook it.
Characters - 10/10
In this show you would be hard-pressed to find a character that does not serve a definite purpose. There is a large cast of characters ranging from princes and generals to whores and religious fanatics. Each character plays his part in the machine of this show, all believably true to their actions. The only flaw with the characters I suppose is names. While the show is good on giving viewers subtitles to serve as a reminder, because these are German names and those of nobility (which also includes titles) there is a double edged sword that both breeds authenticity and becomes mnemonically troublesome.
Story - 9/10
LoGH is a magnificent space opera that delves into philosophy and politics with an unmatched ease. It is clear where shows like Death Note, Code Geass and creators such as Clamp get their influence from when watching this show. While the writing suffers a bit in the final 15-20 episodes, the slack is picked up by the extraordinary momentum the writers and voice cast from the previous 90 episodes created. Even with those flaws, there are no instances of stagnation in the narrative. The show is always distinctively going somewhere, elegantly leading the viewer with excellently written narration to help with suspense. LoGH also manages to integrate fictional technology into the story with out it overwhelming the viewer, or being an excuse for trite deus ex machina.
Enjoyment - 10/10
For someone who is very picky about show length and characters, I was truly stunned by the way this show was tightly managed as a narrative. The pace is a very consistent and mild to help go back and forth between raising questions and finding resolution. LoGH was a highly satisfying experience, and its a shame it was never brought to English so that it could find a bigger audience. I think it's the type of show that Adult Swim, or G4 (when it was TechTV with Anime Unleashed) would have eagerly consumed at the beginning of their respective launches.
Overall- 10/10 read more
Jun 18, 2013
In March 12, 2012, I posted my first anime review which was Cowboy Bebop. it was a Sci-fi smash hit set in space. Back in 1999, I saw the Star Wars Trilogy and I am very fond of that Space Opera series, especially the Original Trilogy. I am now into Star Trek and I like how creative and imaginitive it is as well as it being thought-provoking and intellectually engaging. Up until now, I have posted 49 reviews so far (excluding the supplemental reviews I did in the past) up to this point. I have now reached the milestone of 50. Well... This is it! This is the big one... Let’s go where no one has gone before and set out to Space, the final frontier... with LEGEND OF THE GALACTIC HEROES!
For decades, the Galactic Empire has been involved 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. All the events that will take place in space, the galaxy and the universe will appear on the pages of history.
To be technical, like My Conquest is the Sea of Stars (the Introductory movie), this movie is made by three studios, Kitty Films, Artland, and Magic Bus. The animation in the movie looks nice and all, I can’t really say the exact same thing for the Main Series of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I can explain in a reasonable way. The budget isn’t high at first and the quality is at it’s lowest in the first season, but it still looks nice from time to time. It does not take a while to adjust to because this was made in 1988 and ended in 1997... So expect it to look old-fashioned while you’re watching it. When I mentioned that Season 1 has the lowest quality in animation, I am not lying too much about that. This should not turn you away from watching it...because it’s an old anime, there’s not much room to get yourself adjusted to it in time, what you’ll need to get adjusted to is the heavy amount of dialogue and it’s settings. This first season devotes most of its screentime to establish the settings, the story, and its characters for this long epic that is to be witnessed by the viewer. If you can sit through 20 episodes or so, it will start picking up. It will take awhile to get there. Season 2 starts to improve in time, and this is where the story starts rolling on its own pace. Season 3 is where the show starts to look pretty good and become far more interesting.. However, when you start getting into Season 4, that’s when the animation shines. The animation improves over time and this was a good thing back then. Honestly, the animation is good on its own. If there is something I must point out that I commend the creative staff of this anime for making terrific character designs for this anime. The character designs in this show look fantastic.
I can assure you 100% on one thing. The soundtrack is Epic in this show. It makes great uses of classical music from Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Chopin, Ravel, Mussorgsky, you name it! It does make the show elegant in its own way. If you think it was cool to hear Ode to Joy in Neon Genesis Evangelion or if it was cool to hear some classical music in some other anime. Legend of the Galactic Heroes entire soundtrack is EPIC CLASSICAL MUSIC! I like listening to classical music from time to time and it’s nice to hear some in this show. The music is used terrifically in this show. I almost forgot to mention that the only musical pieces that aren’t from classical pieces, it’s the opening and closing themes. They really set the mood for all the seasons.
As far as voice acting goes, bear with me because this will take a while for me to bring up the performances in this show. Let it be known that there is no English Dub to this anime. Like the rest of the franchise, it was never licensed in America. This is an obvious reason why no English Dub exists. With that out of the way, I’ll bring up the performances that do stand out. Ryo Horikawa and the late Kei Tomiyama are fantastic as Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wenli. Keiko Han is great as Annerose (Reinhard’s Sister). and Masashi Hironaka is great as Siegfried Kircheis. There are a lot of standout performances in this show. The late Kaneto Shiozawa was terrific as Oberstein, Nozomu Sasaki is also terrific as Julian. Even Norio Wakamoto is in this show and he is fantastic as Reuenthal. Other noteworthy seiyus for this show are Kazuhiko Inoue, Kotono Mitsuishi, Masako Katsuki, Sho Hayami, Toshio Furikawa, Yoshio Sakakibara, Chikao Ohtsuka, Akio Ohtsuka, Aya Hisakawa, Ryotaro Okiayu, and Unsho Ishizuka. Let’s not forget, Yusaka Yara is the narrator of the show and he deserves to be mentioned. There are some currently well-known seiyus in this show which should be a nice treat if you watch enough anime Subtitled that is. When I reviewed My Conquest is the Sea of Stars, I wasn’t joking that there are a shit ton of characters in this show. Well, there are a shit ton of casting roles in this show and I said what I deemed necessary to bring up. Look up the entire cast at your own leisure because explaining all the other well-known cast members would just drag this review much longer and I got other things to go over with this show.
Out of all the things about this anime, the story will be the hardest thing for me to talk about concerning Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I can assure you that watching 110 episodes of this anime was no easy task. This is because this anime is heavy with political and military intrigue. Not to mention there’s more than 100 characters in this show that are tied into character threads with the more important characters. This show somehow made the cast prove their worth in the long run. Or did it? Well, let’s get over the main leads... Reinhard is a political idealist and a military genius and he sets his ambitions to conquer the universe to end the corruption of the universe. His sister Annerose was sold by their father and Annerose was to serve as a consort to the Emperor - Kaiser Friedrich IV. By Reinhard's side is his best friend Siegfried Kircheis and Kircheis vows to follow Reinhard until he accomplishes his goal. However, Reinhard is not the only military genius floating around in space. Yang Wen-li is also a military genius. However, he harbors no great ambitions. Reinhard is affiliated with the Galactic Empire and Yang Wen-li is affiliated with the Free Planet’s Alliance. These two commanders are terrific and they are great opposites that compliment eachother while they are part of a massive conflict in space. The main focus of the show is mainly about Democracy Vs. Autocracy. It is about one form of government against another. Now that I explained this, it should be made very clear that this anime is not a roller coaster ride. It is like reading a long novel. In fact, Legend of the Galactic Heroes was originally a novel series written by Yoshiki Tanaka. There are three things this anime comes with...It is very political, If you think the political moments will slow the story down while you watch this series, keep in mind that it serves the story. it is also has Military intrigue because there is a great amount of detail on strategy. This is also a very intellectual anime. This plays a huge part with our two main leads as well as the many characters connected to them. Every single episode of this show requires the viewers’ attention. This is the hardest aspect of the show for some to sit through. It is very intellectual with its political settings, military intrigue, and the characters’ thoughts, ideals, and political opinions. It also does not hold anything back when something horrific happens. The theme of war is present throughout the series and that comes to no surprise, really, and it tells this story effectively when it can. The portrayal of Humanity is displayed pretty well in this show and there are a lot of characters that are likeable. Reinhard is interesting as the show progresses further and further, for those familiar with historical events. I heard that Reinhard shares many traits with Napoleon Bonaparte, which it’s fair to say that Yoshiki Tanaka probably has a love for history. One of my favorite characters in this anime is Yang Wen-li, I just love his personality. He’s a very smart tactician who doesn’t want a damn medal for his accomplishments. He just wants to live his life in a simple way, I really like this guy. Mittermeyer and Reuenthal are also great in this show.. Characters like Oberstein, Schenkoph, Frederica, and Poplan are also pretty memorable. Julian is also a great. I can honestly tell you that this show was able to contain an elaborate setting and story with well-developed characters, a soundtrack of classical music, and avoiding any fanservice and many clichés ALL IN 110 EPISODES! This anime is very different than meets the eye. This anime is considered to be unrivaled by some, which now brings me to some issues I have with this anime...
The animation isn’t all that great at first. it seemed to have a lower budget to begin with on this show. This anime makes up for this because the animation improves over time. I have seen many shows where they either stay consistent from start to finish, or the animation quality in the show diminishes over time. There are few animes I have seen where animation improves over time or stays consistent. I am glad that the animation in this show improved over time.
However... after the show’s completion, it was released on DVD in Japan. not only was it released on DVD, it came with new animation cels in certain moments. These “Re-visions” either made certain scenes look better or they were made to fix errors. A common complaint would be understandable that it can be distracting to see old animation cels and new animation cels being shown back to back. If you end up watching the Remastered Version. You will be dealing with this on Seasons 1 and 2. It seems Star Wars isn't the only Space Opera series with these kind of problems. Now to think of it, Why do I keep thinking of a Star Destroyer whenever I see Reinhard's Flagship "The Brunhild"?
I wonder if Star Wars had some influence over this anime
Maybe I am overthinking this. Anyway, The Remastered Version might not sit well with all viewers of this show... It’s a take it or leave it thing I guess.
One other minor nitpick is that the notable characters that are part of the Terraist Cult are like stock bad guys, that and maybe it would be nice to see a positive side to religion being portrayed instead of just showing the negative extremist side.
However, my last minor nitpick are the scenes where the characters are talking to eachother like in a normal-life situation. I will excuse this completely because it gives the show a sense of realism. This aspect may not sit well with everyone. I was patient to sit through those kind of moments in the show even though this anime is riddled with dialogue.
If I had any problems with this show, it would be pointed at the Narrator at some parts of the show. I personally have no issue with a narrator explaining events that took place off-screen inbetween certain moments. What I did not like about the Narrator of this show is that he strongly hints an upcoming event at times. This was done lightly before Episode 26, and there was even a moment where the narrator strongly hinted an event that would happen on Episode 82. You know what; This is technically a spoiler, but the hell with it! That Narrator’s job is to explain things like events that take place inbetween scenes or recap previous episodes or events. His other job is to not TO SPOIL A F***ING PLOT TWIST! This anime is supposed to be intellectual, and this is not a smart move by the creative staff. Episode 82 should have left an impact to not only just the characters, but the viewers as well. The events in this episode had little impact for me thanks to the narrator! But you wanna know something? the narrator is there to give this anime the feel as if it is being told from a history book. That is exactly the intention in Legend of the Galactic Heroes when it comes to narration. All I can say is that you need to get used to it. Still, there is no excuse for having a narrator spoiling something before it happens.
Now it all comes down to this... I am NOT going to blindly give this anime a 10. Why? Because even though Legend of the Galactic Heroes is mostly terrific, the animation had a few hiccups, and some characters are bounced around in certain episodes, making it harder to follow or care for these characters. However, they are used extremely well. Thank God for the name subtitles or I would be confused as hell. Seriously, those subtitles come in handy. However, I find the narrator's hinting future events a bit questionable. What really does work is the portrayal of politics and war and this is one of the best Anti-war messages portrayed in anime and even other fictional mediums.
However, when I review an anime, I do not fall for public opinion just because of what the majority claims something to be. I also don't buy into the hype that quickly either. Legend of the Galactic Heroes on the other hand is a very underappreciated anime, but deep down inside despite my nitpicking, I don’t have much to hate about this series. This show is actually very good. I can’t lie about that. I commend the creative staff for putting a massive amount of effort in making a show of this scope. The late Noboru Ishiguro deserved to rest in peace knowing he made the what is arguably the greatest Space Opera anime ever made, as well as making the longest OVA series ever made.
This is an epic space opera and this is a show for anyone that likes Science Fiction. This is science fiction taken seriously even though this is an anime that deals with politics, military intrigue, war, and humanity in space.
I strongly believe that everyone has their own opinions and should form their own opinions. When it comes to Anime, I believe everyone has an equal say concerning a specific anime regardless of differences in opinion. In the end, I can’t say that Legend of the Galactic Heroes is required viewing, But I can say that Legend of the Galactic Heroes is for those with acquired taste.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is unlicensed, as well as Yoshiki Tanaka’s novel series of the same name. A movie prequel with the subtitle “Golden Wings” is also unlicensed, another movie called “Overture to a New War” is also unlicensed, a prequel series called “Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden”, which consists of 2 seasons is also unlicensed. The entire franchise is unlicensed; your only way to experience this series is by watching it online. When this series does get licensed someday (which might not happen), pick this show up if you like it.
With all that said, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an astounding piece of work. It exceeds with its scope in the story and it has an epic use of classical music. This anime may not have been perfect in animation. This is later excused as this series progresses. With its elaborate political settings, smart military intrigue, social commentary, and intellectual level as well as character development... Legend of the Galactic Heroes is worthy to be called an Anime Masterpiece in its own right. It is also considered one of the Greatest Animes of all time. Regardless of personal opinion from others. I highly recommend this anime to anyone that is into Science Fiction and Space Operas.
I give Legend of the Galactic Heroes a 9.5 out of 10. It is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment.
Critic’s Log - Postscript: Well... with this review wrapped up. I have now posted 50 reviews. It might not sound like much, but this is a milestone I was looking forward to. I know that I intend to continue as long as I can. If you have been sticking around on my reviews. I want to thank you. If you went through this entire review, I thank you for your patience and I apologize for making it long-winding, I hope you can fully understand. I want to thank all the friends I have made inside the anime community. (no matter the amount), and I want to thank a good friend of mine (which I will not name by request) for getting me back into anime after I had a brief disinterest and I also thank her for recommending me some shows which turned out to be fun.
I want to give everyone one last message while I wrap-up... This message is to all but at the same time, This message is to you...
Live Long...and Prosper. read more
Mar 24, 2011
There are glorious battles where massive fleets collide, maneuvering each other into the firing range of gargantuan lasers. From that perspective it feels as if the only people fighting are the Admirals. One layer deeper, we find the staff officers and technicians executing the brilliant protagonists’ commands. Even deeper, we see the results of those orders: brutal death, epitomized by the bisected remains of young soldiers and planets bombarded into lifelessness. These very individual horrors are never once forgotten, despite the story’s scope, and this only becomes more clear as the scale of the conflict grows.
If there is a fault to the warring, it’s that the designated loser is often treated as a scapegoat to show off the winner’s skill. Well-established characters face off against newly introduced or clearly incompetent admirals. These newbies are always intimidated by feint ambushes, always pursue into real ambushes, have a limited understanding of their opponent’s personality, and most notably refuse sensible advise from subordinates. These things are extremely common, making up at least half of all encounters. This is not to say the mistakes are inherently bad writing, since a notable political theme is that talented individuals are held back and ignored in corrupted governments. It’s just annoying for Admirals to hear or see something obvious, and then disregard so they can be easily defeated.
Luckily not much time is spent on idiots, as they tend to die fast. Everyone we follow is good at something, and at the top of both skill and prominence lies Reinhard von Lohengramm. Reinhard is a conqueror who wants to seize the galaxy. He’s restrained only by Siegfried Kircheis, his compassionate retainer. What makes Reinhard so interesting is how he wrestles with conflicting desires. His original motivations stemmed from injustice done upon specific people, but in his quest for power he’s forced to do very similar things. Even when he gains the power to do things differently, the warrior in him yearns for more chaos, as if he is a hero not suited for peace. Reinhard is someone who’s motivated by corruption, and who sacrifices for the greater good, yet would destroy galactic stability to satisfy personal desire.
Opposing Reinhard is Yang Wen-Li, an equally complex but much less flashy democratic soldier. Yang has no interest in domination, and for a long time refuses to do more than the minimum required to survive. His unwilling ascension through the ranks, as well as popular acclaim, push on more responsibility. As a supporter of democracy, Yang can only accept. He’s a very likable guy. This is because all his actions, even orders that kill millions, are reached through very clear logic. More important is that his logic is far from cold: Yang is acutely aware of how history perceives things, and at the same time aware of all the consequences his decisions have. His genius lets him see everything that will happen, and everything he can do to change it, yet he’s still unable to stifle unwillingness and regret.
The series has a massive amount of people in it, enough that everyone has helpful little nameplates. Surprisingly, character design is both diverse enough to give them all a distinct look, but realistic enough that it no one feels out of place. That said the art is not remarkable in any other way. Colors are simple and predictable, wardrobes are limited, and battles are visually unimpressive. The animation, too, is only at an acceptable level. As the seasons go on though, there is a noticeable improvement (almost a ten-year production gap, from beginning to end).
Another welcomed surprise is the voice-acting. Ryo Horikawa made me believe Reinhard had the charisma to dominate the human race, and Norio Wakamoto made Reuenthal into a man’s man. Again the cast is very large, so naturally the voice cast is of an equally epic proportion. If the series is reanimated, which it absolutely deserves to be, the voice cast should be preserved as much as possible.
The music should be preserved as well. It is ancient, more-so than the anime medium, and like the series itself the soundtrack is a product of much education, understanding and effort. Each song is a classic part of a beloved symphony/sonata/concerto. Matching the emotion of the plot note for note, the music deepened my appreciation for the classical genre. Before, Mozart’s symphonies numbered legions, even a single one sometimes hard to sit through; however, once I heard the first movement of the 25th set to the sight of epic battle, they all became more approachable. Of course the music can be stuffy, slow-paced, and so concerned with sophistication that it fails to convey a clear emotion. Anyone who thinks those criticisms apply to the classical genre as a whole will probably not enjoy LoGH’s soundtrack.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a massive show, one that takes time revealing greatness. I have a lot of misgivings about the plot, especially during the final season, but that doesn’t stop it from being a incredibly interesting. As a political or war drama, though not as a conspiracy story, its realism and moral sophistication are unmatched. The central story is one of the best ever told. read more
Apr 23, 2010
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
I used to love space adventures in my teens. Any movie or series with spaceships and aliens was the best thing after… Actually it was the best. But my early experiences with the so-called Space Operas in anime were less than average. I never liked Captain Harlock and Banner of the Stars lost its track after the second season. What could possibly be better than Star Trek or Babylon 5?
So, here I am scrolling through the database and bump on this series. It was quite strange looking at the name, since I’ve wasted a hill of pocket money reading magazines about anime and this LoGH was never mentioned not even once. So, like the immature guy I was back then, being bombarded by the latest Pokemon movie and the brand new Naruto series, I paid no attention. If it ain’t famous, how can it be good, right?
So, several years later someone gives me to watch this series and I begin with no expectations about an unfamiliar title, loathing the previous Space Operas I’ve watched. Five episodes later, I was hooked. Fifty episodes later, I began giving away series I previously thought were awesome. After I finished the entire series, I yelled “Publicity, go f*ck yourself”! Where the hell was this diamond hiding all these years? Why doesn’t anyone mention it and waste pages after pages about the latest Bleach filler? F*ck you advertisement. F*ck you!
And after this cheery intro, I have this last thing to say. Series are 90% of the time overrated or underrated. This series happens to be in the top 10 of most sites. It is one of the few occasions where the ratings do it just.
ART SECTION: 9/10
Ok, honestly, it is not the most beautiful thing in existence. Still, considering the time it was made and the amount of work and detail it was given, all things considered we can say with certainty that it kicks ass. Actually, you hardly believe it was made in the 80’s. In fact, it has such a small amount of static images and almost no repeating frames, making even recent series to run in shame. Did I mention how everything is hand-drawn and instead of the usual quality drop of today, you actually witness a quality increase as the series progresses? Holy sh*t!
It does a fine job making everything look realistic. The characters look, act and move quite real. And it doesn’t censor blood or gore as they usually do. There are several violent scenes that really make your stomach twist, without turning anything to some ridiculous Elfen Lied splatter parade.
The backgrounds have variety in locations although they are generally quite generic and repetitive after awhile. You get the feeling that there are only half a dozen different ships and types of buildings in the entire galaxy. Which is kind of weird, as the animators didn’t even bother having a simple color swap to set apart the various platoons and armies of the same armada. I have no complaints of all the military uniforms looking the same. You don’t choose how to dress in a real army, like some Bleach captain. Neither that the ships all look the same. In real life every pilot does not have a unique, custom-made Gundam just for him. I just wanted some way to know at which division (sic) everyone belong to without having to be told. This aesthetic problem, along with some glitches here and there concerning smooth animation is the only reason I do not give the series a perfect mark.
SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Sound has little to complain or praise. Voice acting is very well done, without ridiculous pinches making you think that someone is an irritating loli or a satanic villain just by the way he or she sounds. Everyone sounds pretty realistic and uses an interesting set of words in his dialogues. Plus, you may recognize some pretty famous voice actors in this one. My only complain is they talk too much and tell too many things instead of being more active. That kind of turns the series into some preachy educational documentary and makes it sound boring at times.
The music themes are ballads for the most part and sound pretty good for their kind. The first op and ending in particular are superb.
There are several famous classic pieces playing is key points in the story, mostly during the space battles. That gives something familiar to listen to with some established music.
STORY SECTION: 9/10
As sad as it may sound, the majority of stories in anime are lame. Really, they are. They sure look awesome if you compare them with an average Saturday morning cartoon but they still are lame. Too simple, too naïve, too incomplete, full of plot holes and un-existing endings. Well, although not perfect, LoGH has boldly gone where no anime has ever gone before in terms of multi-layered, complete storytelling. It has a serious story, a huge cast, a very complicating relation chart, a gigantic storyboard, an epic-scale scenario and it has a nice, solid ending. It still has its share of glitches and specs of naivety but if you compare it with almost any other story out there… F*ck you advertisement. F*ck you!
Anyway, the story is way to complicating to describe but it does cover all tastes from time to time. So, there is no way you will hate all of it. The story is about human ambition that leads to endless wars for power and wealth. It is mostly a democracy versus autocracy but makes sure not to take obvious sides. It is also heavy on politics and depicts nicely how authority is evil only when it is misused and not because democracy is better than having a king.
The battles are also a very interesting thing to notice. A war is won through tactics and politics and not with the latest Gundam power-up. So, it is not about the specs of the spaceships. Technology plays a minor part in the story, anyway. Instead, it is about the mannerisms of the fleet leaders and not some weird special power that bends the laws of physics (and reason). Oh, and it is one of those rare anime, where war and violence are not presented as cool and awesome. They are shown to be quite catastrophic and negative for the humankind. Yes, the series is full of battles and death but it is supposed to make you hate war and not get a boner by watching some trendy anti-hero wasting hordes of aliens with a cool-looking weapon.
Still, many may find issues that make the otherwise epic story to appear silly, despite its efforts to be realistic. Some I can point out are:
No aliens! What the hell, not even a single alien race in the entire galaxy? Give me a break! Ok, I know this is not really a problem but it does make Earth to appear as the only planet with sentient life in the cosmos. And yes, it is true that most series with alien races simply feature nothing more than human societies but with a different skin color. So, no, it is not really a problem. Still, I never say no to some Borg variant. MMM! Or Zergs. Yummy!
Sounds in space! Yes, they shouldn’t exist but make the battles cool. Realism is sacrificed before entertainment. Not really a problem but does hurt to know the truth.
Religion is evil! Seriously, the series has an anathema towards it. The main religions are only mentioned as dressing for speeches and play no part in politics. Oh, and the one religious sect that affects the story, is an army of suicidal maniacs, who are brainwashed to kill anyone they tell them to without questioning and then committing suicide because their role is over. This is a major minus for me. Yes, religion is full of crap most of the time but the series does nothing to show the positive side of believing to a God and doing good deeds in His name. Bad! Bad scriptwriters! They probably are atheists.
Medieval battles! WTF! We are several centuries in the future and wars look less advanced than today. Seriously! The space battles are in fact naval, as spaceships move two-dimensionally and use weaponry that is already obsolete today. And most hand-to-hand battles are done with armors and axes! WTF! Not really a problem but makes the battles to look unrealistic.
The world map is sooo fake. The Galactic Empire on the right, the Free Planets Alliance on the left and some isolated planet, Phezzan, on the bottom. You would think there would be a million different paths to move around in a three-dimensional space, but no. All transportation to the other side and all the battles are performed in narrow corridors of “usable space” making them two-dimensional and Phezzan became a cosmic superpower without much effort. Nope, not convincing enough.
Everyone who is a genius has a terminal illness. Give me a break! This is so not true.
Identical technology. It is impossible to accept that two civilizations, isolated for centuries, still use the exact same forms of weaponry and battle tactics.
Preachy. It does feel like it is trying to teach you things in an educational way, thus making it look like a propagandistic documentary at times. Yes, it teaches you about the uses of propaganda through power and authority (which is a good thing) but does it in such a direct way through bashing monologues that you may feel it is trying to give you a reverse opinion of propaganda. Not really a problem; just too blunt at times.
As I said, all of the above are glitches, mostly of an aesthetic level. The messages off the story are the real meat of the anime and they are really awesome to pay notice to. Still, the same glitches are what made me drop the story section a bit. It is otherwise way too good to believe they pulled it through so well and it has enough openings for a prequel movie trilogy and two more prequel series showing his teen years and his gradual ascend to power up until the beginning of the main series. We get to watch all those major events that made him the person he is in the series (his family tragedies, his friend Kirchieis, his hating for the deprived nobles). We also see how he joined the army and had to simultaneously fend against invading armies and corrupted nobles. We have some cameo of Yang as well, although he doesn’t play any major part in the story.
The story is quite mediocre as there are no major events or even a decent ending. Almost all action scenes were skirmishes and not the epic space battles I was so fond of. Plus, there are a lot of boring events that made Reinhart and Kirchieis to look like teenage detectives, out to protect the world from the deprived nobles’ schemes. It reminded me of several cheesy detective series that were quite lame. Their presence in the series was undermining the seriousness of this title. Characters there are generally less interesting than in the main series. Most of them are reminiscent of a cast found in cheesy teen detective series. Although Reinhart retains his dramatic personality and cool attitude, everyone generally has weak presence and really slow, if not any, character development.
CHARACTER SECTION: 9/10
Well, there are hundreds of characters and none of them is memorable for his special power or just for his personal quirk. No teen superhumans, defeating armies alone and then being beaten by tsundere girls out of sexual frustration. And no miraculous healings and resurrections and sudden power-ups by yelling or being beaten to a pulp. Forget all that shonen bull shit. In this series, if you die, you stay dead. And no matter how good you are in battle or politics, you still need a few thousand soldiers as support. The characters are gray and not separated into the good guys and the villains. Although there are several treacherous ones that are just short-term antagonists, there are still hundred others that are simply ambitious and selfish. And very few act identically or have only stunt roles. And most of them mature or see how they matured through their flashbacks. Or die (and stay dead). That makes it a worthwhile cast by default.
Reinhard von Lohengramm is an ambitious bishounen, out to conquer the galaxy with wits, military force and the screams of a million fangirs, so all of you who dig leads like Yagami Light and Lelouch will definitely like this one. He is not just brains and looks, as he has some yaoi innuendos all around him and does strive to change the world for the sake of his sister (so Lelouch-like, I know).
Yang Wenli is also an interesting fellow. Aiming to be a historian but ending up using his knowledge to protect his side from the empire and becoming Reinhard’s nemesis. He does sound preachy at times, as he spouts moral monologues about proper leadership and historical events and saving lives all the time. Still, it is nice to see how he is a genius in his work and quite sloppy in his personal life (so L-like, I know).
As for the secondary cast, a great number of generals and other military staff help to enrich these two characters with several side stories and different points of view. The female cast is rather back-seated, as the cosmos appears to be a man’s world even in the distant future. Most women are presented as simply emotional support, doing chores, bearing children and being the romantic interest of the leads. Still, they get a lot more respect than women in anime do in general. I still won’t give a 10 here, as some characters; especially the secondary aristocrats and the religious leaders; are quite fake and boring and damage the seriousness of the story when they are present.
VALUE SECTION: 10/10
Oh, that’s easy. This anime is so above everything else that it deserves nothing but a perfect score. It is such a complicating story that you will definitely not be bored if you ever watch it again. And it is memorable for its characters and engrossing story. So what if the majority of people have never heard of it? Screw the majority and their commercial, superficial anime. This anime happens to be the best space opera ever, both in anime and live action form. And it does change you as a person with its magnitude of feelings and emotions.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 9/10
One glitch here, one boring scene there, I can’t say I fully enjoyed it or didn’t think things could be done better. Still, it is peanuts to the whole and deserved it time and money.
I must say, I was never a fan of slice-of-life or school romances or series that generally aim to make you feel emotional and fuzzy inside. But this series, with its war theme next to political intrigue and share of social life under the pretext of historical events is an exception. So, onwards with it. It deserves it.
Similar in space types: Planetes, Tytania, Crest of the Stars
Similar leads: Code Geass, Death Note
Live action series: Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica (the remake) read more
Oct 10, 2008
With the general praise for the show out of the way, a word of warning to potential viewers. While I laud the show it is *EPIC*, both in terms of the story, the setting, etc. but also in terms of length. At 110 episodes (*plus* the side stories if you wish to get into those) it is something that you have to be prepared to devote the time toward, and those who are will reap considerable benefits.
This is not your typical anime, don't expect it to be action packed. But, rather instead, what you can look forward to is a space opera and political machinations that unfold over the series, with a enormous cast of characters, a surprisingly large number of which are well developed for a cast of that size.
The animation is good for its time; it is a bit dated stylistically, but it works for the series. The music is a compilation of classical scores that do an excellent job of providing the atmosphere.
I don't have anything more to add that other reviewers have not already said, other than that I hope that you enjoy this show as must as I have. read more
Dec 23, 2010
The cast of LOGH are people of ideas, and it is these ideas which bring these characters to light in almost unimaginable ways. Granted, not all characterization is significantly profound. Luckily most characters teeter on the side of heavy character development and analysis, leaving very little time wasted. This is not to say that characters like Eisenach are less important. What matters is that just about every main and supporting character has a valid reason to exist.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is still a space opera. And oh does it deliver. And like any good space opera should, LOGH merely uses space battles as one of many tools to create its rich universe. If this anime was only exciting during deep space skirmishes and the occasional axe fight, this would be a pretty boring series. As fun as these moments are to watch, it is the anticipation of what will happen next that makes LOGH so compelling. What’s important is not so much what will happen, but more why and how it will happen. At a point, it is not so hard to predict the upcoming plot twist. However, knowing where all the pieces are set, keeps one alert for the inevitable, giving rise to an unrelenting sense of urgency, which doesn’t just linger around and appear when necessary. With every scene, the momentum is maintained and you are left with a very sophisticated mature adult oriented show that stuns the masses as its complexity. If you ever seen Death, or GITs, both of those shows use the same sophisticated elements as LOGH. In any case you should check it out, if its not your type or if its till intellectually advanced for you, then i would watch code geass.
The production team didn’t just stop at already exceptional quality early on. As time goes by, the animation vastly improves even though its an old show. The cast becomes more relatable. The impact of each and every story element only gets stronger. And the themes become more and more relevant, all cumulating into perhaps the greatest antiwar message in all of anime. read more
Nov 23, 2009
Before watching LoGH, I was forced to have high expectations
Since it's ranked no.1
Maybe this was the only anime that I had really high expectation for it and it actually even managed to surpass those expectations
It just blew me away
I really don't know how to describe my feeling towards it
What a plot….what a characters…what a scenario…what everything
LoGH had all these elements in an efficient way
They never overused any element in here
I think for that reason that the viewers loved it to much
The more "dramatized" the show is….the "lesser" impact it has on people
It may have a huge impact on the exact moment…but it will slowly fade away
Well this is what I "personally" think
There is one thing that I absolutely loved about this anime
It never showed that a system is better than the other
It never showed that humans only have "bad" side or just "good" side
They showed both sides of the humans’ beings
They showed both their faults and their merits
They didn't try to show anybody as "perfect"
The philosophy of humanity fascinated me
When I was watching it, it was like it was really not an anime
Maybe because it was detailed and they really didn't left anything unexplained
If you love characters development I don't think you should miss this anime
It had a very strong cast….including both the main and the supporting characters
Both were developed really well
I think you will have a hard time deciding which one is your favorite among them
This anime had many memorable scenes and many great quotes
One of the best animes I've seen to date
And I'm glad that I've given it a chance
But I think you should at least give the first 26 episodes a chance before deciding if you want to continue watching it or not
Because the first season end in episode 26
And the whole first season is just an introduction to what is coming next
I'm not expecting every one to consider it as a "masterpiece" or love it as I did
But it is surely a show that deserves the viewers' attention
One last confession
At the end of LoGH I cried, not because of the story, because a legend has ended before my eyes.
I don't tend to write reviews on the animes that I've seen and actually this is my first. but LoGH had such an impact on me that I ought to write something about it..it is truly a legend. read more
Jun 14, 2008
The story is long (obviously) and intensely philosophical. There are jokes but they're either without humor or simply not funny, so if you're looking for something light look elsewhere. As far as character development goes there's a huge ever-developing list of people to keep track of and this is where it gets a little tricky. Since it is so obviously taken straight from a book, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is no more than a collection of conversations. Even the action sequences (which are still extremely intense) are portrayed through dialog rather than karate. Since we have such a huge sample of each character's thoughts and ideas it's very easy to become attached to them while being exposed to different ideologies and political viewpoints.
While it is an extremely stimulating piece of futuristic fiction it is also quite entertaining. However, it's less the type of entertainment you'd get from Stallone blowing stuff up and more the type you'd get from Anthony Hopkins delivering a monologue. Sure, both are great but you might not be thrilled by Hopkins as much as by the concrete shattering antics of Stallone.
In any case, if you're looking for something that is fairly slow paced but can keep your interest and give you something to think about go for Legend of the Galactic Heroes. read more
Jun 7, 2012
As you can already tell, nothing good can come from me writing this review. Legend of The Galactic Heroes is beloved on this site, a great deal call it a classic, and here I am writing about it being only "average". I have not finished the series: I can't, and this review is intended to tell you why I can't, but moreso, why others like me, who bought into the hype, shouldn't waste their time (a LOT of time).
The story of Legend of the Galactic Heroes follow the protracted war between the The Galactic Empire and Free Planets Alliance with a stunning degree of depth. You will know why the war started, who started it, why they started it, and why it mattered to the characters. What you might wonder is: why does it matter to you? This is where the main problem with LoGH arises, and the first problem with the story: this is a series of details, not entertainment, not development, not provoking ideas, but details. This is where LoGH gets its staggering 110 non-filler episodes. It is a slow crawling assault of information, mostly useless. If you enjoy fictional history, this will not be a problem for you. You'll even be treated to several episodes of literal fake history lessons, in a documentary-style format, with interviews from fake historians and everything. Having fun, yet?
The second problem with the story is actually a problem with its characters. They fall into only two categories: Mary Sues and trying too hard. The main characters, Yang Wenli and Reinhard Lohengramm, can twist probability and reason in such ways that would make the characters in Gurren Lagann blush; they can do no wrong. Yang Wenli is outgunned to some astronomical degree like 1 to 100 most of the time and he wins because of "superior strategy" or "morale". Julian, Yang's boy servant, can also do no wrong. He'll commandeer warships with little or no effort. They don't try to disguise this, as every character who loves Yang, Reinhard, or Julian will survive, and everyone who disagrees with them, regardless of how justifiable their reasons are, will die, at least in the first half of the show. This is where trying too hard comes into play. Look no further than the character Poplan, where you'll notice it first. He's horny, and he will appear in no scene without reminding you he likes women and that's his only trait. Oberstein will go through every scene looking suspicious only to have absolutely no payoff. An even greater insult to this cast is Fredrica Greenhill, who just blatantly admits she's useless aside from making sandwiches and tea. We get it, these are one-note characters. You cannot care about any of them aside from the aforementioned Mary Sues, making over half the cast uninteresting. Most of them just serve as vehicles for the three main characters to spout more of their ideals.
How does "morale" make a difference, anyway? Does morale make lasers stronger or weaker? These are space ships; morale has no bearing on the functioning on mechanical constructs, morale barely has an effect on conflict even in our time. Everything you heard about the tactics in LoGH is a joke. They use simple ideas like "Circle around behind them" or "Don't tell them about our main fleet", and apparently, that's very impressive to a lot of people. You won't need to worry about this, though, action is sparse in LoGH because they prefer to drink, eat, stare out windows, converse, and philosophize for most of their screen time away. You ever wondered how Yang feels about democracy? You're gonna know. You're gonna know over and over again.
The third issue with the story is that it's entirely implausible. There's only two ways for the enemies to cross into each other's territories, and they never really explain why other than "we'll die". Wars are lost and the remnant survivors are still implausibly able to combat the enemy for the sake of plot. This would work in a show that didn't take itself so seriously; it doesn't work in LoGH. Also, in the future, wars are waged with battle axes and armor in space ships, lasers are less lethal than bullets, and everybody lives and looks the exact same way that they do now. LoGH exists in some strange mindset of the future where we got into space (somehow), developed some very limited mass-communication, and all other technology stayed in the Middle Ages. The show Star Trek did it better in the 1960s, and even changed the world we live in with its ideas (like the wireless communicator AKA cell-phone), what is LoGH's excuse? It doesn't have one, it's just not creative enough. What's strange is that one would think, given the absurd amount of historical and political babble, that this show would've given equal care to imagine life in a futuristic outer space, but it doesn't.
While the creativity and story of LoGH is sickeningly weak, its artistic merits were more worth my viewing. Classic and orchestral music scores carry the scenes well, though the scenes themselves look bland; characters are barely animated, even compared to other anime of this era. It's very stiff, not that it needs to be extremely fluid for characters to sip drinks and talk. There's some shocking scenes of gore randomly spread about, too, but the action mostly comes down to these short bursts of lasers, explosions, and blood effects. It lumbers monotonously on the dance floor, but it does it to a classy sound-track, at least.
The main attraction of this show is, apparently, the dialogues between the Mary Sues. Admittedly, they are pretty entertaining for a good 50 episodes. They touch on a lot of subjects that are relevant even more in today's world than they were then, which is surprising and delightful. If you keep up on current events, or even politics in the slightest, there's a lot of meat for you here to dig your teeth in. This raises the question, though: why aren't you just reading about politics? The ridiculous set-up of this story's conflict, and the sheer "greatness" of its main characters makes taking its subject material seriously impossible, yet it practically commands you to.
Let me sum up, and re-phrase that last part. The main attraction for Legend of The Galactic Heroes is the ability for one to say "I watched something from the 1980s that nobody's heard about or cares about". Then one can say "It was mature and intelligent, despite the fact I learned nothing". This show is a waste of time as entertainment, this show is an example of what NOT to do with a show about the future, space, philosophy, politics, and the human condition. There's a reason only MAL and hipsters care about LoGH, and everyone else knows Star Trek and Star Wars. Star Trek (classic) and Star Wars (classic) had vision and creativity that inspired generations and scientists. LoGH has 110 episodes nobody watched, flat characters nobody would recognize or identify with, and a literal universe of wasted potential.
Dec 16, 2009
That's when I initially started watching it. April, 2009.
Now, I watched the first 7 episodes and thought to myself "Well, it's starting off a little slow, maybe it will pick up." You see, by the first episode, I was already bored. I put it on my On Hold list.
Then, September 2009, I decided I would give it another chance, I thought that maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind back in April, and that I really had made a mistake by putting it on hold. It turns out it was a mistake to put it on hold, I should have put it where it belonged - in dropped.
You see, it never got any less boring. In fact, it got even more and more tedious, until it at episode 20, it began to be a chore to watch it. I would actually DREAD my anime watching time, because I had to watch LOGH, the 'great anime of all time'. If I could give it a 0 for enjoyment, I would. Hell, this sounds corny, but I would give it a -10, if I could. Alas, I cannot. So I give it a 1. This is about the most boring anime ever.
Shouldn't anime be enjoyable? If an anime isn't enjoyable, hasn't it failed? In my opinion, yes, Anime should be enjoyable. In my opinion, LOGH isn't. I know there are people who share this opinion, but are just to afraid to voice it, due to the people who actaully have the patience to finish the horrid show being vicious when disagreed with about the show, like rapid, foaming at the mouth Twilight fangirls.
Story - 6/10
Almost directly plagiarized from Star Wars. I'm surprised George Lucas hasn't sued them. Imagine Star Wars, only with no light sabers, no plasma guns, and no awesomeness. Oh! And it's run by aristocrats from France. Alright, now you have Legend of the Galactic Heroes. If you haven't seen Star Wars, just imagine Star Trek, only more boring. If you haven't seen either of those, I'm not sure why you're even reading my review.
Art - 7/10
Nothing to write home about. Very average. Almost everything I watched was a Laserdisc rip though, so you can kind of see how it might not look too nice. I mean the art really is truly average 90's art, which I happen to be a fan of. But that's it. Nothing special. I will add though that the command deck for the Empire is quite detailed.
Sound - 4/10
Subpar - not even worth getting into. Very little background noise, just voices, and many annoying ones at that.
Character - 4/10
You know lots of people rant and rave about how human the characters in this series are. The trouble is, they aren't. Every character - stock. It's like the author of the original book (ahaha, yes I do know that much!) just got a list of all the stock characters of all time and just decided "Whoop! I guess I'll use these!"
Yeah, so all in all, LOGH isn't worth your time, or hard drive space since the only way to watch it is to download. Most people who will read this review will probably be outraged. Hey - if this review has angered you, feel free to leave me a comment about it. But atleast be civil. Remember that everybody's opionion is different, and just because I don't agree that LOGH is the best anime ever doesn't mean I'm stupid, dumb, or have bad taste. It just means I didn't like LOGH.
And that, my friends, marks the end of my review.
Nov 15, 2009
Spanning over a hundred episodes. LOTGH is as slow but refined as ever. Masterpieces cannot be created in a whim take our legendary composers for example, they create wonderful masterpieces but takes a lifetime. In LOTGH the plot buildup is slow but each episode is never uninteresting. It feeds you with a bit of the character's pasts, their goals, philosophy and loyalty to their affiliation. The stage is then set for the most wonderful and most dramatic battles that we will ever see in anime history.
LOTGH is your typical good versus evil warfare but the show is all about what kind of government you believe in. Would you like to follow an emperor or be a democrat instead? Here we have Reinhard von Lohengramm who aims to exact vengeance on the aristocrats of the Goldenbaum Empire and take over the world. We also have Yang Wen-li, a commodore and a pacifist who is driven into the world of these two warring factions, the Goldenbaum empire and Free Planets Alliance. I strongly believe that this title is a slice of life of a vast future. Judging from what happens to the characters later on, it is definitely delivered in a well refined realism. LOTGH can get as real as it gets.
In LOTGH, it's not about good versus evil actually, it's between good versus another good and in what they believe in.
The pacing is slow but builds up the most wonderful stage ever, think of this anime as 95% talking and leave that 5% for the space battles and action.
The animation is fluid even though outdated, the animation improves as a season ends. But let me warn you though, some parts of this anime is not for the weakened heart. I hope you're used to seeing things like beheading, intestines popping out and of course blood, violence and gore. The character design is one of the things I liked most in this anime, it's full of realism. Each and every character is different from another therefore you can actually tell characters apart even from afar.
Sound : 10/10
If you loved these orchestral pieces, Ninth Symphony E minor from the New World first movement (Dvorak) and Symphony No. 7 in A major by Beethoven (yes nodame cantabile fans). Then you've come to the right place! Heck, this anime even surpasses the lineup of nodame cantabile by tenfolds. The seiyuu's also has done a great job on conveying the feelings of their characters and the most notable to that is Ryo Horikawa's role as Reinhard. His voice in this character can be sometimes sweet and calming when talking to his assistant Mariendorf and as mad as ever when he's in turn for war. This is also the last title that you can hear the voices of two great seiyuus before their passing; Kei Tomiyama as Yang Wen-li and Shiozawa, Kaneto as Oberstein.
If you're used to shounen titles like Naruto =( and bleach which is almost never without action then this title is not recommended for you. If however you're interested in watching something related to war and politics and would like to sip a cup of tea while taking your leisure of watching the best anime plot buildup ever LOTGH is definitely a "time-well-spent".
Overall Score : 9
I bet you have noticed that in some anime sites, LOTGH is scored high or if not, the best. Why is this title one of the best? Why is it that this OVA contains 110 episodes? At first I didn't know either I was lost but now that I finished it, I'm satisfied because I found out why this one is the best. Why is this the best you ask? Well that's for you to find out. read more
Nov 18, 2012
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is based on a series of science fiction novels by author Yoshiki Tanaka. The anime ran from 1988 to 2000 and spans for 110 episodes and was developed by Artland. The story is set in a fictional future where a long lasting war is going on between the Free Planet Alliance and the Galactic Empire. In the middle of the conflict we find the ambitious genius Reinhard who has a deep hate for the ruling dynasty but continues to serve its army and rise in ranks. On the other side in the Free Planet Alliance we follow Yang Wen-li a young commander who is brilliant in his own right but believes in democracy and lacks the political ambition of Reinhard. As the story progresses they both find themselves playing opposing roles in a chess game between the Empire and Alliance in which they eventually rise to be "kings".
The animation is the only real minus to the show if you are a fan of state of the art effects. Its is an old show so the look of it is old as well, personally i didn't have a problem with it as i have grown up watching similar art style but somebody might.
The main plus of the show and what makes it a classic are its story and characters. One word is enough to describe the whole trip you will make from episode 1 to 110 and that is EPIC. Large scale space battles with no deus ex machina in them, but plain tactics. Future technology like space warping that is implemented in a way that you don't even notice and sometimes forget that it doesn't exist in real life. Political and court intrigues and a hidden philosophical tone give the show a deeper meaning which will appeal to the a part of the audience that isn't there just for the battles. There is a bit of love in it as well, and a motive on growing up and parenting too.
Character development is done in such a brilliant manner, which is rarely seen in an anime. You will get to see more characters with a believable and developed back story than in any other show. For sure some of them will remind you of people you know or even yourself, and you will slowly grow attached to them. At the very start you will pick your side but will probably change it a few times till the show ends, and that is what makes it so good. The conflict is not one sided and there is no real antagonist nor protagonist, all the characters are in tones and none are just black or white.
The music is composed mostly of classical pieces, or pieces composed to sound like it and they go well with the whole setting in which the author imagined the future world. When there are court scenes you will here Wagner like songs and waltz dances. While the Alliance part has some a bit modern melodies.
Overall the show leaves you wanting more, and you will need some time to get used to that you will not see more of your favorite commanders, and I must say that if you don't like sad moments in anime this is not for you, because people will die in it, and bad thing will happen, as the main message of the show is that history moves on and that however great we are we will eventually be just pages in some history book(at best). The anime coming out today owe a lot to LOGH as the 2 main characters have been an inspiration for a lot of today's mains.
I can recommend this show as a must watch for sci-fi, political intrigue and military tactics lowers as well as to anyone else wanting something truly EPIC. Don't watch it if you can't give it all your attention as it needs it and it is a pity to not watch it if you can't give it your fullest. read more
Oct 24, 2010
So, what's this all about? It's historically regressive, seems like a German parable, or an abstract WW2 based fantasy. It ultimately didn't say anything revolutionary, and seemed a bit overly-sympathetic towards monarchy and the cult-of-personality. But this sympathy would be something expected from, let's say, an unbiased history series. One example of it being an abstract history fantasy is in the animation. The battles are presented in 2D! It's about the left flank and the right flank. There is no up flank or down flank. No strategy took advantage of the third dimension! Another example is the Germanisms (for example the use of German language when addressing each other, like "seig kaiser"), which are so bald for me to consider the “history” aspect of show to be the main point. This isn't supposed to be a work of speculative fiction, it is supposed to be a work of history disguised by spaceships and laser beams. This series has several strong points. It is the most complex, yet coherent, series I've ever seen. It presents several subjects worth thinking about, and runs through the debate of democracy vs. monarchy, which many viewers are only familiar with one side of (the winners write the history books!) The music was grand, and, ... German. German classical music. I swear this show was written by history nerds. Just like Julian and Yang. Coincidence? I think not!
So here we have some WW2 era futurized fantasy between monarchy and democracy, written unbiased and with full attention to details, set against the very best music ever written (Brahms, Beethoven, etc.) The characters, how about them? Well, let's say flat but complex. They do not really grow as characters, which of course allows other characters to accurately judge their intentions and tendencies, and plan their activities accordingly. In other words, the flatness of the characters is almost necessary to make this show more complex. I still have to dock a couple points there, I can't accept dropping character development merely for the sake of plot development. They are good characters regardless. How about the art? Well, quite frankly it's rather poor. Some of it can be excused by age, but the point is that at this point we're looking for excuses. All these reviewers giving the art an 8/10 are plain delusional. At least it fit's the mood of the show. As for my enjoyment, it was at times tainted by the pure sluggishness of the show. I think this would have been better as an 80 episode series, to be honest. read more
Jul 22, 2011
This anime pretty much consists of dialogue that people claim to be complex and deep but is actually boring and made up of re-used history quotes.
I am going to pull a LoGH right now,
“One cannot taste bitter until one has tasted sweet.” -Confucius
“I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars” –The Flobots
“For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool” –Isiah 8
“They ask me why I do it? Cause I’m the fkin man” -Belly
I guarantee you a bunch of LoGH fans just saluted me with tea in the air and pinkie’s up.
There are like 100 characters and 90% of them die with incredible stupidity. All the bad guys are pretty much lame and underdeveloped. They die a dog’s death and never even put up a good fight. All I saw was victory after victory with no conflict. The only interesting battles are when some blonde woman battles a dorky looking blue haired guy.
The art and animation is pretty lame, movements are stiff and pretty much everyone is ugly.
The sound is the best part of this anime. It uses a lot of classical music which really fits sophisticated intellectuals like me. I really hate everyone’s voices though because they all sound emotionless throughout the entire 110 episodes.
A lot of people like comparing this to Code Geass and I don’t know why because Code Geass is a million times better. All the fanboys think that Reinhard is better but if Lelouch was there then he would should who is boss.
Firstly, if some girly looking 18 year old guy can break onto Reinhard’s flagship with an axe then Lelouch, an 18 year old with the power of kings and a Gawain mecha with inbuilt hadron cannons could easily rip apart Reinhard’s flagship. But Reinhard would be extremely useful if under Lelouch’s command so he wouldn’t kill Reinhard.
Since Reinhard is so GAR he would just sit there in his chair waiting to be influenced by the power of geass. He wouldn’t use any headgear to block his eyes because of his gar pride. Then Lelouch would not only be Emperor of Britannia but also Kaiser of the Galactic Empire, and he would rule the entire universe.
Dammmmmmnnnnn a bunch of LoGH fanboys are crying right now and I’m just sitting here sipping on Yang’s tea.
If you want to be bored out of your mind and live in stale air for 110 episodes then go ahead and watch LoGH. By the time you finish you will probably have pale skin from the lack of sunlight. The ending is really crappy too, I was crying manly tears because I wasted so much time on this lame anime.
Apr 9, 2010
If you are at that point in your anime watching experience, either you'll start to search for quality over mindless entertainment or you loved space operas from the begining (for example liking stuff like Crest of Stars and 12 Kingdom as a teen). But if you aren't over 21 years old or you don't like anime with intrincated plot and politics, please don't watch it until a few years. You will only bore yourself to death and won't get to the interesting part of the history, and as a consecuence insult a masterpieace based on nothing... since you didn't finish it :).
On the other hand, people who has watched LoGH, has also watched the series you looooooooove (i know i have) and still prefer the first one. So who has more right to speak? The one that has actually watched everything or the one that has only seen the tip of the iceberg? LoGH is for oldfags and space opera fans mostly. Of course there will always be an exeption to the rule, but they are few.
LoGH fanatism and repude reminds me a lot of LOST. Because you have to watch all of it and from the beginning to truly understand and love it, like most people who have actually done that do. But me only having watched one or two random episodes (to try and see what are people so obssessed with), cannot like LOST and i don't want to watch all of it from the beginning because it seems too long. So in understand it's not LOST fault, but my own because i'm a lazy motherfucker.
Sorry about the random ramblims and bad english (english is not my first lenguage). Overall I'll give it an 6 in art because most people are not into old style and forget this is an old series (though i actually like the art) and enjoyment 9 only because at first is hard to get into. All the rest 10, but it actually deserved an 11. Too bad it's only an anime, it should be a normal series. read more
Sep 16, 2013
It goes without saying that with such exceptionally high standards to be compared to, I walked into this series expecting nothing less than a masterpiece.
I'll be as blunt as possible.
LOGH is not a bad anime. I can definitely see why people like it.
However, there are way too many problems with this series which prevent it from being called, at least in my opinion, a masterpiece.
I'll go into detail about the problems I faced with this series, starting with:
Alright. The premise of LOGH is that two sides are fighting over the control of the entire universe, with a side that's neutral in between. The series attempts to raise many moral questions about what is more just, democracy vs dictatorship, monarchy, religious and extremist influence on politics...enough to write a bloody book about to say the least.
This series also deserves high praise for being able to politically forecast events correctly, specifically to some extent the Arab spring.
So, so far so good.
Why am I giving this a 6?
Simple: The strategies. One would expect, with series like Code Geass and Death Note being compared to this series, that the highlight of this series would be interesting strategies or just some good old anime fun. What we instead get is an unrealistic war (Battle axes 300 years from now? Are you bloody serious?), absolutely atrocious painful pacing that should have been faster, and incompetent generals making dumb unrealistic mistakes and acting out of character for the sake of making the two main characters look awesome.
So generally, a slightly above average story, but has too many problems to grant anything slightly resembling a perfect score.
It seems I'm very much in the minority when it comes to this series due to the fact that I...don't mind the artwork. Scrap that, I love it. It has it's own unique style, and every character felt unique and drawn differently with very few exceptions (specifically, Dusty Attenbrough and Yang Wen Li). The artwork, while a bit jarred, looks awesome, and every character has different facial expressions and features. Basically what I'm saying is that unlike many other series, if you remove the hair for most characters, their faces look, y'know, kinda different. The emotions for the characters are clearly felt very well through the artwork, as the characters don't even share the same facial expression when smiling, crying or in a fit of rage.
The amazing artwork, however, is greatly put down by the absolutely terrible animation quality, which looks absolutely terrible for the eyes. No seriously, I've watched a few episodes of the original Gundam, which aired a decade earlier...and it has better animation than this despite being a decade older.
Seriously? Who the heck animated this? There are more still frames in this series than I can ever dream of counting. The animation ruins the impact of more scenes than I ever dream of counting, and the space battle involve battleships standing completely still and shooting lasers.
Seriously. I'm not joking. And characters drinking cups of brown jello, I mean tea, to save whatever little budget this series has.
So generally, fantastic art (at least in my opinion), looooooow quality animation.
The soundtrack of this series consists of calm classical music or music that is highly influenced by classical music. Using classical music isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I actually found a new appreciation for classical music thanks to this series, as it sounds absolutely great most of the time.
The same cannot however be said for the voice acting and sound effects, which sound plain and bland and make a good part of watching this series a complete chore, which is sad when you take into consideration the fact that an excellent portion of the budget from what I hear went into the voice acting. The voice acting sounds flat, passionless and is absolutely bland, which is a huge shame as it puts this category down from what would have been a perfect score for the soundtrack.
My biggest problem with this series is that it's characters are severely lacking not in characterization, but in the strength of presence department. I'm not joking when I say that you need NAME-TAGS to remember the characters names. I realized that by the end of the series, I can only remember 10-15 characters' names due to the lack of presence, which is a catastrophe with a series this long.
Another key problem is this series' antagonists. None of them feel like worthy opponents to Yang or Reinhard, and they make idiotic, unrealistic decisions that no general in their right mind would do.This is a huge problem, as this series focuses greatly on Byronic heroism, yet glorifies it's main characters as complete saints (in spite of the fact that they kill millions of people) who are always right and just no matter what they do.
However, ironically it wasn't the main characters that shined, as one would expect the most but usually the main side characters. Kircheis and Paul von Oberstein are wonderful characters who have a stronger presence on screen than almost all of the characters put together.
However, I found that the series lost or gained excitement randomly when it focused on various characters and along with previously noted flaws preventing this from getting a high score.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, in spite of all these flaws and EXTREMELY slow beginning, is a series that should be viewed by many anime fans due to interesting political themes and as a cult classic that should be viewed to it's influence on countless titles. Do I think it's a good anime? Most certainly, but it's not among the very best, and many of it's ideas have been used later and much better. It is worth a watch if you enjoy space operas, and is ahead of it's time for effectively predicting political events, but has many major flaws in it's strategies and shallow antagonists.
Overall I grant this series a well-deserved 7 out of 10.
With this review, I will have truly conquered the galaxy.
Thank you very much for reading! Feedback is greatly appreciated :D!