Re-Dive: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These: Episode I, The Phantom Bishonens

This is a series I didn’t know I would revisit, but I won’t complain that I did. A show that is so legendary among the fans who love it, yet hasn’t got the praise and attention it might deserve. After watching it again what do I think though? Well after the cut let’s take a dive into Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These and find out.

My previous thoughts on the series are right here.

Hot People War.

Like I said in my last post, so many years ago now. Heroes is a very old series, a relic of the Zero Era, a time where anime in the west was barely out of the womb. To many of the late 80s, it is the equivalent to whatever big named series you want to throw its way. Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, hell even Game of Thrones. I don’t know if it earns any of those titles, but the similarities are there. This is an epic story, with epic scope and larger than life characters.

But holy FUCK is it slow.

The first season, consisting of 12 episodes is the definition of a slow burn. Despite the absolutely gigantic space battles, literally thousands of ships, everything moves at a very slow and deliberate pace. If you have grown up with the fast paced life of shonen anime, then this is not something you will be used to. Moving from one side of the galaxy to the other and then back again as we follow two intertwined stories. On one side we have Reinhardt von Lohengramm, a brilliant young commander seeking to overthrown the Empire that condemned his sister to slavery. On the other we follow Yang Wen-li, the genius but passive officer that will rise through the ranks despite it being the last thing he wants. While one wants to change the world, the other is content to live within in, and their clash, along with everything around them will forever change the interstellar fate of humanity.

Reinhardt and Kircheis remain the two most interesting characters. A bromance bent on changing the world.

Much of this first season is focused on building up that premise, and we spend a lot of time setting up Yang and Reinhardt for the confrontations they and their allies will have. As expected of an epic, Heroes has an incredible large cast, with even one-off characters getting titles and names splashed against the screen. And while the series does point you towards the handful of characters who matter, it is clear that despite being a main character, this isn’t a singular focused narrative. Out of the two I can say I preferred more of the Reinhardt story, as his drive for revenge and relationship with his subordinates has far more meat to chew on. Yang meanwhile feels like he exists only to react to whatever his rival is doing, at least at this point.

Yang feels too much like a secondary character, despite sharing almost more screen time than Reinhardt. His motives aren’t as viewable.

In terms of action, Heroes is a beautifully animated show. While the original OVA maintained a consisted level of good animation for its time, it is still something made in the 80s and it shows. Heroes updated the world for a modern viewing, with a proper use of 3D for the space battles, and beautifully drawn backgrounds and characters for everything else. While I’m sure some will complain about the ‘bishonenification” of the characters, they do look far more attractive than their more realistic former selves. It works for the story they are trying to tell, and thankfully doesn’t overwhelm the story. These are pretty boys, but not too pretty.

If anything, this anime seriously commits to the scale of its battles. It really is a galactic conflict.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These is a good story that really only has gotten start. There is a second season and a series of movies coming up, so I am sure its conclusion will come. When it does I am sure people will fall in love with this series, because there is a lot of love here. A slow gripping plot of war and warriors, I can’t say much without getting into big spoilers. Whether or not it lives up to the original has yet to be seen, but so far this is a space epic that is worth checking out. Give it a look for yourself and see what you think. Just be prepared for a lot of ships shooting lasers at each other.

So many lasers. So many.

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