「不敗の魔術師」 (Fuhai no majutsu-shi)
“The Unbeatable Magician”
With the veritable hell that is known as university exam period now over (finally) for yours truly, kick back and relax is the name of game, and there’s no better vicarious way than through the likes of Yang Wenli. With Reinhardt’s past largely revealed, LotGH turns to its other easygoing half this week, fleshing out the backstory of our lazy historian and showing in more than one way how deep the philosophical rabbit holes here goes. It may have only scratched the surface of some important prior events (ex. El Facil), but the information we got more than did the trick.
Although arguably evident before, Yang Wenli is about as far removed from Reinhardt’s personality as you can get. He’s soft spoken, has no real care in the world, and sees any extra duty as painful trouble best left alone. He is, as Jessica Edwards so succinctly describes, a man glued firmly to the rear view mirror, loving history for its sake alone and determined to make a career out of that passion. Funny how life (as it usually does) has other plans in mind, turning the wannabe academic into one of the FPA’s rising military stars—even if Yang cannot fully see it himself yet. The guy is simply one to roll with the punches, and it is this attitude that in part makes him so damn lovable. There’s no apparent fear, no worry in Yang, he simply does what he does (and does it very well mind you) and sees what life brings next. For his life of late, that usually means nothing entirely expected, as the death of one close friend in the first two episodes poignantly highlights.
Beyond simple attitude though Yang’s unique presence stems from his philosophical mindset. We got a lot of snippets to showcase the fact, from the remarks on social responsibility and blame to his belief about the dangers of rigid opinions, and even the unvoiced indications of thinking outside the box by attacking enemy supply lines. These comments, whether you agree or disagree with them—and they are all open for debate—do more than simply set up Yang as the egalitarian foil to Reinhardt, they also develop one half of the ideals which will soon clash spectacularly in this story. Much like Reinhardt, Yang is at the mercy of incompetent leaders and ossified institutions, he knows what’s needed or what he wants, but is thwarted by superiors selfishly looking out for their own interests. How both these titular characters come to deal with their respective systems and these leaders will show how government and social contract can be approached in many different ways, each (depending on circumstances) just as viable as the next—the key takeaway from LotGH as a whole. We know how Reinhardt intends on doing away with the corrupted detritus ruling the Empire for example (by seizing power), but Yang’s future way of dealing with the FPA and its own intricacies involves something different. What it is will be seen in good time, but right now just remember the mention of the FPA’s military orphan program. Yang might have seemed unfazed by its suggestion, but as one person will quickly prove, it’s going to have a bigger impact on his life than he originally thought possible.
LotGH may have only fleshed out the past thus far, but with the gears now all properly aligned, it’s time for some serious fireworks. Don’t go far boys and girls, the real fun (and war) begins now.