12 Days VI: Lay your heart down onto the sea of the stars

「標準型戦艦」/「かじじ」

「標準型戦艦」/「かじじ」

There is probably never going to be an anime like this ever again.

The things that are great about Legend of the Galactic Heroes are exactly the things that would make it unsellable today. A 110-episode OVA? Slow-paced tactical fleet battles? Politics that involve actual political maneuvering? A cast larger than Umineko’s? Involved philosophical discussion?

A lot of these characteristics were things that I ascribed to Gundam. LOGH takes all of these things further than Gundam because its scope is so much larger. In Gundam, we’re typically following around a ship and its crew and their immediate pursuers. LOGH shifts the view to a higher level, where we’re looking at the dynamics of fleets and the machinations of governments. What do you mean formations are important and we need to consider things like supply chains? It’s a part of war that’s rarely depicted as the central perspective, probably because watching a guy shout commands and play on-screen Risk is less exciting and less “visceral” than watching the young hotshot pilot zip around dodging beamspam.

And even though it takes such a high-level view of the battlefield, the characters are still notably awesome. You’ve got the laid back Yang Wenli and his band of whim and foppery and you’ve got the ambitious Reinhardt von Lohengramm and his admiral bros. It’s a nice change of pace from PAAAANCHing and crying to see a bunch of competent people who act like comrades. They may be admirals, but these guys know how to watch each others’ backs.

But, of course, they treat their opponents with class and they respect those who deserve it. The two posses are a lot closer to each other than they are to their respective sides. Both groups of talented people have bureaucrats and aristocrats trying to stamp them out or take advantage of them and both crews are able to break free from this while meeting each other in combat. And it’s within this power struggle that we get some interesting and deliberate discourse on the role of governments and power.

It’s something that I really like because I’m a nerd and it’s something I don’t think any other show would even think about attempting. Like the Star Wars prequels or V For Vendetta, there’s an obvious applicability to the modern political situation. The difference is that LOGH actually has some complexity to the arguments it presents rather than the fairly shallow evil despot that arises in those movies.

For me, it further emphasizes that neither Yang’s or Reinhardt’s guys are good or evil. They’ve both got their own well thought out philosophies and they’re both sticking to them because they’ve decided that it’s in the best interest of the people. This combined with all their personalities and their legendary prowess in battle, LOGH isn’t Yang’s or Reinhardt’s story, but a tale about the deeds of men.

Leave a Reply