Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an epic tale of the rise to power of two men born at the right time on opposite sides, leading to a clash of brilliant spectacle that could only be executed with care in as an animated original.
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.