The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue
How would you rate episode 37 of
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue (movies) ?
Community score: 4.4
What is this?
The battle between Fortresses Iserlohn and Geiersberg is coming to its conclusive collision. Yang Wen-Li has fully reunited with his fleet, command soundly shored up to drive off the Imperial interlopers. With naught but his honor to save, Kempff takes Geiersberg into his own control for one last, desperate attack, but as the highest commanders on either side had predicted, such a move would be too little, too late. Instead, these events serve to further fuel the legends being written here, heroes on both sides resolving in their reactions to Yang's victory and their roles around it.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue is based on Yoshiki Tanaka's novel series and streams on Crunchyroll on Thursdays.
How was the first episode?
Well, boy is my face red. So much of my evaluation of the preceding season finale of Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Collision was predicated on my presumption, nay, my certainty that it was not, in fact, the season finale, and we would be getting one more episode after such an unsatisfying cliffhanger. It's just good pacing, they wouldn't end a season, much less an originally-formatted movie on such an abrupt stopping point, would they? Well it turns out they would, and it's now some four months later that we get to see the actual fourth and final episode of this Fortress vs Fortress storyline, this 'season premiere' even packing the same opening theme as the previous season to drive home its oddly-placed split-cour continuation status.
So now that we have it, how is this one as an episode? It…would have worked great as a season finale and definitely brought up my overall opinion of Collision! There's hardly any inappropriately-inserted ramblings from the over-enthusiastic narrator as in the previous episode, he sticks to proper points of exposition and leaves us off at the end of the episode with portents on the meaningfulness and future of this resolved situation. Instead the focus is firmly on the people driving these last few desperate occurrences of this battle. Yes, Kempff's death here was pretty well a foregone conclusion, and his doing so by trying to ram Geiersberg into Iserlohn was so predicated that both Yang and Reinhard had stated he probably should have started by doing that. But the whole season's worth of build-up to that bombastic conclusion and the overall meaning instilled into it still lands. Participating in directly-piloted combat, thinking of his family all the while, Kempff goes out with precisely the action he would have preferred, if not the result.
The figurative and literal shockwaves that Kempff's sacrifice send out at least almost make the case for starting the season with this one. Here we're fully up for the rest of the cour on the arrangement and motivations of characters, especially on the Empire side: Müller swearing revenge on Yang in Kempff's name (Yeah, I'm sure that'll work out great for him), alongside Mittermeyer and Reuenthall understanding they've arrived too late and realizing their own shot at the Alliance commander will need to wait for another day. That pair's reaction in particular comes around to illustrating the broader themes of this arc, the duo demonstrably being smart enough to know not to fight a losing battle, and remarking that Reinhard would likely have figured on that situation as well. It rounds back to that whole theme of trust in leaders allowing for coherency and effectiveness of forces that was so instrumental in how this battle turned out.
It gets to contrast against the Alliance forces that fly out ahead to try to mop up without Yang's approval or advisement. Things, understandably, don't go as well for those guys. That's the other, simpler, smaller spectacle that's still fun to come back to LoGH for, in seeing Yang finally reunite and start communicating with his crew. The morale-boosting effect of competent commanders is a continuing theme through this episode (Müller's communications to his fleets standing as one example of that) but nothing compares to the ease with which everyone rallies around Yang once he's back. You rather forget they're still dealing with a massive multi-fortress space battle the way Merkatz is just casually deferring to Yang or putting Julian on the comms to tell the commander what a good job his boy did. That evolving connection between Yang and Julian, as parent realizes that child might be coming into a commanding role, against his wishes as it is, seeds things most as this episode wraps, and there's a strong complexity to it. It's a place where that ubiquitous narration is welcome, making clear the historical significance of this turning point in the battle, and Julian's evolution in his relationship with both Yang and the Alliance military.
Having to process all this as a visual spectacle mostly works, though not without some hiccups. Astoundingly, despite stretching this story out for a full extra episode compared to its classic OVA treatment, bits still feel like they're moving in an oddly-paced rush, particularly Kempff's piloting of Geiersberg on its collision course. Much of the movement of the fortress comes off weirdly fast and floaty, understating the scale, the gravity of the occurrence. The man's last moments still land, as mentioned, and there are still impressively-communicated visual aspects, like the shot of this giant eyeball of a craft looming on the opposite viewpoint, selling the ominousness of it as some sort of determined, destroyed beast. It means all the elements mostly hit for this one, and certainly would have worked well as a season finale. As-is, it's a fine episode on its own and as effective a welcome back for these Galactic Heroes as it could have been.
The last season of Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These left off on a major cliffhanger. With Yang Wen-li's return to the battlefield, Imperial Admiral Kempf decides to do what both Yang and Reinhardt would have done right from the start—slam his planet-sized fortress into the Alliance's and call it a day. In previous episodes, more than a bit of drama was built around the fact that even Yang would have had no way of stopping such an attack. However, that was back when the imperials had the element of surprise and an entire fleet wasn't already arrayed against the fortress. In the end, Kempf's self-sacrifice does nothing but further weaken the nation he served—his pride and desire to prove himself was ultimately more important than returning to the family he so loved.
While this battle has been one full of action as both sides try to outplay each other with each new offensive and defense, this episode makes it clear that the only real result of this battle is that a lot of people died for no good reason. The imperials should have won this battle—and they would have, if they had a better commander. With Yang away from the fortress, there was no better time to attack. But now they are left with 1/5 of the ships and men they started with, are down a fortress, and worst of all, have squandered the surprise that they are capable of jumping supermassive objects across large distances.
On the more personal side of things, this episode shows Yang continuing to struggle as a father to Julian. Without Julian, the alliance victory would have been much more difficult—his ability to read the enemy and emulate Yang Wen-li's own strategems was pretty much the key here. Yet, Yang is unfortunately falling into the same trap as all too many fathers: projecting their own wants onto their children. Yang wanted nothing more than to be a historian, living a life of peace away from the frontlines, but that's not what Julian wants. He wants to support his foster father on the battlefield as thanks for taking him in. And while it is still frustrating for Yang, when Admiral Merkatz gives him a not-so-subtle verbal jab about Julian's right to choose his own path in life, he is able to see the truth in the statement.
All in all, this is an excellent climax to the arc that started last season in terms of both action and character development. Or to put it another way, it's exactly the level of quality I've come to expect of Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
discuss this in the forum (317 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history