Posted by psgels on 19 October 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews

They aired after the main Legend of the Galactic Heroes series, but make no mistake: the two Gaiden series are prequels. One Hundred Billion Stars, One Hundred Billion Lights tells stories about the past of the main character, Reinhart von Lohengramm. In theory, they could be watched at any point in the series after episode 3 of the TV-series. The benefit you get from watching it early is some solid characterizations, backgrounds and introductions before the series gets really fired off. The benefit you get from waiting to check it out until the series finishes is a very solid background arc.

Now, the main series did hint at various events that happened in Reinhart’s past that we never fully got to see. Surprisingly though: this OVA doesn’t address those at all, and creates a whole array of new stories throughout Reinhart’s teenaged years. There are three small arcs of four episodes, followed by a big one comprising of 12 episodes. The last arc is typical LoGH: it focuses on large scale tactics and strategies, while weaving the stories of all kinds of characters together while at the same time asking many poignant question about the nature of war and commanding an army. Reinhart here shows a version of himself that he did not show throughout the main series, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

And then there are the short arcs, which really surprised me. It’s here where Legend of Galactic heroes shortly dabbles into other genres than its area of expertise: large scale space warfare. Each of these arcs are completely standalone and surprisingly varied. One of them even turns into a murder mystery, but in particular the third arc is masterfully told: it combines Legend of Galactic Heroes’ signature style of thoughtful dialogues and complex motives, and throws it into a story that instead of being told by reason, is told by emotions. That was the highlight of this season for me.

Now, these side stories miss the grandeur of the main series, so I can’t rate it as highly as the first. The stories are all really good, and again very intelligent, but they don’t come together as well as the main series did with its 110 episodes. It’s not that this movie is as unconnected as the first movie was. It’s still pretty much the best you can get in terms of warfare on a much smaller scale. It lacks the politics that made the main series so unique, though, and they definitely add a lot of things to this series and its cast. In terms of the big picture it’s just a matter of comparing a panther to a gigantic lion with wings.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Surprisingly varied: actually experiments with different genres, while keeping up its distinct style of very intelligent dialogue and storytelling.
Characters: 9/10 – The characters in the original Legend of Galactic Heroes were already really well developed. The side stories allow them to show off even more sides of themselves.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Actually an slight upgrade compared to the main series.
Setting: 9/10 – This show doesn’t have the chance to get really grand and daring with its setting like the main series did, but it’s still a ridiculously solid portrayal of fleet warfare.

Mouryou no Hako
Saiunkoku Monogatari
Twelve Kingdoms

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  • Masky
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 08:03 AM)
    @Bam: Yeah, but simulating reality applies to certain types of games. Judging EVERY game by how realistic it is is silly xD
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD

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