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The Newspeak and Twisted History of Legend of the Galactic Heroes


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DirtyCircle



Joined: 06 Mar 2013
Posts: 98
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:37 pm Reply with quote
I've thought about buying that blu-ray set on charge and pay it off over time because I truly believe this anime is god-tier. I've only seen one review for it though do I'm hesitant. This anime truly is amazing.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 3692
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:56 pm Reply with quote
It still angers me to my core that the only version released over here is that $800 monstrosity. How Sentai never put out some sort of standard-version release is beyond me. The series is an all-time masterpiece, possibly the most impressive work of Japanese animation ever produced given its scale and how long its production cycle was. I just want some disks in a normal case. Is that really too much to ask?
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Kirki



Joined: 11 Jun 2019
Posts: 110
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:01 pm Reply with quote
Thank you so much for writing about this fantastic show! It definitely deserves every praise that it gets and more! A couple of notes: Reinhard is modeled after Alexander the Great (the Fate franchise knows him as Iskandar) and his best friend, Kirchieis, is modeled after Hephaestion. If you know the basics about Alexander the Great's imperialistic rule, you know from the beginning where Reinhard's story will go.

Also, I have heard criticism about the show for not depicting at all socialism or communism, even as a show about politics, but being too focused on the transition between feudalism and capitalism instead. For me it is not a problem, but people heavily leaning heavily towards the left side of politics might find it quite difficult to swallow. I am not overreacting, I have seen it happen. So, if you want to go in, no matter your political beliefs, you should keep an open mind and see it as a political case study and not take it too personally in order to enjoy it.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 2864
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:17 pm Reply with quote
The backstory sound great but, having tried the 2018 remake which is apparently very faithful to the original, the battle tactics were such non sense that I couldn't get very far. The entire fights just played as people trying to out-stupid each others. Could have worked if the battle were just quick things and most of the story was focused on the politic/philosophy side, but they take so much time, I think the first 4 episodes of the remake are just one long battle.
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#919323



Joined: 30 Dec 2020
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:08 pm Reply with quote
Kirki wrote:

Also, I have heard criticism about the show for not depicting at all socialism or communism, even as a show about politics, but being too focused on the transition between feudalism and capitalism instead. For me it is not a problem, but people heavily leaning heavily towards the left side of politics might find it quite difficult to swallow. I am not overreacting, I have seen it happen. So, if you want to go in, no matter your political beliefs, you should keep an open mind and see it as a political case study and not take it too personally in order to enjoy it.


I would say I lean heavily to left and yet I really don't see it as a problem. It's not like the show ever chooses the right side of political spectrum either it tries to stay very objective without overtly choosing right or left of the political spectrum. One of the focusses of the show is about exploring both the positives and negatives of autocracy and democracy. Just because the focus is not on communism or socialism doesn't mean that the author doens't consider them viable. It's not like there is really focus on the opposite of socialism either. You could argue that there plenty of characters on either side that lean to left or right.

It's just not really the focus of the show, but it seems kinda ridiculous to throw a tantrum because the show didn't mention it when it''s not really the focus in the first place. It would be a different story if the show would forms of government that lean to only right of the political spectrum, but it doesn't.

The beautiful thing about exploring both democracy as well as autocracy is that both those forms of government can lean either way. I mean Reinhard dissolves aristocracy and with that strives for equality under the population which you could argue is in a certain way leaning to socialism. So I wouldn't really say that socialism isn't mentioned, but examples of them are mentioned in certain ways just more implicit.
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ZiharkXVI



Joined: 29 Jan 2009
Posts: 196
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Its truly a masterpiece.
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#919323



Joined: 30 Dec 2020
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 4:17 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
The backstory sound great but, having tried the 2018 remake which is apparently very faithful to the original, the battle tactics were such non sense that I couldn't get very far. The entire fights just played as people trying to out-stupid each others. Could have worked if the battle were just quick things and most of the story was focused on the politic/philosophy side, but they take so much time, I think the first 4 episodes of the remake are just one long battle.


While I haven't watched the remake and so I can't really say much about how similar the battles are there to the original. The battles in he original are reasonably well thought-out and certainly ain't stupid. In fact the tactics employed are actual real military tactics that are used even in modern day combat. Of course it's still fiction so not everything is 1:1.

So I would love to hear you go in more details what you thought was stupid, as I can't really say anything to 'it was stupid' without knowing actually why you thought so.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:00 pm Reply with quote
#919323 wrote:
While I haven't watched the remake and so I can't really say much about how similar the battles are there to the original. The battles in he original are reasonably well thought-out and certainly ain't stupid. In fact the tactics employed are actual real military tactics that are used even in modern day combat. Of course it's still fiction so not everything is 1:1.

So I would love to hear you go in more details what you thought was stupid, as I can't really say anything to 'it was stupid' without knowing actually why you thought so.

Going by memory so some detail might be wrong, but the 2018 remake starts with a battle between empire and alliance where the alliance roughly outnumber the empire. They're spread out in 3 cluster, with the plan of surrounding the empire. Surrounding them is presented as a good thing (I'm gonna have to come back to that later). The empire then shows up and disrupt the communication between the alliance ships. This completely catch the alliance off guard, either this means that they're too stupid to know that ECM are a thing or the empire just has a massive technological advantages (which is never really made clear). The alliance response to this is to... do nothing, exactly zilch which allow the empire to take the incredibly cunning move of... also doing nothing and just continue on their current course. The empire fleet then attack the middle alliance fleet and, because they outnumber them (and also apparently use their ECM to disable the enemy shield iirc) easily wipe out the alliance fleet, it bear mentioning that during this time both other alliance fleet are sitting around doing nothing and make no attempt at re grouping.

So right away there's the massive issue that the alliance plan seems to rely on the empire stopping mid space and letting themselves get surrounded by the enemy fleets while just twiddling their thumbs. Under any other scenarios the alliance plan is complete garbage, case in point the empire continuing on their current course (ie doing nothing) completely devastate the alliance plan.

At this point the alliance strategist (Yang I think) comes into play and takes the incredibly bold move to tell the alliance ship to regroup (something which apparently needed to be said). This somehow spook the empire and the commander decide to charge at the alliance fleet. Here we come back to the idea that surrounding an enemy fleet makes sense. If that's true, then the empire guy decision to charge the enemy fleet is just plain stupid, since charging a fleet means putting yourself in the middle of it, ie be surrounded. On the other hand if being surrounded is not a problem, then we just have one more cases of the alliance being complete idiot.

After that the empire decide to organize their fleet into one long conga line (which the alliance also do) and then they both start circling around, like two snake trying to bite their tails. At that point the show realize how stupid the entire thing is and both side retreat (and this entire thing is somehow presented as a big win for the empire, despite them having to run away and gaining 0 advantages from the whole thing).

I don't really remember the second battle in the show (maybe something like attacking a planet) but similarly it involved one side going out of their way to be as stupid as possible. At that point I just couldn't take anymore and stopped. Maybe they improve over time but I just didn't see any reason to continue.

I think someone mentioned that the space battle strategy were based off antiquity battle, but this makes no sense since comparing battle done by individual human on earth (ie 2D plane) to fight done by spaceship in space makes even less sense than trying to adopt football strategy to a battle. They're completely different and something that works great in one would be a catastrophic failure in the other.
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xxmsxx



Joined: 06 Sep 2017
Posts: 80
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:43 pm Reply with quote
Thank you for the review.

I try my best to push the show whenever possible to newer fans. It is not because I like the show, it is because this is the only anime I can say with solid confidence that it will change how you view the entire medium.
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 865
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:06 pm Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
It still angers me to my core that the only version released over here is that $800 monstrosity. How Sentai never put out some sort of standard-version release is beyond me. The series is an all-time masterpiece, possibly the most impressive work of Japanese animation ever produced given its scale and how long its production cycle was. I just want some disks in a normal case. Is that really too much to ask?

Sentai doesn't seem to be against doing cheap re-releases of old shows, as we've seen with their extraordinarily cheap Patlabor and VOTOMS complete sets - it may have more to do with requirements from the Japanese licensor. The old rumor (it may have been more than rumor, but I can't dig up any of the old quotes) on why Legend of Galactic Heroes hadn't been licensed many years ago was that it was stipulated to be released at an absurd premium price, just like in Japan. Considering that's exactly what happened, there may have been something to that. I imagine the streaming rights are why we finally got it officially at all.
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Neko-sensei



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 211
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:52 pm Reply with quote
Always happy to see LoGH getting some love! However, if it's historical parallels you're looking for, Record/Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the first thing you should be looking at, rather than Western history—in Japan Legend of the Galactic Heroes is usually described as "Three Kingdoms in space."

I think my favorite thing about the series is that deliciously bombastic omniscient narrator, who's always making grandiose pronouncements such as, "...but little did they realize that this seemingly small capitulation would eventually lead to the most miserable defeat the galaxy had ever seen!" or, "...the two left as friends, but when next they met again it would be as the bitterest of enemies!" and whose predictions always come true. That narrator became like a weirdly comforting piece of furniture in the show's production design; you could always count on him even if it took forty or fifty episodes for his prognostications to play out, and as long as he was talking, you knew that the people in the show had some kind of future.
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taster of pork



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 535
Location: Oregon
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:08 pm Reply with quote
Reading this article has brought back my frustration with Sentai Mad I was prepared to spend a couple hundred on 1 or 2 box sets. Even for DVDs. But there's no way I can do $800 Sad Here's hoping for a affordable set.
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VerQuality



Joined: 01 Oct 2016
Posts: 107
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:04 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
...


The point of that battle was that the Alliance commander was making a decision that was solid in theory: being surrounded is bad (a pretty constant military truth). So he split his huge fleet into 3, positioned in a way that any Imperial attack would be surrounded. Faced with a fleet of this size and in such a formation, the natural action would be to retreat. The Alliance commander was playing by the book, and expecting a by the book response - retreat. But his execution was sloppy and he had his fleet too spread out, and was completely unprepared for Reinhard to actually engage, let alone charge right into the center of his formation. Reinhard was able to turn the engagement into a series of 3 battles where he had the larger fleet in each battle. When Yang was finally able to take command, the battle was basically already lost, but he managed to pull off a retreat by threatening a long, drawn out battle of attrition. It's more an introduction to the tactical and ideological styles of the two main characters (Yang is brilliant at reading the situation, but only acts when forced to, Reinhard is quick to battle, and preys on those who are overly comfortable in the status quo). It also demonstrates the fair amount of institutional rot that's set in on both sides after 150 years of war.

And it is a victory for the Empire - a fleet took on and crushed an Alliance fleet that was nearly triple its size. Yang's 'victory' was to allow some of the Alliance fleet to limp back home, instead of facing annihilation. While it wasn't necessarily a strategic victory, it was a tactical one, and to the Empire that was cause enough to celebrate. It was especially relevant for Reinhard since up to that point he was largely suspected of being a patronage appointment who only got his position because the Emperor fancied his sister.

I'm not the biggest fan of the remaster, so I can't really say how much it makes sense there, but in reading the books and watching the original OVA, it never really sticks out as unrealistic. I'm not going to claim this is some kind of great sci-fi space tactics simulator, but in my opinion at least it doesn't do anything egregious enough to break immersion unless you're actively looking for reasons to dislike it.
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timber



Joined: 12 Dec 2014
Posts: 86
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:52 am Reply with quote
Neko-sensei wrote:
Always happy to see LoGH getting some love! However, if it's historical parallels you're looking for, Record/Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the first thing you should be looking at, rather than Western history—in Japan Legend of the Galactic Heroes is usually described as "Three Kingdoms in space."


It is certainly alike given the number of characters that come and go in the story but less chaotic with only 2 factions and the 2 central characters. I have followed a manga about Record/Romance of the Three Kingdoms and as it develops you are literally drowned by the number of characters you start confusing characters and cannot remember who belongs to which faction.
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timber



Joined: 12 Dec 2014
Posts: 86
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:14 am Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
The backstory sound great but, having tried the 2018 remake which is apparently very faithful to the original, the battle tactics were such non sense that I couldn't get very far. The entire fights just played as people trying to out-stupid each others. Could have worked if the battle were just quick things and most of the story was focused on the politic/philosophy side, but they take so much time, I think the first 4 episodes of the remake are just one long battle.


As stated in the review, in the original the battles are not the best part of the show. It has some tactics that made no sense and to often rely on people being too stupid in order to make the main protagonists look smart, but the remake cranks that up he few notches.

Unavoidable to a certain level, even David Weber's "Honor Harrington" S-F series (which I find very good up to and including "Ashes of Victory") famed for its thrilling space battles sometimes rely on the other side being stupid.
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