「死線(後編)」 (Shisen (kouhen))
“The Verge of Death (Part II)”
For once I think LotGH’s new adaptation actually disappointed me. Not because of any story hiccups mind you (it’s still advancing marvellously well), but because the bloody thing is cutting off just before the good stuff. Fleet battles, rightful Alliance comeuppance? Please, those familiar with this tale knows exactly what’s coming next. This finale was only the appetizer.
Considering how badly the FPA was treating the severity of mass invasion the past couple of weeks, it comes as no surprise their shoestring version was broken quickly and effectively. Unsupported supply lines were shut down with nary a loss, individual fleets were engaged separately with no chance of support, and what remained of Alliance forces in the end were organized in the laziest—i.e. worst—manner possible. It was the cherry on top for a series of disastrous decisions and while debatable whether the action was rushed too much, there’s no denying the Empire was always set to win this fight, in part because (as will become apparent later on) they have the better leadership. Reinhardt won not due to his personal genius (notice he never actually fought this time), but because he handpicked a group of subordinates capable of dealing with situations in a similar manner as him. Only when confronted with the likes of Yang did Reinhardt’s best meet their match, and even then it took some unlikely intervention for Yang to extract himself safely.
It’s going to take more than simple reorganization for the Alliance to come out victorious from this self-made predicament, and with their main leadership unwilling to take any sort of responsibility, the chance of such victory is rapidly disappearing. When the decisive battle finally occurs it’s going to take everything for Yang and friends to come out alive because one confident blondie will ensure the FPA never sets foot on Imperial territory again. Prepare thy selves boys and girls, Die Neue These’s sequel is going to be a doozy.
There’s really only one thing to say in the aftermath of LotGH: wow. From an initial belief of potential train wreck and adaptation disaster the new LotGH wound up surprising in all the best ways, taking a large and frankly byzantine space opera story and converting it into a prime example of reboot done right. Characters were kept consistent, the story limited any trimming to the fat, and the philosophical bent gracing all of LotGH’s key developments were kept fully intact. It really was the best outcome possible.
Part of the reason LotGH worked so well was its tasteful adherence to the original. The voice acting of Reinhardt and Yang for example maintained the nostalgic feel viewers of the original vividly (read: zealously) remember, with Suzumura Kenichi’s Yang in particular capturing the lazy genius personality Tomiyama Kei was renowned for. Artwork of course will remain a bone of contention for years to come with no lack of examples for fans to tear apart (Reuenthal and Oberstein are my two biggest eyesores), but for newcomers there’s no denying it more than did the task. Just take the space battles: CGI or not, you have to admit it made for some pretty scenes fully in the mold of LotGH.
Where this adaptation paradoxically falls short though is in the story. Part of the charm of LotGH for many people is the nature of its story, it lavishes great amounts of time on secondary plots and minor characters who add a good deal of life to an already impressive tale. By limitation this reboot could never replicate what we got before, and while the essence of the original was wholly kept, much of the “flavouring” was left by the wayside. A good example of this is El Facil, whereas an entire episode was devoted to it before, a few passing scenes were all we got this time around—enough to indicate its importance, but nothing to properly reinforce it. Other moments such as Siegfried’s handling of rebellion and the FPA’s ultranationalists were similarly skirted over, leaving behind a story thematically complete and understandable for first time viewers, but one that can leave long-time fans begging for more. It’s certainly not a terrible downside considering how well Die Neue These nailed the primary storyline so far (and that’s nothing to scoff at considering some recent adaptations), but when certain future events and character details (ex. Rubinsky) make their appearance, the lack of some of this additional information will make its presence felt.
Overall considering where I started when coming into LotGH—i.e. fearing the worst—I’m very happy with this version all things considered. It may not be perfect or the simple “graphics remaster” a lot of fans were secretly hoping for, but as an introduction for modern audiences and advertisement for the franchise this version couldn’t have done better. While the upcoming movies will advance the story a good deal (but not all the way through should pacing remain the same), if you liked this I would firmly recommend giving the original a try too. It may be old, but as the original Star Wars trilogy shows in spades, some things never age, and when it comes to intelligent space opera there’s nothing in the world better than LotGH.