It’s been a while. Over a year, in fact. But I’m back with a LoGH review that I had intended to write a couple months ago and never really got done. Such is the life of a procrastinating university student I guess. Anyways, onto our review.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, or LoGH, is a 110 episode epic OVA that took around 10 years to complete. And boy, does it show. The animation for the first season is pretty terrible for today’s standards. Even for back then, compared to other shows such as Macross, the animation is not the selling point of this show.
The reason why everybody loves this show, including me, is the constant political dialogue that occurs between the various characters. The massive (and when I say massive, http://myanimelist.net/anime/820/Legend_of_the_Galactic_Heroes/characters I mean massive]) cast of characters all represent different political ideologies. What is unique about this show is that, even though it does have a huge list of characters, they all are given a relatively equal amount of screen time. Even the characters who are not significant at all to the overall plot of the show, such as an average soldier. Obviously, though, the most important characters have more screentime. Reinhard von Lohengramm is introduced as an arrogant, but prudent military general who commands a fleet of the Galactic Empire. The show begins when another war breaks out between the Galactic Empire, a monarchical regime similar to 18th century Prussia, and the Free Planets Alliance, which is a democracy similar to Great Britain or the United States.
The main theme of the story is the advantages and disadvantages of a monarchy versus a democracy. A monarchy is strong, can make decisions quickly, and there is a little chance that its ruler will be overthrown. However, it is also hereditary, meaning that there could be a number of terrible rulers who are ruthless and totalitarian. A democracy, on the other hand, is egalitarian, basically represents the will of the people, and can replace a weak or sinister ruler with a more benevolent one. However, it is also weak, corruptible, and the decision-making process is slow. These strengths and weaknesses are shown throughout the series for both kinds of systems. At the start of the show, the Galactic Empire is ruled by an old, weak man who has had multiple spouses and also took possession of Reinhard’s sister as his concubine. Reinhard, who sees this as a direct attack on his pride, hopes to become the eventual successor to the throne. Reinhard himself is the quintessential example of a good ruler: he is powerful, merciful to those who deserve it, punishing to those who disobey him, but ultimately confident in every decision he makes. He does not exercise too much power, but he also does not exercise too little.
The story of the show, as well as the characters that drive it, are the two main selling points of LoGH. Since the show is 110 episodes, people may think that the show has fillers or boring parts. However, I could not recall a single episode that did not have a purpose or that was boring. Every show has a point of interest, is significant to the plot, or explores the show’s main themes in various ways. The only episodes I did not enjoy were the battle sequences. The battle sequences are constantly examples of deus ex machina in which whoever is supposed to “win” a battle will. This kind of thing gets especially ridiculous in cases where one fleet is outnumbered 1 to 5, but still is able to win because of their supreme tactical knowledge. Also, the battles aren’t well choreographed at all. Basically, the anime could have done without the majority of the battle sequences, and it would have made the show even better in my opinion. Basically, it is the factor that convinced me to give the show a 9, instead of a 10.
The music is great–mostly just classical composers such as Beethoven. But, in this case, the classical music fits the tone perfectly. The opening songs are nice. Some of them can be a little engrish, especially the fourth and final one, but they’re fine. Honestly, the music is pretty unnoticeable in most cases.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is not something you just pick up on a Saturday morning. It requires some amount of determination. And, it’s not a show for everybody, that’s for sure. But, if you enjoy space opera, or you just like watching characters spout out ridiculously funny sentences, I would recommend it 100%.
Overall enjoyment: 9