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Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue
Episode 44

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 44 of
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue (movies) ?
Community score: 4.2

Last week's LOGH was all about the ripple effects through the galaxy that ultimately resulted in Julian's reassignment, so this week's episode settles in to cover the more intimate ramifications of him needing to depart from Iserlohn, and Yang. This series, even this version of it, hasn't actually shied away from making more personal character contexts apparent (even Reinhard and Kircheis leaving room for Jesus in their interactions couldn't completely cover up how close they actually were), and the adoptive father/son bonding between Yang and Julian has always been a feature. Still, seeing them sit down for beers together, on the eve of their separation, to reflect on what a turning point like this means is exactly the sort of thing I'm here for.

This being Legend of the Galactic Heroes, that does still largely entail some dense historical and sociopolitical theorizing. This is Yang we're dealing with, it's in-character. And it's a discussion arc that neatly reverses the story we followed in the previous episode, starting from a personally-affecting interaction before growing into a conversation on extremely broad, sweeping ideas. Yang is at first just using Julian as a sounding board for his ideas about what Reinhard and the Empire might be plotting, demonstrating that he's naturally one of the few other people figuring that the Count may be planning to cut through the Fezzan Corridor. But then the question of how Fezzan could let that happen spins out into meditations on the impermanence of mankind's establishments, and allows an opportunity for Julian to interject with his own theory of religious motivation for the Dominion. To the end of their time together, Julian gets to demonstrate what he's picked up on as Yang's protege.

It's cool as a tonal setpiece, as far as LOGH's famously-dry informational imparting goes, because it's information all delivered and considered from the point of view of characters and their relationship that we're invested in. Yes, we get to watch Yang spitball about the importance of not considering your 'side' as the unilateral good in any factionalized conflict, but it's coming out in the form of advice he's trying to leave Julian with as he strikes out onto a mission that will see him interacting with others' cultural aspects where that sort of perspective will be necessary. That perspective has always been Yang's driving focus, reiterating here how he believes that true, long-term peace throughout humanity can't be possible, hoping instead for some brief, relative downtime he might at least enjoy.

Much of this talk is in-character for Yang, and as I said I do appreciate the tone it sets for his send-off of Julian. But as much as I can appreciate the gesture of the platitude, I must get a bit glib towards Yang's pointed assertion that seeing your enemies as unilaterally evil is the most immoral move to make in a conflict. In this case, we are already aware that Reinhard's own plot is a unifying attack on a declared enemy as a method for consolidating power—a key building block of fascism. I can understand the in-story nuance, particularly that the Alliance leadership is scarcely a group to be considered 'Good Guys', but Yang tacitly arguing for empathy with a strategically-destructive dictator is another one of those places where you have to be aware that LOGH's political portrayals, as all are in stories, are informed by the leanings of its composer.

But that is but one thematic building block among an episode that's otherwise, perhaps surprisingly, focused more on characteristic portrayals. The rest of the episode is a trip through Julian's goodbyes with much of the Iserlohn crew which we, and he, have come to know and love. And as much as this episode is about the beginning of Julian's new journey, even this sequence of send-offs from his point of view winds up being largely about Yang. It's almost amusing to see the general consensus that Julian will actually do just fine in his new post, with most of the crew concerned about how Yang will get on without his ward he's been seen to grow dependent on. Part of that is the matter of external support, sure, indicated in an amusing shot of Yang's trash can overflowing with cast-off beer bottles and space Cheetos. But those are just the terms the real concerns, of psychological reliance, are being couched in.

It marks this separation as a growing experience for both Julian and Yang, the latter who had his adoptive son as a specific tether (originally of convenience) to the military complex he would have preferred to leave behind. With broader war on the horizon, it makes clear how everything, from the characters at the top of our cast list to the broader structural ideas powering the galactic conflict of this story, is shifting into a new phase. This episode doesn't get as ambitious with its overall coverage as last week's episode, nor has any of this Alliance-side stuff gotten as directorially overt as what we were covering with Reinhard and the Empire. But like the sensibilities of our heroes in the Alliance, it's homey, comfortable even. Even when the major political machinations powering the moves behind them are being elucidated on, the characters are doing it on a park bench over a couple of beers. It's a fitting enough tonal turn for just this episode, before we, and Julian, and everyone else, go on to greater things.


Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These - Intrigue is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.

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