|Legend of the Galactic Heroes - Anime Review|
Even though I already did a somewot brief audio review on this series with Geeae on DC Episode 12I feel like it deserves a written review that I can share with my fellow tyrolings.
LOGH is a very introspective and involved show which I could probably write an extremely long essay about, however I feel I can do this series more justice just by reviewing it in a more down to earth / barebone manner…which in the long run will probably draw your attention in better.
Trivia / Info
The LOGH Anime is based on a series of science fiction novels by Yoshiki Tanaka. The anime adaptation of the novels by Artland ran from 1988 to 2000 as well as a manga based on the novels, with art by Katsumi Michihara. There have also been several video game adaptations with the most recent release in 2008 being a real time simulation game.
There are also two separate OVA mini-series that focus on the origins of the two main characters made in 1998 & 2000 respectively.
Neither the novels, anime, nor manga have been released officially in the English language. The series is hardly repeated on Japanese television and therefore is quite hard to get a hold of. As of today fan subbed projects are the main resource for attaining any of these materials.
The story takes place in the distant future. It shows the continuous struggle between two very different superpowers. On one hand you have the believers in the democratic republic political system of the Free Planets Alliance and on the other those who follow the rule and will of the Galactic Empire’s autocratic government. For hundreds of years, these two states have been battling it out through continuous unending battles that have lasted many generations and with both political factions becoming stagnant over the years corruption has seeped into both sides of the war.
The story focuses on two up and coming officers each being on the opposite side of the war effort. Reinhard von Musel is an intelligent young admiral of the Galactic Empire who seeks to rid the Empire of its internal corruption and unite the galaxy under his own rule. Then on the other side of the spectrum the also highly intelligent officer Yang Wenli observes the corruption that is strangling his own country but hopes that through the will of the people and through time, the corruption will be rooted out.
As the story develops the two officers soon end up as rivals and find themselves constantly pitted against each other in political and strategic warfare.
What makes this story so compelling is the fact that both of these characters have seemingly good intentions. It’s quite obvious both characters are kind hearted and care about their respective homelands. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the many people around them.
It’s also worth mentioning there is a big element of cat and mouse in this series as the Galactic Empire is vastly greater in numbers than the free planets alliance, which always keeps tensions at a high.
When you start watching this series you are thrown in the middle of the war which I personally found extremely difficult to digest and get accustomed to. Eventually you will get drops of backstory and exposition but this anime does not hold your hand, you have to watch a good number of episodes before you can really start to care about what’s going on….well that’s how it was for me…however once your invested in this story you are pretty much compelled to see how everything will play out and who will come out on top.
This storyline covers so many interesting aspects of life fused with various plot twist and interesting themes. These themes include philosophy, religion, loneliness, death, social engineering, loyalty, wealth / poverty, genocide, the balance of power and ultimately the affect one single person can have on a nation of people.
A truly gripping tale that covers a lot of ground in its 110 episode run.
But as I said before the story can be hard to get into at first.
Well this is the obvious low point for this series…the animation is very old, outdated and repetitive but I feel I can’t hold that too much against this title since it was made in the 80’s.
Character models look pretty identical, even with female characters. Battle scenes are extremely overused / recycled..however during many hand to hand combat situations, the action gets pretty brutal with quite explicit detail when depicting gore which was surprising and strangely refreshing.
As you get further into the show there seems to be a minute sign of improvement with the animation but overall I predict many people will find the animation terrible and possibly unwatchable.
It’s actually comparable to the Fist of The North star TV series if you ask me, but it’s a damn shame this title will definitely be overlooked by many just due to it’s poor animation alone….a damn shame.
Well the sound is very good but I can’t give credit to the producers for that one because nearly the entire soundtrack is made up from famous well known classical compositions.
Saying that however….that type of music fits this show quite well..I mean it even feels like opera and classical music was made for space battle after watching this lol
This anime has also been noted to have over 100 voice actors in its 10 year run…damn that’s a lot of people
Openings and Endings sounded beautiful as well….no real complaints but sadly there is nothing really original in regards to sound production.
Maann, this show has a lot of characters thrown at you….when I first started watching it I had a hard time understanding who I should be keeping track of since every time a character entered a scene there is usually a giant caption with their full name shown to you, which leads you to think “hey I better remember that guy since they took the time to show me his full name”. This however is not the case and may be yet another negative aspect against the shows storytelling technique.
Throughout the series I would say there are about 20 characters that will take centre stage that you will eventually be keeping close attention to. Which is certainly a lot more than you may expect from your typical anime series but if you have watched shows like Star Trek and Stargate SG-1 you are probably accustomed to keeping track of a wide range of characters.
As this show takes place on various planets you are going to get a good range of diverse and flavoured characters. From peasants to princes, priests to whores, soldiers to scholars and so on and so on.
The characters are extremely well written and since this story is heavily dialogue driven, unless you are really into progressive characterization / character development I can guarantee you will most likely find this show boring. (lol oxymoron)
Yang Wenli & Reinhard von Musel are exceptionally well written characters. They are both very reflective and introspective. Conversations with either of these characters always contain depth and are often philosophical. Now I know that may sound boring to some out there but the fact is many of their conversations can easily be related to our lives today (yes us the viewers)….thats right. I constantly felt like I was learning more about how people think and feel based on how REAL and three dimensional these characters were portrayed throughout the series.
Supporting characters have just as much depth and character development as the main characters …I mean the writing for the characters in this series just feels so damn relatable and realistic its crazy…..and actually quite an accomplishment.
Probably the single most interesting thing about the characters is there seems to be no definitive bad guy or group. The supporting characters have seemingly logical reasons for what they do…it’s really up to you whether you think particular characters motivations are wrong or right. In most cases I had a lot of food for thought given to me by various characters
Sadly there are way too many characters here for me to go through so i guess I’ll have to gloss over everything and just say that the characters and storyline is what makes this show what it is…Period.
If I’m being completely honest I found this anime a chore to watch at first and that is because of the way the story is implemented. This in turn made it hard for me to enjoy it initially, but I must admit the unanimous rave reviews and acclaim for this show drove my curiosity over the edge and finally compelled me to find out what the hype with this series was really all about.
By the time I got to about the mid 20 episode mark the first major tragedy had occurred and after that I was finally hooked in.
This show reminds me of when I first watched robotech way back in the day…I remember wondering if I could truly enjoy something with such an outdated animation style. Then after I finished robotech I soon realised just like with music and movies nowdays external appearance has really become too much of a priority in creating great stories…specifically in recent anime.
From that moment on I stopped putting so much weight on how well something was animated and focused more on the actual storytelling in anime….after watching this show and robotech many people have come to the same way of thinking
In a nutshell LOGH surpassed my expectations……I thoroughly enjoyed this series.
Value / Final Thoughts
This series is an investment, when you look at it externally it looks like a bad investment….i mean its old….nobody really talks about it in the general anime community and it has never been considered for US distribution when other similar counterparts have been successfully licensed.
Firstly I think in many ways this show is an acquired taste but it is just so well written and received by almost everyone I know to have seen it I have to also acknowledge its well deserved ratings.
It seems like everyone who gets through this show in its entirety comes up with the same result / ratings of 9’s and 10’s.
Not to sound too pompous but I think a certain degree of patience and focus is needed to enjoy this anime. Personally it was worth every moment of my time
Now that all the praise is outta the way I have a couple of reasons why this show is not in my Hall of Fame. Firstly it’s a bitch to get a hold of…meaning its almost a given you will be downloading the 25GB fansub most of the fans have had to watch, added to that you can’t get an English version to purchase…dub or sub..no pie for you!
Secondly I feel the implementation of the story could have been streamlined a little better but in saying that I kinda like the fact it’s a chore to watch now that I feel like my dedication to anime has been tested with this show and I was rewarded by now being a member of “those who have completed LOGH” (I know, I know geeky as hell).
Then thirdly although I understand the animation was done in the 80’s so the style will be outdated compared to today’s anime I still feel that using carbon copying techniques is pretty lazy and takes away from the uniqueness of certain situations which was not a typical theme in other 80’s anime.
Alas there is no way I can echo my love for this show any more than I already have.
I truly believe if this story was re-animated and slightly re-written it would be hailed as one of Japans greatest animations to date…I also feel this way about rebooting the entire Ruroni Kenshin story….but that is a review for another day
Legend of The Galactic Heroes: High First Class!