‘And thus the battle of Astarte came to an end.’ As if we are told a story of something that happened very long ago and in a galaxy far far away (even if this is not Star Wars) in two episodes, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, managed to establish the main premise and the rivalry that will drive the narrative of the story. Yang Wenli and Reinhard von Loghengramm are two parts of the same coin. There are not goodies and baddies in this story.
Japanese Title: アスターテ会戦
The episode goes back to the beginning of the battle of Astarte and tells the story from the Free Planet Alliance’s side, as brilliant strategist Yang Wenli is brushed aside by his superiors for foreshadowing what would inevitably happen in the course of the episode: Reinhard’s plan to take out their forces by attacking their three separated forces. Like a true genius (L anyone?) he prepares himself for the possibility he is needed to act and save the fleet, a possibility that arrives as soon as Reinhart comes to finish off their forces by eliminating Wenli’s fleet. Of course, Wenli has devised a plan that doesn’t win the battle but forces Reinhard to retreat. The brilliance of Wenli’s plan earns Reinhard’s respect, who like a space Moriarty, identifies a brilliant mind in Wenli and automatically considers him his antagonist and nemesis.
Epic Space Battle: WT actual F! This was probably one of the best animated space battles I have seen in anime, worthy of epic EVE Online space naval confrontation. Strategists on board their flagship, thousands of ships following their orders. This was epic.
Wenli the Scholar: Wenli is not just a brilliant mind. He also seems to have the knowledge to back his plans. When the last formation of the battle takes place, he thinks to himself, ‘This has happened in battlefields everywhere since the dawn of time.’ People forget and tend to make the same mistakes. People who study history impartially, don’t.
Friends and Rivals: Both protagonists have or make friends who will seemingly play important roles in the future. If nothing else, we are going to have some very interesting character interactions as we learn more about the characters’ background.
Themes & Trivia
Fixing Robots: Mostly featured in hard SF stories, these robots are thrown into the mix when a spaceship needs urgent repairs, especially when a blast would have otherwise exposed a part of the deck to space. Of course, science fiction is only fiction until science gets up to speed with the technology, and repair robots are already in the works.
Royal Names: The Emperor is not the only royal to have an awfully long name, not just in fiction but in reality, as well. Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, might be referred to as simply The Duke of Edinburgh, but his full title is (get ready for this):
His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.
That’s a really long name and if you want to argue that it is mostly composed of titles, the UK royal family does have awfully long regular names. The Queen’s name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Mountbatten-Windsor and the name of the youngest princess is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Cambridge Mountbatten-Windsor.
I am officially hooked. I haven’t seen the old series and I want the first season to end before I read the books (they are not light novels) but this is the space fix I love. I am a huge Trekkie and a Star Wars fan and when it comes to my anime, I prefer down-to-earth drama and space stories (if combined, the better). Legend of the Galactic Heroes doesn’t have the cheesiness of Yamato or the brute social commentary of Captain Harlock, but it seems that it has the chess-like drama of Death Note and the political intricacies of Code Geass.
To the Next Battle
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the anime has in store for us. We already know that the second season will come in the form of cinema anime movies, and I have already gone through the process with Gundam the Origin and the second season of the new Yamato series. If it’s half as good as those two, it will be worth the wait.
The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis – Encounter