Posted on 19 October 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

This really wasn’t the best way for me to pop back into blogging for a while if I am to be frank. It’s not hard to shake off the rust but to walk into the middle of a series I watched a year ago which has a cast and political landscape to dwarf a star which also happens to be a remake of a series I watched years before is quite the confusing task. I have to watch the show while I untangle the conundrum of where the previous series ended the story at, how far in the timeline of the old series it has gotten and figuring out who is who between old and new character designs. LOGH is not a show to be watched weekly to begin with but to watch it in between months to even years at a time? Time to give up and look at a fanwiki for a reminder. As for this “movie” it has gotten the treatment of being released as episodes on crunchyroll and my intention was to wait for all the episodes to drop and review it as a movie. However upon watching this “movie” I realize that the production values haven’t risen at all and this really is just another four episodes of the TV series marked as a movie. This is most definitely not a standalone feature as it is a direct continuation of the story and never uses a three act structure or even attempt a movie climax or finale. I can see why it was cut into episodes as I expected the cuts between episodes to be jarring and choppy only to find that it fit like a glove. Perhaps the idea of having the new episodes be movies was to get a irregular release schedule much like the original OVA which was direct to video releases generally put out in two year spans with year gaps in between. It took nearly a decade(9 Years) to complete which has me wondering if we will need another decade to see the end of Die Neue These provided that it even gets to conclude.

So the main plot of this batch of episodes is to finish of the battle we were left with in the original series…I mean the original remake of the series..um..the last one that came out and detailing the beginning of a giant power struggle within the Empire as the emperor has died without naming a successor. If my knowledge of the old series is correct this may have even been an intentional move by the emperor as he seemed to deem his reign the last in the dynasty and likely was aware of what discord him not naming a successor would cause. Though I believe it’s not directly stated. So the ones up for the throne are a blond brat and two spoiled daughters of concubines which all are fairly unsuitable to the throne. The fathers of the daughters seemingly promising every noble under the sun that they can marry her if they support their daughter as empress which turn up for nought as the brat is made emperor. All hail his five year old majesty. Pretty much everyone is seeing the writing on the walls and the Goldenbaum dynasty is about to tear itself apart and Reinhard is setting up his gambit to take the crown. Including an exchange of hostages with the Free Planets Alliance to plant spies to stir up a coup d’état, so that they would be too busy trying to resolve that rather than take advantage of the empires power struggle. Yang is perfectly aware of the plan is warning the right people to try and stop it. The particular interesting part is that Yang also had the idea of sending spies to the empire in order to do the same thing but didn’t due to it being against his nature. Which does show the true difference between him and Reinhard as while Reinhard is determined to resort to any means necessary to reach his goals, Yang is the pragmatic fellow who takes into account the moral implications of his actions alongside the results of them. As a man of history I would say he more than any else knows that those in the future will judge them by their actions. Or just that Yang just isn’t as determined as Reinhard, poor man just wants his pay and brandy filled tea. I can relate to that on a spiritual level.

We see the first appearance of the Earth cult, a group who have defied the Earth and have turned it into a religion. In the old series I was never fond of the earth cult as in a series with factions with multi personal goals and varying morality, the Earth Cult where the most one note, blatantly evil group in the series. A band of religious extremists to throw in the odd terrorists to shake things up. A few attempts in the old series were made to make them have a little more depth but ultimately they just boiled down to crazy religious people. It’s not that I am saying there are not groups in reality that mirror them but within fiction it just makes them a rather lazy plot device. Meanwhile bringing back the man who fled from El Facil and having Reinhard convert him into a spy is a rather nice way of tying things together. I do like how he was converted as well, I mean his honor is gone, his reputation is in tatters and he’s got nothing really left to lose so why not turn traitor and nab a position in Reinhard’s fleet? Of course I have my doubts as to whether Reinhard will actually give it to him, considering that he tends to pick people smart enough to smell the roses. His recruitment of the person who tried to kidnap his sister is evidence of that. In regards to the rebels themselves it’s a fascinating situation where these people are clearly being manipulated by Reinhard and yet the points they make and the reasons for their actions is rather solid. I mean the system is corrupt, there is no doubt about that and even more so with the human trash that calls itself Job Trunicht in charge thanks to his move to not support the plan that was doomed to failure. Amusing that all these idiots supported the plan in order to stay in office and yet it’s the very thing that got them kicked out. So these at least seem to be people with their hearts in the right place…well except for Fork whose very clearly still holding a grudge against Yang and learned nothing from his foolhardy attack plan. Well regardless of whether they succeed or fail these people’s fates seem set to accomplish nothing. It’s all well and good to have a plan to destroy the system but not great when you don’t have a clear idea on how to replace it.

So both parties of the war look to be taking a ceasefire so they can fight themselves for a bit and the last episode introduces miss Hildegard von Mariedorf who is to gain a much bigger role later down the line and already showing that she knows the political landscape enough to bet on Reinhard coming out on top. So this “movie” ends with Reinhard about to launch an attack on the nobles who have banded together to usurp the throne. With this we have made it up to episode 18 of the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes and considering that there is 110 episodes in the original series, I don’t think I will be seeing the end of this for a very long time. It could very well take another decade to complete it or potentially even more so and that is ultimately the point that has me conflicted. Nothing in these four episodes was bad, in fact it remained intriguing throughout but this is just the tiniest part of a much larger story. LOGH is a story that needs to be binged as the amount it requires you to remember and the connections between all the characters is something that is difficult to continue to be enraptured by on a stop and go basis. Indeed while watching these episodes just as I got my bearings and started to immerse myself in the political intrigue, it was over. By the time it starts again I will need to go through the same process of trying to recall just what was happening. The old series had the right idea of dropping 25 or so episodes at a time as that could tide the viewer over until the next batch arrives. But in these four episode increments, well it’s over before it even begins.

Posted on 20 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

The majority of this episode was detailing the plan and execution of Yangs takeover of Iserlohn which does seem rather simplistic when you think about it. This is a point where LOGH shows its age a bit and while they tried to bump it up by throwing in a body scanner, there is still the rather grievous oversight of the control room not being monitored at all from the outside. For such a key part of the fortress it sure is light of security but you can forgive this a bit and they still managed to make it somewhat feasible. One thing I miss from the OVA was Yang moving his ships around to put pressure on the captain to let the Rozenlitter through security checks. Mainly because it shows that Yang at least had some part in the plan where as here it seems to all come down to the Rozenlitter getting through security and holding the commander hostage. Sure Yang had some part in leading the other commander away but the plan sure seems simple when you have an overview of it.

The aftermath of Yangs victory was certainly somber though as the other commander returns to launch a suicidal assault against the captured Iserlohn. In another show his warriors pride would be considered admirable but here it really shows the utter arrogance of it. This man was dooming millions to die over his pride and even as Yang fired shots to convince him to flee, he still kept pressing onward. I am reminded of the Kiritsugu way of thought where he talking of dressing up killing and war with glory and chilivery. Indeed Yang took Iserlohn without losing any of his own men. But there were men of those ships Yag shot down with Thor’s hammer. And that was no small number of men. So it’s to see that Yang doesn’t take pride in his victory and to him he did his job and nothing more than that. Walking away regretting he was force to kill in order to do it.

We also see the introduction of a third natural party to the conflict, the planet Fezzan who are definatly going to play a role in future events. So now can Yang retire to a peaceful life of drinking bourbon in a teacup….oh Yang. It is always rather amusing that Yang seems to underestimate his own worth and that is likely the factor that causes him to overlook his inherent value to the FPA. Sorry Yang, you ain’t retiring early anytime soon. So bloody hell Julian let him have his alcohol, he’s earned it.

Posted on 11 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

Thus we have the introduction of the rozenlitter, the badass close quarter combat specialists of Yangs party lead by the suave Walter who’s looking rather different in this adaption. He certainly looks a lot fierer here as opposed to his more charismatic look in the OVA. I suppose this new look matches with his demeanor in combat with is up close and personal but it doesn’t quite mesh with his womanising side. So not much to say about this episode as it’s mainly Yang preparing to take on Isoldon fortress and it being pointed out just how much of a ridiculous order it is. We got Greenhill introduced who’s judo throwing a guy just to show that she don’t need no man but yeah expect her role to mainly be Yangs secretary.

It’s great seeing the Rozenlitter and pointing out them to be former members of the Empire and thus rather untrustworthy due to the betrayals of the force in the past. However I notice the severe lack of battle axes in the training they are doing which is disappointing because those axes are what made the Rozenlitter so badass. I hope they haven’t replaced them with standard laser shootouts but it could just be because they are on earth instead of space where the axes are more relevant. It’s generally a bad idea to use lasers in spaceships due to the danger of compromising the atmosphere of the ship, hence the return of good old melee combat.

Honestly this was something I was worried about when covering this series, namely that at times there may not be much for me to comment on. It’s not that nothing happened this episode as quite a bit did. But rather it’s difficult to comment on it because it’s generally fairly straightforward planning. Yang had to talk a bit about his aspirations to Walter in order to get him on his side and i noticed that Walter was very much probing him to see if he was gunning for glory. Only to be shocked at his general declaration that he wants to grab Isolron to help set up a peace treaty between the empire and FPA so he can retire with a nice pension. Considering the FPA general attitude towards pacifism it is likely surprising to Walter to hear a high ranking officer talk about alternatives to sending millions to their death for glory. With the next episode we shall see how this whole gambit turns out.

Posted on 3 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

Now this was the part of the original OVA series that I really started to get interested in LOGH though in that this was episode 3. I find it great that neither Reinhards nor Yangs society is perfect so there is no real villain in regards to the two sides. No side is effectively more right because both have their positives and negatives. The Empire is good if you are born Nobility but otherwise the class divide has a hefty amount of unfair privileges and prejudice. The Free Planets Alliance allows for personal freedom…assuming of course that person is supporting the war and doesn’t have pacifist sentiments. Both are essentially a dictatorship, just that one is more open about it while the other hides it under a false pretense of equality. Nothing shows this more than the politician Truniht making a impassioned speech at a funeral about the glory of dying for your country and how people should aid in the war against the empire. Jessica Edwards certainly made a good point in interrupting that speech by pointing out that what he is saying is true but is highly hypocritical when Truniht and his loved ones remain safely outside of the war while others go to die for their country. It’s all well and good to praise the guillotine as being a honorable death but you better be willing to put your head under it if you want your words to hold weight.

But boy, Truniht truly is a slimy politician that makes me hate him all over again. He just has that absolute insincerity and greed. Topped off with his own personal army which is disguised as a radical nationalist group whom remove anyone who poses the slightest risk to his influence, he truly is the kind of creature I would love to toss out an airlock. So I relish any opportunity for people to piss him off, be it Jessica pointing out his hypocrisy or Yang refusing to stand and applaud his speech. It is interesting to note that the officer that berated Yang for not standing up is the same officer who assaulted his home leading the PKC. On that I will say that the anime didn’t quite do a good job explaining why the PKC gave up so easily. It wasn’t just because they were sprayed with water but also because that activated the fire control system and called the police to Yangs house. Julian certainly is making himself at home though at this point in time he’s been living there for quite a while. The remake does a better job of showing how young Julian was while in the OVA he looked more like a young man than a teenager. Got to say that both of them were quite calm in handling the whole situation of the PKC throwing a grenade through the window. Almost as if it was a regular occurrence.

So Yang is given his next mission to capture Isolation Fortress, which has quite a big role throughout the series. I think next episode will go into detail as to why this fortress is so important so I won’t explain why but this mission is really risky. It’s like an ultimatum to Yang, either pull off something no one ever has and win more accolades or die in battle so as to not be a thorn in Truniht’s side. Yet Yang always responds with the attitude of a salaryman going to another day of work. I rather liked the small moment where Yang held a broken piece of a plate in his hand after the PKC attack, remarking that it was the only genuine thing his father had. Suggesting that his father was a bit of a conman with his merchandise. From the look of next episode it seems we are not getting back to Reinhard yet and instead be seeing how Yang handles his unreasonable mission.

Posted on 27 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

With the previous episode we got the backstory of Reinhard and with episode and the next we are getting the backstory of Yang. I know it’s likely a rather typical response to the “Who is my favorite character from LOGH?” but I really do love Yang. This episode actually did a better job of introducing him than the previous series did as before his past was relegated to a prequel series made afterwards. The pacing was a bit fast but otherwise this does a great job of setting up Yangs character. Yang is a man who wants to study history but finds himself more often than not forced to make it. Almost a polar opposite of Reinhard, he isn’t an overachiever and is lazy to a fault while only harboring the ambition to use the military as a means to obtain a paycheck so he can study history. Yet because he’s such a history buff he has a gift for tactical strategy which unfortunately pushes him up the ranks and some serious bad luck. For example she was positioned in the military at El Facil in this episode and found himself in lead command after the army abandoned the people. Though his wit he managed to use the escaping army as a decoy and evacuated the population. Now this event was still a big loss for the Free Planets Alliance but to divert attention away from that they focused public attention on Yangs evacuation and thus he was propelled to the status of the Hero of El Facil.

Honestly I love his demeanor of calm easy going mood even during the most dire of situations while still being rather socially awkward. This episode mainly set up his love for history and his friendship with Jessaia and Jean. I particularly liked how Yang tended to support Jean in pursuing Jessica romantically while signifying that he too may harbor romantic feelings for her. If there was certainly something I adored from the OVA series it was Yangs speeches on history and in this episode his opinion(Or rather his dad’s opinion) on Rudolf is oddly chilling. “People supported him…because they wanted their lives to be easy”, “Rather than solving their problems on their own, they were waiting for some superhero or saint to show up and take it all on single handedly. Rudolf took advantage of that”…my friends do these words seem oddly relevant? For these are lines taken word from word from a novel written in the 1980’s. Thus much like Yangs opinion on strategy, If one knows the past then it makes you better at predicting the future.

Now I have heard complaints that the strategy in this series is somewhat dependent on rather obvious tactics made brilliant by the incompetence of the opponent and I do see where that is coming from. It was rather odd that the best student in the school had the basic strategy of fighting Yang head on without considering to defend his supply lines. However while I admit the tactics of this show are a bit basic, I have two points which I feel negates that somewhat. One is that this series isn’t really about the space battles themselves but rather the politics around them so high level strategy isn’t so much needed when it’s the outcome of the battle on the political landscape which matters to the overall plot. The second point is that there is some claim that the author based these battles on real historical battles which I too suspected so. As I stated previously, stupid people in high positions is quite the common theme within history, you would be rather shocked how often it comes up. So I find the idea of Yang and Reinhard facing incompetent commanders to be at least fairly feasible. As a final note, the last episode showed us that the Galactic Empire has is dark sides to it’s society and this episode does give a glimpse that the Free Planets Alliance has its fair share of darkness too. While less constrictive that the Empire and closer to our current society, there is mention of a war orphans provision which basically amounts to soldiers being able to raise orphans and have a loan lent out by the Government. Then when the kid turns 15 they can veto the payback of the loan by joining the military. Essentially grooming war orphans into future soldiers. A democracy the Free Planets Alliance may be, but it is one that makes becoming a soldier the most attractive and in some cases, only option.

Posted on 19 April 2018 with categories: Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These

If I was to judge this adaption based solely on the first three episodes I would declare it a resounding success. For while I do really like the old series, it does have a rather slow start. I say i only truly got invested in it around episode 3 or 4 when the more political side of the story surfaced. However the remake here has managed to spice up the space battles with new effects and the presentation of the story is better. The first episode introduced us to only one side of the conflict, thus not overburdening the viewer by jumping around between two vastly different sides with a whole host of characters. Then the second episode introduced the other side which provided a nice transition between the differences in command and a solid introduction to our two leads with vastly different combat styles. I would berate this series for having stupid commanders who ignore their subordinates good suggestions and continue being utterly arrogant…but actual history does seem to have a recurring theme of having really stupid people in high positions screwing things up. I at least appreciate that the commander handed the reins over to Yang once he was taken out of the picture and acknowledged that he was the only man who could get them out of this. It shows that even if he was prideful and idiotic for ignoring Yangs suggestions, he still was a good person. I admit I found it quite humorous for Yang to turn the battle into a game of chasing tails only for Reinhard to retreat cause he hated how dumb the battle had become.

Our story here has a large scope but generally it jumps between two viewpoints. That of Reinhard and that of Yang. The third episode focused on Reinhard first and when watched the old series I found that I much prefer Yangs viewpoint over Reinhards. Mostly because the situation Yang was dealing with was more interesting and Yang overall was a far more interesting protagonist. Reinhard has his draw but I just didn’t quite find his personality as charming. So it really is a merit of the old series to get me to be engaged with parts of the story I once found my attention wander with. True this could be a product of foreknowledge and since I know what happens I have become more engaged in how the plot reaches that point. But I do feel like the presentation here is really working to keep people immersed. Of course that does not mean that this is top tier animation as during talking scenes it can be the bare essentials but even then we got subtle face movements. The animation of the old series was quite basic so from a animation standpoint there wasn’t much to look at. Here there is greater polish to the scenes which I feel really nails down getting the main points across to the viewer. By episodes end you know Reinhard’s ambition, why he wants to do it and his friendship with Kircheis. As well as the general social structure of the empire which to boil it down, would likely be the result if Hitler won WWII. The old series will always be relevant for having for details but I felt this new series could make for a good compromise for those not willing to watch 110 episodes of content. I even get a better sense for Kircheis’s and Reinhards friendship as in the old series I was never was quite sold on their friendship. To me it felt like more of a master and servant association which Kircheis put up with cause he wanted to bang Annerose. Not saying he doesn’t want the same thing here but at least you can get a sense that he is following Reinhard for more than just Annerose.

I like the opening of this series as it’s a rather different kind of opening from what we usually get, being a ballad instead of forgettable Jpop. But as the chorus of the song played I couldn’t help getting nostalgic as something sounded very similar. I had to rack my brain just to remember it but I finally found out why. The reason is that the chorus of this song is a blatant ripoff of the 1987 hit by Starship “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. I don’t know if it was intentional or purely coincidental but the two songs are near identail when it comes to the chorus. Truth be told I am not sure if I care though as the song sounds good, I just hope it’s more an intentional homage than lazy composition. Truly if I were to fault this series for something it would be the character designs and yes I believe this will be something I will harp on about throughout the series. Some of the designs I can get behind but I rather dislike how it makes everyone look so much younger. Even old characters feel like they have perfect skin and were varnished to a mirror sheen. The reason this is a big issue for me is that the greatest victim of these designs is Yang Wenli as in the old series he felt like a middle aged veteran and thus when he starts talking history or strategy, it felt like it was coming from someone experienced with life. With his HD makeover he still sounds smart but he lost an important characteristic of his manner. It could be just my fondness for his old design but I really did like the way that Yang was like a tired middle aged man who was sick of the worlds crap and just trying to make the best out of a rather terrible situation he was forced into.

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