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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  • wicked
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 07:26 PM)
    Fire dragon arc! Fire dragon dies in the 5th episode
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.

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