Posted by psgels on 27 October 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




The first Gaiden series was pretty much what you’d expect it to be: small and big side-stories focusing on Reinhart’s past. The second gaiden series promised to focus on Yang Wenli’s past (who by the way was my favorite character of the main series). It however did not turn out to be as I expected.

First of all, in Yang’s past there was always one event that really kept mentioned over and over again: the things he did on the planet of El Facil. It was one of the core themes of the series as it looked at what it means to be a hero. I expected a very detailed look at it, but instead the creators end up breezing through it in one single episode.

This is just a small nit-pick, though. Spiral Lbyrinth starts off with a huge 14-episode arc, and in that arc is invaluable for Yang’s character. It shows who he was as a kid and how he ended up in the military, along with how he grew. Where the big arc in the first Gaiden Series was typical LoGH, this one is far from it, and it turns into a historical analysis that’s very interesting to watch unfold. When the arc ended, I was really looking forward to see some more small back-stories of the guy to close off the series…

… and suddenly the show goes back to Reinhart again. In fact, Yang only appears in one more episode after that. It’s like the creators were thinking “No! The people want more Reinhart!” The last number of arcs of this series are still good, but overall they don’t match up to the rest of the series, especially when you compare them to the short arcs of the first gaiden series. They’ve got nice ideas, and especially the retriever has an interesting premise, but a little too often they just deal with Reinhart trying to deal with dumb nobles and officers. It doesn’t add as much as the first gaiden season. Thankfully the final two-episode arc is a great point to end the series with, and connect everything together.

Now, this series actually has a different animation team than a Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights. The two Gaiden series were at one point actually produced right next to each other. The team behind the main series seemed to have taken care of the first, while the second has a noticeably different art style. This art style unfortunately is a bit less successful in hiding the animation flaws in the character models, and it’s also a bit too full of intrusive CG (yes, this was produced around the year 2000. 12 whopping years after the series started).

Overall LoGH can be divided into six major arcs, including the Gaiden series. Unfortunately, the final one seems the weakest one to me due to its reluctance to fully embrace its premise and how it didn’t set itself apart as much as the other arcs. I do have to say that the first half is a must-watch due to Yang’s background and I’d actually consider that one better than the big arc of the first Gaiden series.

Storytelling: 8/10 – The second half suffers a bit too much from repetition of morons surrounding Reinhart.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent background on Yang Wenli
Production-Values: 8/10 – Flawed, but thankfully not flawed enough to really impact the storytelling.
Setting: 9/10 – Still the same brilliant LoGH setting.

Suggestions:
Rose of Versailles
Hyouge Mono
Saiunkoku Monogatari

2 Responses

  1. Watcherzero says:

    Throughout all of LOGH Yang was a pretty underused charachter, I do think the Gaidans do a great job of explaining how Reinhardts sister got into her court position and the enemies out to get her for it.

    Incompetence on both sides is a recurring theme but I do get to wondering some times about the strategic balance. The Democratic state after a couple of centuries to establish itself launched a crusade against the feudal state even though it had between 3 and 5 times the resources and manpower and didnt even know the state founded by the escaped slaves existed. They must have originally had a technological or military edge because its said they were winning initially and then there was a long period of stalement with the corridor continually changing hands. But ultimatley they lost the technology race as their ships became far inferior, they lost the manpower war because they kept sending their men into the grinder and they lost the resource war when the empire decided they had become more than a nuisance and actually started to spend resources on winning the war once and for all.

    Ultimatley were they completley stupid for the relative strengths of the states to even start the war in the first place? they had a dynamic and prosperous state that was growing economically, demographically and technologically with plenty of unsettled planets for expansion room while the empire was stagnant, but they decided to launch a Barbarossa and suffered for it.

  2. evolstar says:

    “and suddenly the show goes back to Reinhart again.”

    I totally agree! I was so looking forward to a whole series focused on Yang only to get more Reinhard. I really think they missed an opportunity there but oh well. It’s hard to believe I was watching Pokemon and Digimon when this was airing. I’ve come so far since then :0

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 05:18 AM)
    Oh, awesome, dark horse is releasing volume 10 of black lagoon in April, its been nearly five years since the last complete volume…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think theres something seriously wrong when theres the actually possibility of there being a good PA works anime but we all have our opinions =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 03:13 AM)
    @Raggers, I will go into detail when I review it. But I think something is seriously wrong when I get a far more satisfying ending out of shirobako than Death parade.
    Looking forward to writing a review of shirobako too.
  • Raggers
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:56 AM)
    @Aidan: it wasn’t bad though. I think it suffered from too high expectations and lack of focus (or overreaching).
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Mar 29. 2015 02:29 AM)
    Well. Death parades ending was quite underwhelming.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:21 PM)
    Waiting between releases for this will be a good thing, its the sort of manga you pick up and put down, then go back to with breaks in between.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 11:13 PM)
    13 volumes into dorohedero, I’ve found it good enough to buy now that I’ve caught up with the official English releases. While the plot meaders and is kind of messy, isn’t up to much, I love how crazy the gory action is, the gritty artstyle/world and the black comedy more than well make up for it. It works best when focused on those masked gangster magician guys and also the main character, the others are only alright.
  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
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    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.

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