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EP. REVIEW: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These


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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:06 pm Reply with quote
The new series is shaping up to be excellent overall, and improve upon the earlier series in some respects. The only issue is that the subtleties and general thoroughness of the OVA series were a considerable part of what made it unique, meaning they partially give up one of their greatest strengths before they begin. (Not to the extent that could reasonably have been feared from a reboot, though — exactly how much difference it’ll make going forwards is still uncertain.)

Caring about both sides during the battles is another differentiator they partially give up by devoting separate episodes to each. That may not continue further into the series, though.

With the next episode presumably focused on Yang’s backstory, I hope they take the chance to briefly cover details of his childhood which were skipped in the previous adaptation.
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#867382



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:41 pm Reply with quote
boring show like most show like this after 3 eps will not watch anymore.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:01 pm Reply with quote
Never watched the original but I did hear about it quite a bit over the years so I was looking forward to it and it's... pretty disappointing up to now. My biggest problem is just how poor the tactical battle was in ep 1-2, or rather how poor everyone involved was. I already talked about the more specific point in the preview thread so I won't wall of text this post, but at this point it feel like everyone in both military except Yang and Reinhardt are huge moron, Reinhardt is just a moron and Yang is normal I guess. I'm with the guy in episode 3, the FPA are amazingly incompetent who seemed to just expect the empire fleet to literally stop in the middle of nowhere and let themselves be surrounded, so Reinhardt victory over them hardly mark him as some tactical genius. And when he fought Yang it was confirmed that he's really not a smart person, being flabbergasted by the enemy incredible ability to turn around and shoot at him. This in turn makes Yang victory hollow, as it once again require his opponent to be an incompetent. Add to that the number of time where a battle victory required some sort of ass pull (empire can disable enemy shield and disable communication between ship... except not really cause Yang communicate with the other ships, once again requiring the FPA to be unbelievably incompetent since they apparently forgot they were able to bypass the jamming), and it's hard to take this seriously.

I'm hoping that this is just because the first battle was really focused on showing just how incompetent everyone but the two protagonists are so I'll watch the next battle, but this just seems to be another show that tries to mark character as amazing by just lowering everyone down rather than raising them up.
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jl07045



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:59 am Reply with quote
The only big weak point I see in that battle is the com jamming. I'm okay with FPA admirals not anticipating that it would succeed, but they seem to be surprised about it in general which is ridiculous. The rest is a classic defeat in detail.
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Sven Viking



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:21 am Reply with quote
Partly you’re just correct that a lot of people are acting with serious incompetence, since a major theme at this point is about commanders reaching their positions for reasons other than merit. Even Reinhard would not be in his current position if not for nepotism/favouritism, and Yang owes his position partly to luck (bad luck from his perspective). This is hinted at early on and further explained for the Empire in the third episode — the fourth will likely do the same for the Alliance.

Partly, though, if you’re the type to get hung up on details you’d probably be better to skip this series and search out the OVAs or books, because it looks like this version will tend towards glossing over details in the interests of trying to streamline things (imho counterproductively). That has caused at least one misunderstanding related to communications.

On the specifics, note first that reading about many historical battles can give a similar “how could they have been such morons?” impression, including the decisions of groundbreaking generals like Napoleon etc., and in hindsight many historical victories often seem to be nothing but exploiting the rank incompetence of the enemy.

The Alliance commanders are overconfident due to their overwhelming numbers. They’re trying to make use of a staggeringly successful historic strategy used by deified past generals without fully grasping the details of what’s required to make it work. (Somewhat similar to real-world generals wanting to recreate Hannibal’s annihilation tactic from the Battle of Cannae but never succeeding.) They think the Empire will be too intimidated by their larger numbers to act aggressively.

And they’re largely correct. On the Empire side, they’re not only indimidated but have an arguably-irrational fear of repeating the historic disaster.

Reinhard’s strategy isn’t necessarily as obvious as it might appear, though. If the Alliance commanders had been right about the difference in experience allowing the 6th fleet to hold out for longer, OR if the Empire’s fleet had stuck around to finish off the 6th fleet (they basically leave after crippling them), they likely would have found themselves hemmed in on two or more sides.

Reinhard’s strategy specifically depends on the incompetence of the Alliance commanders, not blindly but deduced from the way they’ve set up their encirclement tactic. If the other two fleets had regrouped he likely could have retreated, but their failure to do so proves their incompetence. As such, he becomes overconfident after smashing two of their fleets and seemingly breaking the coordination of the last fleet, and goes with an unnecessarily aggressive tactic.

Yang can’t communicate with distant fleets, only the ships nearby, so they’re not suddenly bypassing the jamming in any new way — however communications are able to be intercepted by the enemy (encryption is supposed to still be impossible due to jamming). Since Yang has anticipated this situation, though, he only needs to tell them to check a plan already on their own computers (this was from the book, by the way, not new to the reboot). Yang isn’t sure his plan will work, however, since if some ships lose their nerve and simply flee it’s likely to have a domino effect on the other ships.

The Alliance ships change formation in a way that intentionally looks like their formation is being broken as ships are smashed or attempt to flee in a disorganised manner, but while doing so they actually move towards the direction the enemy advanced from which would be counterintuitive if fleeing. As mentioned, Reinhard had become overconfident, but he also had little reason to expect there was anyone competent enough to anticipate this exact situation prior to his arrival due to the lack of competence in evidence up to this point.

The strategy doesn’t turn the tables but forces a stalemate. The Empire also isn’t able to return to mop up the crippled fleets as they presumably intended. However the Empire is still successful in inflicting heavy losses on a much larger force.

P.S. If I remember correctly jamming is from unmanned jamming bouys set up in advance by Reinhard, which might make their surprise a bit more plausible.
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gaptoothsailor



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:16 pm Reply with quote
That was a nice review to read! I was curious whether or not there would be a reviewer who was familiar with the books or OVAs. Looking forward to more! I've been enjoying this new adaptation for what Christopher described it as: a big-budget Hollywood adaptation of a History Channel documentary... On paper, it sounds hilarious but I'm totally behind the concept, lol. I'm also glad that this is actually happening and not in production limbo anymore since the time it got announced Smile
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meiam



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:55 pm Reply with quote
Well historically commander were working in dimly lit tent using inaccurate maps and working off outdated scout report (often inaccurate) that would only come once in awhile and had to use messenger to deliver order. It's a lot easier to excuse incompetent action in that case compared to sitting in front of a giant holographic map updated in real time with direct communication to soldiers.

My point is that showing that Reinhardt can easily defeat incompetent people (which is generous, plug in a 20 year old RTS "AI" and they would do a better job, self defeating is a more accurate descriptive) doesn't makes me think he's smart.

But more than that when we actually look at all his actions, they were only possible because of crippling incompetence, against someone with 3 neurons to rub together Reinhardt would have been crushed. For example, when he left the first fleet cripple, the fleet should have easily noticed where Reinhardt was going, they could have just followed him and would have instantly sandwiched him once he showed up at the location of the second fleet (I'm assuming ship can't shoot in FTL travel, cause otherwise they could have just shoot him on the way). Reinhardt plan required the fleet to just mope around and stay in place even when they were still effective (or they weren't effective anymore, in which case why was the FPA surprised that he didn't stick around?).

Same for his pierce attack, 1) it's useless, ship seems to have most of there firepower in the front, what advantages does piercing a line give? 2) it somehow expect that the FPA completely give up from the shock of seeing space ship (machine entirely defined by there ability to move in space) move forward in space. And his response to the FPA alliance simply turning around was to try to snake around them, as if his ship were incapable of turning around themselves. You can't claim overconfidence at that point, it's plain incompetence.

For Yang, he comes better off, but mostly because he wasn't given much chance to actually act. His only real action was to tell the fleet to turn around and shoot at Reinhardt fleet. Again, if Reinhardt had been a normal person he would have just turn his ship around and fired back, which would have rendered Yang plan pointless. It again required his opponent to be incompetent (pointless pierce attack, not turning around).

It wasn't quite clear that he told his fleet to move forward, but even accepting that... how does that help? It just means his ship are now facing away from Reinhardt fleet, so they can't fire back. Would be useful if he was planning on escaping (so they could run right away while Reinhardt would have to turn around) but that's not what he does, he instead has them turn around. If anything, he would have been better off just telling his flank to both turn 90 degree inward.

So at this point I'm left feeling like:
Free planet alliance military<Empire military<Rock<Reinhardt<random number generator<Yang<RTS AI<Random civilian who never had to command a fleet
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#844391



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:31 pm Reply with quote
I probably benefit from the fact that I have not seen any of the source material for this series, so I don't have any expectations or nostalgia to go off of.

The only issue I had was the one fleet was able to jam the other fleet, removing both their communications as well as their ability to sync all their ships (which seems to be the default method of fighting battles). How a fleet, even with incompetent commanders, would be able to be so easily disabled just seems odd. Wouldn't there be safeguards in place to prevent this happening? But the series is interesting enough that I'm willing to suspend disbelief a bit.

Going by the current pattern
ep 1 focuses on imperial characters in the battle
ep 2 focuses on the other side in the battle
ep 3 focuses on imperial characters backstory
so I'm guessing ep 4 will focus on the other sides' backstory? The episode title seems to indicate that as well.
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penguintruth



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:43 pm Reply with quote
Are we really arguing about battle strategy/tactics in a work of fiction? Stop it. Just... stop. The combat maneuvers in LoGH are just references to historical battles, and it's always been more about the parallels than the practicality in space battles. LoGH is much more about the characters and philosophical/political underpinnings.

This is a fairly strict adaptation of the first novel, by the way, having read it. I mean, really strict, where Yang is with Lao at Astarte and not Attenborough (he comes in later), and the exact scene at the end of episode 3 is directly lifted word-for-word in dialogue from the end of the third chapter. Now, whether or not this is for the better or worse is up to the viewer. I happened to like how the first anime expanded things early on, but I'll probably side a bit more with the novels, and likely this TV series, when it comes to the "invasion of Imperial territory"/Battle of Amritsar arc.

I'm quite enjoying Mamoru Miyano's portrayal of Reinhard. I never thought anyone could do as good a job as Ryo Horikawa, but it's close.

Episode 4 will likely have Julian Mintz, Jessica Edwards, and much more Yang, given if it holds to the adaptation (and the episode title). New viewers will get to see why Yang bothers to fight for an incompetent military force. It'll be interesting to see how they handle that material.

While I can't say I really see a reason why this adaptation exists, I'm glad it does, and look forward to each episode.
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H. Guderian



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:55 pm Reply with quote
It will be very hard to beat the original. While they both seem to struggle on a stinker of an opening battle, both sides work down the number of old idiots in command, so most of the show becomes smart people who have a just cause vs smart people who have a just cause.

While this one is flashier, the CG battles let them add a lot of sparkle and flare, but don't invite the viewer to enjoy the ride. The character designs are also a hinderence, you know Pretty People are important.

Also the main leads are standing out too much in their efforts. While they are exceptional people, the show is supposed to be built on an outstanding supporting cast as well.

Also the signal jamming, I would assume such things are always going on in the background, but to focus on it like this....felt very out of place. I can see why the Ishiguro version opted to leave it to the viewer to fill in the blanks. I could make anecdotes or comparisons all day, but just imagine if the entire Omaha Beach scene of Saving Private Ryan they were shouting nonstop about air using their guns. Are we to assume electronic measures are no longer in use for the rest of LoGH:The Remake? I think this new show will enhance people's appreciation of Ishiguro's version.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:32 pm Reply with quote
penguintruth wrote:
Are we really arguing about battle strategy/tactics in a work of fiction? Stop it. Just... stop. The combat maneuvers in LoGH are just references to historical battles, and it's always been more about the parallels than the practicality in space battles. LoGH is much more about the characters and philosophical/political underpinnings.


That's literally why I have a problem with the strategy, they make everyone look like moron, and I don't particularly want to know about the philosophy championed by moron. Rolling Eyes
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Hayeate



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:04 am Reply with quote
I found this discussion so interesting that I decided to join ANN after years of lurking just to comment!

As a huge fan of LoGH (I'm basically what trekkies are to Star Trek), I find meiam's analysis of the Astarte battle VERY apt, spot on...and believe it or not historically poignant. There are many, many, many examples in history where a typically banal event was blown out of proportion to mythical values.

Let me explain how I see Astarte, and much of what I write is vague enough to open to fan interpretation, especially to a fan who studied military strategy and history for most of his life.

The FPA's plan believe it or not was pretty sensible. To see why this is so, imagine if they deployed in a single blob. The two sides will then duke it out with long range lance batteries, but neither would be able to maneuver into a position to inflict a decisive kill margin. I suspect that most FPA and GE battles unfolded this way into basically a pointless bloodbath. So this time they decided to risk it a little by adopting a shuffle card strategy. No matter what fleet the Imperials try to attack, the other two would wheel behind it and catch it in a sort of sankaku triangle choke. If it succeeds, the fleet is annihilated and the FPA wins a decisive victory that would likely affect the course of the war.

Given past experiences with Imperial fleets being led by cautious, elderly generals with a by the book approach to warfare, I have to say, the FPA's strategic assumptions were pretty solid. They expected the Imperial fleet to close in with one of the fleets and engage in a shooting match, which would give just enough time for the venus flytrap to close in.

Now Reinhard did something unexpected. He just plain out ordered his units to fix bayonets and charge instead of standing there and shooting their muskets. This was a dangerous gambit few would dare, but as he reckoned himself, he had local advantage, so no matter how many ships he risked, he'd still emerge on top. Coupled with total operational surprise and the early destruction of the individual fleet command structure meant that Reinhard fared far far better than one would expect in such a situation. Therefore the battle unfolded in terms of minutes, as opposed to hours intended for the FPA plan to come to fruition. This explains also why he used the spindle formation - although this is rarely depicted in the anime battles I infer that LoGH ships tend to have strong short range broadside firepower as evidenced by the cannon ports on their side. Also, the final FPA fleet appeared as a disorganized column readying to escape, which solicited a spindle breakthrough.

So could we conclude from this Reinhard's genius as a general? No. In fact meiam is perfectly correct, the FPA did cock it up massively, Reinhard's strategy did not indicate anything except his overconfident elan, and lastly he made some truly stupid mistakes at the end.

Becoming an established general takes years of experience of moving up the ranks and learning the ways of the battlefield. Although Reinhard possessed an incredible innate ability of intuition, he was still only just a very young man of 20 with very limited life experience. Compare that to Napoleon or Cao Cao, whose career and rise to power spanned over decades (note that Cao Cao fucked up aplenty early on). Most normal people, when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task or responsibility, lose spirit and generally give up. But not Reinhard. His fanatical self confidence, unbounded will and energy to put it into practice, and almost insane levels of assurance in greatness of his own fate, is precisely what drove him on in excess of his actual abilities or experience.

In history there were plenty of examples of such figures. In fact almost all great leaders in history have traits which can be associated with a mania of delusion of some kind. There is a very thin strand that separates a mental house patient from a great man. In Reinhard's case he's essentially a narcissistic, egomaniacal sociopath, and the pathos of him trying to come to terms with that and developing into a normal person, is one of the main features of the plot. This IS the real fight, and it is the real goal for him to achieve, and everything else to me is just a backdrop. Reinhard's story is not of apotheosis, but that of becoming essentially human.

What is it that I like about the old LoGH series to warrant making such long comments? Noburo Ishiguro's direction style. Ways in which scenes unfolded, give such gravity and pathos to what is going on that led me to suspend disbelief and be totally captivated by the narrative. The way deck fights succeed in capturing the sheer brutality of close quarters combat, the juxtaposition between spoken dialogue and the flurry of surrounding activity, or even something as minor as the remarkably human banter between Alliance bridge bunnies. For someone interested in direction and filmmaking art, LoGH provides a staple of little details to take delight in. At the end of the day, I view LoGH as an uneven fairy tale, with a deeply captivating setting, laughably absurd plot, and incredibly moving scene direction.

So will Die Neue These live up to the reputation of its predecessor? That remains to be seen. I think the mistake the new series is making is precisely in that it focuses on the "clever space tactics" aspect of the series...which is surprisingly and subtly not what it was all about. If it showed the personal side of interaction in a new light not covered before, instead of just stripping it down to an endless string of tactical decisions made by the heroes, then I would most certainly rank it alongside the original OVA. At this time though I regrettably do not see this happening, and I fear the directors, despite their obvious artistic talent, lack the cultural background or sophistication to make this happen.

Whoo first post! I certainly hope there was somebody so out of their right mind to read this through to the end!
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Sven Viking



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:35 am Reply with quote
Great post Hayeate. And I agree with penguintruth that it’s actually a stricter adaptation of the novel than the OVAs, but they still necessarily need to pick and choose what to include, what to add and what to leave out. Also, while some of the (excellent) small touches in the films and OVAs weren’t in the book, they did serve to fill voids in worldbuilding etc. left by narration and asides that can’t reasonably be adapted.
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jl07045



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:45 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
For example, when he left the first fleet cripple, the fleet should have easily noticed where Reinhardt was going, they could have just followed him and would have instantly sandwiched him once he showed up at the location of the second fleet (I'm assuming ship can't shoot in FTL travel, cause otherwise they could have just shoot him on the way).

The good old trick of ordering a recently beaten and partially disorganized army to chase after the enemy that just beat them.
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#844391



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:32 pm Reply with quote
Ep 4 was a little underwhelming to me. Yang's backstory didn't really grab me and even his accomplishments that made him famous didn't seem to be all that amazing. In the simulation if the supply fleet is destroyed its an automatic win, so he sent out a detachment to attack and destroy it while distracting the enemy fleet. why hasn't anyone else done that before? And how did the supposed genius in charge of the opposing fleet completely forget about the automatic win condition in the simulation?

And his second accomplishment, evacuating all the civilians, was basically just letting some incompetent commander who was trying to run away draw the enemy's fire while he and the refugees escaped in the confusion (although I'm not sure if he implied that he goaded Lynch into leaving by arguing with him or something). He didn't really do anything special other than wait for an opportunity to leave, which could have failed if the Imperial forces kept any of their fleet aside to attack fleeing civilian ships. Although maybe he was counting on the fact that Imperials wouldn't waste firepower on civilians when they still had an enemy fleet to destroy.
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