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 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.
  • ANIME CAMPUS
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 07:27 PM)
    Durarara!!x2 Shou Episode 8 | Anime Campus
    Watch English Subbed, Subbed, Sub.
  • BrendanVGC
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 06:22 PM)
    Hey guys, any good seinen manga you can recommend me? Im not talking about crap like Death Note or anything like Gantz.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:46 AM)
    Wait, wait scratch that, that was an old article/rumour…feck…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:39 AM)
    @Bam: I was quite fond of Gillian Andersons character.
    Apparently Laurence Fishburne wants to quit the show =<
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:44 AM)
    I really enjoyed Alana Bloom’s shadow transformation during the season two hypnotherapy sessions. I thought was visually stunning and thematically relevant. Bryan Fuller has managed to gather quite a bit of talent around himself in the recent years, but Mads is undeniably both the egg that holds this cake together as well the cherry that’s sitting on the top.

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