Review and Synopsis by Anime Girl
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu or Legend of the Galactic Heroes review by AnimeGirl.io
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a series of 110 episodes, all based on a series of science fiction novels that were written by Yoshiki Tanaka. In this series there are two interstellar states in the future. One is the Galactic Empire that is ruled over by a monarch. The second is a democratic state called Free Planets Alliance. Like most opposing governments, they are locked in a never-ending war.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes focuses on the two rivals Reinhard von Lehengramm and Yang Wen-li. They both are rising to power and all that comes with it in their respective states.
From 1988 to 1997, an anime adaptation of the novels by Kitty Films ran. A series of popular mangas were also made based on the novels. They were created by Katsumi Michihara. Several strategies based on video games have come on based on the series, the latest being in 2008.
Christopher Farris, from the Anime News Network, said that the novels focus on the personal matters of the main characters rather than being told from the perspective of historical context. The 1988-1997 anime series concentrates on the bigger pictures of the war.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is based on 10 science fiction novels that were written by Yoshiki Tanaka. Tanaka also released a number of short stories with other characters and storylines from the same universe. Material and inspiration have been taken from these as well. In 1988 it won the Seiun Award for “Best Novel of the Year”.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes Synopsis
Legend of the Galactic Heroes takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy but in the very distant future. Human beings have since left Earth and the galaxy is filled with different terraformed worlds that are inhabited by these interstellar exploring human beings.
For the past 150 years, two powers have been warring with each other; the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance. The series follows a hero from each of these powers.
From the Galactic Empire, comes Reinhard von Musel or Reinhard von Lohengramm. He is rising to power, driven by the need to free his sister Annerose. Annerose was taken by the Kaiser to serve as a concubine, unable to leave. He becomes hellbent on ending the corruption within the Goldenbaum dynasty and defeating the Free Planets Alliance. His goal is to unify the whole galaxy. The only catch is, he wants everyone to be under his rule.
Alternatively, in the Free Planets Alliance, there is another genius who is rising among their ranks. Yang Wen-li originally wanted to be a historian, going through the military academy to become one. When he needed more money to complete his studies, he joined the tactical division. Wen-li quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted to an admiral because of the excellence in military strategy he demonstrated in a number of crucial battles and conflicts.
Wen-li becomes the archenemy of Reinhard. The two have a healthy respect for one another, recognizing that each one is a worthy foe. Wen-li is better known for his underdog victories and accomplishing victory in the face of defeat.
While he is a historian, Yang often tries to figure out the motives behind his enemies. He narrates and comments on the history of their world, drawing philosophical conclusions on the nature of the power in their galaxy.
Apart from the two main characters, there are plenty of other characters from every kind of life that could come from either state. Many times, the story moves away from Yang and Reinhard and to an unknown soldier fighting on a battlefield. This switch of point of view really lets the audience get a good idea of what life would be like in this time period, and gives a closer look into the daily lives of the characters and the effects they have on others.
Besides the Galactic Empire and the Free Planet Alliance, there is a third neutral power. Called the Phezzan Dominion, this planet-state trades with both sides. Technically, this realm is part of the Galactic Empire and pays tribute to them but is allowed to maintain its own sense of independence and have relations with the Free Planet Alliance as well. A cult called the Terraism claims that every human should return to earth. This cult is slowly gaining popularity as it moves through the galaxy.
As the series progresses, we see that Yang and Reinhard don’t just have to worry about the other. Executive political figures from Phezzan frequently interact with members of the Terraism cult. Together, they carry out a number of different conspiracies that shift the tide of the war so that it may favor them and their objectives.
Characters of Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Yang Wen-li started off as just another office in the Free Planets Alliance’s space fleet. He quickly proved himself to be perhaps the best admiral in human history, however. The only man that seems to come close to matching his level of brilliance is his Galactic Empire counterpart, Reinhard von Lohengramm.
Despite his military prowess, Yang Wen-li is a simple man and has followed his ideal and values throughout the course of his life.
After the Battle of the Corridor, Yang was on his way to Reinhard for a negotiation when a group of assassins boarded his cruiser. He was shot through the major artery in his leg and bled to death before help could get to him.
“Humans were drinking alcohol five-thousand years ago, and we’re still drinking it now. Alcohol is humanity’s friend. Can I abandon a friend?”
“The greatest freedom is the freedom not to get involved.”
Frederica Greenhill is the daughter of admiral Dwight Greenhill. She was the Salutatorian graduate from Free Planets Alliance Officer Academy. After which, she served as Yang Wen-li’s aide in the FPA’s 13th fleet. Later she married Yang Wen-li. She was gifted with a remarkable memory that allowed to recall details from events that had transpired decades in the past.
After Yang Wen-li’s untimely assassination, Frederica took the role of the political representative for the Yang Fleet.
“I clearly remember a young Lieutenant taking command.. Gnawing a sandwich because he didn’t have the spare time to eat.”
Julian Mintz was the young adopted ward of Yang Wen-li. He was a brave soldier of the Free Planets Alliance. He went on to be the proteges of numerous of the senior offices in the Yang Fleet, including Olivier Poplan and Walter von Schenkopp.
Julian was the one to find Yang’s body. He was later forced to break the news to Frederica Greenhill, Yang’s wife of his death. After the death of Yang, Julian was selected as military commander of the Yang Fleet, despite being only 18 and only a Junior Grade Lieutenant.
Now a commander of the Iserlohn Republic’s military, Julian has proven himself to be a skilled strategist and tactician. In one such instance, at the Battle of Shiva, he was able to penetrate into the larger Imperial fleet and lead a boarding party onto the Brunhild.
Julian was able to reach the Kaiser by early morning and impressed Reinhard with his determination and eloquence. When he collapsed, Reinhard ordered a ceasefire instead of allowing him to be killed. He believed he would be able to negotiate with Julian as an equal.
Siegfried Kircheis was the childhood friend and confidant of Reinhard von Lohengramm. He earned the nickname of being Reinhard’s shadow, and Reinhard saw him as an extension of himself. While we didn’t get to learn too much about his character and his personality, we got to see his loyalty to Reinhard.
During an assassination attempt from Ansbach, Siegfried saved Reinhard von Lohengramm by taking the hit from a ring laser. He died a hero.
Reinhard von Lohengramm
Reinhard von Lohengramm was born to a poor aristocratic family in the Galactic Empire. He was a military genius and political idealist, only truly ever being challenged by Yang Wen-li. He was successful in overthrowing the 500-year-old Goldenbaum Dynast. He then took the role of new emperor or Kaiser.
Once starting his own empire, Reinhard enacted numerous reforms, completely remodeling the Galactic Empire into a nation that he thought put the people’s best intentions first. He didn’t reign for long, though. By the time he was 25, he would be dead from an undiscovered degenerative disease that doctors called “The Emperor’s sickness.” His son Alexander Siegried (named after his loyal friend) took over as Kaiser with his wife, Hildegard, reigning as Empress-Regent until he came of age.
“I want victory – but not because the enemy is weak.”
“Fighting 100 battles does not mean winning 100 victories.”
Annerose von Grunewald
Countess Annerose von Grunewald is the older sister to Reinhard von Lohengramm. Annerose met Siegfried Kircheis for the first time when they moved into the same neighborhood as him when they were children. Siegfried was so infatuated with Annerose that he ran away from her. She made Siegfried promise to watch after her brother, Reinhard. Siegfried kept that promise, dying himself in an attempt to save Reinhard.
Rumors of her beauty spread through the Imperial Court, and the Kaiser, Friedrich IV, wanted to have her for himself. He paid their father a large fortune for her to join him in the court as a concubine. When Reinhard found out, he became enraged. He joined forces with Siegfried, and they vowed to find a way to release her from her captors. Without Annerose being sold to the previous Kaiser as a concubine, it’s a wonder if Reinhard would have ever risen among the ranks, overthrown the last dynasty, and started his own.
Annerose spent the remainder of her life in isolation, after having spent a lot of time alone while she was imprisoned in court.