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.

Suggestions:
Mouryou no Hako
Saiunkoku Monogatari
Twelve Kingdoms

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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:29 PM)
    @Kaiser Someone who actually still likes Nicholas Cage outside of his internet memes? To me he’s one of those actors who at this point, I can’t visualize playing a role outside of himself. Similar to how I can’t see any of Steve Carrell’s movies without seeing Michael Scott.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:19 PM)
    @Bam Yup, asking for money online is flawed in almost every way from the donor’s point of view, a lot of my former art history degree friends have taken to Patreon in a last ditch effort to float their poor career choice.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:46 PM)
    With synecdoche it has the benefit of Hoffman’s performance and to get it you just have to “Feel it”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:45 PM)
    Adaptation is one of those films with Nicholas Cage where you really wish he’d do more of, I wasn’t expecting that to go so off the rails near the end.
    Being John Malkovich, I dug the crazily creative premise.
    Anomalisa felt so human that the characters are puppets you can easily forget that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:42 PM)
    @Bam: I really want to use Urotsukidouji as my reasoning for why more messed up stuff should be adapted, namely kara no shoujo but the industry will just never be that hardcore anymore.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.

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