The Fall 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Second
How would you rate episode 1 of
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Second (movie series) ?
What is this?
After attempting a bold invasion of the empire, the Free Planets Alliance has lost three of its fleets, and have been forced into a hasty retreat by the machinations of imperial general Reinhard von Lohengramm. Now camped out in the Amritsar star system, the alliance forces wait, certain to be routed by the pursuing empire. But the alliance have an ace up their sleeves - the nearly-undamaged 13th fleet, and its brilliant young commander, Yang Wen-li. Can Yang perform another miracle, and rescue the alliance from Reinhard's encroaching fangs? Either way, the tides of war are moving swiftly towards another calamitous battle!
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These Second is based on a novel series by Yoshiki Tanaka and streams on Crunchyroll on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. EDT
How was the first episode?
When we last saw Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the alliance armada was in the midst of a devastating defeat, and attempting a panicked retreat. Having boldly strode deep into imperial territory, their extended formation and strained supply lines made them easy pickings for Reinhard von Lohengramm. Three fleets were immediately lost due to their leaders' arrogance, and countless more lives were lost in the battle. Now, as we begin season two, the alliance sits huddled around the Amritsar star system, awaiting Reinhard's final blow.
Those are more or less the conditions Yang Wen-li has become accustomed to, though - he's pretty much always mopping up the mistakes of older, prouder military officers, and resignedly pulling military miracles out of a hat. This episode will feel quite familiar in visual terms, as well - Legend of the Galactic Heroes' second season maintains the same production team as the first season, and spends virtually no time recapping the events of the first season. If anything surprised me this episode, it was the sheer scale of the battle; Legend of the Galactic Heroes readily conveys fights between many thousands of fleets, but I'm not sure that scale has ever come through quite so clearly as this, or felt so simultaneously beautiful and terrifying.
I was also impressed by the remarkable efficiency of this episode's battle, which seemed to compress nearly the entirety of LoGH's appeal into twenty short minutes. While Reinhard and Yang's first encounter back in season one took over two episodes to complete, this battle runs through stratagem and counter-stratagem at lightning speed, as Reinhard and Yang each work to outmaneuver each other through clever manipulation of the battlefield. Though I described Yang's tricks as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, neither his nor Reinhard's victories ever feel even slightly unearned - the fundamental variables of this battle are always clear, and the boldness or cleverness of each of their choices instantly self-evident.
In addition to offering perhaps the most exciting, and certainly most fast-paced battle of the series so far, this premiere even finds the time to briefly celebrate both Yang and Reinhard's personal stories. Yang gets one of his classic speeches about the fundamental nature of mankind, while Reinhard and Kircheis share a moment that demonstrates their bond is as strong as ever, though their responsibilities have changed. All in all, the return of Legend of the Galactic Heroes feels like a seamless continuation of its predecessor, while also standing as one of the most thrilling and visually stunning episodes of the series so far. It's good to have these heroes back.
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