OP Sequence

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 Sequence




  1. My expectations going in were fairly low. And while this first episode isn’t nearly so good as the first episode of the OVA, and though I feel the OVA is superior in nearly every respect (especially starship design and combat animation) I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not great… but it IS good, which is more than we could have asked for, I think. I also appreciate that it’s being a bit more liberal with the source material than the OVA: making Yang into this shadowy, anonymous figure was a great way to establish some tension and give our favorite “magician” an air of mystique that the OVAs (and novels, for that matter) were never able to do.

    I’ve seen some people express concerns about the length of the series, but if this episode is any indication, it looks like DNT is going to follow the novels proper whereas the OVA also incorporated content from the garden stories, so I don’t see that being a problem.

    My only substantive criticism is Yang’s voice actor, who sounds to similar to OVA Yang. With both voices seeming so alike one another, it’s hard NOT to immediately categorize one as better. And, sorry, but OVA Yang’s voice is iconic. Really wish they’d gone in a different direction there.

    Anyway, all things considered, I’m excited for the future. Considering Lupin III also started VERY strong, here’s hoping the other big “revival” project this season (FMP) is equally good.

    1. Who is Reuenthal’s VA this time? He’s the only character whose change of voice would annoy me. Wakamoto is legendary. Heck my username refers to Reuenthal.
      Also the way battles are depicted is welcome, very dynamic and adds a new layer of appreciation to the premise of tens of thousands of ships beam-spamming the crap out of each other. That first wave of beams was awesome.
      Will you keep blogging this show Pancake? I know this season is very busy but I’d love to see LotGH covered.

      1. Oh yes I’m blogging this one all the way through. There’s no way I’d turn up the chance to ramble on about ridiculous 19th Century military tactics in space and enough meaty political philosophy to choke a cow.

        This show is my bae 😛

    2. Totally agree about the mystique, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Suzumura Kenichi (of The Garden of Sinners fame) did try to imitate the tone of Tomiyama Kei. I like that “intellectual” tone and don’t want anything else.

      I didn’t like the opening of this episode and the CG, but the battle at the end is very intense and is very satisfying. This is perhaps one of the few aspects where the new series is superior to the OVA.

      Pancakes seems to dislike the voice acting of Miyano Mamoru, but I think Miyano was doing great. Note that the new Reinhardt not only sounds gloomier than the old one, but also looks gloomier. I believe this is a result of the director’s direction and Miyano just executed it perfectly. That said, I still prefer the old Reinhardt to the new one. Reinhardt is not a mad scientist, but he should look brighter and more ambitious, at least at this stage. The new one is just too reserved.

      The suffocated
    3. Definitely agreed, I was honestly expecting a hatchet job going all in on visual appeal at the expense of material (i.e. the bishounen fears), but this opener allayed many of those concerns. The pacing firmly suggests we won’t suffer from a condensed story (even if the show is only 12 episodes), and the characterization so far indicates little deviation from the original personalities. This IMO is a good thing, as the quirky/romantic natures of Yang and Reinhardt are what made LotGH so damn great in the first place.

      As for voice actors I think I’m the oddball among everyone. As with the Suffocated I love the fact Suzumura is trying to replicate Tomiyama’s acting, it keeps Yang as I came to like him for and makes the “update” go down easier. Miyano though dispenses with the original boyish drive and idealism I associate with the original Reinhardt, something Reinhardt had in abundance until Show Spoiler ▼

      It’s jarring because Reinhard seems (funnily enough) too old at the moment for this stage in the story and what’s to come. My personal opinion though, I bet quite a few others have their own impressions of those wonderful golden locks 😛

  2. I was rather hoping for something that had, well, moved with the times a bit. OK, so I guess it’s still following the novels, but surely they let women into space at least in the Alliance fleet now. And space still seems to be two-dimensional. Please note, dear Director, although you can indeed be encircled by three forces in space, you cannot be “surrounded” by them as you can always escape by going up or down relative to the plane they are occupying.

    So basically, I’m concerned that they are going for too slavish a remake. If they are then they’ll fail miserably because (presumably) they don’t have 100+ episodes to play with.

    1. Well….this work is still heavily supervised by Yoshiki Tanaka himself (the writer) and his foundation, so any changes is still need to go through him for approvement. It’s not like they (the anime studio) can just easily add plenty of original female charas left and right without Tanaka’s approvement and making any big changes in terms of story/plot from the original sources (novel).

    2. Nah, I much prefer the 2D-space space opera, thank you very much.

      A truly 3D space battle, if Homeworld, EVE online and Gundam animes are anything to go by, will look messy and chaotic to the extreme, and thus lose all sense of grandness and greatness.

      1. I think Iain M. Banks’s books had the most realistic space battles – they are all waged by AIs, and typically take just a few milliseconds as the opposing forces are travelling at very high speed and don’t have time to slow down. Afterwards, the AIs show the survivors a slo-mo replay so they can see what happened, if they are interested.

      2. @Angelus
        There’s a lot of fantastic hard sci-fi these days dealing with realistic space warfare, with John J. Lumpkin’s Human Reach series being my personal favourite. The Atomic Rockets website in particular maintains a definitive list on all hard sci-fi fiction.

        The important thing to remember about LotGH though is it’s not about the battles themselves. The tactics as I’ll start delving into next week once Yang is introduced are basically Napoleonic warfare against a space backdrop. Ships stand in for individual infantry/cavalry/cannons, admirals (generals) and their charisma/gravitas have an overbearing impact on ship (troop) morale, and every battle comes down to who made the most correct tactical choice at the right moment. It’s all about eking as much pathos and catharsis out of the audience as possible as the characters (dramatically) struggle towards their ultimate objectives.

        Hoping for realistic battles here IMO is the wrong thing to do, LotGH as made very evident this week will continue to be all about the rise and fall of states and individuals both. Warfare is simply another variable in determining who comes out on top.

      3. @Angeles With regard to speed, the space battles in Aldnoah.Zero are closer to what you’ve described. I like that kind of fights, but the style is perhaps not suitable for fleet battles.

        The suffocated
      4. Regarding space warfare, Starship Operators deserves mention, even though the battles are of a far smaller scale. One problem with large fleet battles is the sense of detachment, as ships are reduced to mere statistics.

        As for incompetent commanders, the Admiral from Majestic Prince comes to mind. Fortunately he gets booted out after suffering a few humiliating defeats.

        Magnus Tancred
      5. Yes, Starship Operators is the only anime I can recall offhand that tried to go for some kind of relatively realistic space combat. One of those shows that IMHO is unjustly forgotten.

    3. I’m definitely hoping to see more female background characters with the Alliance. As for the Empire, that doesn’t really bother me. They’re a deliberately anachronistic totalitarian regime… it wouldn’t make sense for them to be even a little tolerant of universal civil rights.

      I mean, they’re basically an intergalactic superpower based entirely on Amish labor.

      1. I wouldn’t label the Empire totalitarian personally, authoritarian with an absolutist streak certainly, but nowhere near the level of Hitler or Stalin. There’s a significant difference between maintaining control and actively trying to homogenize a society both publicly and privately.

        It will be interesting see how much sex/gender composition changes though, I imagine the FPA at minimum will feature a few more female faces in keeping with the times.

    4. I was rather hoping for something that had, well, moved with the times a bit. OK, so I guess it’s still following the novels, but surely they let women into space at least in the Alliance fleet now.

      Well, the empire is based in ninetenth century. Not a lot the movement there. 😛 Anyway, Show Spoiler ▼

      Please note, dear Director, although you can indeed be encircled by three forces in space, you cannot be “surrounded” by them as you can always escape by going up or down relative to the plane they are occupying.

      Yes, you can surrounde anything in space. You only need to make a sphere with the enemy inside of it.
      Anyway, moving in 3D have problems too. Show Spoiler ▼

      In a nutshell, when the two navies know each other position, they will start the battle one in front of the other.

    5. The sexism even in the Free Planets is part of the problems the series brings up as a problem. Early days the faster than light drive sterilized females and then the Empire happened and reset everything to how it was in Prusa 1700’s. Basically, it was the author’s way of bringing the free planets to the state in the 80’s when he wrote the book with women only starting to make gains.
      Yes, you can encircle in Space. I would have liked it to be a triangle set up of fleets, not a line but otherwise, it works out the same you go for one and hope the fools don’t know the counter. And they make clear that in the past only the side dividing its forces had won space battles. In part because originally the dividing side remembered to have it’s counter ready. The Empire got crushed last time by the Free side doing exactly what they doing now.
      One counter is whatever force the smaller force rushes withdraws and even runs away if necessary while the other two merge on the rear of the single rushing enemy. Works 3-D as well. Both sides are using walls of battles a very space-like thing.
      I use massive jamming of similar thinking things like AI in my Sci Fi to leave something for humans to do. This sort of like this story a superiority of jamming over countermeasures is stated reducing the options to more primitive ones.
      I would like to see how organized EVE formations could get if only full-timers commanded ships and had time to drill their formations over and over. Still needs collision damage and somewhat faster ship movement to get fluid.

    1. The author did not only borrow from land battles. I hear that many naval engagements influenced. The author is an expert in Chinese and Persian history so I figure a lot of what we think are Nepolionic battles in some case are probably Chinese and Persian. Have to check but I assume, Yi Sun-sin’s Korean General and Admiral super genius thrashing of the Japanise despite being hideously outnumbered at times comes into play. Oar based fleet battle in many ways resemble land battles and probably is why Yi Sun-sin coming from winning land battles did so well on the water. Age of Sail gets tricky but there are some modern engagements that have some resemblance things in this story including the US Navy on the rivers of Vietnam.
      Love when I learned the winning German tactics in WWII were not some new thing the Allies thought they were. The winning German tactics were traditional German cavalry tactics with speeds modified to match the new vehicles and air power treated as forms of light cavalry and horse-drawn artillery that could travel on a new 3rd way. And the decisive nature of tempo of operations comes from ancient China as pointed out in the Author’s Persian epic. Allies beat in WWII, not by something new but something old just tinkered with a bit. It is sort of amazing that even Ancient battles often have strong resemblances to way more modern ones.
      This stories Yang and Paton have similarity in that both spent years in libraries studying military history. Also, sort of sad how the incompetence of some comanders never gets better.

      1. Allies were a bunch of pozzed faggots. You want actual maneuver warfare for the real manly men, you read on the Eastern Front, and not something written by butthurt yankee trash.

  3. I feared the worst but this first episode of the remake is one I can get behind on. Some people are too wedded to the original. I love the origonal OVA series but this is an opportunity to rebuild and introduce this epic to a new generation of anime watchers. I am prepared as can be to get gut-pumched and have my heart broken twice again.

    1. It’s going to be really interesting seeing just how far this remake gets if the pacing set this week keeps up. A lot of the crazy events and changes in circumstance happened after the halfway mark in the original, so god only knows where they plan on leaving off here. Oh yes, I cannot wait to find out lol.

      1. Sorry for the late reply

        in Star Wars it is an rumor that the Imperator was “data link” the entire impearl fleet, and with his death all te remaining fleet feel into chaos.. similar with the “data link” here

        But it is strange, i bet everybody saw on their own radars the income laser shooting, but where afraid to raise their own shields up.. do their value their own life so low?

  4. The character design is not quite sitting well with me. Reinhardt just doesn’t look like Reinhardt anymore.

    But that said, I am still excited to see where this goes. I think as long as they keep the scope to a few battles and don’t go till the bitter end this will be fine.

    1. Fully agreed, as I mentioned in the comments above Reinhard just seems too rugged at the moment, as though he’s been bruised a few times and is now “sharper” for it. Right now he’s supposed to be animated and ever so slightly arrogant, something only dispelled within in later on once “certain events” transpire. Right now he just doesn’t have the same feeling I’ve come to expect, but hey, there’s still plenty of time 😛

      1. I wonder if they are trying to go the manga path. If I remember correctly in the manga he started being a bit bitter and cautious already.

        I can’t wait to meet the people who sides with him!! He builds such a great team of supporters! And the side characters were awesome!

        As you can tell (ha) I am a Reinhardt fan more than anything else. I basically just followed him when I watched the original and didn’t care about the other side.

  5. Maybe it’s because I’ve never watched the original OVA and so I’d never get used to its characters’ looks, but for a space opera anime made today, the character art design here is as close as it can be to being appropriate IMO, if it isn’t already so. When it is certain that the old style would never be agreed upon for a modern age remake, I think this is the best alternative. That’s just me though. I don’t think fans of the original OVA can go into this expecting the same exact feeling it had. That’s what a remake is all about after all.

    Anyway, everything except the music worked for me personally. I’ll have to rewatch the episode while listening to the music more closely, but it is such a fine first episode. Reinhardt is a character I can totally get behind because of who and what he is, though Yang may very well bring out even more of him into the narrative, which can only be good.

    1. I can confidently say if you like what’s shown so far, you’re going to love what comes next. Yang as will hopefully be shown next week makes for a great foil to Reinhardt, and the battle of wits between the two is one of LotGH’s preeminent strengths and drivers of the story. While a lot of the good stuff happens later on, if we’re lucky one or two important events highlighting this will pop up before the season is over.

  6. I want to say a thing, in spite of it being a little of topic:

    Finally two admirals that know how to make a battle, and no stupid people that have to follow three ships until that they spend all the fuel to be able to destroy them.

    Reinhard will destroy the first order ships in 5 minutes, and Yang in 4.

    1. Yang Wei-Lin, the officer that does more with less resources than anyone in history. I’m fairly sure this show will at least go through with the formation of the 13th Fleet and it’s first major battle. I don’t see how they’re even going to cover the all of the events of the first OVA season with its heartbreaking ending.1

  7. Aaaaaah, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time! The original is one of my favorite shows of all time, and while this doesn’t quite match up (so far), it’s a darn good stab at a reboot! The animation was great, it kept all the spirit of the original, but with far better graphics. I didn’t even mind the character designs much after some initial adjustment. Missing was the godly classical music score of the original, as well as the leisurely pace and focus on the horrors of war that lent it such depth and poignancy. In this episode we watched as the Imperials tore through the Alliance without even a scratch in sanitized bursts of light, while the original showed much more of the toll war takes on both the winners and losers. Still, I’m glad to see this franchise get some love, and look forward to watching the reboot continue!

    Dr. Hochmeister
    1. It is a good start indeed, especially the graphics.

      I kind of understand why they want to skip the buildup and jump right in the battle that made the story famous. But, like you said, this move trivialized the battle and reduced the “depth” quite a bit.


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