Legend of the Galactic Heroes is slowly turning to a retelling of World War II a few hundred years into the future, where an authoritarian regime (Axis) battles against a coalition of free planets (Allies). Yet, for all its similarities, the main focus of this space opera lies in its characters.
Japanese Title: 第十三艦隊誕生
Julian Mintz should count his blessings. After being orphaned due to the war, Yang took him in as his guardian, part of the adoption program we saw in the last episode. He is a charming young man who has, no doubt, taken after his ‘father.’ He helps in chores and cares for him, and he is diligent with his studies so he can hurry up and become a soldier so he won’t have to be a burden to Yang for long. I expected no less from Yang himself, who reassured little Julian that he shouldn’t base his future thinking that he owes him anything. If it comes to Julian deciding that he doesn’t want to be a soldier, Wang would happily pay off the loan he got to raise him. That is proper parenting and something that rarely happens in real life. It takes people like Yang, people who have been raised in a similar way to pass on to their children the same values they adopted from their parents. It is a chain, one that is very easy to break. Julian’s proper upbringing was evident in nearly every scene of this episode, from his calm demeanor during the raid from the far right radicals to the way he supports his guardian’s ideology as he leaves for headquarters.
An ideology that is expressed many times throughout the episode and not just from his own actions. Yang is, clearly, a philosopher of war. He has read a lot of war, to the point where he bases all his strategic and deductive opinions to what ancient war history suggests. The reason of his genius is not genetic. It is based on focus and perseverance. As such, he has formed his own opinions on the nature of war and how the people involved in it react. On top of that, Yang is also a man who doesn’t hide behind a façade to save his hide. Living in a supposedly free society, he chooses to practice that freedom when the Chairman of the Free Planets Alliance, who is also the leader of the far-right nationalist group called Patriotic Knight Corps, uses the memorial of the battle of Astarte to go on a lengthy warmongering rhetoric, one that is usually given by leaders who have never set foot in the frontlines. As Yang chooses to express his discontent by just not being part of the standing and clapping mob when the Chairman-cum-wannabedictator finished his speech, his childhood friend Jessica (who as we saw in the previous was married to his also childhood friend Jack who was killed in the battle of Astarte) decided to express her disapproval of her Chairman’s cowardice by exposing him on national media. Their actions earned them an assassination attempt and later a visit to Yang’s house by the aforementioned radical group. If not for all the high tech stuff, the situation was very similar to what’s been happening to the world in the last 200 years or so.
The last part of the episode focuses on a meeting between my favorite member of the military (because of his name) and Yang. Yang is given his own fleet and a promotion so that the Chief can keep his position, the Chairman can renew his term, the soldiers can rekindle their hope, and the citizens can keep their happy safe lives. It’s a win-win-win-win situation in which the only people who actually lose are the soldiers who will die protecting the interes… I mean, will die protecting their country.
‘Ethics have nothing to do with victory or loss in war’
Chief Sithole: I will never get over this name.
Themes & Trivia
Driverless Cars: And trains and plains and everything. As routes and roads become more standardized, driverless vehicles are the future. While a manual mode will always be available, the incremental rise of the level of technology will soon make such vehicles a reality. And don’t get scared of all those recent articles about how driverless vehicles are causing traffic accidents. Humans do that way more often than machines.
It’s all a matter of principle
Now that we’ve had two episodes with Yang, I think it’s time to go back to the empire. There is a count there who really wants to be the new Emperor and we need to learn more about how he plans to achieve that.
Did you like Episode 5 of The Legend of Galactic Heroes? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check the rest of our Spring 2018 reviews.
The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis – Encounter