OP: 「Binary Star」by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:Uru
「永遠の夜の中で」 (Eien no yoru no naka de)
“In the Eternal Night”
Excuse me while I squee like a fangirl for a moment, but it’s here! It’s finally here! Ever since a remake for Legend of the Galactic Heroes (LotGH) was announced back in 2015 me and other fans of the series have been itching like mad to see how it would build on the timeless original, and while there were numerous concerns heading in (some of which are discussed below), there’s no denying it was hyped something fierce. This is one reboot some of us have been waiting a long time for, and it’s finally here.
For the unconverted (well, uninitiated, it’ll hook you yet), LotGH as described in the handy dandy RC Preview is one of Japan’s preeminent space operas. It takes place in the far off future where humanity has colonized a chunk of the Milky Way mid- and outer rim, with this territory split between the warring Galactic Empire and Free Planets Alliance (FPA), and a small neutral state called Fezzan which will become very important before too long. This series is an epic in the truest sense of the word, as the future of nations and people come down to single decisions and twists of chance that yield consequences far outstripping the imaginations of all those involved. As the Empire and FPA battle it out for domination the fortunes of characters will rise and fall and before too long the fate of all will come down not to who’s involved, but who is left standing. Oh yes, LotGH goes that far.
With that very brief synopsis said, how well does the opener stack up to the original? So far at least, not that terribly. The animation as can be expected of Production I.G is on point, and while 3D CGI is heavily prevalent, it’s definitely better than Polygon’s work with Souten no Ken this season and well-suits the battles LotGH will feature prominently. Likewise the music has nothing on the original’s classical arrangements and OP/ED, but hey it’s early days yet, we got time. The main issue instead will boil down to character designs. There’s no escaping this issue, it’s been a thorn ever since the artwork and voice actors list appeared, and what we saw this episode won’t help the debate. While the original LotGH had its share of bishounens—specifically Reinhardt and Siegfried—the changes to a few here are jarring to say the least. It’s not as bad as I personally thought it would be (my man Merkatz for example still looks exactly like he should: like my old mustached molecular biology prof), but Reinhardt definitely lost the boyish touch he had in the original, and Siegfried could be all but a brand new character. For long-time fans this will take some getting used to, which is not helped either by the voice actor selection. Umehara Yuuichirou as Siegfried works fine as the (spoiler) loyal best friend, but Miyano Mamoru’s Reinhardt for me so far cannot match Horikawa Ryo in the role. I will say though that Suzumura Kenichi, from the little heard, makes for a great Yang Wenli, lazy confidence and all.
Plot-wise too the initial results aren’t all that bad. This episode more or less covers the first episode of the original, with the only real change being the episode-long focus on Reinhardt and the Imperial side. It’s likely next week will give us the FPA perspective and, most importantly, Yang Wenli’s introduction as well as the start of what will be LotGH’s most important conflict: the battle of minds between Reinhardt and Yang. If the pacing holds up key details for this and other developments will be revealed before too long, but for the moment keep in mind the Imperial leadership calling the FPA “rebels”, Siegfried’s closeness with Reinhardt, and that mention of Reinhardt’s sister—these facts will be critically important in future developments, especially when it comes to Reinhardt and what he’s personally after. Likewise some characters here such as Merkatz and Fahrenheit are worth paying attention to, because I guarantee their future roles aren’t what you’re expecting in the slightest. This episode barely scratches the surface of one hell of a deep pool, and I cannot wait to see how this version plays out.
Stick around boys and girls, there’s a lot more to LotGH than meets the eye and next week is going to give us the first real taste. There’s a lazy historian ready for his big debut, and the stage in question couldn’t get any better.
ED: 「WISH」by ELISA